JESSE, NOT TOM, WINS IT FOR CANADA
Calgary pitcher Jesse Sawyer got off to a fast start.
In fact, he never slowed down.
The right-hander tossed six innings of three-hit baseball, allowing just one run. He carried a no-hitter into the fourth, but opposing pitcher Nikolai Lobanov singled up to the middle to break up the no-hit bid.
Nonetheless, Sawyer and his Calgary, Alberta team won it’s pool play opener with a 5-1 victory over Moscow, Russia.
Sawyer wasted no time at the plate as well. He led off the bottom half of the first inning with a solo home run. The hurler smashed the 3-1 pitch far beyond the fence in right-centerfield.
“The pitching is a bigger thrill for me,” he said. “And once you’re up (on the scoreboard), you don’t have to come back. You know you have the game in your hands. ”
“I couldn’t be more proud of him,” added manager Barry Sawyer. “He’s been fabulous for us all year. He hasn’t lost a game yet. He’s a big factor for our team.”
Sawyer struck out 11, while only walking three.
Offensively, Calgary went on to add two more runs in the third. Kevin Kobe singled in Spencer Bajnok, but was not credited with the RBI due to a fielding error by the right fielder. One batter later, Kobe scored on Matthew Nemeth’s ground out to the pitcher.
They plated one more run in the fourth and another in the sixth to close out the scoring. Manager Sawyer, however, was not that satisfied with the team’s offensive performance.
“I thought we could have hit the ball a lot better,” he said. “We’re going to have to these next few games. The jitters are out now and I think we have a good shot at it.”
Lobanov pitched well, but errors in the field behind him cost him a few runs.
“I think they can play better,” said Russia coach Vladimir Eltchaninov. “This was their worst game. They were very nervous. If there’s no mistakes the score is 1-1.”
Added Russia manager Mikhail Kornev, “The most crucial errors tonight were are mental errors.”
Russia will take on Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico Sunday at 8 p.m. in Volunteer Stadium. Calgary will also face Mexico, but not until Monday morning at 11 a.m. in Lamade Stadium.
“As the tournament goes on, it will get tougher,” said manager Sawyer. “We’ll have to come out and play stronger than we did today.”