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Trail U18 Orioles rally in Game 2, split with top team Nationals

U18 Orioles knock off league leading North Fraser Nationals with 7-6 win in Game 2 of doubleheader

The Trail U18 Orioles battled hard in Game 2 of a doubleheader on Sunday to earn a split with the North Fraser Nationals, the top team in the U18 College Prep League at Jason Bay Field at Butler Park.

After falling 16-0 in Game 1, Trail scored the walk-off winning run on a bases loaded walk to Julien Knelson in the bottom of the seventh for a 7-6 victory in Game 2 of the doubleheader.

Logan Bradford pitched six solid innings for Trail giving up four runs on seven hits, while striking out 8 batters and walking one.

Trail and North Fraser traded runs in the second inning, before Trail plated five runs in the third to take a commanding 6-1 lead.

Landon Uzeloc singled to lead off the third, and Kullen Benbow was hit by pitch to put runners on first and second. Owen Dickson then advanced on a bunt single to load the bases, setting up Raiden Dobie whose grounder to short scored Uzeloc and left the bases loaded.

Knelson stepped up and stroked a single up the middle scoring Dickson and Benbow while advancing Dobie to second base. Dobie then came home on an infield error off a Konken single to make it 5-1. Kyle Zoobkoff then made it a 6-1 lead after scoring on a wild pitch.

The Orioles had ample opportunity to extend their lead in the fourth with bases loaded and nobody out, but a force play at home, and another close call at the plate after a wild pitch cut short the Trail rally.

The Nationals battled back in the top of seven, scoring five runs to tie it at 6-6.

The Orioles rallied in the bottom of the seventh, starting with a single by leadoff hitter Cooper Desmarais. Uzeloc was hit by a pitch to put two runners on, and Owen Dickson intentionally walked to load the bases.

Then with two out, up came Knelson who worked the count to 3-2 and then fouled off one pitch, before taking and earning a walk for the game winning RBI.

Trail had 10 hits in the match, with Knelson going 3-for-4 with three RBIs and a walk, and Dickson going 2-for-2 with three walks.

Dickson also earned the win, coming on in the seventh and giving up two runs on two hits and a walk, and striking out one.

In Game 1, the Nationals scored seven runs in the top of the second inning on their way to a 16-0 win in five innings. Nationals pitcher L. Woods struck out eight over three innings, and was almost perfect, combining for a one hitter with no walks with reliever G. Powell.

The U18 Orioles will head to Kamloops next weekend for a four-game series against the River Dogs.

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Jim Bailey

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