Team Canada centre fielder Jordan Pomeroy changed the course of events in Canada’s 7-0 win over Guatemala Monday at Rotary Field with two strokes of the bat.
Pomeroy hit grand slam in the bottom of the fourth inning, after hitting a solo shot an inning earlier to account for five of Canada’s seven runs. That gives Canada its third win in as many games to start the XII WBSC Junior Men’s Softball World Championship. Guatemala falls to 1-2 on the tournament.
You’d be forgiven to think that Pomeroy was just a speedy, centre fielder zipping around for Team Canada. He’s listed at 141 pounds, tied for the slightest on Team Canada, and 5-foot-7, the second shortest player on the team. He’s even pretty soft spoken in post-game interviews.
So, where does all that power come from?
“Oh, I don’t know,” Pomeroy said, the lone Newfoundlander on the team. “Just countless hours on the field, constantly working on my swing and trying to square up balls and letting the bat do the work, mostly.”
Through the first two-and-a-half innings, Guatemala seemed to have all the momentum. Their bench was yelling and screaming, while Canada’s was nervously quiet. But Pomeroy’s solo shot woke up the Canadian bench and brought the crowd to their feet.
His grand slam was part of a six-run fourth inning for the Canadians, which effectively ended the game due to the mercy rule. Pomeroy said he wasn’t even thinking getting his second HR of the game.
“I just wanted to put the ball back in play, I wasn’t really expecting another home run,” Pomeroy said. “The final result of course was good, but yeah, I was just hoping to get a base hit and score a few runs.
“It was a pitch right where you want it to be, it was fat, over the plate. It wasn’t too hard to get at, it was just icing on the cake that it went out.”
Shellbrook’s Ryan Smith, the most popular player to grace the Max Power Ball Parks based on the crowd’s cheers so far this weekend, got his first start in the tournament as the designated player. He got his first at bats of the tournament, reaching on a fielder’s choice in two at bats while driving in a run and crossing the plate himself.
“Those were my first at bats of the tournament and it felt really good to get the nerves out,” Smith said.
Canadian pitcher Cole Pavey pitched five shutout innings of ball, striking out four and surrendering three hits.
Next up for Canada will clearly be their biggest test of the tournament so far. They’ll take on New Zealand. It will be the battle of the top two ranked teams of the tournament. Like Canada, New Zealand is also unbeaten at 3-0.
Crowds are expecting to reach in excess of 8,000 people. If there’s one game to see before the playoff stages, this is surely it.
New Zealand is famous for their haka, a traditional Māori war dance adopted by various New Zealand national teams as a pre-game challenge. But Smith said it’s going to motivate the Canucks just as much as the Kiwis.
“It’s going to fire us up,” Smith said. “I’ve seen it once before and it just gets all the boys riled up and ready to go. I’m excited.”
New Zealand 8 Czech Republic 1
Like Canada, New Zealand improved to 3-0 and won their primetime matchup over on Kinsmen Field with a five-inning 8-1 victory over the Czech Republic.
Reilly Makea was 2-2 at the plate with a solo home run and two runs scored. Joshua Kelly went five innings, allowing one run on one hit, while striking out six.
India wins their first ever international tournament game
India picked up their first ever win at an international competition, beating South Africa 5-4 in the opening game of Day 3. Gaurav Chaudhari, who’s been a workhorse on the mound so far for India in this tournament, struck out 11 batters and gave up four runs on six hits in the full seven innings of work. He’s pitched in every inning India has been on defence—20 innings in just three days’ time. He also has 34 strike outs to start the tournament, largely leading in that category.
Argentina 6 South Africa 1
They came into the tournament as the fourth ranked team, but it took until Day 3 of the tournament for Argentina (1-2) to pick up their first win. The ousted South Africa 6-1, as pitcher Juan Pepe pitched a clean seven innings, striking out 14 batters and gave up four hits in the contest. Lucio Retamar had a pair of doubles and two runs batted in for the Argentines. South Africa falls to 1-3 on the tournament.
Japan 7 Mexico 1
Team Japan led 4-0 after four innings, before turning on the jets in the bottom of the fifth, scoring three runs to beat Mexico 7-1. That improves the Japanese to 3-0 on the tournament. Hiroshi Sakata and Shoki Matsuo both hit home runs in the contest. That’s Mexico’s (2-1) first loss of the tournament.
U.S.A. 11 Hong Kong 1
The Americans (1-2) picked up their first victory of the tournament, after falling to the top-two ranked teams in the tournament in their first two games. They beat Hong Kong (0-3) by a score of 11-1.
The Americans were steady and consistent in this one, scoring at least two runs in all five innings they played, with a three-spot in the fourth inning. American second baseman Jeff Lewis had a monster night at the plate, hitting a home run and two triples, driving in three runs and scoring two himself.
Australia 18 Denmark 0
Australia (3-0) put up the most decisive victory of the tournament so far with an 18-spot on Denmark (0-4). Aussie centre fielder Chris Plain was 3-4 at the dish with four RBI’s, two runs scored and a triple.
On Twitter: @jeff_paNOW
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