ORLANDO – In tightly fought contest, the Junior National Team could not make up ground on the Washington Nationals as they would go on to suffer a 5-2 setback at the Spring Training Camp.
The Nationals got to Canadian starter Brian Smith (Pickering, ON) early as a two-run triple after a single and a walk in the top of the first gave Washington the 2-0 lead.
Smith, however, would settle down nicely after that. He only gave up one hit the rest of the way in his three inning outing. In total, he gave up two runs on three hits and a walk while striking out five.
Washington would add to their lead in the fourth inning as a leadoff double and an error led to an unearned run and a 3-0 advantage.
The Canadians cut into that lead in the fifth inning. After loading the bases on three straight walks, Alexandre Béland (Trois-Rivières, QC) drove in Mike Washburn (Fredericton, NB) with a single and Wes Darvill (Langley, BC) reached on a fielder’s choice, scoring Larry Balkwill (Chatham, ON), putting Canada within one.
However, that is as close as they would get as the Nationals would score two insurance runs in the seventh inning as an error after a pair of walks from Johnathan Solazzo (Mississauga, ON) allowed a two runs to score and give Washington a 5-2 lead. Solazzo threw one inning, allowing two unearned runs on one hit and two walks with a strikeout.
The Nationals were able to take advantage of the few opportunities that they had as the Canadian pitchers were solid in this matchup.
Ethan Stewart (Campbell River, BC) threw three innings of one hit ball, allowing only an unearned run while collecting three strikeouts.
Brian Bardis (St. Constant, QC) finished the game on the mound for the Juniors and threw two no-hit innings. He allowed four walks, but stranded them all and struck out one.
The next game for the Junior National Team at the Spring Training Camp is on Wednesday, April 22 at 1 PM against the Houston Astros.