Men's Pan Am Championship - GOLD!
Sunday, September 23, 2012
(Medellin, Colombia) The Canadian Men`s National Team defeated Venezuela when it counted as they won the Gold medal at the VIII Men’s Pan American Championship for the first time since 1993. After losing to Venezuela in the preliminary round and again in the first versus second playoff game, Team Canada first needed to defeat Argentina to earn another shot at Venezuela. The red and white was able to pull out a 2-0 victory over Argentina, before beating Venezuela by a score of 4-1.
In the first game of the day against Argentina, Canada rode the pitching arm of Don Scott (Stratford, ON) and got a two-run homerun by Jeff Ellsworth (St. Lawrence, PEI) in the first inning to cruise to the 2-0 victory. Brandon Horn (Waterloo, ON) led off with a sharp single and came home Ellsworth’s two out homerun. That was all Canada needed as Scott sailed through the game, allowing four hits and one walk while striking out four. Canada managed only four hits in the game, but was very sharp defensively in support of Scott.
With little time to celebrate, Team Canada was right back on the diamond against Venezuela in the Gold medal game. Andy Skelton (Newmarket, ON) got the ball in the pitcher’s circle for the red and white. Venezuela countered with crafty lefty Erick Urbameja, who shut Canada down in the two previous meetings between the teams. The game was scoreless until the fifth inning when Venezuela scored a run on a leadoff double, a ground out and then a passed ball.
Canada came back strong in the bottom of the sixth, all with two outs. Blair Ezekiel (Harbour Main, NL) singled and Brennan Pokoyoway (Saskatoon, SK) pinch ran for him. Bryan Abrey (Richmond, BC) also singled to put runners on first and second. Mark Johnson (Glencoe, ON) then hit a ball into the hole that the shortstop made a great play to get to, but he overthrew first base allowing Canada to tie the game. Then followed the shot that Canada was waiting for, with a full count and two men on, Skelton hit a no-doubter over the right field fence for a homerun to give Canada a three-run lead. Venezuela went down in order in the seventh and Canada was crowned Champions. Skelton threw a great game, allowing one run on four hits and two walks while striking out eight.
Next up for Team Canada will be the ISF XIII Men’s World Championship which will be held from March 1-10, 2013 in Auckland, New Zealand.
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