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Bench Talk / Off The Wire

Who's Tuning Up For What ?


By Fred Wallace


Hi, this is Fred Wallace with " Off the Wire ".

There was a unique Exhibition International Fastball doubleheader at Duncan McLellan Park in Owen Sound on Tuesday night.

The Owen Sound Junior Selects hosted the touring New Zealand Under 19 team and in the aftermath it wasn't clear which team was tuning up for what.

On the surface, it is the New Zealanders who are barnstorming around Ontario making their way to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan for the 2018 Under 19 World Championships next month and thus these pre-tournament games are designed to have them in peak form by early July.

And it's fair to say the New Zealanders are good based on what they showed in the 2 games in Owen Sound.

The pitching staff is deep, I counted at least five guys who hurled over the evening in Owen Sound and nobody really got tagged by the older Selects.

Plus, I found it noteworthy that in Game 2, rather than have a traditional batting order of 9 players, the New Zealanders sent up almost everyone on the roster in a perfect rotation.

That's tuning up.

But I think it's fair to say, the Junior Selects also were able to use the encounter as a tune up for the big games this Summer.

In the opener, they made two exceptional double plays, one a rapid 6-4-3 combination, the other a difficult to execute double play where the final out was made on an excellent throw from first to third.

New Zealand is off the World Under 19s and they look like contenders.

The Junior Selects, eventually, will be in Quebec come late July for the Canadians and Owen Sound looked pretty sharp as well.

I'm Fred Wallace

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