Team Canada wanted nothing more than to rid themselves of the memory of the final game of the 2009 World Baseball Classic on Friday.  Team Italy was the opposition yet again, just as was the case in the surprising loss suffered at the end of their 09 tournament, team coach and ex-player Stubby Clapp was nonetheless optimistic “Definitely there’s a different air of confidence” he said.


Canada received the devastating news of the unavailability of Blue Jays spark plug third baseman Brett Lawrie on Friday that added to the long list of Canadian major leaguers not playing.  Still the team was confident.


Italy was coming off a Thursday win over team Mexico to open the classic in which they had burned through six pitchers in a tournament where pitching is at a premium.


The odds looked good for Team Canada leading into Friday, the game though didn’t start as planned.


Sloppy defence and questionable pitching had Canada trailing 5-1 after Chris Colabello’s third inning three-run shot off Scott Mathieson, the club had dug themselves a huge hole.  Canada chipped away getting the score to 6-4 heading into the bottom of the seventh due mostly to outfielder Michael Saunders hot bat.


The momentum Canada had built didn’t last long though, a two-run double by Drew Butera helped put Italy back up by five (9-4) by the end of the seventh inning.


Manager Ernie Whitt was obviously not a happy camper with facial expressions that could burn through a wall being displayed in the Canadian dugout.


An eighth inning ground rule double that was originally ruled a home run almost cost Canada the game thanks to the 10 run mercy rule in place in the tournament.  I didn’t matter though, the next batter finished the game for Italy putting them ahead 14-4 and effectively mercying the Canadians.


All the confidence in the world couldn’t help Canada against the scrappy Italians on Friday afternoon.  They have made any chance of advancing to the second round of the WBC for the first time very difficult for themselves, now requiring wins against both the Mexicans and the powerhouse Americans to have  any hope of moving on.


Canada’s next game is Saturday afternoon against Mexico.


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