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Blue Jays: Past and present players help Canada qualify for Pan Am Games

LAGOS DE MORENO, MEXICO - OCTOBER 25: Scott Richmond of Canada pitches the ball during the Baseball Gold Medal Match between the United States and Canada during Day 11 of the XVI Pan American Games at the Pan American Baseball Stadium on October 25, 2011 in Lagos de Moreno, Mexico. (Photo by Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images)
LAGOS DE MORENO, MEXICO - OCTOBER 25: Scott Richmond of Canada pitches the ball during the Baseball Gold Medal Match between the United States and Canada during Day 11 of the XVI Pan American Games at the Pan American Baseball Stadium on October 25, 2011 in Lagos de Moreno, Mexico. (Photo by Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images) /
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Canada’s Men’s Senior National Team headed to Sao Paulo, Brazil attempting to secure a birth at the 2019 Pan Am Games and brought along a team filled with ties to Canada’s only major league baseball team.

Extra innings would not be Canada’s friend late in the tournament as a three-run homer in the 10th inning pushed the Dominican Republic past them in the semi-finals. In the bronze medal game, they would reach the 10th inning again just to see Honduras score four and snatch up the final medal.

Despite the loss, the Canadian squad still qualifies for the 2019 Pan Am Games in Peru due to their top four finish.

The team featured several former Jays such as Michael Saunders, Adam Loewen, and Scott Richmond. Current Blue Jays prospect Dalton Pompey manned centre field while his younger brother and 2018 Marlins draft pick, Tristan Pompey, got some work in right.

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The team also included two other current Blue Jays prospects, pitcher Andrew Case who spent most of last year Double-A New Hampshire as well as utility man Otto Lopez who spent the year in Single-A Vancouver.

Richmond, who pitched in 26 games for the Jays, was their go-to man on the mound, getting starts in the tournament opener against Panama, which they won, as well as the semi-final matchup.

Offensively Team Canada leaned on the most experienced player overall, Saunders batted cleanup all week and started each game at the DH position.

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Many players on this squad have a connection with the Blue Jays and the coaching staff does as well. Tim Leiper may not be with the Jays anymore but became a fan favourite over the years since joining the major league staff in 2014. Leiper also won gold at the 2011 Pan Am Games as part of the coaching staff. Richmond won gold in 2011 with Leiper as well as 2015 when Canada hosted the games.

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