Yorkton’s Caleb Bymak drove in the winning run with a single in the bottom of the 13th inning, while fellow Cardinals product Jordan Bieber tossed 7.1 scoreless innings, scattering eight hits while walking two and striking out a pair for the win in relief in Canada’s lone victory at the 2014 Senior Little League World Series, 6-5 over Asia-Pacific Saipan.
The win salvaged a subpar Senior Little League World Series appearance for the Canada representative Regina Angels, who seemingly let fatigue get the better of them for the first three games due, in large part, to having the hardest road to the tournament of all 10 teams. “When we told the people down there how many games we had just played, or when they found out they were like ‘wow, that’s crazy. You guys played so many games. We didn’t have to do that’,” said Bymak, adding, “We had the most games in our Regional qualifier out of all the teams down there.”
It’s hard to decide which Yorkton Cardinal, turned Regina Angel, turned Team Canada player is more worthy of the term “clutch” after they both put forth outstanding performances against Asia-Pacific.
Is it Jordan Bieber, for his impressive relief appearance in which he completely shut down a powerful Asia-Pacific lineup for more than seven innings?
Or was is it Caleb Bymak, who, with one swing, crushed the hopes of Asia-Pacific and lifted the spirits of Canada when he singled in the game winning run in the bottom of the 13th inning to give Canada its only win of the World Series?
To be honest, it’s impossible to decide on that criterion alone.
So that’s what tiebreakers are for and the winner, in this case, is Bieber, purely because he put his body on the line to wear a pitch in the bottom of the 13th inning that put the eventual game winning run on the base path for Canada.
But that’s not where Bieber’s clutch play began. Bieber initially picked up the nickname “Mr. Clutch” in Victoriaville, Quebec, when his two out, two strike single brought in the winning run to send Regina to the Senior Little League World Series in the first place; something he says is one of the best moments of his life. “It’s a great feeling for sure,” said Bieber, continuing, “there are no words that can describe how it is to see that ball hit the ground and then have everyone come out of the dugout and surround you, maul you.
“After that they (Regina Angels teammates) were calling me Mr. Clutch and stuff so I had a new nickname after that.”
Both Bymak and Bieber have had incredible experiences that the majority of people will never have, simply by representing their country at an international sporting event.
Winning games with walk off hits, coming through in the clutch, both on the mound and at the plate, everything.
However not all great experiences come at the ball park. Some come about just because of a common interest.
A common interest, such as the sport of baseball itself. “We got to hang out with players from the other teams,” mentioned Bymak. “We made lots of friends down there. Meeting guys from Asia-Pacific and a team from Virginia that we were hanging out with at the hotel was pretty cool.
“The baseball aspect of it was cool, but outside of the baseball aspect of it, it was great.”
Bieber, too, felt that one of the coolest things, aside from playing baseball, was the chance to meet ball players from around the world, saying, “We made friendships that will last a life time down there.”
However Bymak feels, and Bieber agrees, that the best thing about the entire trip was simply being Canadian, even if the colours weren’t truly Canadian. “They gave us blue and red which is kind of different than what Canada is used to,” said Bymak, continuing, “But it was awesome to represent our country, our province, our city down there.”