BOCA CHICA, DR – Two big innings were what did in the Junior National Team as they scratched and clawed to keep the game close, but it would not be enough as the Cleveland Indians were able to escape with a 7-6 win.
It was the JNT that took an early lead in this contest as Kellin Deglan (Langley, BC) hit an RBI single in the top of the first inning, driving in Andrew Ruck (Whitby, ON) to take a 1-0 lead.
That lead would only last until the bottom of the second as the Indians were able to score three runs on one swing of the bat as a three-run homer off of starter Jonathan Paquet (Ancienne Lorette, QC) put the Inidans in front 3-1.
The Canadians replied in the top of the third when Tanner Nivins (Kitchener, ON) drew a leadoff walk, stole second, advance to third on a fielder’s choice and scored on an error to bring the lead down to one.
The JNT would then regain the lead in the top of the fourth when Brian Bardis (St. Constant, QC) and Jimmy Ralph (Raymond, AB) both drew bases loaded walks, putting Canada ahead 4-3.
But again it was a lead that was short lived as the Indians responded in the bottom of the fourth by scoring four runs on five hits, including a pair of RBI doubles, to take a 7-4 lead.
The JNT would make it 7-5 in the sixth inning when Larry Balkwill (Chatham, ON) got things started by drawing a two-out walk. After a Jeff Hunt (Cambridge, ON) double moved Balkwill up to third, he would score on a wild pitch to bring the lead down to two.
The Canadians were threatening in the top of the ninth as Darren Kolk (Duncan, BC) led off the frame, reaching on a hit by pitch. Deglan followed Kolk with a single to put the tying run on base. After Rowan Wick (North Vancouver, BC) grounded out to advance the tying run in scoring position, Balkwill grounded out to drive in Kolk and make it a one-run game.
With the tying run on third and two outs, the Indians got Hunt to ground out to end the game and escape with the win.
Next up for the JNT is a pair of games in Boca Chica on Tuesday, May 26. First the JNT takes on the Philadelphia Phillies at 10:30 AM, followed by a matchup with the Los Angeles Dodgers at 2:30 PM.