TAICHUNG, Taiwan – It was a slugfest between these two teams as they would combine for 25 runs and 36 hits with Canada coming out on top in their opener of the Final Olympic Qualifying Tournament with a 15-10 win.
When it was all said and done in this one, Canada would scatter 18 hits with every hitter in the lineup getting at least one hit.
“That’s a big win for us right off the bat,” says Stubby Clapp (Windsor, ON) who was 1-for-4 with a double, RBI and a run scored. “It wasn’t pretty, but we hung in there and kept swinging the bats and our pitchers kept going out there, attacking the strike zone and they did a great job.”
The offence got started early and would not stop the entire game. Canada got on the board first in the first inning when Mike Saunders (Victoria, BC) hit a RBI triple to score Stubby Clapp (Windsor, ON) for the first run of the game. Saunders would later score on a RBI single from Matt Rogelstad to put the Canadians ahead 2-0.
Canada would add one run in the second inning and three in the third to take a 6-0 lead, but they would quickly see it evaporate.
Mexico would respond with an eight run bottom of the third, including a two-run homer from Carlos Valencia to pull ahead 8-6.
“That’s international baseball because you just never know,” says Manager Terry Puhl. “Mexico has a lot of experienced hitters and they got back into the game. They just kept coming at us every inning and that’s a trademark of this ball club.”
But the Canadians would come up with a rebuttal of their own in the fourth inning, putting up three runs to take a 9-8 lead.
Ryan Radmanovich (Calgary, AB) would get things started with a two out single and move to second on a Rogelstad walk. Jimmy VanOstrand (Richmond, BC) would bring around Radmanovich on a RBI single and both he and Rogelstad would come in to score on the triple from Nick Weglarz (Stevensville, ON), who was 2-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored.
With Canada ahead 10-8 in the seventh inning, they would put up another five runs to cement their lead. Adam Stern (London, ON) would double in David Corrente (Chatham, ON) and Emmanuel Garcia (Montreal, QC), who had both reached base to start the inning, then VanOstrand, who was 3-for-5 with four RBI in the game, would drive in Radmanovich and Rogelstad with a triple to complete the Canadian scoring.
“It’s a good start for us to beat a tough team like Mexico,” says Rogelstad, who was 3-for-4 with three runs and drove in the winning run. “We came out the gates ready to play. We got some runs early in the game and we were able to keep that going.”
Canada would shut down the Mexican offence the rest of the game as Steve Green (Greenfield Park, QC) and T.J. Burton (Ottawa, ON) would combine to blank Mexico for two and 2/3 innings to solidify the win.
Canada’s next game at the Final Olympic Qualifier comes on Saturday, March 8th at 12:30 pm against South Africa.