Cary, North Carolina-Team Canada began their exhibition schedule in preparation for the IBAF Baseball World Cup and Pan Am Games with a 1-1 tie against Team USA in a seven inning contest.
With Canada clinging to a 1-0 lead in the top of the seventh, USA’s Matt Clark clubbed a Jimmy Henderson (Calgary, AB) pitch over the wall in right field to tie the score.
The story of the game for Canada was some quality pitching performances delivered from three veteran right-handers in Shawn Hill (Mississauga, ON), Scott Richmond (Vancouver, BC) and Mike Johnson (Edmonton, AB).
“All of us were trying to shake a bit of rust off,” said Hill who is wearing the red and white for the first time since the 2004 Athens Olympics. “We all know what we need to do on the mound, it’s just a matter of staying sharp and throwing strikes.”
Hill started and went two innings without allowing a runner before giving the ball to Richmond who also threw two scoreless frames. After not pitching competitively at all this season, it was Hill’s first time to test his arm in a competitive environment.
“I felt alright, I don’t know that I was super sharp,” admitted Hill. “I was able to locate my fastball although my breaking ball wasn’t as sharp, but that kind of pitch will come around later.”
With nine new faces on Canada’s roster, including four pitchers, the experience that some of the veteran players have with international competition is something the newcomers can look up to.
“I think the three of us (Hill, Richmond, Johnson) will be able to guide some of the younger pitchers, especially the new guys, that haven’t competed internationally,” explained Hill.
Canada was led offensively by veteran Jimmy Van Ostrand (Richmond, BC) who doubled in both the second and fourth innings. In the fourth, with one out and Van Ostrand standing on second base, Shawn Bowman (Port Moody, BC) ripped a single to centre field to score Van Ostrand and give the Canadians a 1-0 lead.
Canada also received singles from Cole Armstrong (Surrey, BC), Marcus Knecht (Toronto, ON) and Skyler Stromsmoe (Bow Island, AB).
Notes: Canada returns to action on Wednesday (Sept.28) against Team USA at the USA Baseball National Training Complex at 1:00pm ET…The game can be followed LIVE by visiting www.usabaseball.com…The 16-country IBAF Baseball World Cup runs from October 2nd-15th in Panama…Canada will open the World Cup against Puerto Rico at 2pm local time…Immediately following the World Cup, Canada will participate in the Pan Am Games in Guadalajara/Lagos de Mareno, Mexico from October 19th-26th…To view Canada’s schedule please click HERE