Blue, Red teams battle to 9-9 tie in first game of Junior National Team trials
Blue squad rallies in final inning to knot contest as teams combine for 26 hits

August 15, 2007

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  • JOPLIN, Mo. - After scoring eight unanswered runs to rally from a five-run deficit, the Blue squad needed a run in the final inning of play to force a 9-9 deadlock with the Red team in an intrasquad contest at the USA Baseball Junior National Team Trials Aug. 15 at historic Joe Becker Stadium.

    The scheduled 10-inning affair was the opening contest of the Trials, which continues through Aug. 19. The same two teams will meet again in another 10-inning contest at 2:30 p.m. (Central time) Aug. 16.

    The Red Team jumped to an early 5-0 lead, erupting for a five-run second inning. Rolando Gomez (INF; Pembroke Pines, FL) slapped a two-run double for the big hit in the Red's explosion. JP Ramirez (OF; New Braunfels, TX), who had four hits in the game, notched an RBI single in the frame.

    From there, the Blue team took charge, scoring the game's next eight runs to take an 8-5 lead after seven innings. Harold Martinez (INF; Miami, FL), who notched four hits, laced a two-run double during a three-run Blue third inning to ignite the rally. The Blue added four more runs in the seventh inning. LJ Hoes (OF; Bowie, MD),who drove in three runs, slammed a go-ahead two-run triple in the frame before coming in to score on a wild pitch.

    The Red regained the lead, 9-8, thanks to a four-run rally in the bottom of the ninth inning. Kyle Buchanan (INF; Auburn, WA), who collected three hits, and Kyle Lobstein (OF; Flagstaff, AZ) each had run-scoring singles. All nine runs scored by the Red squad were unearned as the Blue committed four errors in the game.

    The Blue knotted the game at 9 in the top of the 10th. With two out, Martinez reached on an infield single. After moving to second base when Kaleb Merck (INF; Keller, TX) was hit by a pitch, Martinez stole third base then scored the tying run on a wild pitch.

    Each team used six pitchers. Red pitchers combined to fan 14 while Blue hurlers recorded 16 strikeouts.

    "I thought some of our pitchers threw well," JNT Head Coach Victor Solis said. "We swung the bats well, did some good things defensively and ran the bases well. I also like how hard we played."

    At the Trials, player evaluation will continue via practices, intrasquad scrimmages and exhibition games against the junior national teams from Canada and Chinese Taipei. Following an evaluation period, a final 20-player Junior National Team roster will be selected Aug. 19. On Aug. 23, the team will depart for Ixtapa, Mexico, where the JNT will compete in the Confederation of Pan American Baseball Federations "AAA" Pan Am Junior Championships Aug. 24-Sept. 2. The Junior National Team competes in two major events in bi-yearly cycles - the COPABE Pan Am Championships and the International BAseball Federation World Championships. The Pan Am Championships serve as a qualifier for the ensuing year's World Championships.

    The USA Baseball Junior National Team is a perennial power on the international baseball scene. Only once in the 22-year history of the IBAF World Junior Championships has the United States failed to capture a medal. During this time, the JNT has earned five gold medals, 10 silver medals and six bronze medals.

    USA Baseball is the National Governing Body of the sport in the United States and is a member of the United States Olympic Committee. The organization selects and trains the USA Baseball National Team, the USA Baseball Junior National Team (18 and under), the USA Baseball Youth National Team (16 and under), the USA Baseball 14U national team (14 and under) and the USA Baseball Women's National Team, which participate in various international competitions each year.