Tournament 12 down to four teams

Tournament 12 down to four teams

TORONTO -- After three full days of games, only four teams remain in contention to win the fourth annual Tournament 12 at Rogers Centre. After five games on Sunday, Monday's semifinal matchups will feature BC Orange against Atlantic Maroon and Ontario Black against Quebec Blue to determine the final. Winners will meet Monday night in the championship game.

The five-day showcase, hosted by the Blue Jays, welcomed more than 160 on the county's top high school baseball players and allowed them to compete on a big league stage in front of about 60 professional scouts and college recruiters.

Ontario Black 10, Quebec Blue 3
Sunday's opener featured an offensive outburst from Ontario Black, which held Quebec Blue to two hits and used a six-run seventh inning to secure their spot in the semifinal. Left fielder Tyrell Hebert led the hitters, going 2-for-4 with a walk, stolen base, and two RBIs, and right fielder Antonio Cruz and first baseman Kyle Bryan each drove in two runs.

Quebec left fielder Paul Labelle got both Blue runs with a fourth-inning double. Hayden Malenfant got the start for Black and allowed three runs (two earned) on two hits with three walks and four strikeouts. Reliever Cameron Dyck shut out Quebec for three frames.

"Our team is an exciting team to watch," said Black coach Adam Stern. "It's a very athletic team, a very dynamic team, guys can really run. It changes how you pitch to our guys because you know they're looking to play an aggressive game.

Alberta Red 6, Atlantic Maroon 1
The only two home runs of the tournament came in a span of five minutes, when Alberta centre fielder Greg Student ended his team's offensive drought. Three outs later Atlantic Maroon third baseman Brett Platts sent his team's lone run over the fence.

Heading into its final game of the Blue Jays-hosted event, the Red squad had totaled only two hits in its three games, being on the wrong end of two no-nos on Saturday, and without a run scored in the tournament. Their first hit was a first-inning single by shortstop Cesar Valero, but Student ended the scoreless drought with his left-field blast with two outs in the fifth.

"It was unbelievable," the 17-year-old said. "The Blue Jays have been my favourite team since I was a little kid, so it's an absolute dream come true to hit here, and I couldn't have asked for a better moment than that."

Right-hander Josh Fisher got the start for Alberta and shut out the Maroon team for four frames, allowing two hits, walking one and striking out six.

"Our pitchers have been amazing," Student said. "They've given us a chance to win every single game. We haven't hit at all."

BC Orange 6, Prairies Purple 2
The squad from BC punched its ticket to the semifinal in just its third game of the tournament, securing a spot with its third straight win, taking down the defending champion Prairies Purple in the third game of the day.

Right-hander Cade Smith started for Orange and held Prairies to just two hits over five scoreless innings, walking three and striking out 10.

First baseman Michael Stovman and catcher Noah Or paced the Orange offence with two hits apiece. Stovman also walked twice, scored two runs and drove in one, and Or added a walk and a run scored. Right fielder Dawson Gray singled and drove in two in the win, which sent the Orange into Monday's final day.

"Getting into this part of the tournament now, we still have some arms left for tomorrow," BC Orange coach Corey Eckstein said. "We have a couple guys who will be able to bounce back from Friday and help us out [Monday]. The bats have been good, some timely hits, but our pitching has carried us through."

Atlantic Maroon 5, Futures Navy 2
After being unsure of whether he would even be able to attend T12, 16-year-old Atlantic Maroon southpaw Jaden Griffin made the most of his outing, sending his team to the semifinal round with an impressive start.

"I had some arm problems at the end of the summer," Griffin said. "It was a long year, my longest year I've ever played. I played from basically October to the end of summer, so I had soreness, but I have some great trainers out at Vauxhall who were able to help me out and get me here to be able to pitch."

Griffin lasted 6 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on three hits with three walks and seven strikeouts. Maroon took advantage of three Navy errors and used an RBI double from second baseman Adam Estey and an RBI single from catcher Bryce Davis to move on.

Shortstop Declan Buckle added two singles and scored a run. "That was amazing, especially doing it with guys that I've played with for the last five or six years of my life," Griffin said. "I wouldn't want to do it with anybody else, and to do it to push us to the next day was awesome."

Ontario Green 8, BC Orange 1
Sunday's final matchup saw Ontario Green find the offence it needed just a little too late in the tournament, taking down BC Orange. One of two players, along with Adam Hall, who have participated in all four Tournament 12s, Green centre fielder Cooper Davis led the way with a single, double, walk, two stolen bases, two runs scored and an RBI.

Now graduated from the event, he is happy that he had another chance to play at Rogers Centre. "It's been amazing," the 17-year-old outfielder said. "It's crazy looking back and thinking that I was 14 years old when I was first here. Everything [tournament commissioner] Robbie Alomar has done for me and everybody at Tournament 12 has been amazing."

Green designated hitter Jameson Hart went 2-for-2 with two RBIs in the win, and the squad used five pitchers to keep BC's offence at Bay.

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