Canada falls to rising sun

Things looked ominous for Canada right from the start in an 6-2 loss to Japan Thursday at the ISF Junior Men’s World Fast Pitch Championship in…

Things looked ominous for Canada right from the start in an 6-2 loss to Japan Thursday at the ISF Junior Men’s World Fast Pitch Championship in Whitehorse.

Before receiving its first out, Japan loaded the bases and went on to score two runs before the inning was over.

Japan stuck to a game plan that has been producing results for it in the tournament. The 7-2 team set modest goals at the plate early on, getting the ball in play and using speed to get on base. Japan then often used bunts and other infield tactics to move its base runners around the bags, sacrificing batters as it went.

“Japan played exceptionally well — that’s the best that I’ve seen them play,” said Canada head coach Tom Doucette. “They executed their short game and put some runs on the board and we had to play catch-up and never got the job done.”

At the top of the second, leadoff hitter Takuro Shimada got on base after being hit by a pitch. The following two batters used infield grounders to advance him to third, from where he scored on a blooper to left field by Takaya Ueta.

“We’re working as a team to achieve that and it comes natural,” said Japan head coach Yoshihiro Umeshita, through a translator, referring to his team’s short, quick games. “I think things went smoothly, got the right balls and hit it right.”

Canada got on the board in the bottom of the third. With shortstop Terrell Walker on first, Mike Noftall hit a low-flying line drive that slipped under Japan’s second baseman’s glove and into the outfield, scoring Walker.

Although, Japan showed signs of tightening up, being dealt a three-up-three-down inning its next time next at bat, Canada was unable to perpetuate its newfound energy, going scoreless for the next three innings.

“Everybody is just taking each play very carefully and working together,” said Umeshita. “Of course we had to be very careful from that point on.”

“You start to get some momentum, but unfortunately we couldn’t follow through and get that one big hit we needed to drive in a couple runs,” said Canada team leader Duke Cormier. “We got down early and that always makes it difficult.”

Canada’s failure to ignite seemed to encourage Japan to abandon its short-game tactics later in the game, sending more drives deep into the outfield and scoring three more runs over the next three innings.

“When you’re dealing with youth sports, momentum is huge,” explained Doucette. “We got a run but just couldn’t build on that.”

“They’ve got lots of speed so the play’s quick,” said Canada pitcher Devon McCullough, who pitched all seven innings and produced five strikeouts. “They got a lead so they were probably just swinging for the fence … they were hitting the ball good tonight.”

Down 6-1 coming into the bottom of the seventh, Canada’s third baseman Dylan Cunningham kept hopes alive with a solo shot over the right field fence.

However, Japan’s starting pitcher, Kojiro Hamada, dashed those hopes in quick succession, striking out the final three batters of the game.

“(If) we play them again we’ll have to hit the ball hard and hopefully beat the crap out of them,” added McCullough.

Friday evening at 7:30, Canada will be taking on the United States (4-5). A win against its southern neighbours may keep Canada tied for second place going into the tournament’s playoffs.

Just Posted

The Yukon has confirmed 33 active COVID-19 cases on June 15. (file photo)
A new study has discovered beaver castoreum on a 6,000-year-old Yukon atlatl-throwing dart. Photo courtesy of Yukon Government.
Beaver casotreum residue found on 6,000-year-old atlatl throwing dart

The discovery of beaver castoreum on a throwing dart could be the first instance where its use has been identified in an ancient archaeological context

The Yukon’s current outbreak of COVID-19 is driven by close contact between people at gatherings, such as graduation parties. (Black Press file)
Yukon logs 21 active cases as COVID-19 spreads through graduation parties

Anyone who attended a graduation party is being asked to monitor themselves for symptoms.

Yukon RCMP and other emergency responders were on the scene of a collision at Robert Service Way and the Alaska Highway on June 12. (Black Press file)
June 12 collision sends several to hospital

The intersection at Robert Service Way and the Alaska Highway was closed… Continue reading

The sun sets over Iqaluit on Oct. 26, 2020. Nunavut’s chief public health officer says two COVID-19 cases at Iqaluit’s middle school came from household transmission and the risk to other students is low. (Emma Tranter/Canadian Press)
Iqaluit school’s contacts and classmates cleared after two COVID-19 cases

With an outbreak ongoing in Iqaluit, the Aqsarniit middle school has split students into two groups

An extended range impact weapon is a “less lethal” option that fires sponge or silicon-tipped rounds, according to RCMP. (File photo)
Whitehorse RCMP under investigation for use of “less lethal” projectile weapon during arrest

Police used the weapon to subdue a hatchet-wielding woman on June 4

Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press
Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino holds a press conference in Ottawa on Nov. 12, 2020. The federal government is announcing that Indigenous people can now apply to reclaim their names on passports and other government documents.
Indigenous people can now reclaim traditional names on their passports and other ID

The move comes in response to a call to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015

Teslin Lake is one of two bodies of water the Yukon Government has place on flood watch. (Google Maps Image)
Flood watch issued for Teslin Lake, Yukon River at Carmacks

The bodies of water may soon burst their banks due to melting snow and rainfall

Kluane Adamek, AFN Yukon’s regional chief, has signalled a postponement to a graduation ceremony scheduled for today due to COVID-19. She is seen here in her Whitehorse office on March 17. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
AFN Yukon’s post-secondary grad celebration postponed

The event scheduled for June 14 will be rescheduled when deemed safe

(Alexandra Newbould/Canadian Press)
In this artist’s sketch, Nathaniel Veltman makes a video court appearance in London, Ont., on June 10, as Justice of the Peace Robert Seneshen (top left) and lawyer Alayna Jay look on.
Terror charges laid against man accused in London attack against Muslim family

Liam Casey Canadian Press A vehicle attack against a Muslim family in… Continue reading

Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer, poses for a portrait in the boardroom outside his office in Iqaluit, Nunavut, on Sept. 30, 2020. (Emma Tranter/Canadian Press)
Two cases of COVID-19 at Iqaluit school, 9 active in Nunavut

Nunavut’s chief public health officer says two COVID-19 cases at Iqaluit’s middle… Continue reading

The Village of Carmacks has received federal funding for an updated asset management plan. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Federal funding coming to Carmacks

The program is aimed at helping municipalities improve planning and decision-making around infrastructure

Most Read