Canada beats Panama in opener of Pan Am Games baseball qualifier
Canadians are two-time defending champions
Wes Darvil homered to tie the game and Daniel Pinero scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch as Canada opened the Pan American Games baseball qualifying tournament with a 5-1 win over Panama on Tuesday.
Darvil, an infielder and Chicago Cubs draft pick from Richmond, B.C., drilled a solo shot over the right-field wall in the the sixth after Panama had taken a 1-0 lead an inning earlier.
Catcher Kellin Deglan and outfielder Dalton Pompey also drove in runs in Canada's four-run sixth frame, and Deglan added a solo homer in the eighth.
Right-hander Scott Richmond started for Canada — the two-time defending Pan Am gold medallist — allowing one run, three hits and a walk and striking out two through five innings.
Left-hander Ryan Kellogg of Whitby, Ont., pitched the sixth inning for the win.
The seven-team qualifying tournament runs through Sunday with the top four teams securing a spot in the Pan Am Games this summer in Peru.
Canada, Panama and Colombia make up Group B (Venezuela pulled out of the tournament earlier this month), while Group A consists of Mexico, Nicaragua, Brazil and the Dominican Republic.
Canada plays Colombia on Thursday at 8 a.m. ET, with former Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher Phillippe Aumont of Gatineau, Que., scheduled to start.
Richmond is one of seven players on the Canadian roster with major league experience. The 39-year-old from Vancouver appeared in 36 games for the Toronto Blue Jays from 2008-2012.
Chris Leroux of Mississauga, Ont., Evan Rutckyj of Windsor, Ont., and Regina's Dustin Molleken pitched scoreless innings out of the bullpen.
Canada's men's team is ranked No. 10 in the world.
The Canadians defeated the United States for the Pan Am gold medal in 2011 in Guadalajara, Mexico, and again in 2015 in Toronto.