White Rock All-Stars start strong at nationals

Baseball club wins opening game of Canadian Little League Championships

Revenge will have to wait for members of the White Rock All-Stars baseball team.

Heading into Canadian Little League Championships – currently underway in suburban Ottawa – White Rock head coach Bob Cumiskey joked that his team of 12-year-olds would try to atone for a loss two years ago at nationals, at which the White Rock team of the day lost in the championship game to a team from East Nepean Little League (Ontario).

It was the first loss of the entire summer for that White Rock team, while the Ontario club moved on to represent Canada at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

On Saturday, the two cities squared off once again, and for a second time, White Rock ended up on the losing end, falling 6-5 to their eastern rivals.

The loss dropped the All-Stars’ record to 1-1 at the nationals, having opened the tournament Friday with a resounding 14-0 win over Montreal’s Notre Dame de Grace Lynx.

White Rock didn’t stay with a .500 record for long, however, as the team rebounded Sunday with a 22-1 shellacking of Nova Scotia’s Glace Bay Colonels.

Against East Nepean, the B.C. representatives took a 1-0 lead in the second inning, before both team’s bats came alive in the third.

In the top half of the inning, the host Ontario team plated five runs, and White Rock replied with four of their own, led by a home run from Trent Linehan and a double from Darius Opdam Bak.

The game stayed knotted at 5-5 until the fifth frame, when East Nepean scored one run, after a series of singles.

In Sunday’s win over Glace Bay, the runs came fast and furious for the B.C. champs. White Rock scored six runs in the first inning, and plated no less than three in the ensuing innings until the mercy rule was invoked in the fourth.

Matthew Wilkinson led the offensive barrage for White Rock, with two home runs and six runs-batted-in, while Opdam Bak and Alec McDonald also hit round-trippers.

Opdam Bak earned the win on the mound for White Rock, striking out seven in just two-and-two-thirds innings. Taeo Masonville pitched the final inning and a third, striking out three of the six batters he faced.

Offence was in no short supply in White Rock’s opening tilt Friday, either, in the five-inning shutout victory over Notre Dame.

White Rock leapt out to a big lead early, scoring five runs in the first inning, and then tagged their Quebec competitors with seven more runs in the third frame. They extended their lead in the fifth, with two more runs before the game ended.

Offensively, White Rock was led by shortstop Kole Turner, who went 2-for-3 with a home run and four runs-batted in, while Wilkinson had three hits, including a double.

Opdam Bak, Marcus Bradley and Turner also had doubles in the win.

Quebec, meanwhile, sent the minimum number of batters to the plate – 12 in four innings of at-bats – and failed to get a hit off White Rock pitchers.

White Rock played their fourth game – against Manitoba’s Moose Jaw All-Stars – Tuesday after Peace Arch News’ deadlines,

The tournament continues throughout the week, with round-robin games scheduled until Thursday. Playoff rounds begin Saturday, with the championship final set for Sunday. The winner of Sunday’s title tilt will head immediately to the Little League World Series, where they’ll play as Team Canada.

White Rock has twice represented Canada at the LLWS, in 2007 and 2008.

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