GIJANG, South Korea – Ryan Leitch (Whitby, ON) and Owen Diodati (Niagara Falls, ON) connected on back-to-back home runs as part of a five-run fourth inning while Connor O’Halloran (Mississauga, ON) tossed six scoreless innings to lead Canada’s Junior National Team to an 11-0 win over the Netherlands at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup.
“Connor was true to form today, threw strikes and gave us everything we needed (on the mound),” said Head Coach Greg Hamilton. “We needed (the home runs), it gave us a little bit of breathing room and our guys started to feel better about themselves.”
Netherlands starting pitcher Scott Prins held Canada hitless for the first three innings of the game before Leitch drilled a full count offering over the wall in left field while Diodati took a 1-0 pitch over the wall in centre with one out in the fourth inning.
Canada scored three more times in the frame including a RBI single to left field off the bat of Micah McDowell (Coldbrook, NS) before taking advantage of six walks in the fifth to add six more runs to their lead.
O’Halloran was in control from the start filling up the strike zone and pitching to contact to let his defence work for him. He worked his way out of trouble in the fifth leaving runners on second and third after getting a ground out to second baseman Joshua Walker and finished his six-inning outing with three strikeouts while allowing just three hits and four walks.
Canada continues Group A opening round play against host South Korea with the first pitch set for 11PM ET on Saturday, August 31st.
“We’re going to be tested tomorrow playing against a very good club so we need to be ready,” said Hamilton. “We’re a good team too so it should be a fun afternoon at the ballpark.”
HOW TO FOLLOW
All 50 games of the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup will be streamed live at: youtube.com/wbsc.