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Juniors defeat Panama in world qualifier opener

Cartagena, Colombia-The Junior National Team pounded out thirteen hits and Skylar Janisse (Maidstone, ON) picked up the victory after tossing six innings to give Canada a 7-3 win over Panama in the opening game of the Americas World Junior Qualification Tournament.

“I thought we put a pretty good game together today,” said Head Coach, Greg Hamilton. “Obviously the kids are going to be pretty nervous coming out of the shoot, so anytime you can get a win under your belt it’s a good thing.”

The Juniors wasted little time getting the offence going as they took a 1-0 in the top of the first. Brett Siddall (Windsor, ON) hit a one-out single, advanced to second on a Brendan Hendriks (Cochrane, AB) single and scored when Dustin Houle (Penticton, BC) singled.

Janisse was effective from the get go pounding the strike zone and working off the mound at a ferocious pace. It wasn’t until the fourth inning that Panama recorded their first hit of the game.

“I like to see (their) swings the first time out against a team I’ve never faced,” explained Janisse. “I had a pregame plan going into the game when I face new batters and adjust as the game goes along.”

The Juniors increased their lead to 2-0 in the top of the third when Justin Marra (Toronto, ON) came up with a clutch, two-out double to score Hendriks.

With the score 2-1 in the fifth, the Juniors would add two more runs for a three run lead. Siddall picked up his second hit of the game with a double to left field and later scored off a Hendriks single.

After a walk to Houle and a single from Gareth Morgan (Toronto, ON) loaded the bases, Daniel Pinero (Toronto, ON) drew a walk to bring in the fourth run.

Panama cut the lead to one run with a two spot in the home half of the fifth which would ultimately end Janisse’s outing. Janisse lasted six full innings and gave up three runs on two hits, three walks, two hit batters, while striking out three.

“Skylar is a guy that attacks and competes really well and I thought he did a great job for us today,” said Hamilton.

Dayton Dawe (London, ON) came on for the seventh and eighth innings and was perfect in retiring six straight batters, including three strikeouts.

Dawe pitched the seventh inning with the Juniors clinging to a one run lead, while his team scored three times in the top of the eighth to go up 7-3.

Brett Siddall was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and Justin Atkinson’s (Surrey, BC) hard hit ground ball to third base got by the fielder which counted for two more runs.

“We were up 4-1 and let them come back, but bounced back with three runs,” noted Hamilton. “Anytime you get thirteen hits you’re happy with your offence.”

 Jake Hansen (Fort Macleod, AB) came on for the ninth and struck out two to seal the victory and give the Juniors the win they wanted to open the tournament.

“It was a great atmosphere on the bench today,” said Janisse. “It was nice to finally play a game where winning mattered.”

Notes: Canada will take on Brazil tomorrow 30 minutes after the completion of the 9:30am ET in Turbaco…For now, the only way to follow this game is to follow Baseball Canada on Twitter: (…Siddall, Hendriks, Pinero and Morgan had two hits each to lead the offence…The top four teams at the end of the tournament will qualify for the 2012 World Junior Baseball Championship in Seoul, South Korea...To view an updated version of the JNT schedule, please click HERE