2008 Ramada 3 Nations Challenge

July 6, 2008

Saskatoon, SK

Challenge Chatter
The Official Newsletter of the 2008 Ramada 3 Nations Challenge
Sunday, July 5th edition sponsored by
Welcome to final day of the Ramada 3 Nations Challenge. We have had three great nights of softball action and it has finally come down the last two days to determine a winner. The playoff match ups were determined following Canada’s big win over Japan last night so sit back an enjoy the action.
Thanks!  In order to make this event such a success we count on the support of a number of groups. A big thank you goes out to all the volunteers who worked so hard in planning and carrying out this event. A special thanks to Ramada and all the sponsors whose contributions made this event possible. A special salute must also go out to the softball fans of Saskatoon and area as the .total attendance for this event will exceed 7000. To everyone that contributed in anyway we thank you and let’s do it again August 24- 31, when many of these players return for the Canadian Senior Men’s Championship.
Japan vs. Canada - 6:30
An enthusiastic crowd of 2,000 people were happy they got to the park in time, as Canada got off to a fast start scoring three runs in the top of the first off Japanese starter Kazutaka Murasato. Ryan Wolfe led off the game with a single and advanced to second on a passed ball. Rob Giesbrecht hit a fly ball that advanced Wolfe to third. Derek Mayson followed and was hit by the pitch, bringing up cleanup hitter Jody Eidt who drove a double down the first base line. Hometown hero, Keith MacKintosh came up with runners on second and third and coolly stroked a single scoring Mayson and Eidt giving Canada the 3-0 lead. Japan failed to respond as starting pitcher Nick Underhill snagged a hard shot right at him with a runner on second to end the first inning. After Canada wasted a two out triple by Craig Crawford, Japan got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second on a two out double by Norihiko Aoyama. Team Canada responded with two runs in their next at bat as Derek Mayson hit a towering shot over the centerfield fence and Jody Eidt followed with a triple down the right field line. Next up was Keith MacKintosh who got his sixth RBI in two games with a double to left. In the bottom of the third, Underhill was forced to pitch himself out of jam after a walk and an infield hit, put runners on first and second with one out. He roared back and struck out the next two batters to leave the runners stranded. Canada which had recorded seven hits in their first three at bats saw a new pitcher in the fourth Kengo Terui. They could do any more damage until the fifth inning. Rob Giesbrecht earned a lead off walk and was bunted to second by Mayson and scored on Jody Eidt’s third hit of the game, a double to left center. After a Keith MacKintosh strike out, Steve Mullaley hit a 3-1 pitch deep over the center field fence to make the score 8-1 for Canada. Underhill shut down the Japanese from there on and finished the 5 inning game giving up only four hits. The win guaranteed Canada a place in the final game on Sunday at 3:00 against the winner of 1:30 semi final.               
  Japan vs. United States- 8:30
At 8:30, the U.S. played Japan in a game that had no bearing on the standings. Veteran American hurler Paul Algar faced off against Kunihiko Iida. Kyle Magnusson started the scoring with a bomb over the centerfield fence to give the U. S the lead in the first inning. The Americans added another run a in the second when  Eddy Ketelhut got on base on an error and after a bunt and wild pitch he found himself on third. He later scored on an infield hit by Bryan Hansen. In the home half of the second Algar suffered control problems as he loaded the bases and gave up runs on a wild pitch, two walks and then a grand slam over the scoreboard to Yohei Ono. He was replaced by Sean Kelly with only one out. Kelly gave up 2 more runs on a two run inside the park homerun by Masateru Matsuoka making the score 9-2. In the bottom of the fourth Steve Pinnochio hit a pinch hit grad slam to bring the Americans to within 3. The offensive explosion continued as Takto Suzuki led off Japan‘s half of the inning with a homerun. Sean Kelly was replaced by Travis Price after loading the bases and none out. Price gave up an infield single, allowing only 2 runs to score as the inning ended when Shuhei Suzuki was called out at first on an interference call just before the two base runners crossed the plate. The game still ended early however, as Takuto Tsutsui homered in the bottom of the fifth to make the final score 13-6.
Did you know?
- The tallest Team Canada player is Grant Patterson at 6’7, unofficially the shortest is Todd Martin at 5’9.
- The oldest Team Canada player is Keith MacKintosh who was born March 28th, 1968 and is 40 years old.                                                                    
- The youngest player is Jason Hill born September 12, 1984, who is 24 years old. Hill along with Derek    
 Mayson played in the 2005 Jr. Men’s Nationals that were held in Saskatoon.
- Hard throwing Nick Underhill was clocked at over 80 miles per hour last night.
- Three Team Canada Coaches played softball for Saskatoon at one time: Head Coach Mark Smith played
   with the All-O-Mastic A’s, Pitching Coach Don Bates, who sill resides in Saskatoon, as well as Assistant     
   Coach Ray Tilley won the Canadian Sr. Men’s Championship with Saskatoon Rempel Brothers in 1987.
- Craig Crawford has not been put out at the plate since he came to Saskatchewan; he is 4 for 4 with 3 walks       
 He is the longest playing member of Team Canada, as he was on the 1996 National Team. One of the
 pitchers on that team was Mark Smith.  
- Head Coach Mark Smith is member of the ISC Hall of Fame, Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame and Softball
 Canada Hall of Fame, as a player.
- Five members of Team Canada will be playing in the 2008 Sr. Men’s National Championship August 24 – 31
 in Saskatoon with the Aspen Interiors: Dean Holoien, Trevor Ethier, Keith MacKintosh, Steve Mullaley       
 and Jason Hill. The Vancouver Grey Sox will have also have five including: Frank Cox, Nick Underhill,    
 Rob Giesbrecht, Kevin Schellenberg and Derek Mayson.
Hitting Stats:
                                AP    AB OB OB%     AVG
Craig Crawford       Canada     5    2    5 100    1.000
Kenji Nakamura        Japan      4    4    3   75    .750
Ryuji Hazeyama        Japan     11    9    8   73    .667
Bryan Hanson          United     4    3    3   75    .667
Yu Nishimori          Japan      2    2    1   50    .500
Masateru Matsuoka     Japan      6    4    4   67    .500
Keith Mackintosh      Canada     7    6    3   50    .500
Pitching Stats:
                           IP Bat    P    H    K    W     ER ERA
Tatsuya Hamaguchi Japan    4.0   17   72    5    9    0    0   0.00
Nick Underhill Canada      7.0   28 117    6    9    2    1   1.00
Kunihiko Iida Japan        7.0   30   98    6    4    1    2   2.00
Frank Cox   Canada         8.0   34 133    7   11    2    3   2.63
Gerald Pyle United         4.3   20   75    3    1    3    2   3.23
Todd Martin Canada         4.0   17   72    3    7    2    2   3.50
Trevor Ethier Canada       4.0   18   67    5    6    1    3   5.25