Jimmy Van Ostrand slugged two of Canada’s five home runs in a 16-7 rout of Germany on Saturday to move within one victory of the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
Van Ostrand collected four hits, three runs and five RBIs, while Rene Tosini blasted a pinch-hit grand slam and Tyson Gillies and Jordan Lennerton each added home runs for the Ernie Whitt’s team.
Adam Loewen and Shawn Bowman each collected three of Canada’s 21 hits while Sheldon McDonald picked up the win in relief.
“A four-hour game, that says it all. What a game,” said Whitt. “We threw too many pitchers. When you fall behind, hitters hit the ball. You have to give Germany a lot of credit. The score doesn’t indicate how the game was played.
“Our goal coming in was to win three games. We haven’t accomplished that yet. We will see who we play on Monday.”
Canada will play in the deciding game for a spot in the 2013 Classic on Monday against the winner of Sunday’s game between Germany and Great Britain.
Gillies knew the host Germans would provide a challenge.
“We knew it was going to be a battle. We had a good start but we knew we couldn’t let up,” he said. “They came out ready to play. And I told our guys they would. They wouldn’t just give it to us.”
Added German manager Greg Frady: “It was disappointing to lose this game, but the tournament is not over.”
Canada didn’t waste any time with their offence, scoring three runs in the first inning. Gillies and Brock Kjeldgaard walked to open the game and one batter later Van Ostrand crushed an Alex Burgos offering over the left-field wall for a three-run home run.
Germany showed they have some bats as well, scoring three runs in the bottom of the second to knot the game at 3-3. Eric Suttle and Matt Vance hit back-to-back singles to the opposite field and Canadian right-fielder Loewen threw off target at home both times, allowing three runs to score.
Van Ostrand led off the third inning and deposited another Burgos offering over the left-field fence for his third home run of the tournament to give Canada a 4-3 lead.
The third inning ended with an injury to Canada catcher Cole Armstrong, who hurt himself rounding first base on an inning-ending flyout. The initial prognosis is a ruptured Achilles, but Armstrong, who had to be replaced by Chris Robinson behind the plate, will have an MRI on Sunday.
Canada could not hold the lead as Germany scored in the bottom of the third. Donald Lutz doubled to left and was sacrificed to third by Simon Guhring and scored on Jake Shaffer’s groundout to make it 4-4.
Just as the temperatures in Regensburg dropped to below 10 C, both teams’ bats went cold.
“It was tough out there for a while with the cold. It was tough to field and the field was damp and the guys’ fingers get cold,” said Whitt.
Canada’s second pitcher of the game, Jamie Richmond, held Germany scoreless for 2 1-3 innings and German reliever Luke Sommer faced the minimum batters over 3 1-3 innings.
But Gillies ended that streak and sparked a five-run seventh inning with a line drive home run to right centre. Canada strung together seven straight hits, including an RBI triple by Tim Smith and RBI singles by Van Ostrand, Shawn Bowman and Robinson for a 9-4 lead.
Germany came back with two runs in the bottom of the seventh on a pinch hit double by Aaron Altherr and a single by Kai Gronauer to pull within 9-6.
But Canada responded with two more runs on a solo home run by Jordan Lennerton and an RBI single by Loewen.
Canada wasn’t done scoring as they pounded out five more runs in the ninth inning on five hits — the biggest being Lennerton’s pinch-hit grand slam.