LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida – The Juniors National Team program concluded the annual Fall Instructional League Camp with a pair of contests over the last two days against prospects squads from the Atlanta Braves’ organization.
The juniors received a treat in today’s game as program alumnus and current Braves’ right-hander Mike Soroka (Calgary, AB) started and pitched one inning against his former club. The 21-year-old toed the rubber for two seasons (2014, 2015) with the junior program before the Braves’ selected him in the first round of the 2015 MLB Draft. Shortly after making his MLB debut in May, Soroka was placed on the disabled list and has spent the majority of the season rehabbing from shoulder inflammation.
JNT 2, Braves 2
In a contest that eventually ended in a 2-2 tie, Dasan Brown (Oakville, ON) reached via an error when facing Soroka and later came around to score after a stolen base and an ensuing error. Soroka did fan two batters in the frame before getting a ground out to end his one inning of work.
Justin Thorsteinson (Langley, BC) got the start on the mound and worked four scoreless innings scattering three hits and walk while striking out five batters.
Elis Saul (Vancouver, BC) took over for Thorsteinson in the fifth and the Braves used a pair of hits in between a walk to plate two runs and take the lead.
Down to their last at-bat in the ninth, the juniors took advantage of a couple of walks and Dasan Brown came through with an RBI single to centre that tied the score.
Relievers Mitchell Bratt (Newmarket, ON) and Keegan Pulford-Thorpe (Newmarket, ON) both held the Braves off the scoreboard with Bratt tossing a scoreless seventh with one strikeout, while Pulford-Thorpe threw two scoreless innings and struck out two batters.
Braves 3, JNT 1
A two-run fifth inning proved to be the difference in this one as the Braves held on to defeat the Junior National Team, 3-1, Tuesday at ESPN Wide World of Sports.
In the fifth, a leadoff walk issued by reliever Noah Lalonde (Toronto, ON) advanced to third on a stolen base and wild pitch before scoring on an RBI groundout to give the Braves the lead. Later in the inning, a sac-fly to centre put them up by two.
Up to that point the score was tied, 1-1, with both teams trading runs in the third inning.
The juniors used singles from JC Masson (Lévis, QC) and Dasan Brown to load put runners on first and second before TJ Schofield-Sam singled to right field to bring in the first run of the ballgame.
The Braves tied things up and benefitted from a three-base error to the leadoff hitter before he came around to score later in the inning when the juniors turned a double play.
Theo Millas (Burnaby, BC) started on the mound and provided four solid innings of work with just one unearned run scoring. Millas allowed just two hits and two walks, and struck out two batters.
Noah Lalonde worked 1.1 innings and gave up two runs while Ryan Scott (Quispamsis, NB) threw 1.1 innings of scoreless baseball.
Offensively, the juniors collected four hits while Micah McDowell (Coldbrook, NS) stole three bases.
While the Fall Instructional League Camp gave coaches an opportunity to evaluate players with an eye towards the 2019 version of the Junior National Team, there still is some unfinished business for the program in 2018 with the COPABE U-18 Pan Am Championships in Panama from November 23-December 2. The top four countries at the event will gain entry into the 2019 WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in Gijang, South Korea. Selection Camp for the qualification event will take place in Palm Beach, Florida from November 14-20.