DUNEDIN, FL--- Owen Caissie (Burlington, ON) drilled a solo home run off the centerfield batter’s eye in the sixth inning while Brando Leroux (Markham, ON) scored three runs and went 3-for-3 in facing the Toronto Blue Jays who fielded a lineup featuring players from the big league club.
The score read 22-6 in favour of the Jays, but it didn’t matter as the young Junior National Team players soaked in the experience of being a professional baseball player for a day.
“It was amazing, something I’ll never forget,” said Caissie when talking of the game and his home run. “This whole experience has been unbelievable from the time we arrived at the field, the clubhouse, batting practice and then to play this game today.”
Blue Jays’ flamethrower and one-time Junior National Team member Jordan Romano (Markham, ON) pitched the first inning featuring a fastball that reached the high 90’s. That didn’t deter Junior National Team hitters as David Calabrese (Maple, ON) and Elijha Hammill (Oakville, ON) each lined singles to centerfield in the frame.
“You had to be ready up there,” said Hammill. “(The ball) was coming in pretty quick, so I just got myself ready and was able to put a good swing on the ball.”
Canadian members of the Blue Jays’ organization Alex Nolan (Burlington, ON), Curtis Taylor (Coquitlam, BC) and Will McAffer (North Vancouver, BC) followed Romano on the mound while recent Junior National Team grads Dasan Brown (Oakville, ON), J-C Masson (Lévis, QC) and Demi Orimoloye (Orleans, ON) played in the game along with Sherwood Park, Alberta’s Tanner Kirwer.
Orimoloye, who played in the all-Canadian match-up twice during his Junior National Team career, doubled twice, drove in a run and scored three times while Masson went 2-for-3 with a run scored as the Jays piled up 20 hits.
Down 11-0 in the fifth, David Calabrese skied a ball to centerfield that allowed Brando Leroux to tag and score from third for the first of his three runs scored on the day before Caissie drilled the first pitch he saw off Connor Overton over the wall in centre in the sixth.
Down but not out, the juniors fought to push across a run in the seventh and three more in the eighth including a Brando Leroux RBI double while Russell Young (Surrey, BC) knocked in a pair on a single to second.
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