EDMONTON – In the end, the Junior National Team simply ran out of options and nothing seemed to go their way as they would fall at the hands of Chinese Taipei by a score of 11-4 in the fifth place game at the World Junior Championship.
The Canadians were short on pitchers going into this one as all their pitchers would be working on short rest.
It started off well for Canada as they would open the scoring in the first inning on a RBI single from Michael Crouse (Port Moody, BC) to score Lionel Morrill (Edmonton, AB) and give Canada the 1-0 lead.
That would basically be one of few high points for the Canadians in this matchup. Chinese Taipei would get to Canadian starter François Lafreniere (St. Bruno, QC) in the fourth inning on back-to-back solo home runs from Yu-Hseng Chen and Fu-Lin Kuo. Taipei would add another run in the inning to take a 3-1 lead.
Then Taipei would blow it open in fifth inning scoring five runs in the frame on five straight singles and a double to put them ahead 8-1.
Canada would start clawing back in the sixth inning on the two-run double from Luke Willson (Lasalle, ON) to bring in Brett Lawrie (Langley, BC) and Crouse and cut the lead to 8-3.
But that is as close as the Canadians would get in this game as Taipei would add another run in the sixth and two more in the seventh to put it away.
Canada would add one more run in the ninth inning on the RBI double from Ivan Hartle (North Vancouver, BC).
“They found so many holes today that there wasn’t much we could do. They hit the ball well,” says Lawrie, who was 3-for-4 in this game. “Hats off to them, they swung the bats well today.”
“Sixth place isn’t the result you want. We were down on our pitching and it makes it tough when you don’t have healthy arms,” says JNT Manager Greg Hamilton. “We were in tough today. They swung the bats well and we didn’t have a whole lot of answers, but I don’t want to take it away from them. They swung the bats well and they deserved to win,”
Canada finishes the World Junior Championship with a 5-3 record. The margin for error in this type of tournament is very small and unfortunately for the Juniors, a championship was not meant to be this time around.
“In the end, we lost a 2-1 game to Australia which could’ve completely changed the complexion of how things finished,” says Hamilton. “If the 2-1 ballgame goes the other way, you never know, but that’s what it is. It’s a small margin in this game from being at the ultimate level of success to being sixth.”
The process begins again this coming fall as the Junior National Team will reconvene in Orlando for the Fall Instructional Camp at the Disney Wide World of Sports complex this October. From there a new team will be chosen to complete the quest for gold at the 2010 World Junior Championship, which will be in Thunder Bay, Ontario.