Team Canada on the bubble at U18 Baseball World Cup
Tough start means wins are needed in remaining first-round games
As they come up on their third game at the 2017 Under-18 Baseball World Cup, Team Canada is really trying to avoid thinking about the future.
Due to a rough start — 0-2 after dropping games to Chinese Taipei and Korea, along with one match pospoted due to rain — and a 4-0 Australia win over Chinese Taipei on Monday morning, Team Canada needs a win in each of its remaining games to make the tournament playoffs.
But despite the pressure, head coach Greg Hamilton is looking at the bright side.
"You don't want to start out 0-2, but ironic as it may sound, we're actually in control of our own destiny, which is kind of the nature sometimes of international baseball," Hamilton said. "If we can win out here, we'll find ourselves in a very good spot moving over and into the crossover round."
"So we've gotta take care of day-to-day, but with an 0-2 start and still to have your destiny within your control is certainly a positive."
As for those opening losses, Hamilton puts much of the blame on his squad walking 23 batters in two games.
"That kind of speaks for itself," he said. "If you're going to walk that many guys, which is certainly out of character with our pitching staff, it makes it pretty difficult."
"Too many opportunities that you're giving the other guys when you're walking that many."
The day-by-day approach, then, starts now, with Team Canada taking the field at 6:30 pm for a do-or-die game against Italy.
"We need to win," Hamilton said. "There's nothing other than that reality."
'We can't lose'
"We have to take care of our game," he said. "If we focus on our game and play the way that we're capable of playing, I think we'll be in a good spot tonight. But we can't look ahead, we can't get excited about the potential that could be ahead if we're succesful in the next three games — we have to come out against Italy and play like it's a do-or-die game, because it is. We can't lose."
Team Canada takes the Port Arthur Stadium field against Italy tonight at 6:30 pm.
The game will be live-streamed at thunderbay2017.com.