By Matt Tidcombe
TORONTO – Prairies Purple scored nine runs in the first three innings en route to a 10-1 victory over Quebec Blue in the team’s first Tournament 12 game at Rogers Centre Wednesday afternoon.
Prairies Purple (1-0-0) racked up 10 hits and eight of nine players in the starting lineup had at least one. They drew nine walks as a team and left 31 men on base.
“I think it was really important, especially with a young team,” right fielder Troy Blad said of getting an early lead. “It’s really good to get ahead early and then build on it.”
Prairies Purple took it to Quebec Blue (0-1-0) early when Blad drove in Ben Komonosky with two outs as he tripled to left centre. Blad would then score on a Brett Esau double down the left field line.
“It was awesome,” Prairies Purple starter Pat Kelley said. “The first inning I went out there I was a little bit nervous.
“We put up two in the first and it was smooth sailing from there. It felt good.”
Prairies Purple built on their lead in the second when Dylan Flasch led off the inning by reaching on a throwing error by shortstop Abraham Toro. The next hitter, Marshall Burgess, singled to left while Flasch stole second.
As the base runner headed for third, Quebec Blue left fielder Benjamin Pelletier missed his cut off man allowing Flasch to score on the error.
A fourth run scored as Luxon Glor grounded into a fielder’s choice and a fifth run plated as Komonosky’s ground ball scored Tyler Wood.
The two-inning outburst brought an end to Quebec Blue starter Vincent Beauregard’s day. He gave up five hits, five runs, three earned, but did strike out three.
A change of pitcher didn’t help Quebec Blue’s fortune though as Jason Tarapasky gave up four runs in the third.
Tarapasky wound up giving up five runs, four earned, on six hits while striking out five and walking five in three innings of work.
Kelley, who also pitched in last year’s event, went three scoreless innings while giving up one hit and striking out four. Brady Moxham came on in relief and threw two scoreless innings.
“My fastball velocity wasn’t where I wanted it to be, but my curveball was working,” Kelley said. “With a 1-1 count, I can throw a first pitch curveball and get ahead of a lot of guys. It’s just being smart about it rather than just throwing it past guys.”
Quebec Blue got on the board in the fourth when Samuel Chaput’s two-out double to centre plated Matthew Chiz Majeur, who had reached on an error. Pelletier had Quebec Blue’s only other base hit in the first inning.
Eric Clauson grounded into a force out with the bases load in the fifth to push Prairies Purple’s run total into double digits to conclude the scoring.
Quebec Blue will play Ontario Black in their next game on Thursday at 8 a.m., while Prairies Purple, who are set to play Alberta Red later Wednesday, come back Thursday for another game at 6 p.m. vs. Ontario Black.
– The full Tournament 12 schedule can be found here.