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Softball Canada – Prince Albert, Sask. – The Canadian Junior Men’s National Team improved its record to 2-0 with a 6-1 win over the Czech Republic behind a no-hitter by Riley Manion (Napanee, Ont.) and another late three-run homerun by Brady Hogg (Thamesville, Ont.). Fittingly, Manion fired the no-hitter with the help of his club team battery mate Brendan Hagerman (Napanee, Ont.), walking four batters and striking out 15.
Team Canada wasted no time opening the scoring by using its speed and aggressiveness on the base paths, as Isaac Lefebvre (St-Leonard-d’Aston, Que.) dropped a base hit into short left field and raced to second for a double, then raced all the way in to score from second on passed ball to give Canada a quick 1-0 lead. The red and white added an insurance run to its lead in the top of the third when Hogg connected with a double off the right-field fence, moved up to third on a ground out and scored on a passed ball.
The Czech Republic was able to cut the lead to one in the bottom of the fourth. The first batter drew a walk, advanced to second on a groundout and to third on a wild pitch before scoring on a fielder’s choice. In the top of the sixth, Jordan Pomeroy (Placentia, N.L.) drew a leadoff walk of his own and later scored on a single by Hagerman before Hogg stepped up and lined an opposite field three-run shot to left to give Canada a comfortable 6-1 lead.
With his no-hitter still intact in the bottom of the seventh, Manion struck out the first batter but he reached base when the ball eluded Hagerman and went to the backstop. That didn’t phase Manion at all as he kept firing and struck out the next three batters to end the game.
Box Score: Canada 6 vs. Czech Republic 1
Manion’s full line was one earned run on four walks and a hit batter to go along with 15 strikeouts in seven innings. Hogg led Canada offensively once again by going two-for-three with a homerun, a double and three runs batted in. Hagerman had a triple, a single and drove in one, with Lefebvre adding a double and Noah Baker (Kitchener, Ont.) contributing a single.
Canada (2-0) is tied with New Zealand at the top of the Group B standings and will square off with Guatemala (1-1) at 8:00pm CST on Monday night. Earlier games on the second day of competition saw Mexico blank India 1-0, Guatemala beat Hong Kong 5-1, Japan blanked Denmark 16-0, New Zealand defeated the United States 11-1 and Australia earned a 7-2 win over Argentina.


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Gilles LeBlanc
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