Canada uses five-run rally in the fifth to beat Saudi Arabia by a score of 7-5
By Dan Ryan
In a battle of the beatens, something had to give.
Canada, represented by White Rock, British Colombia, and MEA, represented by Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, both came into Tuesday afternoon’s game sitting at 0-2. But both teams fought with passion, despite having no chance of advancing to the next round.
After Saudi Arabia had built a 5-2 lead going into the bottom of the fifth inning, Canada decided enough was enough, and went on score five times to erase the deficit and win 7-5 in front of 8,100 at Howard J. Lamade Stadium.
Jake Hagan came to the plate and started the rally with a solo shot to make the score 5-3.
“I haven’t hit many (home runs) this year,” Hagan said. “Once I hit it, I didn’t know it was gone, so I ran as hard as I could. But it hit the fence and went over. I couldn’t be happier.”
Eric Watkins then made it a one-run game with a solo shot of his own on the very next at-bat.
A single and two walks later, Taylor Bedwell chopped one back to Bryce Jackson on the mound. Jackson turned to throw to second, only to find no one covering the bag. By the time he turned back around, Colton Killoran scored from third for the tying run and Bedwell had reached first safely.
Jackson proceeded to walk Conner Kenwood to push across the go-ahead run. A wild pitch then made it 7-5.
“Hats off to them,” Canada’s manager Jay Bouchey said. “We would have liked to put the game away a little earlier, but it was still a good feeling for them.”
This was not unfamiliar territory for Canada as they have fought back in each game they played just to make it to Williamsport. Canada’s Killoran explained how his team earned their resilient reputation.
“In the provincial round, we had three close games that we were losing,” he said. “We came back and won in the late innings in all of them. We call it ‘the White Rock come back.”
Bouchey thinks the team’s resiliency is due to the players’ talent of building friendships, even with opposing players.
“Camaraderie is what it is about,” Bouchey said. “All of them are great friends. Even when they got their banner for winning provincials, they brought in all the teams for the picture.”
Unfortunately, Canada’s victory means that Saudi Arabia will leave Williamsport winless. Saudi manager James Durley was frustrated.
“We don’t see this type of competition in Saudi Arabia,” Durley said. “Coming to the States and playing these types of teams, you want to win (at least one) game. So it is disappointing. We thought we had a pretty good group.”
Although they did not win any games, the MEA champs can take a lot from their experience in South Williamsport.
“I talked to (the players) about the element of toughness,” Durley said. “There are many things in life where you need to be tough whether it is sports, married life or even adversity. I want them to grow up and be tough men.”
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