Arms shine as Tournament 12 games open

TORONTO -- The first day of games at the fourth annual Tournament 12, presented by New Era, was highlighted by the arms featured on Friday at Rogers Centre.

The event hosted by the Blue Jays features more than 160 of the country's top Draft and college-eligible players competing on the Major League field for more professional scouts and college coaches than at any showcase in the nation. Tournament 12 is named for its commissioner, Hall of Fame second baseman Roberto Alomar, who is joined by fellow alumni coaches Duane Ward; his father, Sandy; Mario Diaz; Lloyd Moseby; Tanyon Sturtze; Devon White; George Bell and Carlos Delgado, all supporting the development of Canadian baseball.

Atlantic Maroon 9, Prairies Purple 0
After trading zeros for four innings, a seven-run fifth propelled the Atlantic squad to a 9-0 win over the reigning tournament champions to open the games portion of the showcase.

"We've had one win in the last two years, so to start of with a big win like this against the defending champs is a good way to start the tournament and get momentum going," said Steve Donahue, coach for the Maroon squad.

Atlantic second baseman Adam Estey had a double, a triple, a walk and five RBIs. Southpaw Garrett Nicholson and 16-year-old righty Ethan Francis combined for the shutout, each fanning eight in the seven-inning game.

"As a 16-year-old coming in, there's no better spot to come in than a scoreless game, and [Francis] was into it," Donahue said. "He got the big [offensive] inning right after he came in, so I guess he set the tone for us."

BC Orange 3, Alberta Red 0
BC Orange pitchers and Canadian Junior National Team hurlers Jack DeCooman and Sam Shoemaker held Alberta Red to just one hit over seven innings in a 3-0 victory.

DeCooman got the start and went four innings, allowing the one hit, walking one and striking out seven. The University of Washington commit was relieved by his North Shore Twins and Team Canada teammate Shoemaker, who walked two and fanned five in three frames.

"That's kind of what you're looking for from national team guys -- commanding the strike zone, getting ahead of hitters, putting hitters away early -- they did a lot of really good things," said former Blue Jay Paul Spoljaric, part of the BC coaching staff.

The pitchers' fellow national team member and Alberta's first baseman Soren Graverson notched the only hit for the home squad. BC left fielder Brett Bass and second baseman Rhys Cratty each drove in a run for the winning team, Cratty pacing the offence with two hits.

Futures Navy 0, Prairies Purple 0
A pitchers' duel ended in a scoreless tie after seven innings and a game-changing injury, with just three total hits allowed.

The Futures team, featuring players who will be eligible for the Draft in 2018 and '19, looked as though it would take the lead in the top of the sixth when, with a runner on first, 16-year-old catcher Ryan Faragher sent a two-out hit to the wall in left field.

"I'm watching the ball thinking [the runner] is going to score," said Nigel Wilson, former big league outfielder and Navy coach. "I'm watching the runner telling him to go ahead, and then I'm trying to pick up the guy who hit the ball at second base. I'm looking and looking, and I thought he fell in between, and I thought, 'Where is he?' I look at home plate and he's rolling around, and I thought, 'Oh no.'"

The backstop collapsed after hearing a pop and experiencing pain in his knee. He eventually headed to the hospital, but after the runner scored, the out was recorded without Faragher ever reaching base, disqualifying the run.

"It was his back side, and I don't know 100 percent, but I think his upper body rotated and his lower half didn't," Wilson said. "So it was his knee, and he's heading to the hospital and I hope he's fine. He walked out of here, which was a good sign."

Eric Cerantola, Carter Seabrooke and Noah Paterson combined for the shutout on the Navy side, with Carson Campbell, Tanner Bercier and Brody Frerichs no-hitting the younger team through 6 1/3 innings, eventually allowing just one base knock.

Ontario Green 1, Ontario Black 4
Noah Skirrow got the start against Green's Landon Leach, and the 18-year-old right-hander threw four scoreless innings, allowing one hit, walking three and striking out seven.

The game also featured Black middle infielder Adam Hall and Green outfielder Cooper Davis, the only players to have participated in all four years of Tournament 12 and the country's top high school prospects heading into next year's Draft. Hall singled, was hit by a pitch, drove in a run, scored a run and stole three bases, while Davis notched the only hit his team got off of Skirrow.

Never having had opportunities like the current players are experiencing at Tournament 12, former big leaguer Pete Orr, coaching on the Black staff, is excited about what it means for young Canadians and how it can help continue the progression of the game north of the border.

"Any time a player at any level gets an opportunity to make an impression on people who make important decisions, it's a great thing," Orr said.

Quebec Blue 8, Futures Navy 8
Quebec took an early lead, scoring once in the first and third, before its younger counterpart put up an eight-spot in the fourth inning, thanks to five hits, four walks and two wild pitches. Chipping away for two runs in the fifth, the Blue squad added four in the sixth to knot the game.

"In the fifth inning, we had a bad inning and we tried to bounce back right after," Blue second baseman Edouard Julien said. "We had a good end of the game to take us into tomorrow."

Julien, a 17-year-old switch-hitting Canadian Junior National Team member, notched an RBI double to go with two walks and three stolen bases -- including a steal of home on a double-stolen-base attempt -- and three runs scored.

Competing in the tournament last September helped the native of Quebec City earn his spot on Team Canada, something that he is incredibly grateful for.

"It's amazing to play here where the Blue Jays play," Julien said. " ... It's a good opportunity for us, and I love it."

Alexis Brudnicki is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.