With the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc on almost everything in our everyday lives in 2020, sports came to a grinding halt in North America in early to mid-March. Baseball was particularly hard hit as the season was just getting ready to ramp up for many leagues and US College baseball had just gotten underway.
In this article we will have a look at what the impacts of COVID-19 have been on baseball in Canada with regard to cancellations and delays as well as what the restart plans look like for each Province.
Provincial Baseball Restart Plans
Since we have had more than our fair share of bad news this year overall, I thought I would actually begin this article with the restart plans by Province. I am also including information on Provincial championships where available.
Newfoundland and Labrador
16-JUN-20 (Staged by region)
17-JUL-20 (Staged by region)
Prince Edward Island
Last Update: July 18, 2020
Canadian Baseball Cancellations Due to COVID-19
Although there is some good news in the section above, there has been plenty of bad news due to COVID-19. Below is a list of confirmed cancellations so far.
The roster selections for the 2020 Baseball Nova Scotia 17U Selects team were announced today.
This team will represent Nova Scotia at the 2020 Baseball Canada Cup (17U Nationals) tournament in Fort McMurray, Alberta. They will enter the tournament as defending champions after Nova Scotia’s historic Gold Medal win at last year’s tournament in Regina, Saskatchewan.
Below are the players who have been selected for this year’s team, their hometown, and the teams they have recently played for:
Ryan Avery – Whites Lake (Nova Scotia 15U Selects, Kentville Wildcats 15U AAA)
Kiwean Song – Bedford (Okotoks Dawgs, Nova Scotia 17U Selects)
Ryan Trenholm – Hammonds Plains (Hammonds Plains A’s 18U AAA)
At the Canada Cup, Nova Scotia is one of the teams that is permitted to bring up to two players that are “overagers” by one year. Those overage additions to the roster are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
The final rosters were recently announced for Tournament 12 (T12) which will take place in Rogers Centre in Toronto from September 17th to September 21st of 2019. In case you haven’t heard of T12 before, here is the description of it from the Toronto Blue Jay’s Academy website:
Tournament 12 (T12) presented by New Era is a national amateur baseball tournament held at Rogers Centre each September hosted by the Blue Jays Baseball Academy and Tournament Commissioner, Roberto Alomar. The goal of T12 is to provide a showcase opportunity for the best 150 amateur baseball players born in Canada, with college eligibility. T12 acts to centralize the best Canadian baseball players, with the intention of exposing them to as many pro and college scouts as possible. Simply put, the Blue Jays Baseball Academy’s intention is to provide a platform that both highlights and markets the high level of amateur baseball talent in this country. Since 2013, 69 former T12 players have been drafted by Major League Baseball organizations with over 300 receiving college scholarships to continue their academic and athletic careers.
As I discussed in my earlier article on this topic, from the inaugural tournament in 2013 through 2018, Tournament 12 was structured in a regional format with 8 teams as follows:
Atlantic (Players from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island)
Futures (Bantam age (15U) players mostly from Ontario)
Prairies (Players from Manitoba and Saskatchewan)
Tournament 12’s New Model
Although it wasn’t perfect, the old format ensured a lot of representation from the powerhouse baseball provinces like Ontario (two teams plus most of the Futures team), BC, and Quebec, while also offering a slight over-representation for less populated provinces with less Canadian baseball spotlight like the four Atlantic Provinces, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and even Alberta.
That over-representation for the smaller provinces resulted in some unexpected outcomes such as:
T12 Overall tournament wins for the underdog Atlantic team in 2013 and 2017
A professional contract from the Blue Jays for Andrew Case of Saint John, NB after pitching a no-hitter in the 2013 tournament
Micah McDowell of Coldbrook, NS being named Tournament MVP in 2017
Despite the tournament’s ongoing success, for 2019, T12 organizers decided to move away from the regional format and made the following announcement earlier this year:
2019 will mark a new format for Tournament 12 in which tournament rosters will no longer be based on regional teams, but the best 150 players in Canada, divided appropriately among all 6 teams. This will ensure that Tournament 12 truly features the best 150 players in Canada regardless of geographic location.
My question is WHY? The original format seemed to be working well and certainly could have been tweaked without taking away opportunities from those who need them most.
The Final Roster Announcement Lays Bare The Impacts of T12’s New Model
Recently, the Blue Jays Academy announced the final roster for the 2019 T12 tournament and several things jump out at me after reviewing the list:
Representation at this tournament was taken from most of the rest of the country and given instead to Ontario and BC
The “showcase” model of selecting players has ensured that the goal of selecting “the top 150 high school baseball players in Canada” was not achieved, more so this year than ever before
Performances at Baseball Canada Cup, the most important actual tournament in the nation for players of this age group, were largely ignored
Let’s unpack each of those a bit so I can explain what I mean:
Representation at this tournament was taken from most of the rest of the country and given instead to Ontario and BC
When the Blue Jays Academy announced their new format it was obvious that is was bad news for players in the areas of the country that could use the most help getting a look from scouts and colleges. That said, the final roster selections reflect an even bleaker picture than many imagined. I have included a table to illustrate what I mean.
This table is sorted by the provinces with the most roster spots this year. I have used the 2016 Final T12 Rosters to represent the Old Format as last year they began fiddling around with giving roster spots to people from other countries (more on that later). I am not sure if that happened in 2017 as well and I wanted a clean list to work with as a baseline. Let’s have a look:
Who Were the Format Change Winners?
So even though Ontario only gained 4 spots with the new model, with the smaller number of roster spots overall, their representation went up by almost 31% – Ontario players took almost 47% of the roster spots.
For British Columbia, it is a very similar story. They added only 1 roster spot but, with the overall roster contraction, increased their representation by almost 28%.
The last Canadian Province that could be considered at least a partial winner with this new format is Quebec. Although they lost two roster spots, their overall representation increased by almost 11%.
Who Were the Format Change Losers?
For every winner there has to be a loser. The biggest losers resulting from the format change are Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island. Both of these Atlantic Provinces lost 100% of their roster spots and 100% of their representation. The people doing the evaluations felt that not even one player from either province was worthy of inclusion in T12.
The exclusion of players from the Atlantic provinces did not stop there. New Brunswick and Nova Scotia (coincidentally the winners of this year’s Baseball Canada Cup tournament) both had their roster spots reduced by almost 67% and their representation by over 59%.
The Prairie provinces fared a little better than the Atlantic Provinces, but they suffered some big losses as well. Manitoba had it the worst in this group, losing 60% their roster spots and almost 51% of their representation. Saskatchewan lost almost 55% of their roster spots and almost 44% of their representation. Finally Alberta lost over 38% of their roster spots and over 24% of their representation.
