Canada edges Venezuela in ISF Men’s World Championship Thriller

July 22, 2009

Saskatoon, SK

July22nd, 2009
(Saskatoon,SK) – The Canadian Senior Men’s National Team showed a lot of character withanother come-from-behind victory against a tough opponent, as they came backfrom a 4-3 deficit to edge Venezuela 5-4. After Canada took 2-0 and 3-2 leads,Venezuela came back to take the lead and the momentum going into the sixth.Canada scored a pair of runs in the top of the sixth to regain the lead, andheld on for the victory in front of a raucous crowd.
Earlyin the game, Venezuela starting pitcher John Garcia and Canadian starter SeanWhitten (Maddox Cove, NL) shut down the opposing hitters, retiring the side inorder in each of the first two innings. In the top of the third, Jeff Ellsworth(St. Lawrence, PEI) registered the first hit of the game, lashing a single toright field. After being sacrificed to second on a bunt by Sean O’Brien (St.John’s, NL) and advancing to third on an illegal pitch, Ellsworth came in toscore on an infield single by Ryan Wolfe (Melbourne, ON), beating the throw ofthe shortstop. Keith Mackintosh (Melfort, SK) then hit a single to centerfieldto place runners on the corners, and Ian Fehrman (Townsend, ON) drove in a runwith a single through the right side past a diving second baseman, givingCanada a 2-0 lead.
Keepingup with Canada every step of the way, Venezuela scored two runs to tie thegame, both scoring on a homerun just over the fence in straightaway centerfieldby Rafael Flores. Canada broke the tie in the bottom of the fifth. Ryan Wolfeand Keith Mackintosh hit back-to-back singles before Fehrman ripped a single tothe right side of the infield, allowing Wolfe to score from second and givingCanada a 3-2 lead.
Afterpitching four solid innings, Whitten was relieved by Todd Martin (Bracebridge,ON) in the bottom of the fifth. Martin surrendered three straight singles asVenezuela produced two runs to take a 4-3 lead, which lead to Martin beingreplaced by Trevor Ethier (Saskatoon, SK), who struck out two batters to getout of the inning.
Inthe top of the sixth, Stephen Mullaley (Freshwater, NL) hit a fly ball toshallow centerfield, and the centerfielder seemed to have made a great divingcatch, but the ball popped out on the landing as Mullaley reached second on thedouble. Jeff Ellsworth then sacrificed Mullaley to third, and Sean O’Brien hita single to centerfield to push Mullaley to the plate to tie the game. With RobGiesbrecht (Landmark, MB) pinch-running for O’Brien, Dale Levy (St. Mary’s, ON)drilled a pinch-hit double to right that was misplayed by the right fielder,allowing Giesbrecht to score all the way from first, giving Canada the 5-4lead.
Afterthe first Venezuelan struck out in the bottom of the sixth, Joe Vilchez hustledinto second for a double, and was replaced by a pinch-runner, who moved up tothird on an illegal pitch. Ethier was able to force the next hitter to groundout to first without allowing the runner to score, followed by a huge strikeoutmuch to the delight of all of the fans in attendance. Ethier kept the momentumin the bottom of the seventh, striking out a hitter and forcing a ground outright back to him to end a very tight ballgame.
SeanWhitten pitched four solid innings for Canada, allowing two runs on only twohits with seven strikeouts. Todd Martin allowed two runs on three hits withoutrecording an out, while Trevor Ethier allowed only one hit over three inningsand struck out five. At the plate, Ryan Wolfe, Keith Mackintosh and Ian Fehrmanall collected two hits for Canada, while Stephen Mullaley, Jeff Ellsworth, SeanO’Brien and Dale Levy each added one. 
Withthe win, Canada sits atop the Pool B standings with a 5-0 record, and will takeon South Africa (1-4) at 3:30pm on Wednesday.
Inother Day 5 action, the United States edged Botswana 2-1, Puerto Rico outscoredSouth Africa 16-7, New Zealand defeated Denmark 16-0, Argentina nipped theCzech Republic 2-1, Great Britain trimmed Mexico 7-6, Australia beat Indonesia10-0 and Japan defeated the Philippines by a score of 5-0.
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