Battle of the pitchers: Colts’ Shimabukuro comes out on top

Japanese right-hander wins in a thriller

Keito Shimabukuro survived a scare in the final inning to lead Centennial to victory. (Carter Smith/Toronto Observer) 

Keito Shimabukuro threw a complete game and gutted out the win as the Centennial Colts defeated the Sheridan Bruins 2-1 on Wednesday evening in OCAA action.

The first-year pitcher from Japan went seven innings deep for the Colts (5-7) as they snapped a three-game losing streak. He finished with one walk and one strikeout, giving up two hits and one unearned run.

The walk and the run given up in the seventh inning prompted a mound visit, but after being told to simply keep calm and just relax, Shimabukuro finished the inning swiftly, as the two subsequent batters both flied out to end the game.

“Everybody works hard every practice … I just want to help (the team) with everything,” said Shimabukuro, who had to close the game with the added pressure of there being only one out with runners on second and third. “In my mind, it was just ‘throw the ball.’”

Outside of the two runs given up in the second inning, with only one of them earned, Matt Bardoel arguably threw an even better game for the Bruins (2-11), giving up only one hit and one walk in six innings. His five strikeouts gave him 17 on the season, tied for fourth in the OCAA.

Centennial’s team defence was the difference in this win. The Colts consistently made great plays from all over the infield to first base, and made next to no mistakes with the fly balls, recording only two errors in the game, as opposed to the three committed by the Bruins.

No play was bigger than Kevin Akiyama’s catch in deep left field, off of a big swing by Sheridan’s Jonah DeNardis, to get the final out of the game.

Liam Oates was the main contributor on offence, driving in the first run of the game in the second inning, and scoring the second and game-winning run right after.

“We just couldn’t find any hits, but we found a way to squeak through,” said Oates on the slow day at the plate for both sides. Despite a late push from the opposing team, the second baseman said the energy remained high in the dugout.

Sheridan’s Jesse Berney hit a single in the seventh to bring Tyler Barbier home, but the comeback was too little too late, as that would be the only run on the night for the Bruins.

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Posted: Sep 30 2023 7:19 pm
Filed under: Baseball College Sports