Westerners double-up on juniors

Baseball Canada

Adam Morissette – Baseball Canada

July 8, 2013, DANBURY, CT- (ISN) – For a moment, it looked as though the Junior National Team was set to complete the comeback and earn a victory over a New England Collegiate Ball League club for the second consecutive night, but in the end it wasn’t meant to be as Danbury handed the juniors a 10-5 loss.

Trailing 4-1 in the seventh, Jake Lumley (Windsor, ON) led-off with a solo home run deep over the right field fence which sparked a four run inning as the juniors took their first lead of the game.

With Toby Handley (Whitby, ON) on first, Josh Naylor (Mississauga, ON) doubled to left and Gareth Morgan (Toronto, ON) drew a walk to load the bases for Mitch Bigras (Sarnia, ON) who delivered a sac-fly to score Handley.

The juniors then took the lead with two-out when Owen Spiwak (Mississauga, ON) came up with a clutch double down the right field line which brought in the tying and go ahead runs.

Spiwak looked as though he was going to stretch a double into a triple, but a close call at third base resulted in the final out of the inning.

Danbury had built a 3-0 lead in the top of the first on a lead-off home run and a two-run shot by JNT alum Johnny Caputo (Toronto, ON).

After giving up three runs in the first, starter Brodie Harkness (Bowmanville, ON) settled in for the second inning and gave-up a lead-off single in the third before heavy rain resulted in a 45 minute rain delay.

Once the game resumed, and with Harkness still on the mound, a stolen base and error at third base brought in the Westerners fourth run of the game.

Harkness lasted four innings and gave up four runs (three earned) on seven hits with four strikeouts.

Luke Manuel (Surrey, BC) took over for Harkness in the fifth and found himself in a two-out jam after an error and two walks loaded the bases, but the right-hander managed to get a groundout to second baseman Chris Thibideau (Dartmouth, NS) to end the threat.

That seemed to spark the juniors as they broke the shutout in the sixth when Owen Spiwak scored from second base on an RBI single from Morgan Loftstrom (Kelowna, BC).

Spiwak had walked to lead-off the frame and advanced to second base when a pick-off throw from the mound ended up sailing to the fence in foul territory.

After Manuel tossed a scoreless sixth, and the juniors took the lead in the top of the seventh, things began to take a turn for the worse in the home half of the frame as Danbury regained the lead.

A sure-fire fly-out was lost in the lights by Toby Handley resulting in a one-out double and a single followed that gave the Westerners runners on the corners.

An RBI ground out tied the score and the go ahead run crossed the plate when throw from Loftstrom behind the plate sailed into left field allowing the runner to score.

Matt Lloyd (Okotoks, AB) took over for Manuel in the eighth and struggled with his control early walking the first three batters he faced to load the bases before he gave-up a two-run single giving the Westerners some breathing room.

Two more runs scored on a single and double to make the deficit five runs which proved to be too much to overcome.

A pair of walks and a single from Mitchell Bigras loaded the bases in the top of the ninth, but the juniors failed to capitalize as they lost just their second game of the New England Summer Tour.

Notes: The juniors will travel to Utica, NY tomorrow morning and take on the Utica Brewers at 7pm ET. JP Stevenson (Hunter River, PEI) is scheduled to start at Donovan Stadium, the former home of the Montréal Expos New York/Penn League franchise…Please follow @team_c_updates  and @baseballcanada Twitter to stay up-to-date on all the news and in game updates with the Junior National Team while in New England.