Letters of Intent
By Matt Tidcombe
On the strength of three pitchers combining to allow one hit and Jacob Sims’ two-run triple, Ontario Black beat Alberta Red 6-2 in its opening game of Tournament 12.
Dallas Taylor was dominant from the outset for Ontario Black (1-0-0), as he struck out four batters and allowed only one baserunner, on a hit by pitch, in his three innings.
Eric Thrower worked two innings of hitless relief and Tyler Whitbread closed out the game.
“I felt like I hit my spots,” Taylor said. “I had control of the fastball and used my off-speed [pitches] to my advantage. It was a pitchers’ duel in the beginning.
“Then our hitters started to roll. But I think it was important I got us off to a good start.”
Mike Ong, of Ontario Black, had the game’s first hit in the fourth inning, a one-out infield single, and he took second on a groundout. After an error by Alberta shortstop Kobe Hyland put runners on the corners, Sims tripled to right centre for a 2-0 lead.
“I saw an inside pitch and swung as hard as I could,” said Sims, who later scored on an infield single by Eric Senior.
“It was huge,” Senior said of the three-run inning. “We needed runs. It was getting late in the game and we needed to get ahead because they have some good pitching.”
Alberta Red (0-1-0) starter Kurt Meeberg worked three hitless innings and struck out five. He was replaced by Nikolas Cardinal, who gave up six hits and five runs (only one earned) in two innings.
“He was really good,” Senior said of Meeberg. “He had a good knuckle curve. He got me twice on that one.”
The lead grew to 5-0 in the fifth.
Jalen Harris and Nick Howie led off with back-to-back singles and after a groundout and fly out, Harris scored on a throwing error by third baseman Peter Hutzal. Zack Fascia then singled home Howie for a 5-0 lead.
Whitbred started the sixth inning and gave up Ontario Black’s first hit, a single up the middle by Hutzal after a walk and an error. Hutzal’s base hit was misplayed in centre field by Ong, allowing both runs to score.
Hutzal appeared to circle the bases on the error, but was called out for missing second base.
Jared Kennedy pitched the sixth for Alberta Red and loaded the bases on a single, error and walk before Howie cashed the game’s final run with a sacrifice fly.
Ontario Black plays its next game at 8 a.m. on Thursday against Quebec Blue. Alberta Red faces Prairies Purple on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m.
– The full Tournament 12 schedule can be found here.