Junior National Team blitzes Puerto Rico 13-2 at COPABE Pan Am Championships
Americans explode for eight runs in fourth to tally 13 runs for second straight day; pitchers combine on four-hitter
August 26, 2007
Box Score | Scoreboard/Results
IXTAPA, Mexico -- Buoyed by an eight-run fourth inning and a second consecutive commanding pitching performance, the USA Baseball Junior National Team coasted to a 13-2 seven-inning run-rule victory against Puerto Rico Aug. 26 at U.D.P.T.V.A. Stadium in the squad's second pool play game of the COPABE "AAA" Pan American Junior Championships. The 11-team tournament, which serves as a qualifier for next year's World Championships, ends Sept. 1 with the medal round and consolation finals.
The Americans (2-0) will continue pool play action with a 3 p.m. (Central time) contest Aug. 27 against El Salvador (0-2) at La Hacienda Stadium. El Salvador dropped its opening pool play game 11-7 to Puerto Rico on Aug. 25 before being blanked 8-0 by Aruba on Aug. 26.
Team USA, the event's defending silver medalist, collected just seven hits but took advantage of nine walks issued by four Puerto Rico pitchers, a pair of hit batsmen and three fielding miscues. Five Americans-Harold Martinez (INF; Miami, FL), Jeff Malm (INF; Las Vegas, NV), Riccio Torrez (INF; Phoenix, AZ), Kyle Skipworth (C; Riverside, CA) and Robbie Grossman (OF; Cypress, TX)-notched two RBIs apiece. Malm reached base in all four of his at bats, scoring on three occasions. He had a run-scoring double in the fifth after drawing a bases-loaded walk on a 13-pitch at bat, igniting the fourth-inning uprising when the Americans sent 11 hitters to the plate.
"I wanted to have a good at bat to help the team," Malm said of his fourth-inning plate appearance. "I fell behind in the count early. I was trying to drive the ball and just kept battling. Finally, the pitcher walked me."
The first seven Team USA hitters reached base in the fourth. Four of the squad's runs were unearned thanks to a pair of Puerto Rico errors in the frame. The Americans collected four walks with a hit batsman and had just three hits. The team's final hit of the inning was Skipworth's two-run home run to right field.
"Like yesterday (against Panama), we executed offensively and scored some runs to begin with by running the bases," JNT Head Coach Victor Solis said. "Our bats then came alive in the second half of the contest."
Grossman's two-run, bases-loaded single staked Team USA to a 2-0 lead in the second inning. Torrez added a run-scoring double in the third inning before the eight-run fourth made it an 11-0 contest. Malm and Martinez added RBI doubles in the fifth for the team's final two runs of the day.
Three Team USA pitchers-Nick Maronde (LHP; Lexington, KY), Tyler Hibbs (RHP; Odenton, MD) and Matthew Purke (LHP; Spring, TX)-teamed up to permit four hits. Maronde went the first five innings, allowing two hits while fanning seven. Hibbs and Purke each tossed an inning and recorded two strikeouts apiece. Hibbs surrendered a two-out, two-run homer in the sixth. For the second straight day, Team USA hurlers did not issue a walk. In a 13-1 win one day earlier against Panama, the Americans' pitching staff struck out 11 and allowed just five hits.
"When you get that solid of pitching, you don't need to score a lot of runs," Solis said. "Our pitching really bought us time early in the game until we were able to get our offense going today."
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.
2007 COPABE "AAA" PAN AMERICAN JUNOR BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS
August 24-Sept. 1 Ixtapa, Mexico
||Puerto Rico 1-1
|| Aruba 1-1
||El Salvador 0-2