Canada Stays on Top of Group B with two Wins at Pan American Men’s Softball Championship
Softball Canada – Santo Domingo, D.R. – The Canadian Men’s National Team pushed its first-place record to 6-0 with a pair of wins at the X Pan American Men’s Softball Championship on Tuesday, defeating Panama 1-0 in walk-off fashion before beating Guatemala 6-2. Scott Lieph (Sooke, B.C.) carried a perfect game through six innings before Canada won on a walk-off error against Panama, while the red and white overcame an early 2-0 deficit to defeat Guatemala.
In the first game against Panama, Lieph was in control from the very beginning as he struck out the side in the top of the first inning. In the bottom of the frame, Bryn Redhead (Leduc, Alta.) doubled to center and advanced to third on a single to third by Jason Hill (St. John’s, N.L.) followed by a walk by Kyle Cowick (Sooke, B.C.) to load the bases with one out. However, a fielder’s choice retired the lead runner at the plate followed by fly out to right as Canada left three runners stranded on base.
In the second inning, Patrick Burns (Saskatoon, Sask.) led off with a single but was picked off at second, while Canada got a pair of singles by Redhead and Cowick in the third but was unable to open the scoring. Meanwhile, Lieph kept rolling in the pitcher’s circle by carrying a perfect game through six innings, striking out sixteen of the eighteen batters he faced. Panama was able to break that up with a leadoff single to left in the top of the seventh but the batter was thrown out at second trying to stretch the hit into a double. With the game still scoreless in the bottom of the seventh, Burns hit a one-out single to center, and Bryan Abrey (Richmond, B.C.) hit a ground ball to third that was thrown to second for a force out but the second baseman was unable to handle the throw, with the ball bouncing into left field and allowing Burns to race all the way around to score for the walk-off win.
Box Score: Canada 1 vs. Panama 0
Lieph saw his perfect game bid come to an end with a leadoff hit in the seventh and struck out sixteen batters over six innings and a third before Devon McCullough (Saskatoon, Sask.) got the last two outs of the seventh with a pair of strikeouts. Redhead and Burns each went two-for-three at the plate with Hill, Cowick and Kyle Ezekiel (Holyrood, N.L.) each chipping in with singles to round out Canada’s seven hits.
Guatemala was able to open the scoring with two runs in the top of the second inning of the second game, producing a run-scoring triple with the runner later scoring on an illegal pitch to take an early 2-0 lead. Team Canada cut that lead in half in the bottom of the inning when Redhead led off with a double, advanced to third by tagging up on a fly out to right field and scored on a triple to the right-center field gap by Ben Wideman (Fergus, Ont.).
After Canada scored three runs to take a 4-2 lead, Guatemala had its best chance to get back in the game in the top of the sixth, loading the bases on two walks and a hit by pitch but McCullough notched two big strikeouts to end the threat. Canada padded its lead in the bottom of the inning by getting a pair of walks, a run-scoring double to center by Abrey followed by a run on a passed ball to make the score 6-2. McCullough allowed a leadoff single to start the seventh but retired the next three batters to end the game. Ryan French(Cambridge, Ont.) picked up the win in the pitcher’s circle for Canada after pitching the first five innings with McCullough picking up the two inning save.
Other scores on Tuesday were:
Aruba 8 vs. Brazil 3
Puerto Rico 16 vs. Brazil 0
Cuba 5 vs. Puerto Rico 3
Colombia 3 vs. United States 2
Venezuela 7 vs. Colombia 2
Venezuela 4 vs. Dominican Republic 1
Mexico 7 vs. Bahamas 3
Mexico 10 vs. Belize 0
Argentina 15 vs. Bahamas 2
Panama 3 vs. Costa Rica 0
Argentina 12 vs. Costa Rica 1
Team Canada (6-0) will complete the round robin portion of the tournament against Mexico (3-1) at 4:30pm EDT. No games are scheduled for Thursday as Hurricane Maria is expected to pass north of the Dominican Republic, with heavy rain and wind expected in Santo Domingo.
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