Canadian team enjoying tourney despite losses

Posted Aug. 19, 2009, at 10:54 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — The Cornwall Black Sox had a very quick turnaround.

After losing a heart-breaking 6-3, 12-inning game to Fremont, Calif., late Tuesday night in a game that lasted more than three hours, the Canadian champions returned to Mansfield Stadium for a 1 p.m. Senior League World Series game against Asia-Pacific titlist Makati City from the Philippines on Wednesday.

The team from Ontario fell behind 5-0 before rallying for four runs in the seventh. However, the Canadians couldn’t push across the tying run and fell to 0-3 in the tourney with the losses coming by a combined five runs.

“I felt good this morning,” said Cornwall pitcher Jay Flannigan. “I was kind of pumped up after last night’s game.”

Catcher Nolan St. Denis concurred.

“It was one heckuva’ game last night. I was so pumped up before this game. We were good to go,” said St. Denis.

Shortstop Dylan Casselman said he was also excited although he felt a few lingering affects from the Tuesday night game.

“It felt like jet lag. My legs were tired and my arm was tired. But you’ve got to fight through it. We were all pumped up for this one but it just didn’t go our way,” said Casselman.

The Canadian champs will finish pool play against U.S. South winner Greenville, S.C., this morning at 10.

They won’t advance to the semis but they will leave knowing they could have won all three games.

They lost to Bangor 1-0 in their opener despite allowing just one hit. They squandered bases-loaded, no-outs and bases-loaded one-out opportunities in the ninth and 10th innings against Fremont on Tuesday and left the tying and winning runs in scoring position in the seventh against Makati City.

“It was tough luck, I guess,” said St. Denis. “We should have won all of those.”

But the Canadians, who have been on the road for 20 straight days and who didn’t clinch the Canadian championship in Saint John, New Brunswick, until the Thursday before their Sunday SLWS opener, said playing in the tournament has been enjoyable.

“It’s been a great experience. We’ve been playing great ball and have played close games. That’s what we came her for,” said Flannigan.

“I’ve learned a lot more about baseball these past couple of days than I have in my whole life. It has been a real good experience,” said St. Denis.

“I’ve been dreaming about this since I was 4 years old,” said Casselman. “I’ve been taking it all in. It’s been great. It’s a nice city, good baseball. That’s what we came her for. That’s what we’re doing.”

Flannigan pitched extremely well but had two hard-luck losses to show for it.

He allowed just one hit and one run in 5¤ innings against Bangor with five strikeouts and six walks and gave up three runs and eight hits in six-plus innings against Makati City with three strikeouts and no walks.

“I did all right,” said Flannigan.

“He was a good pitcher. He was hard to hit,” said Makati City third baseman Adriane Bernardo.

Makati City pleased to be 3-1

The Makati City players and coaches were ecstatic with their 3-1 pool play record after last year’s 0-4 showing.

They became the first team from the Philippines to win three games since Bangor began hosting the tournament in 2002. They are the fourth team from the Philippines to make it to Bangor.

And they became the first Asia-Pacific champ to reach the semifinal round since the SLWS came to Bangor in 2002.

“After losing every game last year, this is real special,” said third baseman Adriane Bernardo, one of four starters who played in Bangor last season.

“This is real special for us,” said Makati City first baseman Julian Habana. “Baseball is decreasing in the Philippines and everyone expected us to lose every game.”

“The feeling is incredible,” said second baseman Jose San Juan.

Manager Luis Habana said “I’ve had a good feeling about this team. Our defense has held up ever since we started. Our defense has carried us through together with our pitching.”

Makati City played errorless ball in their win over Cornwall.

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