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Napanee back in win column at national junior fastball

August 13, 2014

It didn’t take long for the Napanee Express to overcome its offensive woes at the Canadian midget fastball championship Tuesday afternoon.

Held to just five hits in an 11-3 loss to the Saskatoon Diamondbacks Tuesday morning, the Express rebounded with six runs in the first inning on its way to a 13-2 win over the Yorkton, Sask., Blue Jays.

That victory enabled Napanee, the defending silver medalist, to end the day 2-2 at the nine-team tournament in Irma, Alta.

Run-scoring base-hits by Sloan Creighton and Taylor Brown, an error and a two-run single by Jarrett Williams helped Napanee to score six times before anybody was out in the top of the first inning. A two-run home run by Lane Constant got Yorkton on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first but Ty Sebastian replied with a solo shot in the top of the second for Napanee.

Four runs in the fourth inning put the Express in position to end the game via the mercy rule one inning later. A two-run single by Cole Bolton was the big hit of that rally.

Napanee starter Braden Scott gave up three hits in the first inning but just one after that before giving way to Erick Morgan, who struck out the side in the fifth.

The offensive outburst represented a return to form for the Express, which managed just three runs in seven innings against Saskatoon Tuesday morning but has scored 35 runs in the other 17 innings it has played at this week-long tournament.

In Tuesday’s first game, three Napanee pitchers were touched for 15 hits as the Express lost for the second game in a row.

Napanee fell behind 3-0 in the second inning and a four-run outburst in the top of the fourth gave Saskatoon a 7-1 lead. The Express got as close as 7-3 going into the sixth inning but the Diamondbacks scored twice in each of their last two at-bats to seal the victory.

A triple by Justin Boyer and back-to-back home runs by Curtis Piecowye and Brandon Knackstedt chased Napanee starter Ty Sebastian in Saskatoon’s four-run fourth. Knackstedt added a two-run double in the sixth.

A two-out single by Jordan Mills delivered Napanee’s first run in the second inning, while Jarrett Williams plated the other two with a double in the fifth.

Zach Pierce gained the pitching win. He didn’t strike out a batter but he allowed just five Napanee hits.

The Express played both games without catcher and No. 4 hitter Cody Brooks, who injured a foot in Monday night’s game against Owen Sound. It was feared he’d broken a bone in it but x-rays were negative and it’s hoped Brooks can be back in the lineup by the end of the week.

Napanee resumes play at noon EDT Wednesday against the No. 2 Ontario team, the Stratford Cubs, who lost their first game Tuesday night to the host Irma Tigers, who at 4-0 stand as the only undefeated team in the tournament. Stratford, Saskatoon and Owen Sound are all 3-1.

Later Wednesday Napanee will play Quebec, a team from St-Leonard D’Aston that is also known as the Express and is also 2-2 after two days of play.

The Wednesday morning game is vital for Napanee, which has already lost to Saskatoon and Owen Sound and thus would not be favoured in any tie-breaking scenarios with those teams at the end of the round-robin. A win over Stratford would put the Express in a tie with the No. 2 Ontario team, and give it the advantage in any future tie-breakers.

Linescores

Napanee         621     40       —        13       9          0

Yorkton          200     00       —        2          4          5

(five innings, mercy)

Braden Scott (W,1-0), Erick Morgan (5) and Brandon Blunt; Trey Poitras (L,0-1), Lane Constant (5) and Jaxon Lewis. HRs: Ykt — Lane Constant (1); Nap — Ty Sebastian (1).

Saskatoon       030     402     2          —        11       15       0

Napanee         010     020     0          —        3          5          0

Zach Pierce (W,1-0) and Donovan Klassen; Ty Sebastian (L,0-1), Brandon Sands (4), Cole Bolton (5) and Brandon Blunt. HRs: Ssk — Curtis Piecowye (1), Brandon Knackstedt (1).

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