TAICHUNG, Taiwan – After an emotional game against Chinese Taipei, Canada came out swinging and shut down Spain defensively in coasting to a 11-0 win in seven innings at the Final Olympic Qualifer.
Aaron Wideman (Mississauga, ON) was at his best, going four innings and giving up only three hits in his start for Canada.
“It felt good today. It was a feeling of comfort today,” says Wideman. “It relieves so much stress for a pitcher to go out there and be comfortable and with this group of guys the comfort level is through the roof.”
Alexandre Periard (St. Eustache, QC) was just as effective in relief, allowing only one hit with two strikeouts in the remaining three innings of the game.
“I was just trying to get the first pitch strike today, get my pitches down in the zone and pound the ball inside. It felt pretty good,” says Periard.
Offensively, Canada got off to a quick start with four runs in the first inning. Emerson Frostad (Calgary, AB) hit a two-run double to score Stubby Clapp (Windsor, ON) and Mike Saunders (Victoria, BC) to get things started.
After a Matt Rogelstad (New Westminster, BC) single, Jimmy VanOstrand (Richmond, BC) drove in Frostad with a double of his own and Rogelstad scored on a David Corrente single to put Canada ahead 4-0.
The Canadians scored their fifth run in the third inning on the second home run of the tournament and second in two games by Nick Weglarz (Stevensville, ON).
“I’m just trying to see it and hit it,” says Weglarz. “I’m trying to stick with my plan. Not swinging out of my zone, not swinging at bad pitches and seeing the ball.”
The fourth inning would see the Canadians add four more runs on only two hits with a sacrifice fly and four walks.
Adam Stern (London, ON) singled to start the inning, followed by a pair of walks to Clapp and Frostad to lead the bases. Rogelstad hit an infield single that brought in Stern, then a pair of bases loaded walks to VanOstrand and Weglarz brought in Clapp and Frostad. Corrente hit a sacrifice fly to score Rogelstad and put Canada ahead 9-0 after an inning that saw them send 10 batters to the plate.
Canada would put the nail in the coffin of the Spaniards with two runs in the sixth inning on a two-RBI single by Stern to score VanOstrand and Weglarz and complete the mercy win.
“We got good pitching today and we came out swinging the bats,” says Manager Terry Puhl. “It’s very good that we didn’t come out flat. We had such a big game with Taipei that we could’ve come out flat, but this team is all business.”
The Canadians are now 4-1 in the tournament and are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
“I can start to taste it,” says Weglarz. “If we can win against Korea that’ll take alot of pressure off and pretty much guarantees our spot (in the Olympics).”
Canada now takes on Korea on Thursday, March 13 at 6:30 pm. James Avery (Moose Jaw, SK) is scheduled to start.