Aguadulce, Panama-Canada clubbed-out fourteen hits including homeruns from Tim Smith (Toronto, ON) and Chris Bisson (Orleans, ON) to defeat Greece 12-2. The win gives Canada a perfect 3-0 record and first place in the Pool A standings at the 39th IBAF World Cup.
“The biggest thing today was focussing on the task at hand,” noted Canadian Manager Ernie Whitt after the game. “Everyone got their work in and we were able to rest some guys at the same time.”
Canada opened the scoring in the top of the second inning when Skyler Stromsmoe (Bow Island, AB) reached on a fielder’s choice with the bases loaded to bring in a run. The Canadians would add to the lead in the third as Tim Smith led-off the frame with a solo blast that cleared the wall in right field. Smith was an offensive force for Canada on the day as he fell a triple short of the cycle and picked up two RBI.
“Tim’s swinging the bat real well for us right now which is great to see,” said Whitt. “He’s doing a great job and we hope that it continues as the tournament moves on.”
Canada added two more runs in the third to jump in front by four which gave starter, Mark Hardy (Campbell River, BC) a nice lead to work with. Hardy was stellar through three innings before Greece got to him in the fourth with two runs to cut the lead to two.
Canada responded with four runs in the fifth, including an RBI single from Jonathan Malo (Joliette, QC) who went 3-for-4 on the day to go along with two RBI.
In the bottom half of the fifth, Jay Johnson (Sussex Corner, NB) made his second straight relief appearance in as many days and he tossed two scoreless frames and fanned three batters.
Canada went on to add three more runs in the sixth as Chris Bisson hit a three-run homer to right field in his first at-bat of the tournament.
With four round-robin games remaining in Pool A play, Canada stands a legitimate shot of attaining the first place seed.
“There’s no question we want to finish first in our pool,” explained Whitt. “Our job as coaches is to keep the players focussed. As I said at the beginning (of camp) this is not a marathon, it’s a sprint so it’s full steam ahead all the way through.”
After a well deserved day off tomorrow, Canada will return to action against Chinese Taipei on Thursday night (7:30pm CT) at Remon Cantera Stadium in Aguadulce. The game will be crucial for Chinese Taipei as they have yet to win a game heading into tonight’s match-up with Team USA. According to Whitt, Canadian hitters can expect to face some tough pitching.
“Chinese Taipei always has good pitching and that’s one thing they always bring to the table,” he said.
Notes: Nick Bucci (Sarnia, ON) will make his first start of the World Cup against Chinese Taipei on Thursday…On Wednesday evening, Canadian Pitching Coach, Denis Boucher (Lachine, QC) will be inducted into the Québec Sports Hall of Fame. Boucher will be inducted with some select company including hockey great, Patrick Roy. Everyone from Baseball Canada and the Senior National Team would like to congratulate Denis who will rejoin the team on Friday… 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).