Sept 6, 2014 (ISN) – LA PAZ, Mexico-Five home runs, including a pair from shortstop Charles Leblanc
(Laval, QC) and a grand slam from JF Garon (Terrebonne, QC), paved the way to
victory as Canada opened the 18U Pan American Championship with a 12-7 win over
It wasn’t easy for the heavily favoured Canadians who trailed 1-0 after a half
inning and were tied at three after four and a half before breaking the game open.
Argentina refused to quit adding a pair of runs in the top of the ninth before
Canada closed the game out.
“(Those types of games) are never fun because they (opponents) play with house
money, with little to lose,” said Head Coach Greg Hamilton. “You want to try and
maintain intensity, but it’s hard to find a lot of times. That’s just human nature.”
With the score tied at one, Charles Leblanc led off the bottom of the second with a
solo home run and two batters later LP Pelletier (Montréal, QC) lifted an opposite
field solo shot over the wall in right-centre to give Canada a two run lead.
“I got a fastball that I was able to handle and put a good swing on it,” said
Leblanc of the ball he hit over the fence in left-centre. “It felt good because we
got down early, but were able to bounce back.
In the fifth, Demi Orimoloye (Orleans, ON) doubled off the wall in centre and Mitch
Bigras (Sarnia, ON) followed with a two-run homer before Leblanc hit his second of
the game to give Canada back-to-back homers.
In the sixth with the bases loaded, JF Garon homered over the wall in centre for a
grand slam giving all three Québec players on Team Canada, a home run.
“It’s funny that all three of us homered today, but the win was the most important
thing,” said Leblanc. “It feels good to contribute and it just so happened that
three of us homered today.”
Starting pitcher Nolan Bumstead (Calgary, AB) went five innings on the mound, while
Tristan Clarke (Brampton, ON) finished the final four frames to get the win.
While neither pitcher would claim to have had their best outing, the innings they
provided were important ones for a Team Canada pitching staff that still has eight
games to play in eight days.
“We need that (from them),” explained Hamilton. “You can’t afford to blow out your
(pitching) staff in one game.
“The way this tournament is set-up, you need to win and (today) we got done what we
needed to get done.”
Canada now shifts their attention to the United States, a team that swept a
four-game series between the two clubs in Houston last week.
Hamilton knows that his team will need a much better effort tomorrow against the
U.S. than what the team displayed today.
“I think everybody (on our team) realizes what we’re in for tomorrow and if they
don’t, they were obviously absent for four games in Houston,” he said. “We’re
playing a good team, we need to be ready.
“We’ve got to play a complete game,” continued Hamilton. “We’ve got to pitch, hit,
get some timely hitting and keep the score down. With their pitching you’re not
going to win a shootout, you’re going to have to win a tightly contested game.”
UP NEXT: Tomorrow’s game against the United States is set for 4pm MDT/6pm EDT at
Arturo C. Nahl Stadium in La Paz…LHP Ben Onyshko (Winnipeg, MB) is expected to start
on the mound.