IBIÚNA, Brazil – With a spot in the Lima 2019 Pan American Games already locked up, the Senior National Team played for third place at the Pan Am Qualification Tournament but fell to Nicaragua, 14-12, in ten innings.
Extra innings did not go without controversy as Canada found themselves on the wrong side of some umpiring decisions that altered the direction of the game.
Nicaragua had taken a one-run lead in the tenth and had the bases loaded with nobody out when a ball was lifted to deep right field. Tristan Pompey (Mississauga, ON) robbed the batter of a grand slam with a catch over the wall and out was signaled by the right field umpire but the catch surprised the Nicaraguan base runners who had circled the bases and crossed home plate thinking that the ball had dropped. Canada appealed to first, second and third base in what should have been a triple play but its respective official signaled “safe” at each bag sending the Canadian dugout to a state of disbelief.
When the dust settled, Nicaragua led by three and added an insurance run to carry a 14-10 lead into the bottom of the inning. Canada mounted a comeback but fell short scoring a pair of runs and leaving the bases left loaded.
Down by four runs in the seventh, Canada’s bats awoke and it was Eric Wood (Oshawa, ON) who tied the game with one swing of the bat on a grand slam before Andy Yerzy (Toronto, ON) doubled in a pair of runs while Tristan Pompey (Mississauga, ON) knocked in his second run of the game to give the Canadians a 10-7 lead.
The lead was short-lived however as a pair of costly errors, two hits and wild pitch thrown by reliever Andrew Case (Saint John, NB) pulled Nicaragua even to eventually send the game to extras.
The game started out well for Canada and starting pitcher Phillippe Aumont (Gatineau, QC) who had nine strikeouts and a 3-1 lead after four innings.
The top of the fifth saw Canada commit two errors while four hits chased Aumont from the game. Nicaragua scored five runs and added another in the sixth before Wood tied the game in the seventh.
The Dominican Republic ended up winning the tournament while Colombia finished second. Catcher Kellin Deglan (Langley, BC) and shortstop Daniel Pinero (Toronto, ON) were named to the tournament all-star team while outfielder Dalton Pompey (Mississauga, ON) took home the most stolen bases trophy.
The Senior National Team program will now focus its efforts on the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru with the baseball competition taking place from July 27thto August 4th.