VILLA MELLA, DR – Rain once again wreaked havoc on the Junior National Team’s schedule in the Dominican Republic, but they were able to get two games in against a local academy team and split the twin bill with a 6-3 loss in game one and a 6-2 win in game two.
The Canadians were originally scheduled to play the Seattle Mariners in a doubleheader, but those games were rained out.
In game one, the academy team took opened the scoring in the top of the second inning with a solo-home run off of JNT starter Jake Eliopoulos (Newmarket, ON) to take a 1-0 lead.
That would be Eliopoulos’ only blemish, as he would go on to throw three innings, allowing four hits with the one run and registered two strikeouts.
The Canadians then took the lead in the bottom of the third. Kellin Deglan (Langley, BC) led off with a single and Jimmy Ralph (Raymond, AB) followed with a walk. Both would come in to score on miscues form the academy team and give the JNT a 2-1 lead.
Paul Barton (Qualicum Beach, BC) came in relief of Eliopoulos and mowed down the academy team for three innings of work. He struck out seven in his short outing, allowing two hits and a walk.
The Juniors would hold on to that lead until the top of the eighth when the academy team scored three times on three hits to recapture the lead and they would not relinquish it.
They added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the ninth, first with a solo blast then a wild pitch allowed the second run to score.
The Canadians cut the lead in half in the bottom of the ninth when Daniel Altoe (Burnaby, BC), who reached when he was hit by a pitch, scored on a Adam Nelubowich (Stoney Plain, AB) ground out, but that is as close as they would get.
In game two, a scheduled seven inning game, the JNT got going early. They would load the bases in the bottom of the first and Kellin Deglan would drive in a pair with a two-out single and give his team a 2-0 lead.
Steven Inch (Edmonton, AB) got the start on the mound for the Canadians and threw two perfect innings, striking out two.
The Canadians would add to their lead in the bottom of the third when Darren Kolk (Duncan, BC) drew a leadoff walk, advanced to second on a Daniel Altoe single, moved up to third on a passed ball and scored on a wild pitch and put the JNT ahead by three.
The academy team got on the board in the fourth when a leadoff double, followed by a single off of Jeff Gibbs (Toronto, ON) gave the academy team their first run of the game.
Gibbs threw two innings, allowing the one run on two hits with a walk and struck out two.
The Canadians were outstanding on the mound in the second game. Jerome Werniuk (Toronto, ON) threw two perfect innings, registering three strikeouts along the way.
The JNT would pull away in the sixth inning, scoring three times to take a five run lead including Kellin Deglan’s third RBI of the game with a double, scoring Larry Balkwill (Chatham, ON) and Rowan Wick (North Vancouver, BC) chipping in with an RBI single.
The academy team added a run in the seventh off of Brian Smith (Pickering, ON). Smith threw one inning, allowing the one run, which was unearned, on one hit with three strikeouts.
Next up for the JNT is a matchup with the Anaheim Angels in San Pedro de Macoris on Saturday, May 23. Game time is 11 AM.