Junior National Team clips Canada in tuneup for Pan Am Championships
Squad collects 11 hits, pitchers combine on a three-hitter in 6-1 exhibition victory
August 21, 2007
Box Score | Scoreboard/Results
JOPLIN, Mo. - LJ Hoes (OF; Bowie, MD), JP Ramirez (OF; New Braunfels, TX) and Harold Martinez (INF; Miami, FL) combined for seven hits and three runs batted in to back a three-hit pitching performance as the USA Baseball Junior National Team defeated Canada's Junior National Team, 6-1, on Aug. 21 in an exhibition contest played at historic Joe Becker Stadium.
The game was the only exhibition action for the JNT, composed of 20 players ages 18 and under, during a three-day training period following the team's selection on Aug. 19. The training period will conclude on Aug. 22.
The team will then depart Aug. 23 for Ixtapa, Mexico, where it will compete in the Confederation of Pan American Baseball Federations "AAA" Pan Am Junior Championships Aug. 24-Sept. 2. The Junior National Team participates in two major events in bi-yearly cycles - the COPABE Pan Am Championships and the International BAseball Federation World Championships. The Pan Ams serve as a qualifier for the ensuing year's World Championships. Team USA earned a silver medal at the 2005 Pan Am Championships in Villahermosa, Mexico.
"Now we can concentrate on playing the game," JNT head coach Victor Solis said. "Players can get over the feeling of relief of having made the final roster. From here, we'll look to our next objective."
Hoes, Ramirez and Martinez, the top three hitters in the JNT's batting order, registered seven of the squad's 11 hits and scored all but one of the team's runs in the game. Each amassed a double. Martinez lined a run-scoring two-bagger in the first inning and an RBI base hit in the third inning to help the JNT bolt to an early 4-1 lead.
Hoes and Ramirez registered one out-to-back doubles in the ninth with Ramirez coming in to score to give the JNT a four-run advantage. Jordan Swagerty (C; Sachse, TX) laced a single to plate Ramirez with the team's final run.
While JNT bats were busy, three pitchers teamed up to keep Canada in check. Ryan Weber (RHP; St. Petersburg, FL), went the first three innings allowing Canada's only run. Tim Melville (RHP; Wentzville, MO), tossed the next three while closer Nick Maronde (LHP; Lexington, KY) earned a save by throwing three innings of hitless relief. The trio combined to issue two walks while fanning nine.
Jordan Wideman notched two of his team's three hits and scored Canada's only run in the third inning.
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 - the defending silver medalist - has earned five gold medals, 10 silver medals and six bronze medals in World Championship competition.