Why Is Someone from Texas Being Included?
You will note that while all but two Provinces have lost T12 Roster spots with this new format, and two aren’t represented at all, someone still thought it was a good idea to give a roster spot to the Province of US State of Texas. What is going on here exactly?
Homer Bush Junior, one of the T12 invitees, is the son of former Toronto Blue Jay Homer Bush. Bush Senior was traded to the Blue Jays in the 1999 off-season and released on May 10, 2002. Bush Junior was born on October 13, 2001 in Toronto and likely lived there for the first 7 months of his life before his Dad was released by the Jays. Given that Bush Senior went on to play with three more major league teams, although he may even be a dual citizen, I doubt that Junior lived in Canada much past his 1st birthday, if that much. He is currently a resident of Southlake, Texas.
Although Bush Junior was at T12 last year, to include someone from the US in this event while T12 opportunities are being taken away from Canadian kids in most of the country and two Canadian Provinces have exactly zero representation is the definition of tone-deafness.
Just as a literally tone–deaf person is unable to comprehend the differences between musical notes, a metaphorically tone–deaf person is unable to comprehend the different facets/nuances of a given situation. A statement (or action) such a person makes might also be described as tone–deaf.
The “showcase” model of selecting players has ensured that the goal of selecting “the top 150 high school baseball players in Canada” was not achieved, more so this year than ever before
What is a baseball showcase exactly?
Showcases have grown exponentially over the past 20 years or so as a players are promised an opportunity to “Be Seen”, for a fee of course. Perfect Game (PG) is the largest of the showcase organizations, although they don’t have a real presence in Canada and I am not aware of any PG showcase that has ever been held in this country. That said since PG is the big dog in this space, lets have a look at how they describe their showcases to get a feel for what they are all about:
Every participant at a Perfect Game showcase will be provided the opportunity to take part in a workout session, which typically includes a 60-yard dash and infield, outfield and catching throws to measure arm velocities, measure six important quantitative measure of the swing, along with a batting practice session. Prospects will be divided into teams and full-length games (usually 10 innings) will be played to provide pitchers an opportunity to get in front of college coaches and scouts and give position players an opportunity to perform in game situations.
So are the T12 Tryouts the same as Showcases? Do they truly evaluate the ability to play the game of baseball?
The Blue Jays Tryout Camp description is essentially a subset of what PG describes as a Showcase:
Position players will be evaluated based on Speed (60 yard sprint), throwing, defense and hitting. Pitchers will be evaluated by throwing in the bullpen. Each evaluation session will run approximately four hours.
You will note that these T12 Tryouts are skill evaluations only, without the opportunity for the evaluators to see how players perform in game situations (there is an exception to this rule that I will discuss later). The subtleties of pitching, catching, and infield and outfield defense are difficult to evaluate in this way and most true showcases only list throwing speeds in their results. Those who can light up the radar gun on the mound, from behind the plate, from Shortstop, or from Right Field get attention, regardless of whether their throws hit the intended mark. Catchers sometimes are evaluated on their ability to get the ball from Home to 2nd base quickly (pop-time), which encompasses more than just throwing speed.
In showcases and the T12 Tryouts, running speed is measured by capturing each player’s time in a straight-line 60 yard dash and running that 60 as fast as possible is the goal. I have always found this evaluation to be an odd one as the likelihood of running 60 yards in a straight line in a baseball game is very low. It may be an approximation of Home to 2nd base speed, but although that is also a 60-yard distance, there is a hard left turn in the middle that will have a big impact on players’ times. Again, this is not a true baseball skill evaluation as sprinters who have never picked up a glove or a bat would have great results.
The Atlantic T12 Tryout Tournament
The exception I noted above regarding the format is the Atlantic T12 Tryout Tournament. Players from Atlantic Canada are evaluated through the simulated games held during this tournament (all players start with a 1 and 1 count, just like in the actual T12). The Atlantic T12 Tryout tournament is usually held in Moncton, NB, with parts of the showcase style tryouts noted above included as well. Pitchers, this year at least, were only evaluated during simulated game play. Although this format would seem to be an advantage for Atlantic players, there are a few problems with that theory:
The massive reduction in players from Atlantic Canada this year is all you need to look at to determine that this Tryout Tournament provides no particular advantage for those attending.
The Tournament invitees only include each Atlantic Province’s 17U teams, as a result, most 18 year-old players from the region are excluded
Newfoundland and Labrador decided that with the format changes for T12 this year, the cost of flying the team to Moncton for this tournament was no longer justifiable, so they did not attend the tournament this year
Finally, during this year’s tournament, when rain forced some of the games to Sunday, the general consensus was that some or all of the Blue Jays evaluators were no longer in attendance as they had already flown out
Top Showcase Skillsets Selected Rather than the Top Baseball Players
Although the T12 Tryouts may include the top players with specific showcase related skillsets, many of which are fantastic baseball players as well, I am confident in saying that all of the top high school baseball players in Canada were not selected for T12. How could they be? For the most part, the ability to actually play the game of baseball did not figure into the evaluations at these tryouts.
Performances at Baseball Canada Cup, the most important actual tournament in the nation for players of this age group, were largely ignored
Baseball Canada Cup, which has been running for 31 years, is Canada’s national championship for players who are mostly 16 and 17. Although the age cutoff is at December 31 of each year, smaller provinces are permitted to include two “overagers” (turning 18 years old before Dec 31) and occasionally a particularly talented 15 year old will make a roster. Canada Cup includes teams from each of the 10 Canadian Provinces. This tournament is the highest level of play and most important tournament for high-school-aged baseball players in this country. Tournament 12 doesn’t meet the grade here because it is essentially the simulated game portion of a showcase rather than a true tournament where winning games really matters.
The Blue Jays picked the first 50 T12 roster spots early in the summer – see my earlier article on that topic. The remaining spots were to be picked a week after Canada Cup ended. Many people, myself included, assumed that the timing of those later picks was put in place to allow evaluations of players at Canada Cup in highly-competitive, high-stress, game competition. You know, so they could make sure they had the actual top 150 high school aged baseball players in Canada.
Unfortunately, anyone who had that expectation, was sorely disappointed. I see very little evidence that performance at Canada Cup had any impact on the roster decisions for T12. For example:
Many players on the 2019 T12 roster had poor showings at Baseball Canada Cup
Many players who had awesome performances at Baseball Canada Cup were excluded
Of the 20 players on the roster of the Gold Medal winning Nova Scotia team, only 2 were selected for T12. What about the teams that finished behind them?
