BEIJING – The Canadian Olympic Team’s medal hopes took a huge hit today as Canada would suffer another heartbreaking loss, this time at the hands of the United States by a score of 5-4 at the 2008 Olympic Summer Games.
The Canadians would take an early 4-0 lead, however they could not hold on to that lead as the Americans would score five unanswered runs to steal this one from the Canadians and them in a deep hole to reach the medal round.
“Right now we’re trying to play a complete ballgame,” says Olympic team Manager Terry Puhl. “We hit the ball really well today and got the matchups we wanted on the mound, but their hitters got some clutch hits.”
“We need to score early, keep scoring and not shut it down,” says Team Canada mainstay Stubby Clapp (Windsor, ON). “We’ve got to keep the pressure on and not let them off the hook. International baseball is so unpredictable that you have to play with them pitch for pitch no matter what the score because anything can happen.”
Canada started this game on fire, opening the scoring in the second inning on a RBI double from Emerson Frostad (Calgary, AB) to score Nick Weglarz (Stevensville, ON) and give the Canadians a 1-0 lead.
The Canadians would add to that lead in the third inning, one coming on a RBI triple from Emmanuel Garcia (Montreal, QC). Garcia would later score on a RBI ground out from Mike Saunders (Victoria, BC) to allow Canada to take a three run advantage.
That advantage would increase to four runs in the fourth inning when Adam Stern (London, ON) drove in Matt Rogelstad (New Westminster, BC) with an RBI single to put the Canadians comfortably ahead.
The Americans would begin to chip away at that lead in the bottom of the fourth, beginning with a leadoff home run from Brian Barden off of Canadian starter James Avery (Moose Jaw, SK). They would add a second run in the frame on a John Gall RBI single, cutting the Canadian lead in half.
Canada would see their lead drop to one in the fifth inning as Terry Tiffee would drive in the third American run on a double and make it 4-3.
The Americans would complete the comeback in the seventh inning as back-to-back RBI doubles from Braden and Tiffee and the U.S. ahead by a score of 5-4.
The Canadians would threaten in the ninth inning, as they have the previous two games, however they could not cash in the tying run and Canada is now on the outside looking in for a spot in the medal round.
“We have to run the table. We have no choice now,” says Puhl. “We’re going to take it one at a time and not look ahead of ourselves.”
“We’re not playing poorly,” adds Puhl, “we’ve just found ourselves on the wrong end of some really good ballgames.”
“The fact that there is still hope and that we’re not completely eliminated will give us motivation to get back up tomorrow,” says Clapp. “We need to win the rest of our games and it starts with our next one against Japan.”
The Olympic Team will now have a day off to rest before they make their climb toward a spot in the playoffs, starting with their next opponent Japan on Monday, August 18th at 10:30 am local time in Beijing. For those following in Canada, game time is on Sunday at 10:30 pm Eastern time.