By Simon Sharkey-Gotlieb
TORONTO – Jonathan Martin’s RBI single in the fifth inning proved to be the difference as Quebec Blue beat B.C. Orange 2-1 to become champions of the 2014 Tournament 12 at Rogers Centre on Saturday.
After starting the tournament with a 10-1 loss to Prairies Purple, Quebec Blue rebounded to finish at the top of pool B and become the second champion in the tournament’s brief history.
Quebec Blue reliever Mathieu Denault-Gauthier entered the game in the third inning, making his second appearance of the tournament. The native of Candiac settled his team down, holding B.C. Orange scoreless over four innings of relief while striking out two to record the win.
Quebec Blue put runners on base every inning, but came up empty until the fifth.
After loading the bases with nobody out, Quebec tied the game on a Luca Portolese sacrifice fly, scoring Matthew Chiz-Majeur. Martin’s RBI single came two batters later, scoring Samuel Chaput.
Second baseman Corentin Boucher was thrown out at third base on Martin’s single, ending the inning.
B.C. Orange opened the scoring on a Dakota Curry groundout that brought home centre fielder Jesse Mycock-Faure, for what would be their only run of the game.
This was the first run allowed by Quebec Blue starter Jeremie Briere, who had thrown one shutout inning in his team’s first game of the tournament. Briere lasted two frames in the final game, allowing one run on one hit while striking out none, before yielding to Denault-Gauthier.
For B.C. Orange, this was a game of missed opportunities.
They could not add to their slim lead in the fourth inning. With two out, left fielder Trevor Lofstrom doubled, and was followed by a Geoff Ehresman single and a Tony Pharand walk. But Denault-Gauthier worked out of trouble, inducing a fly ball from Lichel Hirakawa-Kao to escape the jam.
In the sixth inning, B.C. Orange had its leadoff man reach base via a throwing error. He was immediately erased via an excellent 3-6-1 double play. The next batter, Lofstrom, was hit by a pitch, but he was then forced at second to end the inning.
Alexis Lavergne shut the door for Quebec Blue in the seventh inning, earning the save on just five pitches. Lavergne also caught the final out, a pop-up off the bat of Mycock-Faure.
B.C. Orange pitcher Clark Grisbrook pitched a complete game, allowing just the two runs in the fifth while striking out eight in the loss.