To this day, this game sticks in my craw so why not share the misery? And no, this isn't the game that knocked Canada out of the tournament after they beat the US. This game is even worse.
Team Italy was a bunch of no-names (not completely true, just mostly true). Team Canada had Joey Votto, pre-concussed Justin Morneau, good Phillippe Aumont, Jesse Crain (to be fair, he was near the end of his career), John Axford, rising star Brett Lawrie, and a bunch of minor leaguers. (Full roster here.)
A sidenote: You have to feel for the Brewers - they had 14 players participating in the tourney, 4 of them on Team Canada.
Everyone believed that Canada would cakewalk through this game, the first one they played in the tourney. Revenge would be had after the disastrous game in 2009. Instead, everything went horribly wrong.
The game was supposed to be at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick (the shared spring training field for the Diamondbacks and the Rockies) but had to be moved to Chase Field because of inclement weather.
Yes, Canada didn't have an ace on the mound, Shawn Hill getting the call. But neither did Italy, trotting out Alex Maestri, who had been playing for Orix Buffaloes in the Nippon league.
Italy, as the home team, walks Votto (of course) but otherwise gets out of the first unharmed. In the bottom of the inning, fucking Nick Punto singles to start the inning, gets to second on a wild pitch, then scores on two ground balls. Horseshoe up his damn ass.
Canada ties it in the next inning, Michael Saunders doing the damage with a top of the inning double, and scoring on a Mike Orr double. Unfortunately that's all the scoring.
Each team then has a 3-up, 3-down inning. Then the bottom of the third happens. Anthony Gratano (who's from Toronto, never got above AA, and wasn't in baseball any more at that point) singles then steals second. Fucking Punto walks but is erased on a double play that moves Grantano to third.
Hill hits his pitch limit and is relieved by Scott Mathieson, who had last pitched with the Phillies in 2011 (and is also on this year's roster). And it doesn't go so well. He walks Anthony Rizzo (ok, Rizzo was coming off a good season), gives up a single to Alex Liddi (who SUCKED for Seattle) which scores Grantano, then Chris Colabello hits a 3-run homer. Mathieson settles down after that but the damage is done and Italy is up 5-1.
The score stays static until Mathieson is relieved (after giving up a walk to Liddi) by Dustin Molleken, who had been playing for the Nippon Ham Fighters (he's also on this year's roster, having signed a minor league deal with the Tigers). He promptly gives up a single to Colabello, walks Mike Costanzo (who had a fuckin' cup of coffee with the Reds), then gives up a sac fly that scores Liddi.
The next inning (we're only at the top of the 6th, folks) Canada gets the run back when Morneau walks and comes around to score. It's now 6-2. Molleken gets a 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 6th. Canada gets 2 runs in the top of the 7th when Saunders (who ends up being the pool D MVP) hits a single that scores Cale Iorg (remember when he was a promising prospect?) and Joey Votto. Canada is now within 2.
You can see why this game pisses me off. Because here is where the wheels fall off.
Phillippe Aumont comes on in the bottom of the 7th. He gets two outs and then gives up a single to Colabello (again!), followed by a walk, single, and a double. Aumont is relieved by Jim Henderson (one of the aforementioned Brewers, also on this year's roster), who gets the final out.
It's now 9-4 Italy. Pat Venditte (yeah, that guy) gets 3-up, 3-down.
Bottom 8. Henderson gives up a double to fuckin' Punto and Chris Denorfia (yeah, he was still good at that point) gets in on the action with a single that scores Punto (wasn't that dude supposed to be slow?). Henderson is relieved by RJ Swindle (who had retired in 2009) who immediately walks Rizzo, gives up a single to Liddi, and then yet another single to Cola to score Denorfia. Costanzo gets a ground rule double that scores two, Mario Chiarini (from the Italian league!) scores Cola and the mercy rule is invoked.
The fucking mercy rule!
Basically, Chris Colabello kicked Canada's ass. You have to think that's how he got on the Jays' radar. Nick Punto was a total pain in the ass, as usual. And Rizzo can suck it.
Here's a recap of the game:
Some enterprising soul has posted some innings of the game in horrible quality to avoid the wrath of MLB, if you want to experience some more of the wreckage.
Let's hope today's game goes better. It's gotta, right?