MIDLAND, MI – The Jarvis Ontario Travelers are the reigning ISC World Tournament champs and have won back-to-back titles. Wednesday night they came one step closer to a three-peat by beating the Saskatoon (SK) Diamondbacks 8-1 in the quarterfinals.
The win gives the Travelers a three-game win streak and moves them into the semifinals (Thursday at 8:30 p.m.) against the Six Nations Ontario Hill United Chiefs, a 1-0 victor over the Minnesota Angels of West St. Paul, Wednesday.
EITHIER SLUGS HOMER
Diamondbacks’ starting pitcher and number five hitter, Trevor Ethier, gave his club a 1-0 lead in the top half of the second by blasting a Sean Cleary offering over the left-field fence.
But that would be the final hit Cleary would allow. From then on he was nearly flawless in four innings before giving way to Paul Koert.
After Ethier’s home run, Jarvis counterpunched in its half of the inning on a two-run bomb from cleanup hitter, Donnie Hale, to take a 2-1 lead they wouldn’t surrender.
HALE ONE-UPS EITHER
One of fastpitch softball’s most feared power hitters, Hale (2-for-2) – who bats from the right side – took an Ethier inside drop ball the opposite way deep over the right-centerfield fence with Ian Fehrman (1-1) aboard on a walk.
From there, the game turned one-sided. Jarvis plated three more runs in third, two in the fourth, and ended the game with a run in the sixth.
In the third, Brad Rona’s home run, Hale’s RBI single, and Ben Enoka’s run-scoring fly ball gave the Travelers a 5-1 advantage.
Leadoff hitter Ryan Wolfe started the uprising with a single, and later scored on Enoka’s fly ball. But as he crossed home plate he pulled up lame. Wolfe had to leave the game from what appeared a hamstring injury.
Jarvis’ high-octane offense came right back in the fourth, plating two more runs on Enoka’s two-run single. And in the sixth, Rona (2-4) ended the game on a run-scoring single.
The Jarvis offense pounded out 12 hits with Brandon Horn going 2-for-4 and 2 runs; Shane Boland, 1-3, run; Rona 2-4, 2 RBIs, run; Enoka 1-2, 3 RBIs; Fehrman 1-1, 2 runs; Hale 2-2, 3 RBIs, run; Frederik Terkelson 1-3; and Ryan Boland 1-3, run.
Cleary (2-0) picked up the win with four innings of work. The right-hander from Harbor Main, Newfoundland has all the pitches, including a devastating change-up that had the Diamondbacks lunging out in front of the plate, swinging at the elusive slow ball, dropping below their bats.
Cleary finished with a one-hitter; Ethier’s homer in the second, the only blemish. He walked three and struck out eight before handing the ball to Paul Koert in the fifth. Koert was just as effective, allowing only a walk and striking out one.
A TOP WORLD TOURNEY PITCHER
In the 2011 ISC World Tournament, Cleary pitched for the Harrisburg Pennsylvania Power, helping them finish seventh by crafting a personal 2-2 record in 29 innings. He struck 65 of the world’s best hitters and allowed just two earned runs for a 0.48 ERA – third best of all pitchers.
But Cleary and the Travelers will have a big test in the semifinals against Hill United. The Chiefs (3-0) have Australian Adam Folkard (2-0) in the circle.
FOLKARD COULD FACE FORMER TEAMMATES
Folkard pitched for the Travelers in 2010 and ’11. He was the 2009 and 2010 World Tournament Most Outstanding Pitcher, but was sidelined with an injury in last year’s world tournament.
This should be an interesting matchup filled with some drama with Folkard (possibly) pitching against his old Travelers’ teammates.
The game will be webcast by the ISC at 8:30 p.m. (5:30 PST) and should be a great matchup between the ISC’s No. 2 Chiefs, and No. 3 Travelers.
For ISC webcasts, go to:ISC Fastpitch Webcasts