by Adam Morissette
March 10, 2014, ST. PETERSBURG (ISN) – Demi Orimoloye (Orleans, ON) belted a three-run homer in the bottom of the second and Mitchell Robinson (Surrey, BC) added a solo shot in the ninth, but it wasn’t enough as a group of Philadelphia Phillies prospects defeated the Junior National Team 10-6 on Opening Day of Spring Training at Al Lang Stadium.
“(He) threw a 0-1 curveball that hung a bit and was able to get a good swing on it,” said Orimoloye of the blast that cleared the left field fence.
The home run came with two out as Mitch Robinson singled to keep the inning alive and JF Garon (Terrebonne, QC) followed with a walk.
Starter Mike Soroka (Calgary, AB) was exceptional in two innings of working striking out three, with only one batter reaching base coming on an error.
In the third, he gave way to Zach Pop (Brampton, ON) who allowed a lead-off double that later came around to score after a sac-fly to centerfield.
The juniors got the run back in the bottom half of the inning catching a break as a routine grounder to the pitcher was overthrown at first base with two out that allowed Josh Naylor (Mississauga, ON) to score from second base.
Kristjan Storrie (Langley, BC) replaced Pop in the fourth and in doing so made his Junior National Team debut striking out the first batter he faced before allowing a walk and coming back with two straight punch outs to end the inning.
He wasn’t as fortunate in the fifth failing to find the strike zone walking four and giving up a triple which led to six Phillies’ runs crossing the plate.
Colton Wood (Victoria, BC) relieved Storrie with two on and only one out, and gave up a walk to load the bases before a double and groundout scored three of the runs.
Wood settled in for the sixth before allowing a run in the seventh to make it an 8-4 game. He managed three strikeouts in two and two thirds innings of work.
In the seventh, JF Garon made things happen on the base paths drawing a walk and later coming around to score from third on a wild pitch.
The Phillies would score twice more in the eighth with the runs coming off reliever Matt Lloyd (Okotoks, AB) before Mitch Robinson led-off the bottom of the ninth with a solo homer to left, crushing a belt-high fastball on the first pitch he saw.
The homer was Robinson’s second hit of the ball game. Louis-Philippe Pelletier (Montréal, QC) also went 2-for-4 on the afternoon.
Baseball royalty at Al Lang Stadium: Phillies coaches Ernie Whitt and Rob Ducey were part of the travel contingent coming up from Clearwater…Whitt, the current National Team Manager, is a roving catching instructor with the Phillies, while Ducey, a former Olympian, will spend the 2014 season coaching at Double-A Reading…Both former big-leaguers played for the Toronto
Blue Jays and are members of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame…Speaking of Hall of Famers, JNT Guest Coach Roberto Alomar wasn’t the only Baseball Hall of Famer at Al Lang Stadium today as former Blue Jays GM Pat Gillick attended the game as well.
Up Next: The juniors will face a group of Baltimore Orioles prospects tomorrow when they make the trip to Al Lang Stadium from their Spring Training home in Sarasota, Florida for a 1pm ET game…Tomorrow is ‘Babe Ruth’ Day at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg to help celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the stadium…The famous slugger played at Al Lang Stadium when it served as the Spring Training home of the New York Yankees prior to and after World War II…LHP Kyle Ross (Maple Ridge, BC) is slated to start for the juniors.