Gold Coast, Australia Canada’s offence got the job done and the pitching was stellar as they would take the final exhibition game of this series by a score of 4-1 over Australia.
The pitchers were solid in shutting down the Aussie offence in this eight inning contest, starting with the starter Jonathan Lockwood (Toronto, ON). Lockwood only allowed one hit and two walks with a pair of strikeouts in three inning of work.
“You have to approach this time to work on things you need to work on and treat it as a learning experience going into the tournament so you can be at your best,” says Lockwood.
“Every game is going to be a combination of guys. It’s good that everybody finished well and did what they had to do and that looks good come tournament time because guys are going to go in there and get it done.”
Jamie Richmond (Mississauga, ON) and Alexandre Periard (St. Eustache, QC) were in good form in relief. Richmond, in three innings pitched, allowed two hits with two strikeouts and Periard gave up a run on three hits and a walk with one punch out in two innings in relief.
“It was a good outing for everybody today,” says Manager Terry Puhl. “Lockwood was outstanding, and he's going to be a workhorse for us going forward. Richmond did what he always does and Periard was solid as well.”
Offensively, the star in this game was Jimmy VanOstrand (Richmond, BC) who doubled, homered and scored twice. He hit the double in the second inning and would come in to score the game's first run on a single from Nick Weglarz (Stevensville, ON).
VanOstrand would homer in the fourth inning off of Adam Blackley with Matt Rogelstad (New Westminster, BC) on base to increase the Canadian lead.
“It was good to have a game like that to finish off the exhibition series,” says VanOstrand who was 2-for-2 with two RBI. “I’m looking forward to going to Taiwan and hopefully keep it going.”
David Corrente (Chatham, ON) would also add to the offence with a solo-home run to lead off the fifth inning off of Gavin Dlouhy. Corrente would hit the second pitch of the inning over the left field fence to put Canada ahead 4-0.
The Aussies would break the shutout bid in the seventh inning when Andrew Utting would single off of Periard to drive in Ben Risinger and put the Australians on the board.
The Canadians finished the exhibition series with a 3-1-1 record, which could be a good sign going into the Final Olympic Qualifier.
“It looks good for us,” says VanOstrand about his hopes for the qualifier. “It’s a tough tournament and there is going to be a lot of tough competition there but we definitely have a good team to give ourselves a chance. It's going to be lots of fun.”
“We have all the tools here to get it done. We just need to stick to our game and we’ll get the results that we want,” says Puhl.
Canada will make its way over to Taiwan on Tuesday, March 4th to begin its road to Beijing at the Final Olympic Qualifier which is scheduled to begin on March 7th to the 15th. Canada will play for three open spots against Australia, Germany, Korea, Mexico, South Africa, Spain and Taiwan.
Baseball Canada 3 March 2008