Of the 20 players on the roster of the Silver Medal winning Ontario team, 17 were selected for T12
Of the 20 players on the roster of the Bronze Medal winning British Columbia team, 17 were selected for T12
Of the 20 players on the roster of the 4th Place Quebec team, 14 were selected for T12
I could go on, but I believe I have made my point here
Based on those data points, it is pretty obvious that real-world baseball performance in the most important tournament in the country for players this age was ignored.
So, based on real-world high-performance tournament results, who else should be at T12?
For some reason only 136 of the 150 expected Canadians were selected for T12 – plus one kid from Texas. Rather than calling out the T12 players who had bad performances at Baseball Canada Cup, which would not be fair, I want to keep it positive. Let’s look at some of the players that performed well at Baseball Canada Cup but did not make it to T12. There are still 14 of the proposed 150 Canadian spots available – we will leave the Texas slot alone. I am going to make some suggestions as to which fantastic players from under-represented Provinces could fill those spots. Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec will be excluded from this list since they all already have plenty of representation at T12. I am going to concentrate on 17 and 18 year-olds to keep things a little simpler. We will have a look by team based on their finish at the 2019 Baseball Canada Cup.
It baffles me that only 2 players from the Canada Cup’s Gold Medal team made it to this year’s T12 roster, but that is what happened. The entire roster of 20 players obviously have a lot of skill and know how to win under pressure as they did during the whole tournament but especially in their Semi-Final win over Quebec and their Gold Medal win over Ontario. That said, which of the older players not selected for T12 stood out for the Gold Medal team?
Noah Boutilier was a leader for Nova Scotia at the 2019 Canada Cup. He was 6 for 21 for a slash line (Batting Average/On Base Percentage/Slugging Percentage) of .286/.423/.286 with 4 Runs Batted In and 4 Runs Scored. That’s nice you say, but why include a guy here who didn’t have gaudy stats? I’ll tell you why… because Noah Boutilier is the definition of a clutch player. During the tournament he contributed mostly by getting on base and scoring, but during the Gold Medal game against Ontario he put the offense on his back, knocking in all 3 of Nova Scotia’s runs with 2 key singles, and earned Player of the Game honours for his effort.
Layton Cuvilier was a key two-way player for the Nova Scotia team at Canada Cup. At the plate he was 5 for 16 with a very nice .385/.500/.538 slash line and 5 Runs Scored. On the mound he came on in relief 3 times and was very effective. He had 3 Strikeouts in 2 1/3 innings earning a Save while giving up 0 Runs with a WHIP of 0.86.
Duncan McLaughlin was a leader for the Nova Scotia team during Canada Cup, contributing consistently on offense and defense. At the plate he was 6 for 14 with an impressive .429/.556/.571 slash line. On defense, when he was not pitching, Duncan was a stabilizing force for NS in Center Field. On the mound McLaughlin started 2 games and won them both. For the tournament he had 10 Strikeouts over 10 innings while giving up 2 Earned Runs and had a WHIP of 1.40. Duncan got the start in the Gold Medal game and earned the Win by baffling the powerhouse Ontario lineup over 5 innings, striking out 9 batters and only giving up 1 Earned Run.
Ethan McLellan was a key contributor on the mound for Nova Scotia’s Gold Medal run. For the tournament Ethan pitched in 2 games logging 9 Strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings while giving up 3 Earned Runs and had a WHIP of 1.05. In the Gold Medal game, McLellan came on in a tough spot in the 6th inning with the score at 3 to 2 for NS with the bases loaded and no outs. He was throwing absolute gas and worked his way out of that tough spot with a weak grounder back to him and two strikeouts. In the 7th, Ethan struck out the side to earn the Save and clinch Nova Scotia’s Gold Medal win.
Michael Short was a key contributor at the plate for Nova Scotia during the 2019 Canada Cup tournament. Although he didn’t hit for a high average, all of his hits were for extra bases and he was on base a lot. For the week, Mike was 4 for 17 with a slash line of .235/.409/.588, and had 2 Runs Batted In and 3 Runs Scored. He hit a clutch game-tying Triple in Nova Scotia’s comeback win over New Brunswick and earned Player of the Game honours.
Team Saskatchewan placed 5th at this year’s Canada Cup. They had a tough road as their Pool A placement meant they had to face the powerhouse lineups of Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec to make it to the medal round and fell just short. Which of the older players not selected for T12 stood out for SK?
Josh Cleggett was the top hitter for Saskatchewan during this year’s Canada Cup. He was 6 for 17 with a slash line of .353/.476/.529 while contributing 6 RBI’s and 2 Runs Scored.
Kendall Keller has a pretty solid hitting performance at Canada Cup himself. He was also 6 for 17 and had a slash line of .353/.450/.471 while contributing 2 RBI’s and 2 Runs Scored.
Team Manitoba placed 6th at this year’s Canada Cup. They finished second in Pool B behind Nova Scotia. Which of the older players not selected for T12 stood out for MB?
Logan Erb was a two-way player for Manitoba at Canada Cup, but the majority of his contributions came at the plate. On the mound he came on in relief in 1 game and earned the Win with 1 Strikeout over 2 innings while giving up 0 Runs and a had WHIP of 2.00. At the plate he was 5 for 15 with a very nice .333/.412/.533 slash line, 4 Runs Batted In, and 5 Runs Scored.
Davis Fenske was a key contributor in relief at Canada Cup for Manitoba. He pitched in 3 games logging 6 Strikeouts over 6 innings while giving up 0 Earned Runs and had a WHIP of 1.00.
Owen Sager was a key contributor in relief at Canada Cup for Manitoba. He pitched 6 innings in 2 games earning a Win while giving up 0 Runs and had a WHIP of 0.75.
Dawson Tanner was a two-way player for Manitoba at Canada Cup, with positive contributions on the mound and at the plate. On the mound he started 1 game and earned the Win with 5 Strikeouts over 6 innings while giving up 0 Earned Runs and had a WHIP of 1.00. At the plate he was 6 for 19 with a very nice .316/.362/.632 slash line, 7 Runs Batted In, and 3 Runs Scored.
Logan Warkentin was great at the plate for Manitoba at Canada Cup. He was 8 for 21 with an impressive .381/.362/.632 slash line, 2 Runs Batted In, and 5 Runs Scored.
Team New Brunswick placed 7th at this year’s Canada Cup. Which of the older players not selected for T12 stood out for NB?
Brayden Allain was great at the plate for New Brunswick at Canada Cup. He was 5 for 10 with an impressive .500/.500/.600 slash line, 4 Runs Batted In, and 4 Runs Scored.
