By Robert Cerjanec
TORONTO – A solo home run and a double from Ryan Rijo, coupled with a strong effort from starting pitcher Cole White, led Ontario Green to a comfortable 8-2 victory over Atlantic Grey on Thursday in Tournament 12 action at the Rogers Centre.
Last season’s Tournament 12 champions Atlantic Grey continue to struggle, as its record dropped to 0-3-0, while Ontario Green improved to 2-0-0.
Starting Atlantic Grey pitcher Blake Gallagher ran into some early trouble with his control, walking four Ontario Green batters in the first inning.
A single up the middle from designated hitter Darren Shred drove in the game’s opening two runs, putting Ontario up 2-0.
The Green increased its lead when Gallagher walked Noah Renaud, scoring Shred from third base.
White had his own issues in the first inning, as the right-handed hurler committed a throwing error and hit a batter.
However, he was able to recover nicely, striking out two straight hitters before Peyton Hoyt grounded out to end the inning.
Jed Noonan got Atlantic on the board in the second inning with a single to left field to cut the score to 3-1, but Ontario put the game out of reach in the fifth inning via a double from Rijo, and a single from Tony Hrynkiw to increase Ontario’s lead to 6-1.
Austin Oulds would add a seventh run in the top of the sixth, when he reached home after a throwing error from Atlantic second baseman Samuel Cameron.
Rijo’s homer in the top of the eighth rounded out the scoring for Ontario.
“It’s always been my dream to hit one out at the Rogers Centre, so I’m very happy,” said Rijo. “It just so happened that I got the right pitch at the right time, and I put a good swing on it.”
Although he pitched well, White feels he has room for improvement.
“I did everything I wanted today except for the walks,” said White, who struck out six Atlantic batters. “I want to minimize the walks and put the ball in play because we have a good defence behind us.
“I have to have a more controlled finish and continue to improve on my mechanics.”
Ontario pitching coach Tanner Watson agreed with White’s assessment of his play and attributes his team’s success in the tournament to its ability to jump out to early leads.
“We have been very successful thus far by scoring runs early,” said Watson. “It allows our pitchers to get comfortable and everyone to settle in, which has worked out well for us.”
Next up for Ontario is a battle with fellow undefeated B.C., on Thursday night at 8:30 p.m. ET, while Atlantic look to get in the win column in its next game with a rematch against the Green on Friday at 10:30 a.m. ET.
“I’m excited for our next game against B.C.,” White said. “It’s going to be difficult, but we’ve got to do whatever it takes to get the win.”
– The full Tournament 12 schedule can be found here.