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Shanley’s 3-run double helps keep Canada alive

Here is a closer look at Coquitlam, British Columbia’s 10-0, four-inning win over Bologna, Italy, on Saturday at Volunteer Stadium:

PLAY OF THE GAME: Matt Shanley came up huge for Canada when they needed him to. With two outs and bases loaded, thanks to three consecutive walks, Shanley took advantage of a new pitcher and ripped a hit down the third-base line which was fair by only inches. The stand-up double cleared the bases and gave Canada a four-run lead and helped break the game open early.

CANADA PLAYER OF THE GAME: Shanley came up huge for Canada. He crushed a perfectly-placed drive down the third-base line in the second inning to clear the bases and drive in three runs. Two innings later, he hit a deep double off the wall in center field. Canada had two doubles against Italy and both came from Shanley. He ended the game 2 for 4 with two doubles, three RBIs, a stolen base and two runs scored.

ITALY PLAYER OF THE GAME: Canada did a great job of not allowing Italy to get many hits, limiting the Europe and Africa region champions to just three. But Davide Lugli did the most in his at-bats. Lugli led Italy going 2 for 2 with two singles. But his teammates couldn’t drive him in either time he reached base.

BIG INNING: After lightning temporarily delayed roughly an hour, Canada didn’t look like it had just been sitting around. The all-stars from Coquitlam, British Columbia, responded by taking advantage of passed balls and walks to score runs. Canada went ahead 1-0 thanks to Piero Leon-Carney scoring on a passed ball after reaching on a walk. Then, after three consecutive walks loaded the bases, Shanley came through with his bases-clearing double to make it 4-0, and Canada added another run a batter later when Kainoah Brankovic hit a single into right to put Canada ahead, 5-0.

BEST EFFORT: Leon-Carney pitched as well as you would want a Little Leaguer to. That was highlighted in the bottom of the third inning. Trailing by five runs with the bases loaded and looking to rally, Leon-Carney struck out Italy’s next hitter to get out of the inning. He had a great sliding catch on a pop fly near the third-base line in the bottom of the fourth inning to record the second out before he was pulled from the game to stay eligible for Tuesday.

“I did better than I thought I would do and I’m proud of myself right now,” Leon-Carney said. “It’s always good to have a good defense to support you and get the out. Our team’s really good with defense and offense.”

FLASHING LEATHER: Italy’s Federico Tamburini made a great sliding stop on a hard-hit grounder to the gap. He was able to quickly fire to first baseman Cirina for the second out of the inning. With a runner on second base, Tamburini’s stop was huge and prevented Canada from likely scoring another run . Tamburini moved to short in the fourth and showed his determination on back-to-back line drives that went just over his head. He tried to jump to catch both but was just a foot shy of grabbing them. Did you know he’s also only 10-years-old? A solid performance for one of the youngest players in the tournament.

HOME RUNS: There were no home runs in the game.

WHAT THE ADULTS SAY: “Every time we put Piero on the mound — it started back in districts then our provincials and Canadaian championships — Piero always throws a lot of strikes, doesn’t walk batters. … He hits his spots and he throws a real good curveball. He’s really good at hitting corners. Every time we put Piero on the mound, we get a good outing,” Canada manager Bruce Dorwart said.

WHAT THE KIDS SAY: “I thought I was going to only bring in the one, but ended up being all three on base. I try to just get the ball in play and help Piero out,” Shanley said about his bases-clearing double in the second inning.

WHAT IT MEANS: Italy is eliminated from title contention and plays Oregon in a consolation game at Lamade Stadium on Tuesday at 11 a.m.. Canada advances to play the loser of today’s Curacao and South Korea game at Volunteer Stadium on Monday at 6 p.m. in an elimination game.

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