WEST PALM BEACH, Florida – Falling behind early and being forced to play catch-up all game, the Junior National Team suffered an 8-3 loss to the United States in the first of two exhibition match-ups at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.
Both countries are using the tune-ups games to selects their 20-player rosters that will compete at the COPABE U-18 Pan American Championships next week in Panama with the top four countries gaining entry into the 2019 WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup.
Starting pitcher Connor Sparks (Saskatoon, SK) got into trouble early plunking the first batter of the game before a bases loaded single to left scored two while another run came in to count on a groundout to second.
Sparks worked around a two-out walk in the second before the juniors put a pair of runs on the board in the bottom of the inning courtesy RBI from Cesar Valero (Calgary, AB) and Dasan Brown (Oakville, ON).
Jaden Griffin (Lower Sackville, NS) took over for Sparks in the fourth and walked the first batter he faced before a triple and sac-fly scored two to give the US another three-run advantage.
The junior clawed their way back into the ballgame in the fifth and it was Owen Diodati (Niagara Falls, ON) who started things off by belting a loud double to right and moved to third on the play when the ball was misplayed in right field. Damiano Palmegiani (Surrey, BC) then stepped to the plate and hit a hard ground ball to shortstop that was to hot to handle allowing Diodati to score and Palmegiani to be safe at first.
The US regained their three-run lead in the sixth by virtue of a pair of errors on the same play, while a bases loaded, nobody out situation in the bottom half of the inning ended up with the Junior National Team failing to cash in any runs.
Keegan Pulford-Thorpe (Newmarket, ON) fanned three batters in the seventh to keep his squad in the game but a sac-fly in the eighth and home run off reliever Theo Millas (Langley, BC) in the ninth put the game out of reach.
Notes: The Junior National Team will play an Intersquad game tomorrow at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches with the first pitch set for 1PM ET…RHP Ryan Scott (Quispamsis, NB), LHP Mitchell Bratt (Newmarket, ON), LHP Antoine Jean (Montréal, QC) and RHP Olivier Morin-Larocque (Québec, QC) are all expected to see action on the mound…Canada and USA will face each other again on Monday at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches with the first pitch scheduled for 5PM ET.
Selection Camp Schedule:
11/15 Canada 7, Palm Beach State College 4
11/16 Canada 3, vs Fort Lauderdale Stars 1
11/17 Canada 3, USA 8
11/19 Canada vs USA 5PM ET
11/20 Canada vs Fort Lauderdale Stars 1PM ET
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