Letters of Intent
By Matt Defalco and Roberto Duval
TORONTO – A dominant start by Ethan Skuija carried B.C. Orange past Ontario Black, 2-1, and through the semi-finals in Tournament 12 action at the Rogers Centre on Saturday afternoon.
Skuija, a righty from Victoria, struck out eight over six plus innings of work while only allowing one run on five hits.
B.C. advances to the evening championship game against the winner of the second semi-final between Ontario Green and Quebec Blue.
“We got the pitching we needed to keep ourselves in the game,” said B.C. coach Brooks McNiven. “It was a great pitcher’s battle. Skuija held his own.”
Tyler Whitbread opposed Skuija on the mound for Ontario and looked equally as sharp until the sixth, when B.C. rallied with two outs on a double to right by Hayden Jaco that brought home Nicolas Favaro’s triple, and a single by Trevor Lofstrom scoring Jaco.
“We feel unstoppable,” Jaco said. “It was a pitcher’s duel all day … my one job was to score [Favaro] in the bottom of the sixth to get that lead. There was nothing stopping me from accomplishing that.
“I was struggling at the plate a little bit throughout the day but I knew I was gonna get it.”
Ontario Black brought Isaac Anesty in to relieve Whitbread, who had thrown 5 2/3 strong innings. Anesty induced a ground ball to second off of Geoff Ehresman’s bat to end the inning.
Ontario Black had made a habit of rallying through the tournament and almost pulled another one.
Jacob Sims led off the top of the seventh inning with a walk, and Jalen Harris followed that up with a double that ended Skuija’s outing.
With the score 2-0 and runners on second and third, B.C. brought in Matteo Vincelli to relieve Skuija.
After getting third baseman Cooper Lamb out on a fly ball to right field, Nick Howie drove in a run on a ground out to second base.
With the tying run on third and two outs, Vincelli struck out Zack Fascia swinging on an outside pitch to end the rally and seal the championship berth for British Columbia.
Top prospects Josh Naylor and Demi Orimoloye, the middle of Ontario’s lineup, were held to a combined 0-5 with a walk.
– The full Tournament 12 schedule can be found here.