Connor Hill was a two-way player for New Brunswick at Canada Cup, with positive contributions on the mound and at the plate. On the mound he came on in relief in 1 game and earned the Win with 1 Strikeout over 3 innings while giving up 0 Runs and a had WHIP of 0.33. At the plate he was 6 for 14 with an impressive .429/.500/.571 slash line and 5 Runs Scored.
Owen Lohnes was a two-way player for New Brunswick at Canada Cup, with positive contributions on the mound and at the plate. On the mound he started 1 game and had 5 Strikeouts over 4 innings while giving up 0 Runs and a had WHIP of 0.50. At the plate he was 7 for 19 with an impressive .368/.400/.684 slash line, 4 Runs Batted In, and 4 Runs Scored.
Olivier Potvin was a key contributor on the mound at Canada Cup for New Brunswick. He pitched 4 innings in 2 games while giving up 0 Runs, striking out 5, and had a WHIP of 0.50.
Prince Edward Island
Team PEI placed 8th at this year’s Canada Cup. Which of the older players not selected for T12 stood out for PE?
Chase Gaudette was great at the plate for PEI at Canada Cup. He was 5 for 15 with a solid .333/.565/.333 slash line and 4 Runs Scored. That On Base Percentage was so high because Gaudette worked 7 Walks.
Ben MacDougall was a two-way player for PEI at Canada Cup, but his contributions were felt most at the plate. On the mound he started 1 game and had 5 Strikeouts over 6 innings while giving up 0 Earned Runs and a had WHIP of 1.17. At the plate he was 6 for 17 with an impressive .353/.476/.529 slash line, 5 Runs Batted In, and a whopping 9 Runs Scored.
Jack MacKenzie was a two-way player for PEI at Canada Cup, with positive contributions on the mound and at the plate. On the mound he pitched in 3 games earning 1 Win. He had 9 Strikeouts over 9 1/3 innings while giving up 3 Earned Runs and a had WHIP of 1.61. At the plate he was 5 for 13 with a .385/.385/.462 slash line, 6 Runs Batted In, and 4 Runs Scored.
Team Alberta placed 9th at this year’s Canada Cup. Alberta has the most players on the T12 roster from the teams on this list but there is one who the selection committee might want to consider based on his performance at Canada Cup.
Caden Zarowny was great at the plate for Alberta at Canada Cup. He was 4 for 10 with an impressive .400/.625/.500 slash line, 2 Runs Batted In, and 5 Runs Scored. That On Base Percentage was so high because Zarowny worked 6 Walks.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Team NL placed 10th at this year’s Canada Cup. Which of the older players not selected for T12 stood out for NL?
Steven Abbott was great at the plate for Newfoundland at Canada Cup. He was 6 for 20 with a solid .300/.417/.400 slash line, 2 Runs Batted In, and 5 Runs Scored.
Alexander French was a two-way player for Newfoundland at Canada Cup, but his contributions were felt most at the plate, where he was NL’s top hitter of the tournament with 10 hits in 19 At Bats. He had an extremely impressive slash line of .526/.550/.737, 4 Runs Batted In, and 5 Runs Scored.
By now it should be pretty clear to you that I am not on board with the changes that were made to the Tournament 12 format this year. This Tournament was previously a very high-quality but still inclusive event that players across the country aspired to attend, and the top players from each Province were included with the Roster spots still skewed to the baseball powerhouses in Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec. With these changes, the nature of the event has changed to focus on opportunities for those who already have many opportunities, at the expense of those who have far fewer. I have some advice to each of the stakeholders in this event:
My Advice to the Blue Jays Staff Who Decide the Format and Those Who Make the Selections
To the people who decided to change the format of this event, I would point out that you have attempted to fix something that was not broken. This event is poorer for the players from regions of the country that you are now excluding. You should seriously consider reverting back to the original format for 2020.
To those making the player selections I have three pieces of advice:
I would highly recommend that you find a way to do a better job of incorporating real-world performances at high-level tournaments such as Baseball Canada Cup into your selection criteria for T12 roster spots.
I would also suggest that you consider techniques to address the familiarity bias that appears to exist in this selection process, especially with players in Ontario. I would like to point out that the original format had built in measures to address this specific problem as evaluators were forced to pick players they were not familiar with to fill out geographically-based rosters.
Finally, I have pointed out several players above that had an excellent Canada Cup tournament. I encourage you to contact some of them to fill your remaining 14 Canadian roster spots.
My Advice to Scouts and College Coaches Considering Attending T12
The marketing you will receive on this event will indicate to you that the top high school baseball players in Canada will be in attendance for you to evaluate. That is only partially true. Although many of the top high school baseball players will be in attendance, the attendees were selected based on showcase skills rather than their ability to actually play the game of baseball.
If you would like to ensure that you evaluate all of the top high school players in Canada I would suggest you also include the Baseball Canada Cup and perhaps Baseball Canada’s 18U Championship in your travel plans. Baseball Canada will be posting details regarding the 2020 tournaments in the coming months HERE.
My Advice to High School Baseball Players Outside of Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec
If you are a baseball player from the Atlantic Provinces or the Prairie Provinces, the T12 tournament has been reconfigured to exclude rather than include you. I encourage you to continue to grow your baseball skills and focus on being a better baseball player. Please do not, in a vain attempt to make it to T12, turn your focus to improving your showcase skills as that is more likely to end in injury than the T12 roster spot that you are hoping for.
On Sunday evening (August 11), little Nova Scotia (population 967 thousand), after a win over heavy favourite Quebec (population 8.45 million) in the Semi Final, took on an even heavier favourite in the defending champions Ontario (population 14.49 million) in the Gold Medal game of the 2019 Canada Cup.
Looking back at tournament history, in the 30 previous years of Baseball Canada Cup competition, Ontario had taken home a total of 19 medals – 9 of those were Gold including the one in 2018. In that same time, Nova Scotia had won 2 medals, both Bronze – one in 1995 and one in 2018.
In addition, Ontario had 4 players on their roster who were named to the Canadian Junior National Team (JNT) the day after this game – Nova Scotia had none. This matchup was yet another David and Goliath type of battle.
Nova Scotia was the Home Team and sent Duncan McLaughlin to the mound. He got off to a bit of a rocky start by allowing a single to Justin Carinci who promptly stole 2nd on the next pitch. McLaughlin kept his cool though, inducing Owen Cassie to pop out to 2nd and striking out both JNT player Elijha Hammill and cleanup batter Joshua Niles to end the threat.
