After former Jays starter Shawn Hill started Canada’s semi-final win over the host nation Mexico on Monday, the Canucks managed to top the United States 2-1 in a nail-biter on Tuesday to win the country’s first ever gold medal in international baseball competition.
Check out the ESPN clip embedded below for video highlights, and congratulations to the team on their historic victory.
Canada starter and Minnesota Twins prospect Andrew Albers allowed just one earned run on six hits with over 6.2 strong innings with eight strikeouts. The lone run that Albers surrendered in the first inning was erased by a two-run double in the sixth by Houston Astros farmhand James Van Ostrand that put Canada up 2-1.
But in the bottom half of the inning, Albers departed with runners on first and second and two outs to give way to former Jays pitcher Scott Richmond. Richmond not only ended the sixth-inning threat with a fly out, but fanned three of the six batters he faced in the game’s final two innings and did not allow a hit.
With Cuba’s dominance in the event being 10-time defending champions, combined with Canada’s previous track record in international baseball competition, the win was more than sweet for former Jays bench coach and Canada manager Ernie Whitt. But he felt that his team’s victory should be special for Canada as a nation, and that it’s a great step forward for the country’s baseball program.
“This gold means a lot for the kids in this program who have been here for a while. We were finally on the podium with Cuba and the United States standing one step below us. Our national anthem was played and our flag was raised,” he said in a Toronto Star article. “It was a great building block for Canadian baseball. It shows we can compete with anyone I the world. And Canada should be very proud of each and every one of those players.”