Canada Finishes Fourth at WBSC Junior Men’s Softball World Championship

Canada Finishes Fourth at WBSC Junior Men’s Softball World Championship

14 July 2018 Gilles LeBlanc

2018 WBSC Jr Mens

Prince Albert, Sask. – Team Canada defeated Argentina 6-4 and lost 5-2 to New Zealand to finish fourth at the WBSC Junior Men’s Softball World Championship. Dallas Kipfer (Kitchener, Ont.) hit a key two-run homerun and three Canadian pitchers got the key outs to get past Argentina, but New Zealand was opportunistic with Canada unable to get much going offensively in the loss.
 
In the first game, Argentina opened the scoring in the top of the first by getting a one-out single, with the runner advancing to second on a passed ball and to third on a fielder’s choice before scoring on a third strike passed ball that was thrown away at first by the catcher. Team Canada responded with two runs in the bottom of the second as Noah Baker (Kitchener, Ont.) hit a run-scoring single up the middle and Mac Fischer (Teeswater, Ont.) crossed the plate on a wild pitch. The following inning, Jordan Pomeroy (Placentia, N.L.) led off with a triple inside the right field line and scored on a single to left by Brady Hogg (Thamesville, Ont.) before Kipfer lifted a deep fly ball that carried over the centerfield fence to give Canada a commanding 5-1 lead.
 
In the meantime, Canadian starting pitcher Riley Manion (Napanee, Ont.) was able to avoid the key hits but ran into trouble in the top of the fifth by allowing a single and a walk with one out with the runners advancing on a wild pitch before both scoring on a single off the first baseman’s glove as Argentina cut the lead to 5-3. Owen Torrie (Williamsford, Ont.) came in for relief and got two ground balls to get out of the inning. Team Canada answered with an important insurance run in the bottom of the inning on a two-out run-scoring single to center by Brendan Hagerman (Napanee, Ont.).
 
Argentina threatened by loading the bases with one out in the sixth on a single and two walks before David Watson (Milford Station, N.S.) came in for Torrie, inducing a ground ball to second that allowed one run to score but getting the next batter to fly out to right as Canada escaped the inning with a 6-4 lead. Argentina got a one-out walk in the seventh and was able to move the runner up to third, but Watson notched a big strikeout to end the game.
 
Box Score: Canada 6 vs. Argentina 4
 
Manion pitched four innings and a third, scattering three runs (two earned) on six hits and struck out six batters. Torrie gave up a run on one hit and two walks with one strikeout in one inning of relief, while Watson pitched an inning and two thirds allowing only one walk and striking out one. Kipfer’s two-run homerun was the highlight of Canada’s offence, with Isaac Lefebvre (St-Leonard-d’Aston, Que.) and Pomeroy each hitting a triple while Baker, Hogg and Hagerman each contributed run-scoring singles.
 
Against New Zealand, the Kiwis got a leadoff single and the runner advanced to second on a failed pick-off attempt before moving up to third on a ground out. However, Torrie got a pair of strikeouts to leave the runner stranded at third. In the bottom of the frame, Lefebvre drew a leadoff walk followed by a single by Pomeroy, but Lefebvre was thrown out trying to advance to third. A pair of strikeouts kept Canada off the board. New Zealand got another runner to third in the second but couldn’t cash him in, while Canada went down in order on three strikeouts.
 
New Zealand opened the scoring in the top of the third on a leadoff walk followed by a triple and a single to push two runs in to score. The following inning, New Zealand got a pair of one-out walks and the runners both scored on a passed ball with the first runner colliding with the pitcher and the second scoring as the ball got away, giving New Zealand a 4-0 lead. New Zealand added another run on a leadoff homerun in the top of the fifth.
 
Team Canada was able to get things going at the plate in the bottom of the sixth as Baker hit an infield single to shortstop and Lefebvre hit an opposite field two-run homerun over the left field fence to reduce New Zealand’s lead to 5-2. In the seventh, Canada got a leadoff walk from Kipfer and he advanced to second on a wild pitch, but the next three batters went down to end the game.
 
Box Score: New Zealand 5 vs. Canada 2
 
Torrie started the game in the pitcher’s circle and allowed two runs on four hits and a walk with three strikeouts in two innings. Watson pitched two innings of relief, taking the loss by allowing three runs on only one hit and two walks with two strikeouts. Manion pitched the final three innings without allowing a hit and striking out four. Lefebvre made several great defensive plays on the day and produced both of Canada’s runs with his homerun, with Pomeroy and Baker each contributing a single.
 
Earlier in the evening, Australia defeated Japan 4-2 to advance directly to Sunday’s Gold medal game at 3:00pm CST. New Zealand moves on to face Japan in the Bronze medal game at 12:00pm CST, with the winner of that game advancing to the Gold medal game.