By CLAUDE SCILLEY
NAPANEE, Aug. 11—Napanee Shoeless Joe’s Express moved into a tie for second place at the Softball Canada junior men’s fastball championship Tuesday night with a 9-4 win over the Saskatoon Diamondbacks in the final game of the night at the Fairgrounds.
The win improvee Napanee’s record to 3-1, and gives the Express a share of second place with the Tavistock Athletics and the Irma Tigers of Alberta.
Just one team remains undefeated at the midway point of the preliminary round-robin. The Ontario champion Stratford-New Hamburg Cubs won all three of their games Tuesday and they stand 4-0.
Napanee’s win over the No. 1 Saskatchewan team here capped a day that started with the disappointment of a 7-6 extra-inning defeat at the hands of Stratford. It was a game where Napanee had three-run leads going into the bottom of both the seventh and eighth innings.
In between there was a 12-4 win over the Napanee Abundant Insulation Express (See earlier story: http://www.sportkingston.ca/index.php/articles/view/3314.html)
Against Saskatchewan, a team that was also 2-1 entering the game, Napanee struck for three runs in the top of the first inning but the Diamondbacks rallied to tie the score by the end of the second. The teams traded runs in the third inning and then a double in the fifth by Mackenzie Pringle brought the go-ahead run home for Napanee.
There were two out with nobody on base as Napanee batted in the top of the sixth when Brett Irwin reached on an error. There followed an RBI triple by Taylor Brown, a wild pitch that allowed him to score, singles by Cody Brooks and St. Pierre and a passed ball that allowed Brooks to come home.
A single by Irwin in the top of the seventh produced Napanee’s final run.
Excluding the three runs Napanee scored on St. Pierre’s one-out triple in the first, all of the Shoeless Joe’s runs were scored with two out.
Cole Bolton got the pitching victory, allowing just two singles after he came into the game with one out in the bottom of third, after St. Pierre, the Express starter, allowed back-to-back singles.
Bolton didn't allow those runners to score and he struck out four the rest of the way.
Brown had three hits and drew a base on balls for Napanee, while St. Pierre also finished the game with three hits. There were no home runs in the game, but the Express popped four doubles and a triple among its 12 hits.
Napanee’s other team at the nine-team national tournament isn’t faring so well. The Abundant Insulation Express is 0-4, with all four of the defeats coming in the minimum five innings dictated by the mercy rule.
After Quebec put the finishing touches on a 10-2 victory in the resumption of a game suspended by rain Monday night, Abundant lost the Battle of Napanee after having taken a 3-0 lead, and then 8-1 to the defending champion Irma Tigers.
Against Quebec, the best of five Napanee hits was a lead-off triple by Shane McNish in the third inning. Ty McNish belted a solo home run to deliver the only run against Quebec.
Play resumes Wednesday, with Abundant Insulation opening proceedings with a 10 a.m. game with Newfoundland-Labrador, 1-3, and then facing Tavistock, 3-1, at 2 p.m. Shoeless Joe's will play Irma in a rematch of last year's gold-medal game at 1 o'clock, and then meet Tavistock in the final game of the day at 7 p.m.