BOCA CHICA, DR – The Junior National Team had a strong showing in both games on Tuesday. A one inning outburst was all the Philadelphia Phillies needed in a 3-1 win in game one. And in a back and forth battle, after nine innings nothing was decided and the game ended in a 4-4 tie against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
In game one, it was a pitcher’s duel as both teams combined for eight hits in the game, five from the Phillies and three from the JNT.
Brian Bardis (St. Constant, QC) got the start for the Canadians and was superb, shutting down the Phillies for three innings. The only base runner he allowed was on an error in a solid outing where he also collected a pair of strikeouts.
It was the JNT offence who would open the scoring in this one. Darren Kolk (Duncan, BC) drew a leadoff walk in the third inning and subsequently stole second. After advancing to third on a ground out and Brandon Dailey (Brantford, ON) reached on a dropped third strike, The Canadians executed the double steal to perfection and took a 1-0 lead.
With Jeff Gibbs (Toronto, ON) on the mound now for the JNT, the Phillies were able to load the bases with two outs in the fourth inning. A two-run single followed by a passed ball allowed three runs to score and the Phillies jumped to a 3-1 lead.
Gibbs would come back and throw two shutout innings to complete his outing. He completed his day with three runs allowed, two earned, on three hits, two walks and two strikeouts in three innings pitched.
Jerome Werniuk (Toronto, ON) threw the last three innings and was very efficient in his outing, allowing only two hits.
In game two with the Dodgers, it was a game of tit-for-tat between the two teams.
The JNT opened the scoring immediately in the top of the first. Darren Kolk hit a leadoff double and Wes Darvill (Langley, BC) followed with a double of his own to drive in Kolk and take a 1-0 lead.
After advancing to third on a wild pitch, Darvill came in to score the second run of the frame on a RBI single from Adam Nelubowich (Stoney Plain, AB) and give his team a two-run lead.
The Dodgers would immediately respond in the bottom half on the first. After they would load the bases with nobody out, a fielder’s choice and a base hit brought in a pair of runs and tied the game 2-2.
After the Dodgers took a 4-2 lead with a run in the third and again in the fifth, it was the Tanner Nivins (Kitchener, ON) show.
Nivins brought the Canadians within one in the sixth with one swing of the bat as he stroked a 3-2 pitch over the wall for a solo home run, both his and the team’s first of the trip, to make it 4-3.
Nivins’ next time up came in the top of the ninth with the score still 4-3. On a 3-1 pitch, Nivins hit his second homer of the day and even things up at four. He finished the game 2-for-3 with the pair of home runs.
Jeff Hunt (Cambridge, ON) came in to pitch in the ninth and the Dodgers were able to put the winning run in scoring position with one out. But Hunt was able to get the next batter to ground out and then caught the runner on second going to third on a ground ball to end the game.
The Junior National Team will take the field again on Wednesday, May 27 in Boca Chica. They will take on the Toronto Blue Jays at 11 AM.