British Columbia faced a stiff test right away at the Canada Cup and passed with flying colours.
Despite only getting together for one practice before the tournament, B.C. edged Ontario 2-1 Wednesday morning and Quebec 2-0 in the afternoon, largely on the strength of pitching, to jump out to a 2-0 start to the round-robin.
“This is a team that doesn’t play any exhibition games. We just had one practice,” said head coach Bill Green. “So it’s good to get off to a good start without all that teamship stuff.”
Steve McKinnon, the most talked about player at this tournament in the early going, and Mike Ellis picked up the wins on the mound. They’re B.C.’s two top pitchers and Green knows the team will have to pick it up at the plate to keep winning.
“Our hitting wasn’t up to the level we’re going to have to be, but we faced some good pitchers from both Ontario and Quebec, so that shut us down a bit, but hopefully we’ll get better as the tournament goes on. We’re happy with taking two in the first day,” he said.
One good sign for B.C. is that both pitchers they faced were lefties, Ontario’s Kyle Willard and Quebec’s Brian Bardis. Green expects to face mostly righties from here on out.
Green saw some other positive developments on Day 1 that helped B.C. to sit atop Pool A early on.
“We had some good defence. I don’t think we made an error all day,” he said. “Kelly Norris-Jones played really well, he caught both of our games. Our infield played well and our outfield has very speedy kids, they caught everything.”
B.C. is slated to play New Brunswick Thursday at noon.