STOCKHOLM, Sweden – The Netherlands Antilles were no match for Team Canada as they would hold the Antilles to one hit and score eight runs in the seventh inning on route to a 15-0, seven inning victory at the Baseball World Cup.
With the win, Canada has assured itself a spot in the second round where they will head to Italy in the round of 16 starting on September 13th.
Canada got on the board in a hurry as Rene Tosoni (Coquitlam, BC) hit a solo home run in the top of the first inning to give the Canadians a 1-0 lead.
With a 2-0 lead going into the third, the Canadians added another run when Tosoni drove in his second run of the game bringing in Adam Stern (London, ON), who hit a double to leadoff the frame, to give Canada a 3-0 lead.
“We all came out with a little fire in our belly,” says Tosoni, who was 3-for-5. “We had to adjust early because the pitcher (Raymond Martes) didn’t throw very hard, so if you got a hit off of him, you weren’t seeing another fastball from him.”
The Canadians kept adding on to their lead in the fourth inning, this time it was Jonathan Malo (Joliette, QC) who hit a two-run home run to put Canada up by five.
That was more than enough for Canadian starter Matt Kniginyzky (Oakville, ON), who was dominant on the mound the entire night. Kniginyzky threw six complete innings, allowing only one hit while striking out five to earn the win.
“The guys played great defence behind me and we were able to get ahead of a lot of hitters and made them put the ball in play,” says Kniginyzky of his outing. “The intention was to get ahead with the fastball and work off of that and it worked out great.”
Canada kept pouring on the offence, adding two more runs in the sixth inning when Tim Smith (Toronto, ON) hit a one-out single and was driven in on Emerson Frostad’s (Calgary, AB) RBI single, making it 7-0.
Then, the Canadians officially put the game away in the seventh inning by bringing across eight runs to give them a 15-0 lead. It started with a one out RBI single from Smith to cash in Tosoni, then Adam Loewen (Surrey, BC) hit a two-run single to bring in Smith and Cole Armstrong (Surrey, BC).
After Stern drove in another pair of runs with a single, Brett Lawrie (Langley, BC) concluded the scoring with a three-run blast to left field. Tosoni almost made it 16-0 when he hit a laser off the wall in right-centre and looked on his way to an inside the park home run, but third base coach Tim Leiper, but the brakes on Tosoni for a triple to the dismay of the crowd in Stockholm.
“I thought I was going to make it, but it wasn’t my call,” says Tosoni jokingly about his seventh inning triple. “I think it would’ve been my first two home run game since high school had I made it.”
Vince Perkins (Victoria, BC) worked the seventh inning on the mound for Canada and had a perfect one-two-three inning to seal the mercy rule win.
“It’s always scary when you play a team like this,” says Team Canada Manager Ernie Whitt. “I mean, you know you’re a better team, but for a while their pitcher kept us off balance and we didn’t score that many runs early, but we came up with another big inning tonight to help us seal it in the end.”
“I’ll take my chances with an eight run inning every night,” adds Whitt with a laugh when asked about a second consecutive night with an eight run inning.
Canada concludes the first round of the Baseball World Cup with a matchup against the host Sweden on Saturday, September 12th at 5 PM, local time. To follow the 2009 IBAF Baseball World Cup live, click on the following link: http://hosting3.sportingpulse.com/www.2009baseballworldcup.com/index.php?id=10