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Canada closes out exhibition series with loss

CARY, North Carolina – Team Canada concluded their pre-World Cup exhibition series with the United States with an 11-2 loss at the USA Baseball National Training Complex.

The Americans scored runs in every inning except for the second and ninth innings. The ninth inning of tonight’s game was played under IBAF tie breaker rule where the team on offence starts the inning with runners on first and second with nobody out. The IBAF implemented this rule prior to the Olympic Games in Beijing for extra-inning games going past the 10th inning.

The U.S. got on the board in the first inning for the third consecutive game. Buck Coats and Trevor Plouffe hit back-to-back doubles off of Canadian starter Matt Kniginyzky (Oakville, ON) to start the game. Josh Kroeger drove in Plouffe to give Team USA a 2-0 lead.

Canada responded in the bottom half of the first when Brett Lawrie (Langley, BC) led off with a home run to straight away center field to cut the lead to 2-1.

However, the Americans would go on to score nine unanswered runs led by Terry Tiffee who went 4-for-4 with a pair of doubles and Jon Weber, who hit a two-run home run in the top of the eighth inning.

Kniginyzky was on record for six runs and nine hits over 3 2/3 innings. He walked two and also struck out two.

“It definitely wasn’t the start I envisioned,” says Kniginyzky. “I went out there and got behind a lot of people, and when you get behind good hitters like that, they’re going to hit you hard.”

“I didn’t get the start I wanted, but we’ll make some adjustments and go from there. I took some good things out of it that I can use going into the tournament.”

Canada scored their second run in the bottom of the eighth when Chris Robinson (Dorchester, ON) drove in Rene Tosoni (Coquitlam, BC), who led off the inning with a walk, on a RBI single.

The Canadians seemed to gain some momentum in the bottom of the sixth when Tosoni led off with a single and Shawn Bowman (Port Moody, BC) followed with a double, putting runners on second and third with nobody out. But the Americans were able to get Emerson Frostad (Calgary, AB) and Cole Armstrong (Surrey, BC) to strikeout and Robinson to line-out to second to end the threat.

With the exhibition schedule now over, Team Canada will be making their way to Stockholm, Sweden for the start of the World Cup. Canada will be in Pool C along with Korea, Netherlands Antilles and Sweden. The players are already anxious to get the tournament under way.

“These exhibition games were great for team bonding and just seeing what everyone can do,” says Bowman. “It’s really nice to play baseball and solely focus on winning. Everyone can go 0-for-10, as long as we win, that’s the main thing.”

“As fun as it is I just couldn’t wait for this game to be over,” continues Bowman. “It’s finally coming into full force that we’re getting over there. Get on a plane, travel all day tomorrow, get out there for practice and go kick some butt.”

It is travel day for Team Canada on Monday, September 7th, as they will head to Stockholm, Sweden for the beginning of the IBAF Baseball World Cup. Canada will begin the tournament on September 9th against Korea.