BRANDON – In a game that saw the Junior National Team struggle to find the strike zone on the mound, the offense stepped up and erased a five run deficit to earn a 9-9 tie against Chinese Taipei.
In what was a celebration for the return of the Junior National Team to the city it won its only World Junior Baseball Championship in 1991, the game itself did not evoke memories of that championship game.
The Canadian hurlers combined to allow 15 walks in the game, nine in the first two innings alone allowing Chinese Taipei to jump out to a 7-4 lead on only two hits.
The Taiwanese scored two more runs in the fourth inning to go ahead by five, but the Canadians were not about to lay down without a fight.
The Juniors reduced the lead to four in the sixth inning when Carter Morrison (Langley, BC) drove in Lionel Morrill (Edmonton, AB) for his fourth RBI of the game. Morrison was 2-for-4 with a three-run triple in the second inning.
“I was just looking for strikes over the plate and try to drop it somewhere,” says Morrison of his second inning triple. “Luckily it ended up dropping in and scored three runs.”
Down 9-5 in the top of the ninth with two outs and the bases loaded, an error by the Taiwanese center-fielder allowed Michael Crouse (Port Moody, BC) and Jonathan Gilbert (St-Georges, QC) to score. With two men on, Carter Bell (Courtenay, BC) came to the plate and hit a bases clearing double to tie the game 9-9.
“This is a good team builder, knowing we can come back and compete,” says Bell. “Never say never, because we were in the top of the ninth inning down by four and came back and tied it. It was a good team builder and we can just go from there.”
Mike Monster (Kelwona, BC) who pitched the eighth inning, came back out for the ninth and allowed the winning to get to third base, but got the Taiwanese leadoff hitter to pop up to first for the final out.
“I think we have a good offence and we’re never out of games,” says JNT Manager Greg Hamilton. “If we can settle things down on the mound a little bit and be more consistent there we can be in most of the games we play.”
The Junior National Team and Chinese Taipei will square off once again on Friday for the finale of the Brandon portion of the Canadian tour. Game time is 7:00 pm.