Canadian pitcher Riley Manion has stymied teams in the past during his career.
However, he had never done so on a big stage until Sunday night in Prince Albert.
The Napanee, Ont. native threw a no-hitter and struck out 15 Czech Republic batters over seven innings of work as Canada improved to 2-0 at the 2018 WBSC Junior Men’s Softball World Championship with a 6-1 victory at Rotary Field.
“It still hasn’t sunk in but it’s an unbelievable feeling,” Manion said seconds before he was doused with water by his teammates. “I couldn’t have done it without the other guys on the team.”
“We couldn’t believe what he was doing out there,” Canadian designated player Brady Hogg said. “He’s probably got the best rise ball that I’ve ever seen.”
Although the Czechs were able to get a run in the fourth inning on a fielder’s choice by designated player Filip Koblizek, Manion was able to keep the Czechs off balance all night long.
Despite hitting one batter and walking four others during the course of the contest, Manion kept calm under pressure and was quick to credit catcher Brendan Hagerman for helping him through challenging situations.
“He called an awesome game,” Manion said. “We took information from what their batters were doing and we kept working with what brought us success.”
Hogg also played a major role in the victory as he hit a three-run home run for the second straight night during the top of the sixth inning.
“I had the same approach as I did last night against the Americans,” Hogg said. “I was still looking to the outside of the plate and I took advantage of my opportunity.”
Hogg and Haggerman both had a pair of hits in the victory, which improved Canada’s record to 2-0.
The Czech Republic fell to 1-1 in Group B with the loss.
Canada will look to continue their winning ways Monday night at 8 p.m. at Rotary Field against tournament debutants Guatemala, who have a 1-1 record following a 5-1 win over Hong Kong Sunday.
“Obviously we’re happy with two wins but we can’t be satisfied,” Manion said.
“We need to keep pushing our compete level as there’s a lot of games during the course of the week. We need to keep the momentum going.”
The other Group B game Sunday saw New Zealand improve to 2-0 after a convincing 11-1 win over the United States.
Over in Group A, Australia broke open a close contest with four runs in the fifth inning as they defeated Argentina by a score of 7-2 at Kinsmen Field.
Left fielder Michael Ludkin led the way for his team at the plate with two hits and three runs batted in, while Shaun Lanaghan pitched a complete game and struck out seven batters.
With the win, Australia improved to 2-0 and is tied for first place in their pool with Japan and Mexico.
Japan, who are the defending gold medalists, cruised to a 16-0 win over Denmark while Mexico edged India 1-0 thanks to an sixth inning double by Jose Valenzuela.
- Australia – 2-0
- Japan – 2-0
- Mexico – 2-0
- South Africa – 1-0
- Argentina – 0-2
- India – 0-2
- Denmark – 0-3
- Canada – 2-0
- New Zealand – 2-0
- Czech Republic – 1-1
- Guatemala – 1-1
- Hong Kong – 0-2
- United States – 0-2
- 12:30 p.m. – India vs. South Africa – Rotary Field
- 2:30 p.m. – Australia vs. Denmark – Kinsmen Field
- 3 p.m. – United States vs. Hong Kong – Rotary Field
- 5 p.m. – Mexico vs. Japan – Kinsmen Field
- 5:30 p.m. – South Africa vs. Argentina – Rotary Field
- 7:30 p.m. – Czech Republic vs. New Zealand – Kinsmen Field
- 8 p.m. – Guatemala vs. Canada – Rotary Field