SANTIAGO, Panama – Cesar Valero (Calgary, AB) belted a two-run homer to key a four-run sixth inning as the Canada Junior National Team went on to defeat Colombia, 8-3, to open the COPABE U18 Pan Am Championships with a victory.
After Colombia had tied the score in the top half of the sixth, Valero smacked the first pitch he saw over the wall in left to put the Canadians ahead. The home run came with two out and started what turned out to be a run of five consecutive hits for the boys in red and white including RBI singles from Daniel Carinci (Ajax, ON) and Owen Diodati (Niagara Falls, ON).
Canadian starter Ben Abram (Georgetown, ON) turned in a solid performance on the mound working seven innings without giving up an earned run while registering three strikeouts. Jaden Griffin (Lower Sackville, NS) tossed a scoreless eighth inning before Tate Dearing (White Rock, BC) recorded the final three outs in the ninth.
Canada had opened the scoring in the first when Bo Naylor (Mississauga, ON) doubled to the wall in right field and later scored on a wild pitch for an early 1-0 lead.
Abram cruised until the fifth when Colombia’s Jhon Torres doubled to left and ended up scoring from third on a fielder’s choice to tie the score. They would add another run in the sixth but neither run was charged to Abram.
Canada had jumped ahead in the fifth courtesy a Daniel Carinci RBI double before Colombia took advantage of a Canadian error in the sixth to tie the score.
Valero led Canada’s eight-hit attack with two hits while Naylor and Carinci also had two hits apiece.
UP NEXT: RHP Theo Millas (Burnaby, BC) will take the mound tomorrow when Canada takes on Venezuela (6PM ET) at Omar Torrijos Stadium in Santiago.
Scores (Panama Instagram)
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