ST. PETERSBURG, Florida – The Junior National Team dropped the final game of the spring training camp, 4-0, to a group of prospects from the Tampa Bay Rays organization.
Errors led to the Rays’ first two runs as they built a 2-0 lead after five before a Carlos Vargas two-run homer in the seventh rounded out the scoring.
Offensively, the juniors registered four hits including a double from Martin Vincelli-Simard (Boisbriand, QC), while Daniel Carinci (Ajax, ON), TJ Schofield-Sam (Brampton, ON) and Cesar Valero (Calgary, AB) each had singles.
Top 3 – Reliever Connor Sparks (Saskatoon, SK) walked the first two batters of the inning before getting a double play with the runner advancing to third. Then, a groundball got away from shortstop Jaden Brown (Mississauga, ON) that went for an error and the Rays took a 1-0 lead.
Top 5 – With reliever Keegan Pulford-Thorpe (Newmarket, ON) on the mound, a one out single moved to second on a stolen base before a steal of third with a throwing error from catcher Noah Naylor (Mississauga, ON) brought in the Rays’ second run of the ballgame.
Top 7 – Cameron Thickson (Winnipeg, MB) took over on the mound to start the seventh and allowed a one out single before giving up a two-run homer to left that made it 4-0 for the visitors.
-Deputy Mayor of St. Petersburg Dr. Kanika Tomalin threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the game. Baseball Canada has enjoyed an eight-year relationship with the City of St. Petersburg who has hosted Junior National Team spring training since 2011.
-Starter Griffin Hassall (Newmarket, ON) worked quickly and was extremely effective over two innings as he retired all six batters he faced including two strikeouts.
-Relievers Connor Sparks and Keegan Pulford-Thorpe tossed two innings apiece with out giving up an earned run. Sparks had one strikeout while Pulford-Thorpe registered a pair.
-Martin Vincelli-Simard (Boisbriand, QC) led off the bottom of the seventh with a double to centre and moved to third on a wild pitch, while Jaden Brown drew his second walk and collected his second stolen base of the game, however both were left on base.
-After giving up a two-run homer in the seventh, Cameron Thickson settled in for a perfect eighth that included one strikeout.
-Jaden Griffin (Lower Sackville, NS) worked a scoreless ninth with one strikeout. A two-out single moved to third on a stolen base and an error, but Griffin induced a groundout to second to end the frame.
The Junior National Team will reconvene in Palm Beach, Florida from April 19-28 for the annual Extended Spring Training Camp That will be followed by the Dominican Summer League tour from May 18-26.
(Photo: Amanda Fewer)