In bottom of the 1st Ontario responded with starting pitcher Turner Spoljaric, son of six-year Major Leaguer and former Toronto Blue Jay Paul Spoljaric. Nova Scotia wasted no time getting things going. Leadoff hitter Layton Cuvilier got things started with a Walk. Nick Gravel then worked a Walk of his own. Noah Boutilier then hit a line drive Single to score Cuvilier. Spoljaric then struck out the next batter, and induced back-to-back ground outs to end the inning. The score was 1 to 0 Nova Scotia after 1 complete and for the next three innings this game was a pitcher’s battle.
In the 2nd inning, McLaughlin struck out Drew Howard looking, induced a ground out from Zachary Laurie, and struck out Kieran Pook swinging. In the 3rd inning, he induced groundouts from Owen Ellis and Tyler Chong, and struck out Carinci looking. In the 4th McLaughlin continued baffling Ontario hitters, getting Cassie to line out on the first pitch, striking out JNT team member Hammill again and then striking out cleanup hitter Niles as well. The pitching magic continued into the 5th with Howard grounding out before McLaughlin struck out Laurie looking. After Pook hit a single, McLaughlin struck out Ellis swinging to end the threat.
Going back to the bottom of the 2nd, in that inning Spoljaric started to find his groove. He struck out the first batter of the inning but then gave up a Walk to Nova Scotia DH Shane Cowan. After that he was able to get another strikeout and a groundout to close out the inning. In the 3rd inning Spoljaric induced a groundout and then a popout to start the inning. He then issued another Walk to NS Cleanup hitter Cam Rendell. He worked out of that as well with a strikeout to end the inning. In the 4th, it was more of the same as Spoljaric induced a popout to kick the inning off and then hit Courson O’Rourke to put another NS runner on. True to form, Spoljaric stepped up again, striking out the next two batters to end the inning.
In the 5th inning, with the top of the order up, Nova Scotia got the offensive attack going again. Cuvilier kicked things off with a Triple past a diving Right Fielder. Gravel then Walked and stole 2nd on the first pitch. Boutilier then hit a hard line drive, his second of the game, to drive in both Cuvilier and Gravel. Despite having a rough start to the inning, Spoljaric kept his cool and did his work, striking out the next 3 batters to end the inning. The score was now 3 to 0 for Nova Scotia.
In the top of the 6th Ontario needed to respond right away with some runs of their own, and they did that. Chong kicked things off with a line drive single. An error on a ground ball put in play by Carinci put runners on 1st and 2nd and Cassie then walked to load the bases. JNT member Hammill then shook off his two previous strikeouts and came up with a Single to Right Center to score Chong. With the bases still loaded Joshua Niles then walked to to score Carinci.
With the score now 3 to 2, the bases loaded, and no outs, Nova Scotia reliever Ethan McLellan replaced McLaughlin on the mound. McLellan was throwing hard and immediately calmed things down by getting Howard to hit a ground ball back to him resulting in a fielder’s choice at Home. He then struck out both Laurie and Pook swinging to end the rally.
In the bottom of the 6th Ontario brought in University of Connecticut commit and JNT team member Calvin Ziegler in to shut down the Nova Scotia bats. He did his job, striking out the first two batters he faced swinging. The third batter Ryan Fitzgerald then hit a ball between 1st and 2nd but Ziegler failed to cover meaning 1st Baseman Niles had to make a diving tag of 1st base to get Fitzgerald out by a hair to end the inning.
In the top of the 7th, with the score 3 to 2, McLellan came out to finish the game and he was still throwing gas. He struck out Pinch Hitter Patrick Mulligan looking on 4 pitches. He then struck out Chong looking on 3 pitches. Ontario leadoff hitter Carinci then hit a ground ball Single to get things started for Ontario. With a 1 and 1 count McLellan tried a pickoff at first and it looked like he changed his mind half way through it, bouncing a soft throw past 1st Baseman Breton Sibley. That put Carinci on 2nd in scoring position with the potential game tying run. McLellan did not let that shake him though. He got back to work and struck out Caissie looking to end the game.
Nova Scotia had just done the impossible, beating two powerhouse teams in one day that they were not supposed to beat. Nova Scotia took home their first ever Canada Cup Gold in 31 years by winning their first ever Gold Medal match-up. David had defeated two Goliaths this day.
Duncan McLaughlin got the Win for Nova Scotia going 5 innings with 9 Strikeouts, 2 Walks, 4 hits, and 1 Earned Run.
Ethan McLellan earned the save facing the minimum 6 batters over 2 innings with 5 Strikeouts, No Walks, 1 Hit, and 0 Earned Runs.
Noah Boutilier led NS at the plate going 2 for 3 with all 3 Runs Batted In. For that performance Boutilier won Player of the Game.
Layton Cuvilier had the only other hit of the game for Nova Scotia and scored 2 runs.
On Sunday at Noon (August 11), Team Nova Scotia, winner of Pool B at the 2019 Baseball Canada Cup, took on the powerhouse Quebec team, winner of Pool A. While most of Nova Scotia players joined the 17U Selects from club teams in the province, Quebec was represented by the 17U team from Academie Baseball Canada, an elite baseball academy established in Montreal 1990 through a joint venture by Baseball Canada, Baseball Quebec, and the Montreal Expos.
Looking back at tournament history, in the 30 previous years of Baseball Canada Cup competition Quebec had taken home a total of 20 medals, including 6 Gold. In that same time, Nova Scotia had won 2 medals, both Bronze – one in 1995 and one in 2018. This game was clearly a David and Goliath type of battle.
Quebec sent Yohan Dessurault to the mound and he was locked in. He threw three 3-up-3-down innings in a row to start the game including 4 strikeouts, striking out the side in the 3rd inning. In the 4th he got two fly outs to right in a row before Noah Boutilier walked and Camden Rendell singled to get a two out rally started. He then induced a third flyout to right to end the inning without any damage done. In the 5th inning, Dessurault kept things rolling with his 4th 3-up-3-down inning of the game.
Nova Scotia sent their ace Tyler Boudreau to the mound in this must-win game. In each of the first 4 innings Quebec was able to get a runner on – a Single in the 1st, an Error in the 2nd, and a Hit By Pitch in both the 3rd and the 4th. Despite that, Boudreau was able to work out of it every time. It was 0 to 0 in the bottom of the 5th when things got a little messy for Nova Scotia. Robin Villeneuve reached on an Error and Benjamin Sauvin-Gebhardt laid down a Sacrifice Bunt to move him to second. Robin Gervais then reached on the second Error of the inning and Villeneuve moved to 3rd on the play. Nathan Laliberte then executed a squeeze play scoring Villeneuve for the first run of the game. Boudreau still had a runner on base to deal with and got right back to work, inducing a popout and groundout to end the 5th.
