By Jed Bick
TORONTO – Futures Navy picked up its first win of Tournament 12, and it was over defending champion Atlantic Grey, a 4-3 victory in walk-off fashion at the Rogers Centre on Wednesday night.
Luke Van Rycheghem’s bases-loaded single to left in the bottom of the seventh inning lifted Futures Navy (1-1-0) to the victory. They had entered their half of the inning down 3-2.
“It feels great,” said Van Rycheghem. “I was kind of nervous up at the plate but I put the bat on the ball and when you do that, good things happen.
“I was looking for something middle-in to drive into the outfield for a sacrifice fly or something. It was outside, so I just kind of threw my hands at it and made contact.”
Adam Hall drew a bases-loaded walk earlier in the inning to tie the game at three. It was his patient approach that led to the free pass.
“You don’t want to strike out with the bases loaded and one out,” said Hall. “I didn’t get many good pitches to hit and they weren’t too hard to lay off.”
Tournament 12 rules require each hitter to begin with a 1-1 count (common for this type of competition), making it a bit harder on the batters.
“It’s tough because you don’t know what the pitcher will throw for the first pitch,” said Hall. “It could be a fastball or could be the curveball, so you gotta look for both on the first pitch.”
The two teams, who had both lost earlier in the day, struggled to find offence through the first four innings. Futures starter Tyler Whalen had four strikeouts while Atlantic Grey’s Jake Lonar was no-hitting the Navy squad with five whiffs, including three coming in the bottom of the second.
“I felt good, it was nice to get a strikeout off the bat,” said Whalen. “It gave me a bit of confidence as I got on the mound with a bit of butterflies.”
As a 15-year-old, Whalen has great velocity for a pitcher his age, sometimes topping 80 miles and hour.
“I try my hardest to work on my velocity,” said the Hamilton, Ont., native. “I try to mix it up quite a bit, but my velocity is key.”
Cooper Davis broke the scoreless deadlock with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning with an RBI double off reliever Jake Cook, scoring Lucas Parente from first. Hall then reached third on an error by the right fielder which scored Davis, making it 2-0.
Atlantic Grey (0-2-0) got on the board in the top of the sixth when Blake Gallagher walked and eventually scored while Anthony McKinley was stealing second. Brett Brittany hit a two-run go-ahead triple to right-centre field off of reliever Matthew Jones, giving the Grey squad a 3-2 lead.
Futures Navy committed four errors in its 7-3 loss to Ontario Green earlier in the day, but the team played stronger defence in game two, turning a 6-4-3 double play in the top of the second and committing only one error in the win.
– The full Tournament 12 schedule can be found here.