Panama City, Panama-Fruitvale’s Chris Kissock was perfect in relief, starter Shawn Hill was magnificent and Brock Kjeldgaard belted a three-run homer in the second inning as Canada earned an upset, 6-1 win over the United States Sunday at the 39th IBAF World Cup.
The win was Canada’s final game in Pool A and gives them a 6-1 record after beating the Netherlands 5-4 in extra innings Saturday, and losing their only game in the first round to Panama on Friday, 12-3.
Kissock made appearances in both the Netherlands and U.S. games to help Canada ensure a share of first place as it prepares for the second round of play. In four relief appearances at the World Cup, Kissock has pitched six innings, giving up no runs, two hits, four walks and six strike outs.
In the U.S. game, Kissock picked up the save for Hill who kept the batters off balance most of the game and never allowed a hit from the second through sixth innings, tossing perfect frames in the second, fourth and fifth innings.
Brock Kjledgaard’s homer to left field in the second inning came with nobody out after Jimmy Van Ostrand walked to lead-off the inning and Emerson Frostad followed with a single.
Canada had a chance to add to their lead in the seventh when they loaded the bases with only one out, but weren’t able to cash in any runs.
The U.S. finally got to Hill in the bottom of the seventh when Matt Clark hit a solo homerun to lead-off the inning. After a strikeout and a walk, Hill was taken out of the game and Kissock came out of the Canadian bullpen.
Kissock forced a fly out and ground out to prevent the U.S. from closing the 3-1 gap.
Canada added three insurance runs in the ninth as Tim Smith continued to swing a hot bat and singled up the middle, scoring two. Smith then scored all the way from first base on a double to left field from Kjeldgaard.
Kissock stayed in the game and pitched the ninth inning walking the lead-off batter, then getting the next one on a fielder’s choice before striking out the final two batters to end the game.
“It’s a great win for us but there’s still some room for improvement,” said manager Ernie Whitt. “As we go forward in this tournament we have to continue to improve and limit the mistakes we make.”
In the game against the Netherlands, Kissock came on in the sixth inning with the match deadlocked 2-2. With the go-ahead run on second base, the right-hander struck out the Netherlands batter to end the threat.
He also struck out the first batter to start the seventh but then gave up two walks and ceded a single to first-baseman Curt Smith before being lifted for fellow reliever Mark Hardy.
The Canadians would go on to win it in the 11th inning after Frostad singled to center field, cashing in left fielder Smith for the winning run.
The defending champions, U.S., must beat the host team Panama in a late game Monday to move on to the second round.
The schedule for the second round will be announced today after all venues and times are determined.
With files from Baseball Canada