By Ryan McCracken on August 12, 2017.
The White Rock All Stars earned a new moniker on Saturday at Lovell McDonnell Field: Team Canada.
White Rock held on for a perfect run through the Canadian Little League Championship with Saturday’s 12-5 final victory over Quebec’s Mirabel Diamond Academy and will move on to represent the Great White North at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Penn. later this month.
“It’s everything. It means we’re one of the world’s best and that’s a great feeling,” said White Rock second baseman Ty Fluet. “It’s been a dream for quite a while for this team.”
Quebec came out swinging to put the All Stars in an early 3-0 hole on a leadoff home run from Christophe Lepage Mancini and an RBI single from Joel Ouellette, but White Rock’s red-hot offence could only be held at bay for so long.
Fluet put his team on the board with his own lead-off homer in the second inning, then his squad exploded for six more runs in the third. First Reid Hefflick cashed a pair on an RBI single, then Fluet repeated the feat to bring two more across before Daniel Orfaly and Matleo Manzi scored on a pair of gaffes at the plate to run up a four-run lead while chasing Diamond starter Raphael Bourdeau — who settled for the loss after allowing six runs on seven hits through 2 and 1/3 — from the mound.
Hefflick struck again with another single in the fifth for his third RBI of the game. The contact hitter went 4-for-4 on the day, to finish the tournament with an .808 batting average, while also closing out the game on the mound with a two-run sixth.
While Diamond got to White Rock starter Reece Usselman early with three runs in the opening frame, the All Stars arm settled into his role and refused to budge until he was removed following five strong innings. Usselman collected the victory after holding Quebec to just three hits.
White Rock left nothing to chance in the sixth and final inning. While they entered the frame holding a somewhat-comfortable 8-3 lead, they tacked on with four more to all but put an end to any hope for a Quebec comeback.
Fluet dropped a bunt to score Chase Marshall — finishing the day 2-for-4 with 3 RBI — then Kyle Chyzowski drove a three-run shot over the left field fence to put the game away.
Bourdeau added a two-run home run for Diamond in the home half of the sixth, but Hefflick responded by inducing a ground ball to seal the championship.
White Rock will open the Little League World Series in Williamsport on Aug. 17.
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