Monday, July 26, 2010

Oh, Canada: Ontario Blue Jays scored five runs in the final inning to prevent South Troy’s second straight trip to the Connie Mack World Series

An unidentified Ontario Blue Jays player wears the North Atlantic Connie Mack regional trophy on his forehead (the glass piece fell off when the team rounded second base) after Ontario defeated the South Troy Dodgers, 6-3, Monday afternoon at Geer Field. (Video captures by Will Montgomery).

TROY — The South Troy Dodgers were three outs away from clinching a second straight trip to the Connie Mack World Series.

And then the rally happened.

In the top of the seventh inning in the Connie Mack North Atlantic regional championship game, the Ontario Blue Jays, trailing by two runs, drew a pair of bases-loaded walks and hit three infield singles to score five runs.

Ontario Blue Jays players celebrate during their seventh inning rally Monday afternoon against the South Troy Dodgers. (Photo by Mike McMahon - The Record).

Rob Good relieved Ontario starter Eric Wood with two out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the inning. Good induced a pop-up to third base off the bat of South Troy’s Steve Anderson to cap a thrilling, 6-3, come-from-behind victory for the Blue Jays at Geer Field.

For the first time since 2001, when Ontario won the North Central region, the Blue Jays are headed to the Connie Mack World Series in Farmington, N.M.

“It’s the best moment of my life,” said Good. “This is the biggest thing we’ll ever do probably as ballplayers. It’s a great moment for us.”

Dave Roseboom throws a pitch during Monday's game against the Ontario Blue Jays. He gave the Dodgers 9.2 innings of one-run baseball. (McMahon photo).

Wood allowed 10 hits in his six and two thirds innings of work, but walked just one and struck out six while holding the Dodgers to three runs.

"I was on planet Mars the entire game," said Wood. "There was so much intensity. This team is the best. I love every single one of these kids on this team. And this guy (nods to Good) comes in here and shuts the door. I don’t even have the words to explain it."

Wilcox led the way for Ontario with two hits and two RBI. The Blue Jays are based in Mississauga, Ontario, which is just south of downtown Toronto. Ontario's 16-and-under Mickey Mantle team is also headed to an American Amateur Baseball Congress World Series.

"We are together a little bit longer and I think that helps," said Ontario head coach Dan Bleiwas. "I've had this group together since they were 16 with very few changes. A core. I think it helps just the belief they have in one another when we get in situations like this, trailing into the last inning. I’m at a loss for words."

South Troy’s Dave Roseboom started the first game of the day, an 11-1, five-inning mercy-rule victory for the Dodgers in which Matt Zanotta hit a three-run home run for the second straight day. Roseboom threw just 41 pitches in that game and returned to start game two. Roseboom pitched into the sixth inning, allowing one run on three hits with six strikeouts.

Dodgers closer Brian Tatelman relieved Roseboom with two out in the sixth and struck out Ontario’s Jim Martin on three pitches to end the inning. Tatelman returned in the seventh and struck out the first batter he faced but quickly unraveled from there. Six of the next seven batters to the plate reached base either by being hit by a pitch, drawing a walk or hitting an infield single.

"We play every time…like all our wins are by one runs or two runs," said Wood. "We never give up. It’s just the way we are. We never give up.

"It’s so typical us," Wood continued. "We’re always in the game. It doesn’t matter what the score is or who we’re playing."

Scott Wilcox plated Jevon Jacobs with the go-ahead run on an infield single before Martin drove in two more runs on a double to left field. Wilcox, trying to score on Martin's double, was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.

South Troy second baseman J.P. Sportman makes a throw during Monday's game. Sportman, the Dodgers' leadoff hitter, was 5-for-10 with four RBI in South Troy's final three games in the tournament.

“He’s our closer and it is what it is,” South Troy Dodgers head coach Kevin Rogers said of Tatelman’s seventh inning performance. “We can’t blame one person. We should have probably put some more runs on the board in certain situations.

