Team Canada, representing Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), were defeated by Team Korea, 5-4, at Skokani-Olomouc Field, in Olomouc, CZ. Team Canada finishes the round robin, 2-4, at the 4th annual World University Baseball Championships and will face the host, Czech Republic, in Sunday’s 5th Place Game, at 1:00 PM (7:00 AM EDT).
Team Canada knew coming into the game they needed to win the game to force a three-way tie with Chinese Taipei and Korea and then let the tournament rules decide which two teams would advance to the Medal Rounds. The Canadians received word that the United States defeated Chinese Taipei, 3-2, in 11 innings, earlier in the afternoon, causing the potential three-way tie. Canada would need another strong start to keep their medal hopes alive, but it was Korea who had the first of two big innings in the game as they would score four runs in the second inning on two hits, an error and a bad bounce in the outfield that went over the left fielder’s head enabling three runs to score.
Korea would add another run in the fifth inning on a similar play; a hard hit single to left field bounced over the left fielder’s head and Korea would score what would turn out to be the winning run. The Koreans starter Yu Kang Heo pitched well for close to 8 innings as he held Team Canada to two hits, while striking out 5 hitters. In the 8th inning Team Canada opened the frame with singles by Marshall MacDonald (Dayton) and Scott Webster (British Columbia) that chased Heo from the game and Korea’s set-up man, Chan Soo Yoon was exactly what the Canadian hitters needed to get back into the game. After walking Jeff VIckers (Lamar), left fielder Grant Kveder (Gonzaga) crushed a Yoon pitch into the left field corner clearing the bases and bringing Canada to within one run. Kveder would come home on an Eric Cattoni (Saint Mary’s) sacrifice fly.
It was the closest Canada would come to tying the game.
Thain Simon (Santa Clara) pitched well despite the second inning. At one point in the game, Thain retired 10 straight Koreans, while striking out 3 over the six innings he pitched. The bullpen again shut the door on Korea giving the offense a chance to comeback, but Korean Closer Bon Beom Gu shut the door in the 9th inning to record the save and eliminate Canada from any hopes of a medal.
Vickers reached base all four times on a single, walk, hit by pitch and a fielding error, the only other Canadians to reach base more than once were MacDonald, Kveder and Sammie Starr (British Columbia). Canada had only 5 hits in the game.
British Columbia’s Hardy receives Best ERA Award
Mark Hardy (British Columbia) was awarded the 2008 World University Baseball Games “Earned Run Average” Award for posting the tournament’s best ERA: 0.00. Hardy who pitched a brilliant game in Canada’s victory over the Czech Republic, 4-0, pitched 10 total innings in the tournament, striking out a tournament high 17 batters, while giving up no runs on 4 hits. He becomes the first Team Canada student-athlete to ever be awarded a major trophy at the World University Baseball Games Championships.
David A. Kent, Communications Manager