Nova Scotia didn’t get down but instead got right to work to get some runs of their own. With one out Layton Cuvilier hit a line drive Single to get things started. Cuvilier then moved to 2nd on a Wild Pitch and scored on a line drive Single by Nick Gravel to tie the game at 1. Noah Boutilier then hit a grounder for a Single. At that point Dominic Teoli was brought in to replace Dessurault. Camden Rendell then came to the plate with runners on 1st and 2nd. On a 1 and 1 count Rendell ripped a hard line drive over the Center Fielder’s head for a double that scored both Gravel and Boutilier. Breton Sibley then worked a Walk and Louis-Phillipe Langevin came in to replace Teoli on the mound. Langevin struck out the next two batters to end the rally but the damage was done. Nova Scotia was in the lead 3 to 1.
In the bottom if the 6th Boudreau kept things rolling. He got Cedric DeGranpre to ground out to short, and then struck out Alexis Gravel looking. Boudreau then issued a Walk to Pinch Hitter Joshua Jones but once again worked out of it, inducing another groundout to Shortstop Nick Gravel to end the inning.
In the top of the 7th Nova Scotia managed to get one runner on base when Langevin issued a Walk to Cuvilier but that was it. In the bottom of the inning Tyler Boudreau came back to the mound to get as many outs as he could with his few remaining pitches before hitting his daily maximum. Sauvin-Gebhardt stroked a double to lead off the inning and Layton Cuvilier then took the mound to close things out for NS. Cuvilier kept the Quebec batters off balance by mixing up hits pitches. He induced a Popup by Jason Begin to Second Baseman Noah Boutilier, then a Flyout by Nathan Laliberte to Left Fielder Ryan Fitzgerald, and finally struck out Emilien Pitre swinging to end the game and send Nova Scotia to their first Gold Medal game in history of the Baseball Canada Cup, going back to 1989.
Tyler Boudreau got the Win for Nova Scotia with his second outstanding pitching performance of the tournament. He pitched 6 innings giving up 0 Earned Runs while giving up 3 hits, striking out 4 batters and walking 1. Boudreau earned his second Player of the Game award of the tournament for this fantastic outing.
Cuvilier earned the Save by sitting down all three of the batters he faced in the 7th.
The top hitter in this game was Camden Rendell with two Hits including a 2-RBI double to drive in the winning Run.
Noah Boutilier, Layton Cuvilier, and Nick Gravel each chipped in with with a Hit and a Run Scored.
Saturday night (August 10) Team Nova Scotia played their final pool game of the 2019 Baseball Canada Cup versus Team PEI. Since Nova Scotia was already guaranteed a spot in the semi-finals with a 4 and 0 record to that point, this was not a must-win game for them. Team NS decided to save most of their pitching for their two games on Sunday and lean on players who had not pitched that much for the NS Selects this year to this point to carry the load on the mound.
Nova Scotia got things off to a good start with a leadoff pop-up Double to Left Field by Duncan McLaughlin that “had eyes”. After PEI starting pitcher Jack MacKenzie struck out the next batter, Camden Rendell hit a single to drive in McLaughlin. MacKenzie worked his way out of the inning from there with another strikeout and a groundout.
Rendell (8 1/3 previous innings pitching for NS in 38 games) got the start for NS on the mound. PEI leadoff batter Chase Gaudette worked a walk to get things started in the bottom of the 1st. Nolan Ryan (yes that’s right folks but not the same guy) then reached on an error. With runners on 1st and 2nd Duncan Picketts then lined out to NS 2nd Baseman Shane Cowan and Gaudette was doubled off trying to get back to 2nd. Ryan was then caught attempting to steal 2nd to end the inning.
The top of the 2nd was a quick half inning with Mackenzie striking out two and getting Brett McMullin to line out to the Shortstop. In the bottom of the inning, Rendell struggled a bit with his control, walking the first three batters to load the bases. At that point the Nova Scotia coaches brought in Ryan Fitzgerald (3 previous innings pitching for NS in 38 games) to pitch. Fitzgerald immediately induced a grounder from Ty Arsenault that hit runner Dylan Worth for the first out of the inning. Fitzgerald then got Carter MacNeil to ground out for the second out of the inning, which allowed Ben MacDougall to score. Connor Ellsworth then popped out to Fitzgerald to end the inning with only 1 run allowed. The game was then tied at 1.
Fitzgerald had a much cleaner inning in the 3rd, giving up a Walk but also inducing three ground ball outs. The 4th inning started well for Fitzgerald with a strikeout of Tyler Taylor to kick things off. However, the next batter reached on an error on a grounder to 2nd. Fitzgerald then induced a pop out by the next batter for the second out of the inning. Carter MacNeil then hit a single and Connor Ellsworth walked to load the bases. At that point, Nova Scotia brought in Nick Gravel (0 previous innings pitching for NS in the 27 games since he joined the team in late June). Gravel then got Chase Gaudette to ground out to end the PEI rally and keep the game tied at 1.
In the 5th inning PEI got things going again on offense. Nolan Ryan walked to lead things off and was promptly sacrificed to second by Duncan Picketts. Ryan then moved to 3rd on a Wild Pitch. Ben McDougall then walked and promptly stole 2nd base. Tyler Taylor then hit a Sacrifice Fly to score Ryan. Next Dylan Worth hit a Double to score McDougall. Ty Arsenault then grounded out to end the inning but PEI was now up 3 to 1.
For Nova Scotia’s part they never really got things going at the plate after the 1st, despite getting some promising innings going. In. The top of the 2nd with 1 out, Duncan McLaughlin had his second popup hit of the game. Then Noah Boutlier hit a line single. MacKenzie was able to work out of it by inducing a flyout to Center and a groundout Fielder’s Choice. In the 4th he had a 3-up-3-down inning with two strikeouts and a groundout.
The top of the 5th was Nova Scotia’s most promising inning. Pinch Hitter Mike Short was hit by a pitch but quickly picked off at 1st by MacKenzie. Nolan O’Brien then hit a line drive Single but was also picked off by MacKenzie at 1st. With two outs McLaughlin hit another popup for a Single and Boutilier hit another line drive Single. With two men on and two outs, MacKenzie induced a groundout to end the NS rally.
In the top of the 6th MacKenzie walked Pitch Hitter Camilo Riesgo, but then shut NS down with a groundout, a strikeout, and a flyout to end the inning. In the bottom of the 6th Layton Cuvilier came on to pitch for Nova Scotia, and put together a 3-up-3-down inning with a lineout and two strikeouts. In the top of the 7th O’Brien singled again. At that point Tyler Taylor came on to relieve MacKenzie and struck out two batters to seal the win for PEI.
MacKenzie gets the Win and the Player of the Game for PEI. Gravel takes the Loss for Nova Scotia.
