Panama City, Panama-Emerson Frostad’s (Calgary, AB) single to centerfield with the bases loaded in the top of the eleventh gave Canada the go ahead run and Jimmy Henderson (Calgary, AB) closed the door in the bottom of the inning as Canada went on to defeat Netherlands 5-4. The win, Canada’s fifth against one loss, assures Canada a berth in the second round of the 39th IBAF World Cup.
The IBAF tie-breaker rule was used in extras where the offensive team begins the inning with runners on second and third. After both teams scored a run in the tenth to keep the game tied Shawn Bowman (Port Moody, BC) led-off the eleventh with a sacrifice bunt that moved Tim Smith (Toronto, ON) to third and Jimmy Van Ostrand (Richmond, BC) to second base. Jamie Romak (London, ON) was then intentionally walked which set the stage for Frostad’s clutch hit.
“With one out, I was just trying to get a ball to the outfield and at worse get a sac-fly,” said Frostad. “I was able to get a base-hit so it was all the better.”
Frostad, a National Team veteran, came off the bench in the ninth after starting catcher Cole Armstrong (Surrey, BC) had cramped-up and was unable to continue. Frostad says the fact that he has played with the National Team before helped him through the late inning pressure.
“Being able to play on this team in the past really helped me know what to expect coming into the game” he said. “Cole did a great job and I was just fortunate enough to come in and get that hit. All our guys are ready to go at anytime.”
In the bottom of the eleventh, Netherlands chose to bunt with their lead-off hitter, but he popped the ball into foul territory where Henderson made the catch for the first out. After another pop-out, Henderson walked a batter to load the bases, but struck out the next batter to end the game.
“What a battle it was all day, our pitching was outstanding” exclaimed Canadian Manager, Ernie Whitt. We didn’t swing the bats well, our pitchers kept us in the game and to win the game with only four hits in eleven innings is pretty amazing.”
Andrew Albers (North Battleford, SK) did a masterful job in relief of starter Kyle Lotzkar (Delta, BC) who got into trouble in the third inning with control. Down 1-0 and the bases loaded with two out, Albers entered the game and looked to get out of the inning but a high underhand toss from Van Ostrand at first base forced a covering Albers off the bag and it was 2-0. From there, Albers took over and threw three innings, allowing only two hits and striking out one.
“He’s been solid (throughout the tournament),” said Whitt about Albers. “I’m really impressed with this young man. He started one game for us and has been huge coming out of the bullpen which we really needed today.”
Canada tied the game with two runs in the fifth as Cole Armstrong belted a solo homer to lead-off the inning and later, Jonathan Malo (Joliette, QC) scored from third when Tim Smith’s hard hit grounder went through the second baseman’s legs.
Both teams traded runs in the seventh with Canada’s coming on a wild-pitch that Marcus Knecht (Toronto, ON) scored on.
Dustin Molleken (Regina, SK) came in from the Canadian bullpen in the seventh and provided his team with 3 1/3 innings of solid relief. His outing included working out of the ninth inning where Netherlands had the winning run in scoring position.
Molleken lasted into the tenth inning before Henderson took over for the final four outs of the game.
“This win is huge especially after a tough loss yesterday,” continued Frostad. “To win this one is big, not only now but moving forward to the next round where we can pick up a lot of momentum.”
Canada plays their final game in Pool A against the United States tomorrow at 2pm CT (Rod Carew Stadium). The match-up is crucial as Canada’s record against the top four seeds from Pool A carries over to the second round. The top four seeds from Pool A will advance to the second round to play the top four seeds from Pool B.
Notes: It is expected that Shawn Hill (Mississauga, ON) will start against Team USA. Hill picked up the win against Japan earlier in the tournament… Follow all of the action from the 39th IBAF World Cup including standings, 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).