PRINCE GEORGE – Team Canada’s offence was once again on display as they shelled out 16 hits and a seven-run eighth on route to a 15-2 mercy victory over the host team the Prince George Axemen at the Enbridge Northern Gateway World Baseball Challenge.
The Canadians kept chipping away scoring two runs in the third, four runs in the fifth, two runs in the seventh and then a seven run explosion in the eighth aided by a grand slam from Chase Larsson to put the Axemen away early.
The pitching for Team Canada was also on its game as starter Taylor King threw five shutout innings, allowing only three hit while striking out seven. Mark Hardy and Brandon Kaye both pitched an inning of scoreless relief. Keith Grills was tagged for two runs in the eighth after back-to-back two out RBI doubles, but was able to preserve the mercy win.
Four Canadians had multiple hits in this game. Leading the way offensively was Larsson, who was 3-for-4 with a grand slam and a double. Jordan Padrinao was 4-for-6 with a double and an RBI. Greg Wallace was 3-for-6 with a home run, two RBI and two runs scored and Kevin Atkinson was 2-for-5 with three RBI and a run scored. Nic Lendvoy scored three times, going 1-for-4 with an RBI.
Canada opened the scoring in the third on the two-RBI double from Atkinson to drive in Sammie Starr and Larsson to put Canada ahead 2-0.
In the fifth inning, Wallace led off the frame with a solo home run to left centre to give his team a three run cushion. With one out and the bases loaded, Dan Welch drove in a pair of runs with a single to right. The fourth run came in when Alex White reached on an error, allowing Lendvoy to score and make it 6-0 for Canada.
Two more runs were added in the top of the seventh on a pair of RBI singles from Wallace and Atkinson to bring the lead to eight.
Then Canada put the game away in the eighth. With no one out and the bases loaded and a run already in on a White RBI single, Larsson unloaded on a pitch from Axemen reliever Jon Bourassa to right field for a grand slam to put his team on the brink of a mercy win. A pair of RBI from Padrinao and Lendvoy put Canada comfortably ahead 15-0.
The Axemen made some noise in the eighth with back-to-back RBI doubles from Jeremy Kral and Angelo Desantis, but the Canadians were just too strong in this one.
Team Canada finishes the round-robin portion in a tie for firt with a 4-1 record and now enters the playoff portion of the tournament as they will take on the USA National Team on Friday, July 24 at 7 PM PT with the winner automatically going to the finals on Sunday. The loser will play again on Saturday, July 25 at 7 PM PT with the winner of that matchup going on to the finals. To follow the tournament as it happens, go to http://livestream.com/worldbaseball or visit the 2009 World Baseball Challenge website at www.worldbaseball.ca.