SALT LAKE CITY – Surrendering nine-unanswered runs, the USA Softball Junior Men’s National Team (JMNT) dropped their weekend opener at the Larry H. Miller Pioneer Days Tournament to the Pueblo Bandits, 9-2 in five innings.
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“Tonight was a learning experience,” said Head Coach, Tyron McKinney (Ashland, Ohio). “We made some mistakes and we paid for them. We will bounce back tomorrow, come out focused and be ready to play.”
The Red, White and Blue plated a pair of runs in the opening frame as Dalton Gray (South Jordan, Utah) scored the game’s first run on a wild pitch. Displaying precise two-out hitting, Tony Wark (Munger, Mich.) sent a sharp single through the left scoring Derek Gomez (Austin, Texas) from second.
The Bandits manufactured a run in their half of the first as the USA carried the 2-1 lead into the third. For the U.S., Gray led off the frame with a bunt single down the third base line as it sat on the chalk to help the leadoff man to a 2-for-3 day. A walk to Gomez and a hit-by-pitch to Jason Obregon Jr. (Pico Riviera, Calif.) loaded up the bases before the JMNT stranded all three runners following back-to-back strikeouts.
A pair of triples, a double and a USA error led Pueblo to record a crooked number to take a 4-2 lead. The first three hitters in the Pueblo half of the fourth reached, which drove in a run during the process, before Isaac Nanez’s three-run home run opened up the Bandits’ lead to 8-2.
A leadoff triple in the fifth for Pueblo crossed the plate following a throwing error as a seven-run rule came into effect ending the game in five innings.
Team USA is back in action later today as they wrap up pool play at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. CT against Paqe Break and Wasatch Properties, respectively.
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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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