by Adam Morissette
March 10, 2014, ST.PETERSBURG (ISN) – It looked as though the Junior National Team were on their way to a big offensive day at the plate scoring once in the first and five times in the second, but the Baltimore Orioles pitchers stymied the juniors for the rest of the game and used some big innings of their own to earn a 10-6 victory at Al Lang Field.
Orioles pitchers amassed 17 strikeouts on the afternoon and allowed only one base runner past first from the second inning on that came when Gareth Morgan (Toronto, ON) led off the ninth with a double.
Morgan, along with Louis-Philippe Pelletier (Montréal, QC) led all Canadian hitters with two hits each.
The juniors got on the board in the bottom of the first as JF Garon (Terrebonne, QC) came in from third when Robert Byckowski (Etobicoke, ON) bounced a two-out single through the left side.
Starter Kyle Ross (Maple Ridge, BC) blanked the Orioles in the top of the first, but they got to him in the second scoring three runs although only two were earned.
An error and stolen base led to a run coming in after a single to centre and after a pair of walks, another single brought in two more.
Ross managed two strikeouts and allowed three hits in two innings of work, while making his Junior National Team debut.
The lead was short-lived however, as the juniors stormed back with five runs in the home half of the inning to go up 6-3.
After drawing a walk, Charles Leblanc (Laval, QC) and Andrew Yerzy (Toronto, ON) executed a perfect hit and run play to put runners on the corners before Lucas Zilli (Mississauga, ON) delivered a single to left to bring the juniors within two.
Garon later walked to load the bases with two out before Pelletier and Morgan followed with RBI singles.
When the Orioles shortstop mishandled Josh Naylor’s (Mississauga, ON) chopper up the middle, two more runs came into count and the juniors led 6-3.
With the score 6-4, things began to unravel in the fourth with the Orioles scoring three times coming on three hits, a walk and an error with reliever Matthew Ianni (Ottawa, ON) on the mound.
They would go on to score a run in each of the fifth, sixth and seventh frames to go up by four.
Canadian Dylan Rheault (Garson, ON) was one of the arms responsible for shutting down the juniors as he struck out the side in his only inning of work that came in the sixth.
Nolan Bumstead (Calgary, AB) came out of the JNT bullpen for the eighth and ninth and tossed two scoreless innings, striking out one and walking one batter.
Jays on deck: It will be ‘Canada Day’ tomorrow at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg as the Toronto Blue Jays take-on the Junior National Team at 1:05PM ET…The Jays will have some notable big-league players in their line-up including Canadian Brett Lawrie along with Adam Lind and fan favourite Munenori Kawasaki…Scheduled to start for the Jays is RHP Brandon Morrow with Sergio Santos, Steve Delabar, super-prospect Aaron Sanchez and Rob Rasmussen expected to follow…Some of the Canadians currently in the Jays minor league system are also expected to play.
Listen Live: Can’t make it to the game? No problem! You can listen to all Junior National Team Spring Training games live by visiting radiostpete.com. Tomorrow’s game can also be followed with live scoring courtesy of MLB.com
Tickets: For more information on the series, visit www.stpeteinternationalbaseball.com. All game tickets are $10 (General Admission only) and are available in advance at the St. Petersburg Museum of History or online at SPMOH.com. Tickets can also be purchased at the Al Lang Field Box Office.