* Quebec Blue pitcher Hugo Brochu (Montreal) was outstanding in a 3-2 win over Ontario Black Friday afternoon in Tournament 12 action at the Rogers Centre. The right-hander struck out 12 batters in his six innings of work. (Photo: Nick Ashbourne). ….
Letters of Intent
TORONTO – Conor Angel struck out Josh Naylor with an outside fastball to preserve a key 3-2 victory for Quebec Blue over Ontario Black in an exciting Tournament 12 contest at the Rogers Centre on Friday.
Angel, only 14, replaced starter Hugo Brochu, who had pitched six strong innings of four hit, one walk ball, and immediately walked the first batter he faced.
Two outs and a base on balls later, he had runners on the corners with Naylor, widely regarded as the best hitter in the tournament stepping in.
“I saw him when he stepped into the on-deck circle and my heart was racing,” said Angel. “I tried to strike out the guy before him but I ended up walking him.
“I knew I couldn’t throw one down the pipe or he would hit a dinger, so I tried to keep it away and it turned out well.”
Manager Denis Boucher, who faced this situation in his four-year Major League career, would come out for a quick word with the young righty before the at-bat.
“(He) was just trying to calm me down, (he) reminded me we were up one run and there’s two outs, just keep it away.”
Angel fell behind the powerful lefty, who earlier this year had come second in the junior home run derby at the Major League All Star Game, with a 3-1 count, before getting Naylor to swing and miss.
“I was just trying to keep the ball away,” said Angel, heading into the full-count pitch. “I threw the fastball and he swung.”
Brochu registered the win for Quebec Blue (2-1-1) with a stellar performance. He had all of his pitches working on Friday afternoon, as the 5-foot-11 righty from Montreal, Quebec went six innings, giving up only two runs and striking out 12 batters.
Ontario Black (2-1-1) opened the scoring in the top of the first after an Eric Senior ground-rule double put runners on second and third before Naylor knocked a sac fly into left field to put Black up 1-0.
Quebec Blue responded in the bottom of the second with a one-out bases loaded double by Jean-Francois Garon that plated two runners to put them up 2-1.
It could have got a lot worse for Ontario Black in the inning, but a great snag on a sharply hit ground-ball was scooped up by first basemen Naylor.
He stepped on the bag for the force out, and quickly snapped it over to second base to catch Garon who was cheating down the base path.
Naylor, the powerful 6-foot-1, 17-year-old from Mississauga, would continue his impressive tournament with a hard hit double to right field in the top of the third to net his second RBI of the contest to tie the contest.
Quebec Blue would answer right back in the bottom of the third. Catcher Matthew Chiz Majeur slapped a triple over the head of centre-fielder Demi Orimoloye, and the next batter Samuel Chaput knocked him in with a double.
Drew Reilly would take over pitching duties in the bottom of the fourth for Ontario Black, closing the book on Nathan Arruda.
The big righty from Brampton would finish giving up three runs, all earned over his four innings of work, including two walks and six strikeouts.
Quebec Blue will play later Friday afternoon against Alberta Red with a scheduled 6 p.m. first pitch. Ontario Black will get the rest of the day off before playing Prairies Purple Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m.
– The full Tournament 12 schedule can be found here.