JNT Spring Training: Juniors play Tigers to draw

March 27, 2017

(Photo: Eddie Michels)

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida – The Junior National Team scored seven unanswered runs to take a two-run lead into the ninth against a group of Detroit Tigers prospects only to give up the lead in the ninth and eventually settle for an 8-8 draw.

Denzel Clarke (Pickering, ON) drove in three runs with a single and double to pace the Junior National Team offence, while Clayton Keyes (Calgary, AB) drove in a pair with a double and triple.


Score: Canada (U-18) 8 Detroit Tigers 8
Location: Walter Fuller Complex – St. Petersburg, Florida
Weather: 26 degrees Celsius, Sunny

Canada 18U Starting Lineup:

1. Cooper Davis - DH
2. Adam Hall – SS
3. Noah Naylor - C
4. Clayton Keyes - RF
5. Edouard Julien – 2B
6. Lucas Parente - CF
7. Michael Stovman – 1B
8. Jason Willow - EH
9. Victor Cerny – EH
10. Damiano Palmegiani – 3B
11. Denzel Clarke - LF

Starting Pitcher: RHP Conor Angel


-After getting out of the top of the first with an inning-ending double play, things unraveled for Junior National Team starter Conor Angel (Lachine, QC) in the second as he walked four, hit two, threw a wild pitch and gave up a two-run single. When the inning ended the Tigers had a 5-0 lead.
-The juniors got their first hit of the game in the third and it was Jason Willow (Victoria, BC) who sent a pitch to the wall in left for a lead off double. With two out and Willow on third, Denzel Clarke (Pickering, ON) lined a single over shortstop to put the junior on the board.
-The Tigers added a run in the third and it came with two out after a throwing error charged to shortstop Adam Hall (London, ON) on a tough play up the middle. Reliever Jaden Griffin (Lower Sackville, NS) allowed a single and walk to start the inning before getting a fly out to centre and a strikeout.
-Denzel Clarke added his second an third RBI after a two-run double to left as the juniors added five runs in the sixth to pull even.  Clarke would score when Cooper Davis (Mississauga, ON) stole second with the catcher’s throw ending up in centre. Davis later took off for third and was able to trot home when the throw rolled into left. With Noah Naylor (Mississauga, ON) on first base after a walk, Clayton Keyes drilled a double to the gap in left that tied the score.
-The junior took the lead in the eighth as Adam Hall (London, ON) led off with a single and proceeded to steal second and third before Clayton Keyes drove him with a one out triple to the gap in left. Keyes later scored on a wild pitch and the juniors led by two.
-Reliever Jake English (London, ON) held the Tigers off the scoreboard for two innings but ran into trouble in the ninth after a base hit and two one out walks to load the bases. The Tigers tied the score on the same play as a wild pitch scored one before Victor Cerny’s (Winnipeg, MB) throwing error saw the tying run cross home plate.


-Reliever Jaden Griffin did a nice job coming out of the bullpen to start the third inning. Griffin went four innings and was on the mound for an unearned run that scored in the fourth. He allowed two hits, two walks and struck out four batters.
-Denzel Clarke reached base in all three of his plate appearances including a double and three RBI, while a pitch also hit him.
-Clayton Keyes’ double in the sixth and triple in the eighth were his fourth and fifth extra base hits in four spring training games.
-Jake English was impressive in relief in the seventh and eighth innings as he retired six of the first seven batters he faced. He registered four strikeouts over three innings of work.
-The Tigers roster featured players that are likely tickets for extended spring training once camp breaks later in the week. There are three Canadians in the Tigers’ organization, all of which have played in the National Teams program including RHP Dustin Molleken (Regina, SK), OF Jacob Robson (Windsor, ON) and SS Daniel Pinero (Toronto, ON).


Hits: 2, Clarke, Keyes
Runs: 1, Davis, hall, Naylor, Keyes, Willow, Cerny, Palmegiani, Clarke
Doubles: 1, Willow, Clarke, Keyes
Triples: 1, Keyes
RBI: 3, Clarke; 2, Keyes
Stolen Bases: 2, Davis, Hall; 1, Julien, Naylor
Strikeouts: 4, Griffin, English; 1, Angel


The Junior National Team will return to the Walter Fuller Complex in St. Petersburg tomorrow to take on a visiting prospects squad from the Atlanta Braves organization with the first pitch set for 1pm ET…RHP Eric Cerantola (Oakville, ON) will start on the mound for Canada…Listen live to all of the action on radiostpete.com!

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