Canada Wins 3 Nations Opener 4-2 inSaskatoon

July 4, 2008

Saskatoon, SK

July 3rd, 2008
Canada Wins 3 Nations Opener 4-2 inSaskatoon
By: Barry Smith, Senior Men’s National TeamStatistician
(Saskatoon, SK) – Ryan Wolfe (Melbourne,ON) drove in all four Canadian runs and made a rally ending catch in a 4-2victory over the USA in the opening game of the Three Nations Challenge inSaskatoon.
Canada, designated as the visiting team forthis game, opened the scoring in the top of the first when leadoff hitter Wolfehit a 3-2 pitch over left field fence to open the scoring.
The United States tied the score in thebottom of the fourth without the aid of a hit. Canadian pitcher Frank Cox(Elliott Lake) was up 1-2 in the count when he hit leadoff batter Blake Millerwith a pitch. Third baseman Rob Giesbrecht (Landmark, MB) then fielded StevePinocchio’s bunt cleanly but threw it past Ian Fehrman (Townsend, ON) coveringfirst base allowing Miller to advance to third and Pinocchio to second. Withthe infield playing in, Matt Palazzo’s ground ball was fielded by first basemanDerek Mayson (North Vancouver, BC) but he had trouble getting the ball out ofhis glove and had to settle for taking the out at first base allowing Miller toscore. After Frank DeGroat walked, Cox struck out Kyle Magnusson. Kyle Beaneproceeded to hit a line drive in the right center field gap that looked likecertain trouble but it was tracked down by Wolfe to end the rally.
Canada made it 4-1 in the top of the fifthwhen Wolfe hit his second home run of the game off losing pitcher Sean Kelly,this one a three-run shot scoring Jason Hill (St. John’s, NL) and CraigCrawford (Markham, ON), both of whom had drawn base on balls.
The Americans responded with a single runin their half of the fifth to finish the scoring as left fielder EddieKettlehut led off with a double to left center field and scored on BlakeMiller’s infield single.
Starting pitcher Frank Cox allowed threehits, all in the fifth inning, to pick up the win for Team Canada. He alsostruck out seven and walked one in his five innings of work. Nick Underhill(Campbell River, BC) picked up the save by holding the Americans scoreless inthe sixth and seventh innings. The potential winning run was at the plate whenthe game ended but pinch hitter Nate Devine was caught looking at a thirdstrike leaving Chase Turner and Blake Miller, each of whom had singled,stranded on the base paths.
Team Canada will return to action tonightwhen they will take on both Japan (6:30pm CST) and the United States (8:30pmCST). Each team will play their two opponents twice to determine round-robinseeding. Then, on Sunday, the second and third place teams will square off inthe semi-final and the winner of that game will play the first place team inthe Championship Game.
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Gilles LeBlanc
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Softball Canada
(613) 523-3386 ext 3105