Information courtesy of Codi Warren, USA Softball
HOUSTON, Texas — The USA Softball Junior Men’s National Team (JMNT) had a perfect 3-0 outing on the lone day of competition at the Father’s Day Memorial Tournament in Houston, Texas. With inclement weather in the Houston area causing an alteration to the tournament bracket, the Red, White and Blue earned a shutout 9-0 win over Baytown New Era and an 8-3 win over the Senators before closing out the day with an 8-4 win over Geo Per.
“We hit the ball and played defense really well this weekend,” said Head Coach, Tyron McKinney (Ashland, Ohio). “Our pitchers have got to get ahead in the count. We had too many walks and got behind in the count too many times. I think we’ve also got to get better at staying focused when we’re ahead and we have to stay in the game from the first pitch to the last. If our pitching gets more crisp and mentally we improve, I really like our chances to shock the world in Prince Albert.”
USA 9, Baytown New Era 0
A six-run first inning fueled the U.S. to a 9-0 win over Baytown New Era in their first game of the day. Getting the offense started early, defensive miscues on a double from Paul Miklovic (Caro, Mich.), a three-run home run by Jason Obregon, Jr. (Pico Riviera, Calif.) and double from Chayton Lloyd (Lakeside, Calif.) gave Team USA a comfortable 6-0 lead after their first at-bat.
Another two runs crossed the plate for the JMNT in the top of the second. Jose Dominguez, Jr. (Union City, Calif.), who entered as a courtesy runner for Obregon, Jr., came around to score off a misplayed double from Derek Gomez (Austin, Texas). The miscue by the right fielder would give Gomez plenty of time to touch every base to make it an 8-0 ballgame.
Another run in the top of the third via an RBI single from Miklovic put Team USA up by nine runs, which would prove to be enough as Garrett Nickel (Clarksville, Tenn.) and Jeff Lewis (Amboy, Minn.), who entered the circle in the bottom of the fourth, retired the Baytown New Era lineup in order the next two frames.
Garrett Nickel (Clarksville, Tenn.) picked up the win in his Team USA debut, pitching the first three innings with two strikeouts.
USA 8, Senators 3
Three RBI, two runs scored and a perfect 2-for-2 outing by JMNT veteran J. Lewis handed Team USA their second win of the day. Combined with leadoff batter Dalton Gray (South Jordan, Utah), who went 2-for-3 with two runs scored, the two accounted for half of Team USA’s runs in the contest.
Three runs crossed the plate in the first via RBIs from three U.S. batters – a triple from Tony Wark (Munger, Mich.), single from Gomez and single from Ethan Rodriguez (San Ramon, Calif.). A solo home run from the Senators in the bottom of the frame cut the lead for the U.S. to 3-1, but another three-run outing in the top of the second pushed Team USA ahead by five runs. A RBI single from J. Lewis brought in the first run of the inning before a walk to Wark loaded the bases with one out. A wild pitch allowed Gray and Lewis to score, making it a 6-1 lead.
The Senators cut their deficit to four runs in the bottom of the second inning with a pair of singles and a passed ball, but the U.S. would hold a 6-2 advantage until the top of the fourth when they plated another two runs. Dominguez, Jr. led off with a single to put one on for J. Lewis, who drove a ball to the fence for a two-run home run.
Down to their final at-bat, the Senators pushed across one run in the bottom of the fourth, but Team USA would walk away with the 8-3 win. Craig Lewis (Winston, Mo.) picked up the win in the circle, pitching all four innings with one strikeout and three earned runs.
USA 8, Geo Per 4
In their final contest of the day, the USA Softball JMNT captured a come-from-behind win to finish the weekend perfect. Using a six-run fifth inning, the U.S. offense combined for eight hits, four of which came in the top of the fifth, while Alex Ibarra (Cedar Hill, Texas) and Nathan Landry (Indian Brook, Canada) combined for the win in the circle.
It was a shaky start in the circle for Ibarra, who issued three walks, a pair of singles and a double as Geo Per took an early 3-0 lead. That would hold until the top of the third when Dustin Thompson (Nevada City, Calif.) singled with one out and advanced to second on an error by the left fielder. A walk to Miklovic put two on for Lloyd, who drove a ball through the left side of the infield to plate the speedy Thompson. With Miklovic on third, Obregon, Jr. reached safely on an infield single to put the U.S. within one run.
Geo Per pushed across another run in the bottom of the third and their 4-2 lead would stand until the top of the fifth inning. Thompson once again singled and moved to third after an error on the first baseman and scored on a single from Miklovic. A passed ball allowed Miklovic to advance to third before a walk to Lloyd put runners on the corners and a walk to Steven Hecht (Vassar, Mich.) loaded the bases.
The game went in favor of the U.S. after Obregon, Jr. hit a ball to the third baseman, who attempted to throw Miklovic out at home. An error on the play allowed Miklovic to safely score and gave Lloyd enough time to also cross the plate to give Team USA a 5-4 lead. An intentional walk to Justin Martinez (Covina, Calif.) loaded the bases for Seth Brandel (Houghton Lake, Mich.), who singled to score another two and made it 7-4, USA. The final run of the game scored after Rodriguez singled to plate Martinez.
Landry entered for Ibarra in the bottom of the fifth and shut down the Geo Per offense to hand the U.S. the 8-4 win.
The USA Softball JMNT will regroup once more June 26-July 1 in Salt Lake City, Utah for additional training and competition in their final preparation for the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Junior Men’s World Championship.
“In Salt Lake we’re going to face much better pitching, so I am excited to see how our batters react to pitchers who can make the ball really go up and down,” said McKinney on how the Salt Lake tournament will help prepare the JMNT in their quest to #JMNTShockTheWorld.
The final 17-player roster for the 2018 USA Softball JMNT will be determined prior to the WBSC Junior Men’s World Championship (JMWC), which will be held July 7-15 in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada.
A complete schedule for the 2018 WBSC JMWC was announced on May 18 and can be found here<https://www.teamusa.org/U
About USA Softball
USA Softball is a 501(c)(3) not-for profit organization headquartered in Oklahoma City, Okla., and is designated as the National Governing Body (NGB) of Softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. One of the nation’s largest sports organizations, USA Softball sanctions competition in every state through a network of 69 local associations and has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 150,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than 2 million. USA Softball is dedicated to providing people of all ages the opportunity to play the game they love at a variety of levels by offering recreational, league, tournament and competitive play for fast pitch, slow pitch and modified pitch. USA Softball annually conducts thousands of tournaments throughout the country including over 100 National Championships. The USA Softball umpire program is among the nation’s largest and are widely known as the best trained umpires in the game.
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