When it comes time to select the best name of the Athens Olympics, Stubby Clapp will be up there in the running. The 31 year-old infielder hit 2 RBI's against Greece as Canada continued their unbeaten run in the Athens 2004 Honkbal tournament.
Born in Windsor, Ontario and a graduate of Texas Tech, Clapp was 1058th pick in the 1996 amateur draft, chosen by the St Louis Cardinals. After five years in the minors, including a season in the Texas League with the Arkansas Travs, he played 23 games for the Cards in 2001 for a batting average of .200. Jim Caple wrote about him for ESPN.com in June 2001. Starting this season on the roster of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, he was later promoted to the Syracuse Sky Chiefs.
Here is the Canadian press report of the Canada-Greece game.
Canada is undefeated because Japan lost to Australia. I was in the stands at what is normally the Sydney Showground when the Japanese won to the loud cries of "Nippon Nippon Nippon! Oi oi oi!" a couple of rows behind me. It's one of the few events in which I am being truly parochial, and it was great to see channel 7 show the last couple of innings live in prime time on Wednesday night. The magic moment for me was Dave Nilsson's one-run homer at the top of the eighth which put the Aussies 7-4 in front, before going on to win 9-4.
Here is the Olympic News Service's wrap of the fourth day of baseball:
Men : Canada only unbeaten team after Day 4 19 Aug. 2004
ATHENS, 18 August - Canada remained the only undefeated team following four days of competition at the Olympic Baseball tournament, while pre-tournament favourites Japan and Cuba had one loss each.
NED vs. ITA
In a game pitting the two European qualifiers, Italy's relief pitching came up short as the Italians (0-4) lost to the Netherlands (2-2) 10-4 after holding a one-run lead in the fifth inning.
The game was close until the fifth inning as both teams traded blows early. The Netherlands scored first on a ground rule double by Ivanon COFFIE (NED) and a looping single from Dirk Van 'T KLOOSTER (NED). Italy countered in the next inning to cut the score to 2-1 by way of a Giussepe MAZZANTI (ITA) sacrifice fly that scored Jairo RAMOS GIZZI (ITA).
Italy then scored three more times to the Netherlands' one run in the bottom of the third, and took a 4-3 lead into the fifth inning. Once again though, the wheels fell off for the Italians.
With two outs in the sixth, Johnny BALENTINA (NED) ripped a ground rule double to right centre field, which was followed by a Chairon ISENIA (NED) single through the right side of the infield, scoring BALTENTINA (NED). Pitcher Kasey OLENBERGER (ITA), who had just walked Raily LEGITO, was then replaced in favour of Carlo RICHETTI, who walked the next batter to load the bases for Eugene KINGSALE (NED).
The old baseball term 'walks will kill you' applied in this case as KINGSALE made RICHETTI pay by ripping a double down the first base line to score two and give the Netherlands a lead it would never relinquish. It scored runs in each of the remaining innings.
Patrick de LANGE (NED) picked up the win for the NETHERLANDS, throwing 2 1/3 innings in middle relief of starter Rob CORDEMANS (NED), who was taken out in the middle of the fourth inning.
JPN vs. AUS
Australia (2-2) surprised Japan (3-1) with a 15-hit attack to defeat the gold-medal favourites 9-4.
Catcher David NILSSON (AUS) and shortstop Rodney van BUIZEN (AUS) keyed the balanced offence, which picked apart the vaunted Japanese pitching staff. Fourteen of the team's hits were singles, the exception being NILSSON's eighth-inning home run to right field, one of three hits and two runs from the former USA Major League All-Star.
The game started out as a pitching duel between Phil STOCKMAN (AUS) and Naoyuki SHIMIZU (JPN). The two starters threw three scoreless innings each, before Australia found its groove. Centrefielder Brett RONEBERG's (AUS) one-out single was the first hit off SHIMIZU, and it opened the floodgates. The next four batters singled, and suddenly it was 3-0 to Australia.
Japan and its team of professional league all-stars clawed back, however. After scoring a run in the fourth, Japan put runners on first and third.
Rightfielder Kosuke FUKUDOME (JPN) then hit reliever Graeme LLOYD's first pitch over the right field wall for a 4-3 lead.
Australia's nit-pick attack, however, was not finished. Another string of five singles in the seventh, including four off losing pitcher Daisuke MIURA (JPN), put the Aussies back in front for good, 6-3.
The representatives from Oceania padded their lead with three more runs in the eighth inning, keyed by NILSSON's solo shot and a two-out, two-run single by van BUIZEN, who led the team with three RBI (Runs Batted In).
Ryan ROWLAND SMITH (AUS) pitched one inning to pick up the win. Jeff WILLIAMS (AUS) threw three scoreless innings and struck out the Japanese side in the ninth for the save.
CAN vs. GRE
Canada's dominant pitching shutdown Greece's dormant offence in a 2-0 Canadian victory.
For the tournament, Greece (0-4) has scored five runs, three of which came in the bottom of the ninth inning against Cuba.
Canada's Paul SPOLJARIC, who had played in the USA major leagues for seven seasons, shut down Greece which could only muster three hits off SPOLJARIC in 5 1/3 innings. Bullpen pitchers Chris BEGG, Mike KUSIEWICZ and Aaron MYETTE finished the game off for the Canadians.
Canada (4-0) struck early as Peter ORR led Canada off with a double deep off the wall in left centre field. ORR then advanced to third when Stubby CLAPP grounded out. The next batter, Danny KLASSEN (CAN) hit a grounder which was misplayed by the normally sure handed Nicholas THEODOROU (GRE) which allowed ORR to score from third and give Canada the only run it needed.
CUB vs. TPE
Cuba broke open a tight game with seven runs in the last two innings to beat Chinese Taipei 10-2 Sunday evening.
The Big Red Machine unleashed 15-hits in roughing up four Taipei pitchers. Catcher Ariel PESTANO (CUB) and designated hitter Ariel SANCHEZ (CUB) provided the major firepower with three RBI (runs batted in) each.
Stellar pitching from starter Luis BORROTO (CUB) and reliever Danny BETANCOURT (CUB) held the Taipei lineup of top professional players scoreless until the eighth inning, when Cuba had already built a sizable lead.
In the eighth, the two-time Olympic gold medallists exploded for five runs mostly on the big bat of catcher PESTANO, who cleared the bases with a three-run double into the right center gap off reliever Po-Hsuan KENG (TPE).
Taipei spoiled the shutout in the eighth inning and added a run in the ninth, but the game was a foregone conclusion by then.
BORROTO, with 5 1/3 innings of work and no earned runs, picked up the win. BETANCOURT got the save.
Starting pitcher Chang-Wei TU took the loss, allowing four hits and three runs in 2 2/3 innings.
Thursday is a rest day in the baseball competition. The current markets on the baseball gold medallist are: Cuba 1.91, Japan 2.15, Canada 4.50, Australia 21, Greece 26, Taiwan 36, Italy 401, Netherlands 501. (Source: sportingbet.com.au)