GOLD COAST, Australia – The Canadians erased a six run deficit in the ninth inning and Steve Green (Greenfield Park, QC) struck out five of the six batters he faced to preserve an 8-8 tie in the third exhibition game against Australia.
Canada was behind by a score of 8-2 going into the top of the ninth inning. Emmanuel Garcia (Montreal, QC) got things started with a single followed by a two-run home run by Emerson Frostad (Calgary, AB) to cut the margin in half.
After Adam Stern (London, ON) drew a walk and a double from Stubby Clapp (Windsor, ON), Mike Saunders (Victoria, BC) hit a three-run bomb to right field to bring the Canadians within one with nobody out.
With now two out and Taylor Green (Courtenay, BC) on third, Nick Weglarz (Stevensville, ON) drove in the tying run with a single off Aussie Brendan Wise.
“I mark (this game) down as a win,” says Manager Terry Puhl. “When you come back and hit the ball as hard as we did and score runs... a team that never has any quit in it is a team that is going to qualify (for the Olympics).”
“It was a great comeback,” says Frostad, who got the comeback started and was 2-for-4 with three RBI. “We were slow the first couple of innings and it took a little while to get going, but that’s the type of team we are. We’re very explosive and we can put up those big innings.”
The Aussies started the game with a bang as they would put across four runs in the first inning off Canadian starter Brett Gray (Petrolia, ON). Gray would allow another run in the second inning to put the Aussies ahead 5-0.
Canada would cut the gap in the fifth inning on an RBI single from Frostad, who would later score on a bases loaded walk to bring the score to 5-2.
“I’m starting to get the flow again. It’s mostly timing. We’ve all been hitting in the cages and working out. It’s just getting that (in game) timing down and it’s going to take a couple games, but a lot of the guys are starting to get going and hopefully we can keep that going,” says Frostad.
But the Australians would add to the lead in the sixth when Ben Risinger, Glenn Williams and Mat Kent all came in to score off Scott Richmond (Langley, BC), who allowed one run on two hits, and Mike Kusiewicz (Ottawa, ON), who allowed two runs, one earned, on one hit, to make it 8-2 for Australia.
Steve Green came into the game in the eighth inning with Canada trailing by six and silenced the Aussie offence when he struck out two of the three batters he faced in the inning to allow his teammates to generate the impressive comeback the following inning.
Green would then shut down the Australian attack by striking out the side in the ninth inning to finish the game.
“This game gave me a great boost of confidence,” says Green. “It was an unbelievable game. The thing about Team Canada is that we never give up and that’s key. We showed it with six runs in the ninth and we got the job done.”
Canada and Australia will play game four of this exhibition series on Sunday, March 2nd at 5:30 pm.