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Juniors open spring with incredible comeback win over Puerto Rico
By Adam Morissette
Score: Canada (18U) 11 Puerto Rico 10
Location: Walter Fuller Complex, St. Petersburg, Florida
Weather: 28 degrees C, Clear
Canada 18U Starting Lineup:
1. Miles Gordon – RF
2. Kobe Hyland – SS
3. Demi Orimoloye – CF
4. Josh Naylor – 1B
5. Tristan Pompey – DH
6. JF Garon – LF
7. Andrew Yerzy – C
8. Royce Ando – 2B
9. Peter Hutzal – 3B
Starting Pitcher: RHP Jackson Wark
HOW IT HAPPENED
Down 10-3 in the 8th, the juniors struck for eight runs to take a one-run lead into the top of the ninth. Tristan Pompey (Milton, Ont.) got things going with an RBI single before Miles Gordon (Oakville, Ont.) and Ben Komonosky (Regina, Sask.) drove in two runs apiece with a double and single, respectively. Gordon would come in to score the go ahead run when Kobe Hyland (Spruce Grove, Alta.) drove in a pair.
RJ Freure (Burlington, Ont.) earned the save with a perfect ninth inning recording two strikeouts and getting a groundout to earn the save.
Puerto Rico opened the scoring with three runs in the top of the first inning after a pair of infield errors and a two-run double off of starter Jackson Wark (St. Albert, Alta.)
The juniors answered back in the home half of the first scoring a run when Josh Naylor (Mississauga, Ont.) picked up his first of two RBIs on the day when he singled up the middle to score Gordon.
Pompey scored in the fourth on an error by the Puerto Rican pitcher to cut the deficit to one run
Puerto Rico added two runs in the fifth before scoring four in the sixth to go up by seven. Kristjan Storrie (Langley, BC) started the inning and struggled with control walking three after getting the leadoff batter to pop out. Nicholas Virdo (Brampton, Ont.) entered the game with the bases loaded and one out and gave up a run scoring single before two more came across on a two-out single. A walk with the bases loaded scored the fourth run of the inning.
Naylor led-off the bottom of the sixth with a towering home run that left the park over the wall in right-centre that paved the way for the comeback in the eighth inning.
After three runs scored in the first, starter Wark settled in for the second and third innings tossing two perfect frames that saw him strikeout one batter
Reliever Austin Shields (Dundas, Ont.) threw two innings and allowed two runs although neither was of the earned variety. Shields allowed one hit, walked two and struck out one batter.
After a shaky start, Virdo came back strong in the seventh inning holding Puerto Rico off the scoreboard and recorded one strikeout
Matt Jones (Whitby, Ont.) made his Junior National Team debut in the top of the eight and gave up one run on two hits and a walk. He struck out three batters and was credited with the win.
Catcher Andrew Yerzy (Toronto, Ont.) had a perfect day at the plate going two-for-two with a pair of singles before being replaced by DarrenShred (Brampton, Ont.).
Pompey and Naylor also collected two hits apiece with each scoring two runs. Naylor drove in two runs, while Pompey drove in one.
The juniors outhit Puerto Rico 13 to 7
Winning Pitcher: Jones: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
Save: Freure: 1IP 2K
Hits: 2, Naylor (2/3), Pompey (2/3), Yerzy (2/2)
Runs: 2, Gordon, Naylor, Pompey
RBIs: 2, Gordon, Hyland, Naylor, Komonosky
Doubles: 1, Gordon
Home Runs: 1, Naylor
Strikeouts: 3, Jones
The juniors will be back on the field at Walter Fuller Complex tomorrow when a group of Philadelphia Phillies prospects come to St. Petersburg for a 1pm ET game … RHP Josh Burgmann (Nanaimo, BC) is expected to start for the juniors … The game can be listened to live online by visiting radiostpete.com … Live tweets are available by following @Team_C_Updates on Twitter.