TAICHUNG, Taiwan – With Canada qualifying for the Olympics the night before, the only thing on the line is this game was a spot at the top of the standings of the Final Olympic Qualifier and it took a bases loaded walk in the tenth inning for Canada to beat Germany 2-1 in the tournament finale.
The Canadians began the tenth with a leadoff walk to Stubby Clapp (Windsor, ON), followed by Emmanuel Garcia (Montreal, QC) reaching by error and Adam Stern drawing a walk to load the bases.
Clapp was forced out at home on a fielder’s choice by Ryan Radmanovich (Calgary, AB), which kept the bases loaded with two out. Then Emerson Frostad (Calgary, AB) drew the bases loaded walk to force in Garcia and get the win.
This game was a pitcher’s duel to the bitter end. Brooks McNiven (Vancouver, BC) got the start for Canada and threw four shutout innings, giving up only two hits and a pair of walks with three strikeouts.
“I just tried to stay focused on what I was doing and try and throw first pitch strikes and go right at the hitters,” says McNiven.
On the German side, André Hughes went eight and 1/3 innings, giving up one run on six hits and two walks with eight punch outs. The only run came off a home run in the fourth inning by David Corrente (Chatham, ON).
The Germans would tie the game in the sixth inning on a pair of doubles off of Jamie Richmond (Mississauga, ON) to make it 1-1.
The Germans almost took the lead in the inning on a single from Simon Guhring as Jendrick Speer was being waved in, but Radmanovich threw a strike from right field to the plate to get the out and end the inning.
From there, Richmond took control as he would go four innings, giving up the one run on three hits with three strikeouts.
Steve Green (Greenfield Park, QC) came in relief of Richmond and would only give up one hit with four strikeouts in two innings of work.
“The pitching staff did a really good job again today. They kept us in the game,” says Manager Terry Puhl.
Canada finishes the tournament with a 6-1 record and first place. The Canadians wanted to send a message to the other countries competing at the Olympics.
“The goal coming in was to qualify for the Olympics and open everybody else’s eyes that we’re not just cruising into this but that we’re here to win,” says McNiven.
“We’re going into the Olympics with the goal of medaling and show everyone that we can play ball too,” says Stubby Clapp.
The Canadians are returning from Taiwan to their respecting clubs on Saturday, March 15th to finish Spring Training and begin their professional seasons. Team Canada will reunite for the Beijing Olympic Games which are scheduled to go from August 8th – 24th.