BEIJING - The Canadian offence could not get anything going as it now becomes a steeper climb for Canada to make the medal round at the 2008 Olympic Summer Games as they would be shutout by Japan by a score of 1-0.
In what was an eerily similar game than their third contest of the Olympic Games against Korea, Canada could not solve the pitcher on the mound for Japan Yoshihisa Naruse as he would go seven strong innings, allowing only two hits while striking out 10.
“It was a well pitched ballgame on both sides,” says Olympic team Manager Terry Puhl. “We just need to create some offence. Whatever you need to do to get more opportunities to score is what we need.”
Canadian starter Chris Begg (Uxbridge, ON) was solid in the loss, going pitch for pitch with Naruse. Begg would allow only one run, a fourth inning home run to Atsunori Inabi over five and one third innings on the mound.
“He was outstanding for us today,” says Canadian captain Stubby Clapp (Windsor, ON). “Unfortunately we didn’t do anything to help him out today. We couldn’t get on base and when we did we couldn’t capitalize.”
Canada did not generate any offence in this game, threatening only once in the bottom of the fourth when Emmanuel Garcia (Montreal, QC) and Mike Saunders (Victoria, BC) were on second and third with one out. But Naruse would get out of the jam by striking out Scott Thorman (Cambridge, ON) and Nick Weglarz (Stevensville, ON) to end the threat.
David Davidson (St. Catherines, ON) and Steve Green (Longueuil, QC) kept Canada in the ballgame in relief. Davidson allowed only a walk in two and two thirds innings with a pair of strikeouts. Green pitched the ninth where Japan threatened to add to their lead with a runner on third and nobody out, but the right-hander got Masahiko Morino and Takahiro Arai to ground out and struck out Shuichi Murata to end the inning.
However, the Canadians could not get anything going in the ninth as Japanese closer Koji Uehara retired the side in order to preserve the victory and give Canada another one-run loss.
“All we can do now is go back and see how it all plays out,” says Puhl. “We’ll come out tomorrow and compete and play the way Team Canada is supposed to play.”
Canada now needs help to keep their medal hopes alive and must win their remaining two games, starting with the Netherlands on Tuesday, August 19th. Game time is at 10:30 am local time in Beijing. For those following in Canada, game time is at 10:30 pm Eastern time on Monday night.