Game 20
EMEA 1
 vs. Canada 2

Monday, August 23, 2005
11:00AM ET
Lamade Stadium

 
Dunbar raises bar for Canada
Canada finishes pool play 2-1 after battling Russia for full six innings

By Mark Rogoff

It wasn’t the prettiest of wins for Canada by any means.

The Whalley All-Stars were outhit by Russia 4-3, and they scored their only two runs without recording a base hit, taking advantage of two errors, a passed ball and a measly groundout – all in the first inning.

But nonetheless, a sparkling performance by righthander Alex Dunbar and the capitalizing of the Russia miscues gave Surrey, British Columbia its second win in pool play, the most by a Canada representative since 1998, when a team from Langley, British Columbia went 3-0 before losing the International Championship game 3-2 to Japan in eight innings.

With its 2-1 win over the EMEA champs in front of 5,254 fans at Howard J. Lamade Stadium, Canada improved to 2-1 in pool play and must now wait for the outcome of the Guam-Mexico clash before knowing its fate. The Whalley kids would be the first team to advance beyond pool play since the 1998 Canada squad.

“We’ll take any win,” manager Glenn Morache said of the not-too-pretty triumph. “We did our part. That’s the bottom line. We just have to watch the game tonight and see what happens.”

Dunbar took care of the pitching aspect, striking out 10 in his complete-game effort. He endured a rough first inning, allowing a run on three hits and leaving the bases loaded before surrendering just one hit in five innings the rest of the way.

He retired the last 10 batters he faced, striking out the side in the sixth to close it out.

“The mound is a little different,” he said. “It took me a while to get used to it, but I started to settle in. I was just trying to throw strikes. I just hit my spots and hoped they wouldn’t get any hits.”

Canada’s two-run first inning started with Tanner Morache reaching on a two-base throwing error by Russia shortstop Artem Kulik. Morache then went to third on Conrad Gallagher’s ground out to the pitcher. Chris Fischer’s little dribbler scored Morache, as the throw to the plate got past catcher Nikita Kotliar. Fischer reached on the fielder’s choice and advanced to second on the error. He then went to third on a passed ball and came home on Jeff Degano’s groundout to second.

“We don’t take any team easy,” Manager Morache said when asked about being surprised at the competition Russia put forth. “We didn’t come in here thinking we could blow them out or anything.”

A Guam win over Mexico at Volunteer Stadium tonight would give Canada a spot in the semi-final round. If Mexico wins, a tiebreaking rule will go into effect with Guam, Mexico and Canada all having 2-1 records.

“That would mean a lot to us,” third baseman Jerrod Gray said of advancing past pool play. “It would be a very good experience for us.”

Russia, meanwhile, finishes the tournament winless in three games. Since the tournament expanded to 16 teams in 2001, Russia representatives have gone a combined 1-11 in the four Series. The Khovrino Little League All-Stars played in South Williamsport the past three years, notching the lone win vs. Guam in 2003.

“We have a good team for Russia and for Europe,” Manager Alexey Erofeev said through coach and interpreter Vladimir Petrov. “For here, not so good. We haven’t experienced playing against strong teams with strong pitchers and strong curveballs.”

Game Photos


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