BOCA CHICA, DR – Everything clicked for the Junior National Team on this day. The offence was able to capitalize on their chances and the pitching was precise and some late inning insurance helped the JNT get the win over the Toronto Blue Jays 6-2 in Dominican Summer League action.
It was the Blue Jays however who got on the board first in the bottom half of the first inning when a leadoff walk led to an eventual run on an RBI single and a 1-0 lead.
The Canadians responded in the top of the second with a three-run outburst. Kellin Deglan (Langley, BC) led off with a single, Jeff Hunt (Cambridge, ON) followed with a walk and Larry Balkwill (Chatham, ON) loaded the bases when he reached on an error. Ryan Johnson (Winnipeg, MB) drove in the first run when he grounded out.
After Tanner Nivins (Kitchener, ON) drew a walk to load the bases again, Alexandre Béland (Trois-Rivières, QC) drew another walk to bring home the second run. Kevin Biro (Bowser, BC) hit into a fielder’s choice to drive in the third run of the frame.
It turned out that that was all the Canadian pitching staff needed on this day, starting with Jake Eliopoulos (Newmarket, ON). He threw three innings, allowing one run on two hits. He walked four and struck out one.
Nicholas Pivetta (Victoria, BC) was just as solid in his three innings of work. He gave up one run, that coming in the sixth inning, on three hits with one walk and one strikeout.
Ethan Stewart (Campbell River, BC) closed out the game on the mound for the JNT and allowed only one run over three innings pitched, striking out five Blue Jays hitters.
The Canadian offence added some insurance runs late in the game. In the eighth, Kevin Biro got his second RBI of the game driving home Tanner Nivins on a one out single to put his team up by two.
In the ninth inning the JNT added two more run, first on a Jeff Hunt sacrifice fly, then Kellin Deglan came in to score on a double steal to make it 6-2.
The Junior National Team closes out their Dominican tour schedule with a pair of games on Thursday, May 28 in Boca Chica. First up at 11 AM is a matchup with the New York Yankees, followed by a game with the Arizona Diamondbacks at 2:30 PM.