The White Rock Little League all-stars have taken care of round-robin business at the Canadian championship in Glace Bay, N.S.
Pitchers Cody Sigouin and Tate Dearing combined for a two-hitter Wednesday as White Rock edged host Glace Bay 2-0 to clinch first place and the No. 1 seed heading into Saturday’s playoff round. White Rock is 5-0 in the round robin with one game remaining, Thursday against Alberta.
Ontario (4-1) is the only team with a chance to match White Rock’s record but the B.C. champions hold the tiebreaker in head-to-head action after beating Ontario 9-2 last Sunday.
“I am very happy to be in the No. 1 spot and not having to battle it out in that 2-versus-3 semifinal on Saturday,” White Rock coach Jeff Crossley said from Glace Bay. “That was a big goal of ours so we’re happy to have beaten Ontario and Glace Bay to clinch that.”
By clinching Wednesday, Crossley will have the luxury of resting his top arms against Alberta. It will also afford him the chance to use his entire bench, although Little League rules do stipulate every player must play in every game.
“It will be an opportunity for us to get some kids some at-bats who maybe don’t normally get extra at-bats,” Crossley acknowledged. “And we’re probably seven-deep in pitching. We could throw our 5-6-7 guys and still have a very competitive game with a lot of teams.”
In Wednesday’s game, Dearing had the key hit as he doubled home pinch-runner Holden Cumiskey from second base in the bottom of the second inning. Cumiskey was running for Payton DeLuca, who had also doubled. Matt Mele scored the insurance run in the bottom of the fourth on a Glace Bay throwing error. Sigouin and Dearing combined for 11 strikeouts. “The game was a bit closer than we probably wanted it to be but we pulled through, I guess,” White Rock’s leadoff hitter Jared Crossley said.
“Going undefeated, you can’t really complain about that. I think we threw two of our best pitchers at Glace Bay in Cody and Tate and they did a very good job.”
Sigouin and Dearing appear to be White Rock’s go-to arms. They combined for the win over Whalley in the district final and then again in the provincial championship game against Hastings. They’ll be eligible to throw on the weekend after resting Thursday and Friday.
Meanwhile, Jared Crossley said he and his mates have become accustomed to the large crowds taking in the national tournament, even though their own rooting section is limited.
“Probably like 1-20th of the crowd was for us when we played Glace Bay,” he noted. “It was just our parents, I think. I bet half the town is at these games so it’s pretty cool.”
The top four teams in the seven-team tournament advance to Saturday’s semifinals. The final is scheduled for Sunday, 9 a.m. Pacific time. All games are being live-streamed at www.2013canadians.com.
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