David McIntyre pitched a complete game three-hitter and Alex Ostrov hit a two-run double in the sixth inning to lead Nova Scotia to a 3-2 victory over Manitoba Thursday morning, its first win of the Canada Cup.
Manitoba led 1-0 in a tight pitching duel through five innings. In the sixth, Nova Scotia catcher Joey Silburt singled to left-centre field to tie the game, followed by Ostrov’s double to the left field fence.
The Maritimers had a scare in the bottom of the seventh when, after a two-out strikeout pitch bounced away from him, Silburt’s throw to first base was too high, allowing a runner from third base to score. But Jamie Thordarson then grounded out to end the game.
Both pitchers, McIntyre and Ryan Johnson, pitched complete games and both earned their teams’ respective MVP honours.
“It felt like I threw really well and the team played well behind me,” said McIntyre, who is competing at his third Canada Cup. “It was a big game and we really needed to win this.”
The victory was indeed important for a Nova Scotia team which had lost its opener 13-6 to Alberta on Wednesday.
“We didn’t play very well the first game, but we could certainly beat them if we played better,” said McIntyre. “We played well today and beat Manitoba. We’ve already played against P.E.I., so we know that we can stack up with them. I think we have a good chance.”
Alberta 5, PEI 1
Meanwhile, Alberta improved to 2-0 with a 5-1 win over Prince Edward Island Thursday morning at Flanagan Park. The Albertans built a five-run lead through five innings before the Islanders got on the board with an RBI double in the sixth.
Alberta starter Taylor Simmonds and P.E.I. shortstop Mitch MacLean were named team MVPs. It was the second straight honour for MacLean.
Alberta head coach Aqil Samuel said his team’s pitching has been key to the quick start.
“We’re happy to get out of the gate 2-0. We’re really happy with the two pitching performances we’ve gotten, and the offence is starting to hit the ball a little bit,” he said. “We had some nerves in the first inning of both games, but we got through that.”
Samuel believes the games against Nova Scotia and P.E.I. gave his coaching staff a good read of where his team stands, despite the games not being all that close.
“You look at P.E.I. today, they have some guys who can swing the bat and some pretty good athletes,” he commented. “They may not have the depth of some of the other teams, but definitely their top nine guys are legit.”
The coach believes more attention at the plate and on the bases will help the Albertans perform well in its remaining round-robin games against Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland.
“We’ve had two good pitching performances, we just need to clean those up a little bit more, and then our execution on the basepaths and what we’re trying to do at the plate.”