Penticton’s Dustin Houle (right) and fellow Team Canada catcher Jordan Procyshen (left), from Calgary, hanging out at the 2019 Pan American Games in Peru. (Baseball Canada photo)

Houle and Canada have chance at gold tonight at Pan Am Games

‘Getting out to an early lead’ key to winning game, says Penticton’s Dustin Houle

Penticton’s Dustin Houle will be coming home with a Pan Am Games medal.

Tonight, Houle and Canada’s men’s baseball team will get the chance to win a third straight Pan Am Games baseball gold medal at 7 p.m. (ET) at the Del Triunfo Baseball Field against Puerto Rico.

“Key for us winning the gold is going to be getting out to an early lead to put pressure on them. Timely hitting with runners in scoring position and executing our pitches,” Houle told Western News on Saturday.

READ MORE: Penticton’s Houle drives in run but Canada loses first at Pan Am Games

Canada confirmed the spot after a 10-0 mercy rule victory over Nicaragua on Saturday in which Quebec’s Phillippe Aumont had a brilliant seven-inning outing and Tristan Pompey and Jonathan Malo hit some homers.

“We needed to win this game to set ourselves up for tomorrow and were able to accomplish that today,” said manager Ernie Whitt in a press release. “Phillippe was outstanding for us and really set the tone for us early on.”

READ MORE: Perfect record so far for Penticton baseball player at Pan Am Games

“I prepared well and was focused (on the mound),” said Aumont of his performance in the release. “We scored early which helped and I got more comfortable out there pitching with a bigger lead as the game went along.”

Pompey’s solo homer to centre in the first gave Canada an early lead before the offence put up three more runs in the second frame with Jonathan Malo, Rene Tosoni and Wes Darvill all driving in runs.

Malo’s solo run in the fourth put Canada in front by five before Eric Wood came to plate in the seventh with Canada up 9-0 and singled to right field to score the 10th run that invoked the mercy rule.

READ MORE: Penticton baseball player representing Canada at Pan Am Games

Canada has seen continued success at the Pan Am Games since Whitt began as the manager. In 1999, the team took home a bronze medal in Winnipeg followed by gold medal wins over the United States in 2011 in Guadalajara, Mexico and in Toronto in 2015.

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