18U BWC: Canada survives scare against Czech Republic

03/09/2012

Seoul (Korea). Canada has a thing for thrilling games at the XXV IBAF 18U Baseball World Championship. After three matches ending in walk-off style, they barely edged out the Czech Republic on Monday morning to improve to 3-1 in Group B play. Two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning broke the tie and decided the outcome. The Czech team remains winless in the tournament.

Seoul (Korea). Canada has a thing for thrilling games at the XXV IBAF 18U Baseball World Championship. After three matches ending in walk-off style, they barely edged out the Czech Republic on Monday morning to improve to 3-1 in Group B play. Two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning broke the tie and decided the outcome. The Czech team remains winless in the tournament.

When Joshua Naylor drove in Kyle Hann with a single in the opening period to give Canada an early lead, everybody at Jamsil Stadium figured the favorite would easily rebound from their heartbreaking loss to Chinese Taipei on Sunday.

Except for the Czech team. Starter Tomas Ondra did a great job keeping the Canadian bats in check. The offense finally found a crack in the armor of Myles Vincent (7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 9 SO) in the fifth. Three walks loaded the bases. Jakub Ondracek stepped to the plate with two outs and came through with a single to left.

Vincent escaped the jam with a strikeout and Canada answered in the seventh. Jesse Hodges and Daniel Pinero opened the bottom frame with singles and moved to third and second on a sac bunt. Ondra (6.1 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 SO) was relieved by Jan Novak. He did what he had to do, forcing Mitchell Triolo into a flyout to center and Jacob Robson into a groundout to short. But the sac fly and the throwing error by Czech shortstop Adam Hajtmar gave Hodges and Pinero the opportunity to score, as Canada regained the lead.

However the Czech Republic wasn’t beaten. In the top of the eighth Ondracek scored on a single by Michal Vykoukal to make it a one-run game. The latter would advance into scoring position with one out, but he wouldn’t cross the plate. They threatened again in the ninth. Matej Buzga and Hajtmar reached and moved into second and third with two outs. Ondracek, who was 3-for-4 in the game at that point, got another at-bat. This time though Canada’s closer Christian Botnick had no trouble, ending the game in style with a swinging strikeout.