Former Langley Blaze baseball player Tyson Gillies and Canadian coach Larry Walker celebrate after Canada defeated the United States in the gold medal game at the Pan American Games.

Former Langley Blaze baseball player Tyson Gillies and Canadian coach Larry Walker celebrate after Canada defeated the United States in the gold medal game at the Pan American Games.

Blaze of glory

Strong Langley contingent helps Canada capture gold in men's baseball at Pan American Games

Buoyed by the home crowd, Team Canada scored three times in the bottom of the 10th inning to defeat the United States 7-6 in the gold medal baseball game of the Pan American Games.

Canada trailed 6-4 in Sunday’s championship final in Ajax, Ont. heading into their half of the inning after the U.S. scored twice in the top of the 10th.

The game used international rules for extra innings meaning the teams began the inning with runners on first and second and nobody out. Pete Orr had singled up the middle to score one run and a failed pick-off attempt at first base got past the fielder to bring home they tying run. Another U.S. error saw the ball get past the third baseman as Orr had gone to third and he turned and slide home for the winning run.

“We were in disbelief, it was such a crazy ending, it was unbelievable,” said Kellin Deglan.

“We all thought (Pete) was out but then the ball came out of the catcher’s glove when he went to tag him.”

Deglan was talking to The Times from the Toronto airport on Monday morning as he waited for his flight to take him to California to rejoin his minor league baseball team.

Deglan was one of two Langley baseball players on Team Canada, alongside first baseman Jordan Lennerton.

The pair both played for the Langley Blaze Premier program, as did three of their Canadian teammates: pitcher Kyle Lotzkar and outfielders Tyson Gillies and Tyler O’Neill.

Another pitcher, North Vancouver’s Scott Richmond, didn’t play for the Blaze or grow up in Langley, but has family in North Langley.

“To win the gold medal, just feels awesome, it feels unbelievable,” Deglan said.

“It was pretty special; we played in front of a sold-out crowd every game. They were rooting pretty hard for Canada.”

“There is nothing like sharing a gold medal moment with my countrymen,” Lennerton posted on his Twitter account after the game.

“I’m so proud of the boys and so proud of the gold that I wear.”

Canada went 5-1 in preliminary round play, defeating the Dominican Republic 4-1, Colombia 10-1, Nicaragua 9-1, Cuba 3-1 and Puerto Rico 11-4. Their lone loss was a a 4-1 setback to the U.S.

They then beat Puerto Rico 7-1 in the semifinals to set up the rematch with the U.S.

And the Langley players contributed greatly in the team’s run to the gold medal.

Lennerton led Canada with nine RBIs in the eight games — which was also second in the tournament — and he also had seven runs scored.

Deglan was the team’s main man behind the plate, catching 62 of the 73 innings. He committed no errors while getting 56 put-outs and nine assists.

Gillies and O’Neill were tied for the team lead with three home runs apiece — which was also good for second among all players. Gillies also had seven RBIs and eight runs scored while O’Neill drove in six runs.

The trio of Lennerton, Gillies and O’Neill accounted for 22 of Canada’s 49 RBIs.

Lotzkar and Richmond got in a couple of relief appearances throughout the tournament.

Langley Times

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