Andrew Albers was throwing strikes for the Quebec City Capitales in the independent Can-Am League in 2010.
The North Battleford, Sask., lefty was recovering from Tommy John surgery, the hospital and rehabbing.
Albers almost needed to be hospital care ó for bumps and bruises you understand ó from being pounded on the back by his joyous teammates after pitching 62/3 innings as Canada edged Team USA 2-1 to win its first ever gold medal in baseball at the Pan Am Games Tuesday night in Lagos de Moreno, Mex.
It was Canadaís first medal at the Pan Ams since Stubby Clappís crew won bronze at Winnipeg.
Canada has never won a major international senior tournament.
Former Blue Jays starter Scott Richmond of North Vancouver worked the final 21/3 innings for the save, striking out four.
Albers, signed by the Minnesota Twins a year ago, pitched this summer at class-A Fort Myers and double-A New Britain. He allowed six hits, didnít walk a man and struck out eight.
He left with a 2-1 lead and two runners aboard when Whitt turned to Richmond who recorded the final out of the seventh.
USA right fielder Brent Caroll doubled and scored on a first-inning single by A.J. Pollock, a former first rounder of the Arizona Diamondbacks, who played at double-A Mobile this summer.
Dorchester, Ont., DH Chris Robinson, of the Chicago Cubs farm system, singled with two out in the sixth. Torontoís Tim Smith, a Kansas City Royals farmhand dropped a single into left. Houston Astros farmhand Jimmy Van Ostrand of Richmond, B.C. doubled to right to score both Robinson and Smith.
Van Ostrand led all Canadian hitters with a .474 average (9-for-19).
Canada won on seven hits, two each by second baseman Skyler Stromsmoe and international veteran Robinson. The others were by Londonís Brock Kjeldgaard, Smith and Van Ostrand.
Canada went 4-1 in Mexico, a tournament which began three days after Canada went 8-3 to win bronze at the 39th World Cup in Panama ... 12-4 ... two medals, one gold, one bronze ... one wow.
The next Pan-Am Games will be staged in Toronto with the baseball venue in Hamilton in 2015.