Duncan McLaughlin led the offensive attack for NS with a Double and two Singles. Noah Boutlier and Nolan O’Brien also chipped in with two Singles each. The only other Nova Scotia hit in this game was a Single by Cam Rendell to drive in the only run for NS in this game.
Despite this Loss to PEI, Nova Scotia was the top team in Pool B and moved on to the semi-finals on Sunday morning in a match-up against Pool A winner Quebec.
On Friday morning (August 9th) Team Nova Scotia took on Team Newfoundland and Labrador in the fourth game of 2019 Baseball Canada Cup pool play for both teams. Team NL was 0 and 3 to that point and the “Cardiac Kids” from Nova Scotia were 3 and 0 on the back of three one run wins in a row. Another win for NS would guarantee them a bye into the semi-finals of the tournament and an opportunity to play for a medal.
Things started off with a bang for Team Nova Scotia. Starting pitcher Kyle Hunt made quick work of NL in the first inning with a strikeout and two groundouts. When Nova Scotia came up to bat, they were ready to rock. Leadoff man Ryan Fitzgerald started things off with a hard line drive hit to Left Field. Nick Gravel followed up with a hard grounder but Newfoundland was able to make the play and force out Fitzgerald at second for a Fielder’s Choice. Noah Boutilier was then walked on 4 pitches bringing up cleanup hitter Camden Rendell. Rendell proceeded to rip a hard line drive past the Shortstop and into the Left Field gap, scoring Gravel. NL managed to get an out next and then Shane Cowan came to the plate with two runners on. Cowan ripped a hard line drive into the Left Field gap for a Triple, scoring both Boutilier and Rendell. Camilo Riesgo then ripped the first pitch he saw for a single to score Cowan. Brett McMullin came up next and kept things rolling with a single of his own to move Riesgo to 3rd. Riesgo then scored on an error on the relay throw. Next the NL pitcher induced a Pop Up to end the inning but NS was up 5 to 0 after 1 complete.
In the second inning Team NL managed to get on the board. Alexander French led off with a single but was forced out on the Fielder’s Choice grounder by Liam Bavis. Jay Miller then reached on an error, moving Bavis to 2nd. Hunt then struck out Sebastian Ojeda looking for the second out of the inning. Ben Halfyard then worked a walk to load the bases. NL’s number 9 hitter grounded a ball between 3rd and Short to score Bavis. Hunt then induced a Groundout to end the inning and keep the damage at only 1 run.
In the bottom of the 2nd, NL replaced starting pitcher Michael Healey with Dylan Morgan. After inducing a Fly Ball out, Morgan then gave up a hard Line Drive single to Nick Gravel. After then inducing a line drive out from Noah Boutilier, Morgan next faced Rendell, who hit a hard line drive to deep Center that bounced off the Center Fielder’s glove to score Gravel. Morgan then induced a ground ball out to end the inning with a score of 6 to 1 NS.
In the top of the 3rd, Team NL was able to close the gap. Jacob Gillis led off the inning with a line drive single. Hunt then struck out Chase Tucker looking. Alexander French then singled. Hunt started the next at bat but after reaching 55 pitches was replaced by Nolan O’Brien to ensure he was still available to pitch later in the tournament. O’Brien ended up finishing a Walk to Bavis to load the bases. Jay Miller then hit a ground ball single to score Gillis and French. O’Brien then got Ojeda to ground out but Bavis scored on the play. Halfyard flew out to center to end the half inning and the score was now 6 to 4 for NS.
In the bottom of the 3rd Nova Scotia started a two-out rally. Brett McMullin and Duncan McLaughlin both walked. Fitzgerald hit another line drive to Left Field but McMullin was not able to score on the hit. With the bases loaded Gravel pulled a hard line drive down the first baseline but the NL First Baseman made a nice play to end the rally.
In the top of the 4th O’Brien struck out Whyte and the induced groundouts from Abbott and Gillis for a 1-2-3 inning. In the bottom of the inning, NS got another two-out rally going. Short walked and Cowan singled to get things rolling. A pop up to Short ended the rally for NS.
In the top of the 5th, Newfoundland got things rolling again. Tucker singled and French followed that up with a Double. Bavis then singled to score Tucker. O’Brien then struck out Miller to slow the NL momentum. Ojeda got things going again though with a single to score French. After Ojeda was caught trying to steal second, Halfyard was walked and Bavis scored on a Wild Pitch. Kiwean Song came on to replace O’Brien and closed out the half inning with a strikeout of Whyte. In the bottom of the 5th, Chase Tucker came to the mound for NL to replace Morgan. He faced 4 batters in the inning giving up only a line drive single by Fitzgerald. At the end of the 5th the score was 7 to 6, with Newfoundland taking their first lead of the game.
The top of the 6th started out OK for Nova Scotia but quickly went downhill. Song induced a groundout from Abbott but then hit Gillis with a pitch to put him on. Tucker then reached on an error. Newfoundland then had three hits in a row including two bloop singles to score 2 Runs and load the bases. Song then walked Ojeda to score a 3rd Run. Pinch hitter Dawson O’Toole-Oldham hit another single to score another run. Song then struck out Whyte again and got Abbott to ground into a Fielder’s Choice to end the inning. In the middle of the 6th the score was 11 to 6 for Newfoundland.
In bottom of the 6th NS had some work to do and ended up being successful with a two-out rally this time. Short got things started with a Hit By Pitch. Cowan then singled. Corson O’Rourke came on as a Pinch Hitter and Tucker immediately Balked to score Short and move Cowan to 2nd. O’Rourke then singled to score Cowan. Singles by Breton Sibley and McLaughlin loaded the bases but the inning ended when Fitzgerald hit a Fly Ball over the Left Fielder that was covered by the Center Fielder who was playing deep. At the end of 6 the score was 11 to 8 Newfoundland.
In the top of the 7th Song settled down giving up only a single to Tucker. Down by 3 runs in the bottom of the 7th Nova Scotia needed a big rally and the “Cardiac Kids” came through with just that. Gravel got things started with a Walk. With a heads up play Gravel kept rolling past first, stole 2nd and induced a wild throw from Tucker to move to 3rd. That seemed to rattle Tucker a bit and he then hit Boutilier with a pitch. An error by the Second Baseman on Rendell’s grounder scored Gravel to make it 11 to 9. Tucker then walked Mike Short to load the bases and Liam Bavis came in to replace him on the mound. Shane Cowan then lined out to Center and O’Rourke hit into a Fielder’s Choice at home. That brought up Breton Sibley with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the 7th. Sibley did not let the pressure get to him. He promptly hit a deep fly ball to right-center for a Double, scoring Rendell, Short, and O’Rourke for Nova Scotia’s second walkoff win in a row.