“He actually did his job, the ball was just bouncing the wrong way,” Rogers continued. “There’s not much I can say about that. The kids battled all year. We put ourselves in the position we wanted to be in and we came up short.”

Roseboom, who threw 121 pitches in two games and finished the day with nine and two thirds innings pitched, having allowed one run, five hits, one walk while striking out 11. The University of South Carolina Upstate-bound lefty, who was also drafted in the 47th round by the Boston Red Sox this spring, proved to be the Dodgers’ ace Monday, despite what happened in the seventh inning.

“Dave did everything he could,” Rogers said. “He gave us 10 innings. We had ourselves in the right spot. Dave has been a bulldog for us since he was 13 years old. I tip my cap to the Canada team. They kept battling.”

South Troy was blocked from making a return trip to the Connie Mack World Series, a major disappointment for an organization that hosted a pair of World Series-berth tournaments this month.

“This program is built to go to World Series,” said Rogers. “Our 18-and-under team is one of the elite in the country, so we put ourselves up with the best teams in the country. We’re supposed to win games like this and get to New Mexico. That’s what we’re built for, but we’ll take a couple of weeks off and try it again next year.”

Notes: I didn't have room to fit this in the story for the paper, but Ontario head coach Dan Bleiwas was adamant about the following point:

"First, I want to extend my thank-yous to the people of Troy and Albany and specifically to George and Kevin Rogers, who run the South Troy Dodgers," Bleiwas said. "They are a class act. I can’t say enough about how gracious they’ve been. This year we came out on top. Often enough they’ve had the opportunity to do it. They're gracious in victory and gracious in defeat. They’re just classy people."

"This is our ultimate goal to get there and win the Connie Mack World Series in New Mexico," said Bleiwas. "We intend to go out there and compete to our best and represent this region well and by extension, all teams in this region, including the South Troy Dodgers."

The Ontario Blue Jays storm the field after recording the final out in the championship game of the North Atlantic Connie Mack regional tournament Monday afternoon at Geer Field.

The recap from the first game of the day is below:
The South Troy Dodgers exploded for seven runs in the third inning of Monday's game against the Ontario Blue Jays in the Connie Mack North Atlantic regional finals, capped by Matt Zanotta's three-run home run to right center field. The Dodgers posted an 11-1, five inning mercy rule victory, forcing a final championship game for all the marbles - a trip to Farmington, N.M. and the Connie Mack World Series - today at 1 p.m. at Geer Field.

South Troy starting pitcher Dave Roseboom kept the Blue Jays off the board for four innings, throwing just 41 pitches. The Dodgers brought in Kyle LaValley in the fifth, who got three outs and kicked the mercy rule into effect. Roseboom will certainly be available for another 50 pitches or so in Game Two.

Matt Zanotta watches the f light of his three-run home run in the third innings of Monday's game against the Ontario Blue Jays. He also hit a three-run home run in Sunday's victory over the Richmond County Baseball Club. (McMahon photo).

South Troy chased Ontario starting pitcher Jordan Romano before he had even allowed one hit. Romano plunked Josh Ingham with a pitch to start the third inning and followed that with three straight walks. Braden Cogswell drove in a run on a single and Carson Helms scored on an error prior to Zanotta's home run.

Matt Zanotta greets South Troy head coach Kevin Rogers at third base following his three-run home run Monday morning. (McMahon photo).

South Troy Dodgers designated hitter Matt Zanotta connects on a three-run home run in the third inning of Monday's game against the Ontario Blue Jays. It was his second three-run homer in as many days.

Matt Zanotta greets his teammates at home plate after hitting a crushing three-run home run Monday against the Ontario Blue Jays at Geer Field.

J.P. Sportman slides into home plate on a wild pitch during the third inning of Monday's first game against the Ontario Blue Jays. He finished the game with one hit, two runs scored and three RBI.

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