50th Anniversary of the Canada Games
With the Canada Summer Games occurring every four years, 2017 was big, celebrating with the rest of Canada for its 150th Anniversary. The 2017 Canada Summer Games brought athletes together across the country, as they competed for a place on the podium. Featuring 16 sports and over 250 events, combined with a major cultural festival.
Baseball was presented by Konica Minolta, a Signature Sponsor of the 2017 Canada Summer Games. Competitions ran from Saturday, July 29 - Friday, August 4, 2017 at the Elmwood Giants Field, Shaw Park and Whittier Park. Click here to see detailed baseball schedule.
Baseball made its debut at the first ever Canada Summer Games in 1969, which took place in Halifax-Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Baseball Ontario, had a lot to live up to, having medalled in 11 of the 12 Summer games. This years team, was built around pitching and defense and looked to rebound, from a 6th place finish, in 2016. RHP Zack McQuaid, who was unable to participate in the ’16 Canada Cup after suffering major injuries in a devastating car accident. McQuaid was a key piece as he won both his starts, highlighting a complete game 3-1 victory over rivals British Columbia. The only returning player from the '16 team, Dylan Whitaker didn't disappoint, as he led the team in batting, as it well as, key defensive plays in the middle infield.
Team Ontario Game Recap:
Game 1: Ontario 14 PEI 4
Zack McQuaid fanned eight over four shutout innings. Sam Lebel, went 3-for-3 with an RBI as Ontario handed PEI a 14-4 loss. Ontario registered 14 hits and scored six runs in the sixth to set up a mercy rule win.
Game 2: Ontario 1 Nova Scotia 0
Ontario took advantage of two Nova Scotia errors and broke a scoreless tie with a run in the sixth to come away with a 1-0 win. Andrew Giorno tossed five innings of shutout baseball and struck out three before Sebastien Santos came on for the final two innings to record the save.
Game 3: Ontario 5 Newfoundland & Labrador 1
Shane Laforest fired five hitless innings and struck out seven while Justin Rogers allowed just one hit over two scoreless frames as Ontario got by Newfoundland & Labrador, 5-1. Dylan Whittaker and Noah Richardson recorded RBI singles to put Ontario out to a 2-0 lead in the first before they added three runs in the sixth.
Game 4: Ontario 7 New Brunswick 0
Evan Elliott fired six innings of shutout baseball and Ryan Magdic drove in three on a bases clearing double in the second inning to keep Ontario unbeaten with a 7-0 win over New Brunswick. Dylan Whittaker added a pair of hits and drove in two runs for an Ontario side that had nine hits.
Game 5: Manitoba 3 Ontario 2 (8 innings)
Ethan Walpole's RBI single in the top of the eighth brought in the eventual game-winning run for Manitoba as they clinched first place in pool B with a 3-2, extra-innings win over previously unbeaten Ontario. Ontario carried a 1-0 lead into the seventh thanks to a Sam Lebel RBI single in the first before Manitoba drew even on Jared McCorrister's two-out single. Manitoba starter Owen Harms turned in 7.2 gutsy innings on the mound to earn the win while Cameron Thickson got Lebel to fly-out to right field to end the game.
Game 6: Ontario 3 BC 1
Zack McQuaid went the distance and struck out eight to lead Ontario to a 3-1 win over BC to advance to the semi finals. McQuaid scattered five hits including a solo home run to Jayden Knight in the fifth but that was his only blemish in a winning effort. Ontario benefitted from a bases-loaded hit by pitch by BC starter Declan Dutton in the third before Noah London drove in a pair with two out to put Ontario in front, 3-0. Dutton pitched six innings and fanned for but took the loss for BC.
Game 7: Saskatchewan 7 Ontario 0
Saskatchewan had nine hits including five in a four run third inning to come away with a 7-0 win over Ontario to book their ticket to the Canada Games gold medal game. Saskatchewan will be playing in their third consecutive championship contest at the 17U level after winning the Baseball Canada Cup in 2016 while settling for silver in 2015. Saskatchewan starter Connor Sparks tossed five shutout innings scattering four hits and three walks while striking out three batters. Ryan Olchoway came on in relief and threw two perfect frames with one strikeout to preserve the shutout. Sparks was also a factor at the plate as his 2-for-3 game at the plate included a triple and RBI while Olchoway and Tyler McWillie drove in two runs each.
Game 8 Bronze Medal: Alberta 5 Ontario 1
Brendan Logan limited Ontario to just one run on five hits in a complete game effort as Alberta picked their second consecutive Canada Games bronze medal with a 5-1 win. Alberta erased a 1-0 Ontario lead with a pair of runs in the third before plating three in the sixth to create a four-run cushion. Ayden Makarus and Brayden Cust picked up RBI singles in the three-run sixth. The bronze matches Alberta's best-ever finish at a Canada Games baseball competition after winning the third place medal in 1997, 2005 and 2013.
Having played in a Summer Games in 2001, as a player for Team Ontario, this time around, as a coach, really allowed me to take in this amazing experience. It's been a privilege to have had the opportunity to assist in coaching for Team Ontario. The players came together and played with class. We all learned a lot about life, the game of baseball and enjoyed experiences that will last a lifetime.
Thank you to the Canada Summer Games (https://canadagames.ca/2017/home), Baseball Canada (www.baseball.ca), and the City of Winnipeg, Manitoba staff and volunteers for hosting a wonderful event. For more information on Winnipeg visit https://www.tourismwinnipeg.com/ Special thank you to Baseball Ontario (www.baseballontario.com/), Scott Robinson, Patrick Westhaver, Geoff Allen, Dirk Drieberg and Don McKnight for their hard work and dedication.
Baseball Ontario - 2017 Canada Summer Games Highlight Video