There were many hits in this game on both sides but Sibley’s was by far the most important and so was awarded the Player of the Game in this one.
On Thursday evening (August 8th) Team Nova Scotia was looking to continue their winning streak at the 2019 Baseball Canada Cup. They were facing Team New Brunswick for the third time this year.
Taking the mound for Nova Scotia in this game was Ethan McLellan. He got off to a good start in the 1st inning, giving up only an opposite field bloop double by Max Grant. In the bottom of the 1st Nova Scotia managed to score two runs without the benefit of a hit, going up 2 to 0 by way of a hit batter and two New Brunswick errors.
McLellan took that lead with him into the 2nd inning and ran with it, striking out the side. He then proceeded to serve up 3-up 3-down innings in both the 3rd and 4th.
For their part New Brunswick and starting pitcher Jordan Fortin settled things down, managing to allow 0 additional runs all the way to the end of the 5th inning and stranding six NS runners in the process.
The top of 5th inning was a bit of a turning point in the game with NB taking the lead. Owen Lohnes led off the inning with a double. Connor Hill then walked and Nick Ruston sacrifice bunted Lohnes and Hill to 3rd and 2nd. Lohnes then scored on a sacrifice fly by Brayden Allain. Pinch hitter Olivier LeBlanc then hit a triple to drive in Hill. At that point Nova Scotia brought in Layton Cuvilier to replace McLellan. Cuvilier gave up one more hit to Grant to score Leblanc and give NB a 3 to 2 lead. Parker Hanrahan replaced Cuvilier in the 6th and held NB without any additional runs.
That NB lead held until there was 1 out in the bottom of the 6th. At that point Duncan McLaughlin hit a line drive double to get things started. Ryan Fitzgerald then hit a double of his own, a line drive that one-hopped the left field fence. Fitzgerald’s hit scored McLaughlin and tied the game.
In the 7th inning, for the third game in a row, Timmy Mann took the mound for Nova Scotia to close out the game. Brayden Allain led off the inning for NB with a single and moved to 3rd on a missed pickoff attempt. After a ground out, a hit batter and an intentional walk loaded the bases for NB. Kaden Sock then hit a single to score a run and put NB ahead again. NS then had a chance to get out of the inning with a potential double play but they could not complete it, getting only the out at second and allowing a run to score. The throw to first bounced past the first baseman, allowing a second run to score on the same play. Mann was then able to settle things down, getting Logan Walsh to ground into a Fielder’s Choice, and then struck out Lohnes to end the inning.
Heading into the bottom of the 7th down 6 to 3, Nova Scotia had some work to do. Fortin, still on the mound for NB, kicked things off by hitting Noah Boutilier and walking Cam Rendell. Fortin temporarily got things back on the rails with a strikeout. Coach Kevin Richardson then brought in Shane Cowan as a pinch hitter and with the pressure on, Cowan delivered a single to load the bases. At that point Joey Boudreau came on to pitch for NB and quickly committed a balk to score Boutilier. Michael Short then proceeded to hit a line drive Triple over the Center Fielder to score Rendell and pinch runner Tyler Boudreau and tie up the game at 6 to 6. New Brunswick then walked McLaughlin and Fitzgerald to load the bases, bringing up Pitcher Timmy Mann for his first at bat of the tournament with game on the line.
On the first pitch of the At Bat, Mann fouled off a Suicide Squeeze Bunt attempt. He then worked the count Full and finally took a ball low for a Walk which scored Short for the Walk Off win.
Nova Scotia pitchers McLellan, Cuvilier, and Hanrahan combined to hold New Brunswick to 3 runs over 6 innings but Mann was awarded the comeback Win.
Nova Scotia had 8 hits in this game but Michael Short’s game tying Triple was the most important hit of those and Short was accordingly awarded Player of the Game.
At 8:00 AM Saskatchewan time on Thursday morning (August 8) the Nova Scotia 17U Selects faced Team Manitoba for the second game of their schedule at the 2019 Baseball Canada Cup.
Taking the mound for Team Nova Scotia was Duncan McLaughlin. Things got off to a great start as McLaughlin struck out 1 and induced two fly outs in the first inning. In the second inning the first batter doubled his way on, McLaughlin struck out the next, and the third batter of the inning singled to set up a 1st and 3rd situation. Nova Scotia put on a play to deal with this situation in case of a steal but when it happened, they didn’t execute it properly and the error allowed the runner to score to put Manitoba up 1 to 0. McLaughlin then closed out the inning with a fly out and a strike out, but the damage was done and NS was in catchup mode.
Manitoba Pitcher Tyler Smith kept NS in check for the first three innings, allowing only 1 hit and 2 walks. However, in the 4th inning, Nova Scotia mounted a comeback. Camden Rendell led off the inning with a single. A couple of Manitoba errors put Michael Short and Camilo Riesgo on as well. With the bases loaded, Rendell scored on a Wild Pitch and the other two runners advanced. Layton Cuvilier then grounded to 3rd and Short was thrown out at home. With Left Fielder Ryan Fitzgerald then up, Cuvilier stole second base and Riesgo scored on the throw down. With NS now up 2 to 1, Fitzgerald hit a line drive to Left Field to score Cuvilier. The inning ended on a fly out to right.
McLaughlin continued to hold Manitoba in check all the way to the end of the 5th inning, but in the top of the 6th, they started to mount a comeback of their own. Jordan Lussier led off the inning with an infield single. Dawson Tanner roped a hard line drive past a diving Fitzgerald for a Triple, scoring Lussier. With the score now 3 to 2 with the tying run on 3rd, NS brought in their closer Timmy Mann. Mann kept the Manitoba hitters off balance with a mix of fastballs and off-speed pitches, inducing three outs without allowing Tanner to score from 3rd.
In the 7th, Nova Scotia was not able to score so Mann came back to the mound with a 1 run lead. He struck out the first batter looking and then induced a flyout to Left. With two outs Deagan Morcom ripped a Triple to straight-away Center. With the tying run on 3rd, Mann induced a flyout to Center to end the game and clinch the win for NS.
Duncan McLaughlin is credited with the win. He had 5 strikeouts, 0 walks, and spread 8 hits over 5 innings, giving up 1 Earned Run.
Timmy Mann is credited with the Save. He had 1 strikeout and gave up only 1 walk and 1 hit in 2 innings of work. Mann was also awarded the Player of the Game.
Camden Randell led the offensive attack for Nova Scotia with two hits. Ryan Fitzgerald chipped in with an RBI single. Those were the only hits that Nova Scotia had in this big win.