TAICHUNG, Taiwan – With the help of a six-run inning and an outstanding performance from Brett Gray (Petrolia, ON), Canada takes out South Africa in seven innings by a score of 10-0 at the Final Olympic Qualifier.
Gray, who is pitching with an injured shoulder, put together a terrific performance with a four inning outing, allowing only three hits and a walk with three strikeouts and in the process, helped save some arms with his feat.
“To go out there and throw four (innings) meant the world to me,” says Gray. “I’m a little banged up with my arm so my (pitches) weren’t all that good, but the defence played awesome and it just felt good to get out there and get another win.”
“I can’t say enough about Brett Gray,” says Manager Terry Puhl. “He gave a really gutsy effort.”
The Canadians opened the scoring in the third inning with a sacrifice fly from Mike Saunders (Victoria, BC) to score Emmanuel Garcia (Montreal, QC) and finished off the game with a walk off home run from Chris Robinson (Dorchester, ON).
It’s been a while since I’ve done that,” says Robinson with a laugh of his 4-for-4 performance with a double, the homer and two RBI. “We came into this game with a must win attitude. We handled ourselves well against a scrappy team and we knew that coming in and we were ready for them and we really battled.”
“I’ve been working really hard with (hitting coach Rob Ducey) and it felt pretty good,” adds Robinson of his home run.
Matt Rogelstad (New Westminster, BC) and Nick Weglarz (Stevensville, ON) scored in the fourth inning to put Canada ahead 3-0.
The fifth inning saw the Canadians explode for six runs and put the dagger in the heart of the South-Africans. Saunders and Ryan Radmanovich (Calgary, AB) got things going by each drawing a walk against Shadley Sasman. After a wild pitch from new pitcher Gavin Jeffries advanced the runners, Rogelstad hit a sacrifice fly to score Saunders.
After a single from Emerson Frostad (Calgary, AB) and a walk to Weglarz, Robinson drove in one of his two runs with an RBI single to score Radmanovich and put Canada ahead 5-0.
The lead would go to 7-0 on Garcia’s RBI single which scored Frostad and Weglarz. Robinson then came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Adam Stern (London, ON) and Garcia scored on a RBI single from Stubby Clapp (Windsor, ON) to complete the inning’s scoring.
From there, Alexandre Periard (St. Eustache, QC) and Aaron Wideman (Mississauga, ON) took care of business in relief of Gray. Periard threw two scoreless innings, allowing only two hits with two strikeouts and Wideman threw a perfect inning, striking out a pair.
“Periard and Wideman did a nice job, which is what we needed,” says Puhl.
Then Robinson closed out the game with his leadoff walk off homer.
Robinson had as good a game as you can ask for,” says Puhl. When you get that kind of offence from both Chris and David (Corrente), it makes managing alot easier.”
Now, Canada’s attention turns to Australia who they are very familiar with.
“We got to come out and set ourselves up going into the off day to be in good position,” says Robinson, “but it’s one game at a time and hopefully we’ll put ourselves in a spot tomorrow to come out with the win.”
Canada’s matchup with Australia goes Sunday, March 9th at 12:30 pm.