ORLANDO – Mistakes were costly on both sides, but the Atlanta Braves were able to really take advantage of their second chances as they erased an early deficit and held on for a 4-2 win over the Junior National Team during Spring Training action.
Canada had a 2-1 lead going into the bottom of the third when the Braves led thing off with a walk and would move to second on an errant pickoff attempt. The runner would then score on an RBI single to tie the game. Atlanta would then take the lead on a passed ball, making it 3-2.
The Braves added an insurance run in the fourth inning after a one out double and a throwing error gave Atlanta a 4-2 advantage they would not relinquish.
After Atlanta took an early 1-0 lead after one inning, the Canadians came back with three straight singles in the second frame from Jeff Hunt (Cambridge, ON), Adam Nelubowich (Stoney Plain, AB) and Larry Balkwill (Chatham, ON). Balkwill’s hit drove in Hunt to tie the game. Nelubowich would score the go-ahead run on an error to give Canada the 2-1 lead.
Paul Barton (Qualicum Beach, BC) threw the first three innings for the Juniors and allowed three runs, two were earned, on three hits and two walks with a pair of strikeouts.
Mike Ellis (Surrey, BC) gave up an initial run in his first inning of work but would settle down nicely and pitch three innings, allowing the lone run on five hits while striking out one.
Johnathan Solazzo (Mississauga, ON) and Steve McKinnon (Duncan, BC) would finish out the game on the mound for Canada. Solazzo pitched a scoreless inning, allowing a hit and a walk, while McKinnon threw two scoreless frames, giving up one hit and one walk and also struck out a pair of Braves hitters.
The Junior National Team will take the field again at the Spring Training Camp on Monday, April 20th at 1 PM when they take on the Detroit Tigers.