Panama City, Panama- Shawn Hill (Mississauga, ON) tossed five scoreless innings and for the second consecutive day Jimmy Van Ostrand (Richmond, BC) and Cole Armstrong (Surrey, BC) came up with clutch hits as Canada defeated Japan 3-1 at the 39th IBAF World Cup. The win puts Canada’s record at 2-0, good for first place in Pool A standings.
“It was a great effort today,” said Canadian Manger, Ernie Whitt. “Japan always has good pitching and defence, and that’s exactly what we saw today.”
After Japan went scoreless in the top of the first, Canada opened the scoring when Skyler Stromsmoe (Bow Island, AB) led-off with a walk and proceeded to steal second base. With two out, Van Ostrand continued to swing a hot bat as he doubled to the gap in left-centre which brought Stromsmoe home.
In the fourth, Canada again struck with two outs when Tim Smith (Toronto, ON) singled on a hard shot back to the pitcher and Shawn Bowman (Port Moody, BC) doubled to put runners on second and third base. Cole Armstrong came to the plate and delivered a double to right field, putting the Canadians up by three.
“Our veteran guys were huge for us today,” added Whitt. “They know what it means to represent their country and they came through for us today.”
Hill was outstanding from the get-go for Canada as he held Japan to only one hit through four innings and ended up giving his team five scoreless innings of work.
“Shawn did a great job for us,” said Whitt. “It was probably one more inning that we expected his first time out, so hopefully he feels good tomorrow and will be ready to go in another four days.”
Hill’s five innings saw him give up only three hits and a walk, while striking out three, while facing eighteen batters.
Japan scored their lone run of the game in the sixth when a ball caromed off Stromsmoe’s glove into centerfield, allowing a runner on third base to score. Jay Johnson (Sussex Corner, NB) had started the inning for Canada and walked the leadoff batter before two consecutive groundballs advanced the runner to third.
Johnson walked the next batter and was relieved by Chris Kissock (Trail, BC) who got the next batter to groundout before coming back out for the seventh where he kept Japan off the scoreboard.
Jimmy Henderson (Calgary, AB) came into pitch the final out of the eighth inning and earned the save by pitching a scoreless ninth inning.
Canada will now travel to Aguadulce (2 hours from Panama City) where they will take on Greece tomorrow at Remon Catera Stadium with the first pitch coming at 2pm CT. It is expected that Mark Hardy (Campbell River, BC) will start on the mound for Canada.
Notes: Tim Smith led Canada’s offence today with two hits and a run scored…Tomorrow’s game can be followed LIVE by visiting: www.ibaf.org … Follow all of the action from the 39th IBAF World Cup including schedules, stats and scores by visiting www.ibaf.org …Fans can also watch 50 games from the World Cup on the internet by visiting: www.liveibaf.tv …As always, for the latest info on Team Canada, please follow Baseball Canada on Twitter (www.twitter.com/baseballcanada)... And finally, a Happy Birthday goes out to veteran Canadian pitcher, Mike Johnson.