Monday, November 05, 2012
(Parana, Argentina) The Canadian Junior Men`s National team faced a tough challenge as they took on Japan in a battle for second place in Pool B at the ISF IX Junior Men`s World Championship. After seven scoreless innings, Japan was able to get three runs across in the top of the eighth to lead them to a 3-0 win. Japanese pitcher Kento Okazaki and Canadian pitcher Michael Lagace-Roote (New Hamburg, ON) had a great pitching duel, as Okazaki held Canada to four hits and struck out 20 batters, while Lagace-Roote allowed six hits (three in the eighth) and struck out 13.
Japan put some pressure early on, as the second batter dropped a drag bunt single with one out, stole second and moved up to third on a single. However, Lagace-Roote struck out the next two batters to get out of the inning. In the bottom of the inning, Canada got things started on a two-out single by Adam Stuck (Owen Sound, ON), but he was thrown out trying to steal second base.
After a quick second inning, Japan threatened again in the third after a one-out walk and a passed ball put a runner on second base, but Lagace-Roote notched two more big strikeouts to strike out the side. In the bottom of the inning, Ty Sebastian (Brussels, ON) hit a double to left field but was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a triple.
The pitching duel between Lagace-Roote and Okazaki continued with both of them retiring the side with two strikeouts in the fourth. Japan seemed poised to take the lead in the fifth, as the leadoff batter singled, stole second and got all the way to third. The next batter walked to put runners on the corners with no outs, but Lagace-Roote struck out the next batter. After a stolen base but runners on second and third with one out, the following batter hit a chopper to first base that Parker MacKay (Irma, AB) scooped up and ran in to tag the batter, then fired the ball to third base to catch the runner too far off the bag as Canada escaped the inning. In the bottom of the frame, Canada got a one-out single to right field by Carson Soucy (Irma, AB), but Okazaki struck out the next two batters.
Both pitchers retired the side in order again in the sixth before Japan threatened with two outs in the top of the seventh. The third batter reached first base on a slap that was mishandled by the third baseman, and stole second. Canada then gave the next batter an intentional walk and the lead runner stole third on a fake bunt play. After the second runner advanced to second, Lagace-Roote induced a chopper right back to him that he leaped for, caught and threw over to first to end the threat. Canada got a two-out single by Taylor Brown (Centreville, ON) in the bottom of the seventh, but the next batter struck out to send the game into extra innings.
With a runner starting on second base on the international tie-breaker rule, Japan finally opened the scoring in the top half of the eighth. The first batter moved the runner to third with a single, but was retired after leaving early on an attempted steal. The next batter hit a single to score the runner from third, and after stealing second, scored on a triple over the left fielder`s head. After a walk put runners on the corners, the runner on first stole second and the catcher`s throw went into centerfield with no one covering the base, as the runner from third scored to give Japan a 3-0 lead. In the bottom of the inning, Canada`s runner moved up to third on a passed ball, but Okazaki struck out the side to end the game.
Lagace-Roote was saddled with the loss, allowing three runs on six hits and four walks, striking out 13 batters. At the plate, Canada only managed four hits – a double by Sebastian, and singles by Stuck, Brown and Werner.
Box Score: Canada 0 vs. Japan 3
With the loss, Canada dropped to third place in Pool B with a 3-2 record, while Japan improved to 4-1. Argentina currently sits in first place with a 4-0 record. In Pool A, three teams are currently tied for first place, as the United States, Australia and New Zealand all sit at 3-0 without having played each other yet.
Canada will have a rest day on Tuesday as the British Virgin Islands pulled out of the tournament. As a result, each team in Pool B is being given a 7-0 win. Canada will play its final round-robin game against Mexico (2-1) at 4:00pm EST on Wednesday.
Live webstreaming and Pointstreak scoring are available on the tournament website athttp://worldjuniormenfastpitch2012.com.
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