BEIJING – The Canadian Olympic Team could not generate any offence today, as they could not solve the Korean pitcher and one hit was the difference as Canada would fall at the hands of Korea by a score of 1-0 at the 2008 Olympic Summer Games.
This game was a pitcher’s duel throughout as Mike Johnson (Edmonton, AB) went pitch for pitch with Korean starter Hyunjin Ryu. However it would be Ryu who would end up with the upper hand as he would pitch the complete game shutout for the win.
“I just wanted to go deep into the ballgame and give us a chance to win,” says Johnson. “(Ryu) pitched really well, it was a really good head-to-head battle and I made one mistake and it was the difference in the ballgame.”
Johnson had solid outing to counter Ryu, going six strong innings, allowing one run on three hits with four walks and struck out three.
Johnson’s only blemish came in the third inning when Keunwoo Jeong would take a pitch deep over the left field wall for what would turn out to be the only run of the game.
“It’s a tough one to swallow,” says Johnson. “One pitch and the guy capitalized on it and, again, it turned out to be the difference of the ballgame.”
David Davidson (St. Catherines, ON) and T.J. Burton (Ottawa, ON) kept Canada in this game, both coming in the game in relief. Davidson threw two and one third innings of no-hit baseball, allowing only one walk with a pair of strikeouts. Burton made easy work of the Koreans in the top of the ninth, pitching two thirds with one strikeout.
Canada did have some opportunities to tie this game, putting the tying run on third base in the sixth, eighth and ninth innings, but on all three occasions they could not cash the runner in.
“We just couldn’t execute in key situations and it came back to bite us,” says Olympic team Manager Terry Puhl.
Canada’s biggest chance to tie this game was in the ninth inning when they would get the tying run in scoring position with one, eventually loading the bases with two outs but Ryu got Ryan Radmanovich (Calgary, AB) to fly out to center field to end the game.
Canada now faces a tough test as their next opponent will be the United States. Both teams will be entering this matchup with a 1-2 record and are facing a must-win situation.
“We’ve had a couple of tough losses the last two nights, but the best thing we can do is put it behind us and come out and play our style of baseball and battle,” says Johnson.
Canada will face-off with the United States on Saturday, August 16th at 10:30 am local time in Beijing. For those following in Canada, game time is Friday night at 10:30 pm Eastern time.