After three days of games at Tournament 12, only one squad from Ontario remains, with 17 players and two coaches from the Canadian Premier Baseball League’s Great Lake Canadians, Ontario Blue Jays, Ontario Nationals and Toronto Mets programs left to fight for a spot in the championship.
Ontario Black made it into the semi-final round with big wins against Ontario Green, Alberta Red, and Quebec Blue, handed their only loss on a walkoff wild pitch against the tournament-leading BC Orange squad. Black will take on the team from Quebec once again Monday afternoon, with the winner heading into the final.
Against the Blue squad the first time around in Sunday’s first matchup of the day, Ontario Black held Quebec to just two hits in a 10-3 victory, using a six-run seventh inning to keep them alive in the fourth-annual tournament hosted by the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
Great Lake Canadians outfielder Tyrell Hebert led the hitters, going 2-for-4 with a walk, a stolen base, and two RBI, while his Black teammates Antonio Cruz and first baseman Kyle Bryan each drove in two runs of their own.
Toronto Mets right-hander Hayden Malenfant got the start for Ontario and allowed three runs (two earned) on two hits with three walks and four strikeouts. He was relieved by fellow right-hander Cameron Dyck, who shut Quebec out for three frames, walking two and fanning four.
“Our team is an exciting team to watch,” said Black and Great Lake Canadians coach Adam Stern. “It’s a very athletic team, a very dynamic team, guys can really run. It changes how you pitch to our guys because you know they’re looking to play an aggressive game, base stealing, our defence is very agile, and it’s a fun thing.
“Guys are throwing it over the plate for our team, and that stuff really can combine for having success in a tournament like this.”
Both the Futures Navy squad and the Ontario Green team saw their tournament runs come to an end on Sunday, Navy notching only three hits in a 5-2 loss to Atlantic Maroon and Green with an 8-1 win over BC Orange that wasn’t enough to keep the squad alive.
Three different players recorded knocks for the Futures team, all a part of CPBL programs. Heading into the Ontario Blue Jays program from the Mississauga North Tigers, 15-year-old infielder Tyrell Schofield-Sam singled in the second, before 16-year-old GLC infielder Cameron Sanderson added a single of his own in the fourth. Great Lake catcher Ian Jordan doubled and scored in the seventh.
15-year-old Canadians hurler Ryan Douglas took the mound in the fourth and allowed one unearned run on two hits with a walk and three strikeouts before the event came to an end for the squad in the second-last matchup of the day.
Sunday’s final game saw Ontario Green find the offence it needed just a little too late in the tournament, with four-time Tournament 12 participant Cooper Davis providing a spark from the top of the lineup that wasn’t enough.
“Every day he brings energy, excitement, and if he swings the bat like he did [Sunday], definitely plus offensive tools,” said Mike Steed, coaching Davis with both Ontario Green and the OBJ program. “He has a ton of energy at the top of the lineup and for me personally, that’s what every guy is looking for. Then he does what he does in centre field and he makes it easy on the pitchers when he can go run down balls left and right.”
On Sunday, Davis led his team in the contest with a single, a double, a walk, two stolen bases, two runs scored, and he drove in a run. He also showed game-changing speed in centre field, chasing down balls that looked like definite extra bases for the opposition. Green designated hitter and GLC outfielder Jameson Hart went 2-for-2 with two RBI in the win for Ontario, and the squad used five CPBL pitchers to keep BC’s offence at bay.
“It’s been amazing,” Davis said of the T12 experience. “It’s crazy looking back and thinking that I was 14 years old when I was first here. Everything [tournament commissioner] Robbie Alomar has done for me and everybody at Tournament 12 has been amazing.
“For a guy to come back and give to a community like that, and set up an event that really gives us Canadian players a…head start is special. I got to see it when I was 14, before anybody else could. So for me and Adam [Hall, the second of just two four-year participants], it was huge for us, as we were getting into the scouting world.”
Currently one of Canada’s top high school prospects heading into next year’s draft, and with plenty of showcase experience, and lots of eyes on him with the OBJ program and Canadian Junior National Team, the Vanderbilt University commit couldn’t be more grateful for what Tournament 12 offers to all of its participants.
“It’s different than playing in a big showcase or a world tournament,” Davis said. “The worlds were amazing, but then you get to come here and say, Mike Trout played centre field here, or David Ortiz stood in that same box a week ago. It’s so cool to be able to play in the exact same spot as major leaguers do.”