TAICHUNG, Taiwan- Chris Leroux (Mississauga, ON) tossed seven strong innings on the mound, Jordan Lennerton (Langley, BC) drove in a pair of runs and Sean Jamieson (Kitchener, ON) belted a late homer for good measure as Canada defeated the Netherlands, 3-1 to stay unbeaten at the WBSC Premier 12.
The win gives Canada a perfect 5-0 record and the first seed in Group A and sets up a quarterfinal match-up against Mexico tomorrow (12:30pm CST/11:30pm EST on November 15) at Intercontinental Stadium in Taichung. Mexico will travel from Taipei as the fourth seed in Group B.
“We finished first in our pool, which is what we wanted to accomplish, but now all games are must win so we’ll have to get our minds into that mode quickly,” said Canada Manager Ernie Whitt. “Our pitching and defense was there tonight and we found ways to score runs.”
Canada received a stellar effort on the mound from Leroux who fanned eight batters over seven innings of work, while allowing just one run on five hits.
Leroux’s effort combined Canada’s strong defensively play and timely hitting is beginning to become a trademark that this Canadian team is known for.
“Chris was outstanding. He gave us exactly what we wanted out of him,” explained Whitt. “As we go forward, I always say we’re going to win this thing with pitching and defense. We scratch out a couple runs, then our pitching takes over and we hold them in check.
“You look at the Netherlands and they’re probably the best offensive team we’ve seen, top to bottom, and we were able to shut them down.”
Leroux and Diego Markwell from the Netherlands went to toe-to-toe over the first five innings until the sixth when Lennerton’s two run double scored Skyler Stromsmoe (Etzikom, AB) and Tyler O’Neill (Maple Ridge, BC). On a 1-1 count, Lennerton ripped a double down the right field line that easily scored both runners.
The Netherlands were quick to respond as they strung together a pair of hits in the bottom of the inning, including an RBI double, to cut Canada’s lead in half.
Phillippe Aumont (Gatineau, QC) came into the game in the eighth and got into trouble after giving up a lead off single and hitting a batter with one out, but managed to escape unscathed after getting a double play ball to short to end the frame.
Sean Jamieson added a solo homer when he led off the eighth with a blast that cleared the wall in left-centre and Dustin Molleken (Regina, SK) came on for the ninth and earned the save.
“This was a typical game for us,” added Whitt. “Naturally we’d like to see a bit more offence, but as long as our pitching and defense is there, we’ll find ways to score runs.”
Canada will face Mexico tomorrow in the quarterfinals at 12:30pm CST/ 11:30pm EST on November 15th…LHP Scott Diamond (Guelph, ON) will start on the mound for Canada...Watch live on Sportsnet ONE.
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