Junior National Team Trials hurlers combined for one-hitter, 18 strikeouts
Ryan Weber, Tim Melville, Nick Maronde stymie Team Premier in 3-0 exhibition win

August 17, 2007

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  • JOPLIN, Mo. - Three pitchers - Ryan Weber (RHP; St. Petersburg, FL), Tim Melville (RHP; Wentzville, MO) and Nick Maronde (LHP; Lexington, KY) - teamed up to allow just one hit while fanning 18 to lead the USA Baseball Junior National Trials Team to a 3-0 victory against Team Premier in exhibition action Aug. 17 at historic Joe Becker Stadium.

    The contest was the first matchup of a three-game exhibition game for the JNT Trials team, which is composed of 33 players who are battling for a spot on this year's Junior National Team. The exhibition series continues Aug. 18 with a game against the Chinese Taipei Junior National Team. The series ends Aug. 19 against Canada's Junior National Team. Both games will start at 7 p.m. (Central time) at Joe Becker Stadium.

    Weber, Melville and Maronde each tossed three innings in the shutout. Weber went the opening three innings, whiffing four. Melville tossed the middle three innings and struck out seven of nine batters faced. Maronde also fanned seven batters in going the final three innings to earn a save. The trio combined to retire the first 19 hitters they faced until Maronde allowed a first-pitch bunt single to Team Premier's Peter Hissey in the seventh inning.

    "That type of pitching sure makes it easy to play defense," JNT Head Coach Victor Solis said. "Our pitchers did an outstanding job. It's quite an accomplishment to throw only 87 pitches in a game and have that many strikeouts."

    The JNT Trials team scored the only run it would need in its first at bat. LJ Hoes (OF; Bowie, MD) opened the game with a triple to the right centerfield gap. He scored one batter later on a sacrifice fly by Preston Tucker (OF; Tampa, FL). Hoes also scored his team's second run in the fifth inning. With two out, he drew a walk and moved to third on a Team Premier fielding error. He then crossed the plate on a line single by JP Ramirez (OF; New Braunfels, TX). Ramirez had two of his team's seven hits. The Trials squad added a final run in the eighth. Aaron Hicks (OF; Long Beach, CA) reached on an infield single, advanced to third base on a double by Kyle Buchanan (C; Auburn, WA) and trotted home on a sacrifice fly by Jeff Malm (INF; Las Vegas, NV).

    "We did take advantage of some scoring opportunities but there were times that we didn't do so," Solis said. "I thought we swung the bats well but there is always room for improvement."

    Following the evaluation of players during the Trials, 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.