Host Capitals can’t hold lead against Prairie entry, falls 8-3
Heading into the bottom of the sixth tied at three apiece, the St. John’s Winmar Capitals surrendered five runs and went on to lose 8-3 to the Saskatoon Smokin Guns in the team’s first game at the national senior men’s baseball championship at a very damp St. Pat’s Ball Park.
Starter Scott Goosney, who until that point had surrendered just two hits, came on to start the inning and left an off-speed pitch over the plate for Quinn Hersikorn to belt for a double. Hersikon had already collected a hit of Goosney, a fourth-inning two-run home run that came when the Pasadena native left a changeup hanging.
© — Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram
With rain falling throughout the day and night in the metro St. John’s area, umbrellas were required equipment for fans taking in the action at the 2014 Canadian senior baseball championship at St. Pat’s Ball Park in St. John’s.
After Goosney surrendered a walk, he was pulled in favour of 19-year-old righty and Caps rookie Dan Connors.
With two runners already on, Connors recorded the first out, was asked to intentionally walk the next batter to load the bases and then stared down Jace Muggli who promptly hit a single on the fourth pitch to send home a pair of runs.
Eric Casavant followed it up with another single to plate another run for the Smokin Guns, and JP Willner hit a towering two-run bomb to left field to put the game out of reach.
“He had a little bit of nerves, but he had the gas in terms of speed,” Capitals coach Mark Healy said.
“He was just too much down the centre of the plate. You’ve got to live on the corners with those guys.”
Asked why he went with the untested Connors, pitching in his first senior nationals, as opposed to veterans Bobby Kent or Mike Janes, Healy explained he wanted to see if the youngster could keep the game close.
“We wanted to see if Danny could hold them down for that inning and go from there. We were looking at bringing in Mike if it had to go two or three more innings afterwards.”
After leaving the field, Healy said he pulled Connors aside and let him know they’ve still got confidence in him.
“We’re going to roll him out there again in other situations. He’s only 19 so he’s got a long way to go yet. That’s gonna happen to the best of guys.
“I’m sure if you asked Danny, he won’t be happy with it, but if we had to put up a little more offence, it could be a different situation.”
On the other side of the field, Steven Latos (6.2IP, 3R, 2ER, 3H, 6W, 8K) pitched a solid game for Saskatoon, finishing with well over 120 pitches on the night. Despite a shaky fourth inning where he walked the bases loaded, and errors in the field resulted in the Caps scoring three runs, the Lloydminster, Sask., native actually had a no-hitter through four innings. Bernie Madden broke it up with a single in the top of five, the Caps’ first hit of the game.
“You’ve got to tip your hat to that guy, he had some good cheese going tonight and a great splitter going early in the game.,” said Healy.
Nick Stobbe struck out pinch hitter Ron French for the save.
Goosney (5IP, 3H, 5R, 4ER, 2W, 4K) gets tagged with the loss by virtue of the double and walk surrendered in the top of the sixth. Connors line saw him get charged with three runs on three hits and a walk.
Gerald Butt, Dave Parsons and Gerry Stone all scored for the Caps.
“Our three (runs) weren’t earned, they were all (on) errors. We got lucky in that situation,” Healy said.
“But we had a couple more chances, we had a runner on third with less than two out twice and we didn’t cash in.”
The Caps are back in action today with two games at St. Pat’s. They open with a 1 p.m. tilt vs. the Chatham, N.B., Ironmen and take on the Tecumseh, Ont., Thunder at 7 o’clock.
Healy wouldn’t confirm the starter for the New Brunswick game, but did say it will be either Kent or lefty Kieran Buckingham.
Meanwhile, the Corner Brook Barons, provincial representatives, dropped their first game of the tournament, falling 11-3 to the Sydney, N.S., Sooners.
Michael Tavenor (4.2IP, 10R, 6ER, 10H, 4W, 1K) took the loss with Tyler Vincent (1.1IP, 2R, 1ER, 1H, 2K) tossing in relief. Daniel McCarthy hit a two-run home run and Fred Prosper was two-for-three with a run.
The Barons also play twice today, first against the Reston, Man., Rockets at 10 a.m., and again at 4 p.m. vs. the Mississauga, Ont., SW Twins in the Mount Pearl.
For scores and standings from the championship, continually updated, go online to http://baseballcanada.bbstats.pointstreak.com/scoreboard.html?leagueid=110&seasonid=28648