From Baseball Canada
Seoul, Korea (ISN) – In a span of a little more than twenty-four hours, Canada won for third time in three games and with a win tomorrow over host South Korea will clinch a spot in Saturday’s gold medal game at the IBAF 18U World Baseball Championships.
The latest victory came today over Colombia where Canada nearly blew a seven run lead, but hung-on for a 10-6 victory. Victoria’s Jesse Hodges, who signed yesterday with the Chicago Cubs, continued to pace the Candian attack, going 2 for 4 with an RBI. Hodges now sits 6th overall in the World’s batting title race with a .486 average.
“I’m really proud of our guys, it’s tough to do at the best of times,” said Manager Greg Hamilton about his team performance over the past three games. “To have a big emotional win over the US last night and then come back early this morning and get back on the horse was tough, but we survived.”
Canada scored a run in the bottom of the first when Jacob Robson (Windsor, ON) and Kyle Hann (Oakville, ON) drew back-to-back walks and moved up a base on a Nathan DeSouza (Milton, ON) ground out.
Colombia’s starter was having control issues as he unleashed a wild pitch that scored Robson and walked four in the first before being removed.
Canada had opportunities to increase their lead, but they left the bases loaded in both the first and second innings which kept the score 1-0.
Starter Cal Quantrill (Port Hope, ON) cruised through his first three innings, not allowing a hit with the only base runner coming off a Canadian error back in the first.
Canada looked to put the game in doubt early as they scored six runs in the home half of the third. Mitchell Triolo (Scarborough, ON) hit a three-run double to the gap in left field and Nathan DeSouza slammed a two-run homer well over the wall in right.
Colombia answered back however, in the top of the fourth, as they scored four times to make it 7-4.
Quantrill allowed three doubles and two singles in the inning which breathed new life into the pesky Colombians.
“They hit their way back into the game,” admitted Hamilton. “It was one of those situations where Cal let the score affect his energy level on the mound.
“In that situation you need to take a step back, not look at the score, look at making pitches and slow the game down a bit.”
Quantrill allowed another run in the fifth and one more in the sixth to make the score 7-6 before being removed in favour of Travis Seabrooke (Peterborough, ON).
“It was a good learning experience for Cal today,” added Hamilton. “He’s a good pitcher and he’ll bounce back.”
Seabrooke came in and was able to settle things down to end the sixth and he came back out for the seventh and shut Colombia down.
In the seventh the Canadian offence woke-up and scored three runs to give Seabrooke some room to work with.
Once again it was Nathan DeSouza who made a difference by singling to right field to score two runs with the bases loaded.
“That hit (in the seventh) was huge,” said Hamilton. “That was a momentum killer for them and it gave our side a big lift.”
Jesse Hodges (Victoria, BC) collected an RBI single in the inning and from there Seabrooke took control of the game by tossing 3 2/3 shutout frames without giving up a walk or a hit, while striking out three.
“Travis was great today,” added Hamilton. “He stayed with it mentally – we had to have an answer coming out of the bullpen or the game was going to go their way.”
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