Aguadulce, Panama-It couldn’t have gone any better for Canada today at the 39th IBAF World Cup. A doubleheader and two must-win games on the line and Canada not only won both, but didn’t allow a run while doing so. Canada now faces another big game on Friday where they must beat Cuba to have any hope of playing in Saturday’s gold medal game.
“We came out today and did what we needed to do,” said Canadian Manager, Ernie Whitt. “Losing to Australia (the other day) gave us a wake-up call and I’m thrilled with the way the team has responded.”
After a dominant 7-0 win over Venezuela in the morning, Canada rode the left arm of Andrew Albers (North Battleford, SK) and received timely hitting when they needed in beating South Korea, 4-0.
“What can you say about Andrew Albers,” added Whitt. “Just a tremendous, gutsy effort on his part – he kept us in the game.”
Albers worked a scoreless first inning and South Korea had one out in the bottom of the first before heavy rain hit which cause a delay of just over one hour.
When the skies cleared, Albers picked up where he left off and held the Korean hitters off balance to keep them off the scoreboard.
On the other side of the ball, South Korea’s Hyoun Taek Oh had Canadian hitters baffled as he recorded eight strikeouts through four innings.
Jonathan Malo (Joliette, QC) singled to lead-off the fifth and Oh was promptly removed from the game in favour of a left-handed pitcher to throw to left-handed hitter, Chris Bisson (Orleans, ON). Bisson laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt and the throw to first base was high leaving Canada with runners on first and second. After a strikeout, Tim Smith came up clutch again and delivered an RBI single up the middle.
Canada went on to score three more runs to take a comfortable four run lead. Emerson Frostad (Calgary, AB) continued to swing a hot bat and drove in a run during the four-run fifth.
“Smitty’s doing a great job,” said Whitt. “Our veteran player’s have been huge for us and that’s what they’re here for.”
Albers left the game after the fifth and was replaced by fellow Saskatchewan native, Dustin Molleken (Regina, SK) who came out for the sixth and seventh innings and kept the shutout intact.
“It’s going to be a tough game against Cuba tomorrow,” continued Whitt. “They run, hit and hit for power. We’re going to throw Shawn Hill (Mississauga, ON) at them and take our chances.”
Notes: Hill last faced Cuba at the 2004 Athens Olympics in a memorable quarter-final game where Canada lost a heartbreaker. Hill carries a 2-0 record into the start…Skyler Stromsmoe (Bow Island, AB) led the Canadian offence with two hits against South Korea…Follow Canada vs. Cuba LIVE AT 3:30PM CT by visiting www.ibaf.org … The game will take place at Rod Carew Stadium in Panama City.