JUNIOR NATIONAL TEAM WINS BRONZE MEDAL AT COPABE PAN AM CHAMPIONSHIPS
Team USA clips Canada 6-2 for third place; Americans earn berth in 2008 IBAF World Championships
September 2, 2007
IXTAPA, Mexico - Riccio Torrez (INF; Phoenix, AZ) scored a pair of runs and drove in another and the USA Baseball Junior National Team capitalized on six errors to defeat Canada 6-2 Sept. 2 at La Hacienda Stadium in the bronze-medal game of the COPABE "AAA" Pan American Junior Championships.
With its third-place finish in the 11-country event, the Americans earned a berth in the 2008 International BAseball Federation "AAA" World Championships. Joining the USA from this zone will be Canada, Cuba and Mexico. Canada will serve as host for the 2008 Worlds event, which is slated to be played in Edmonton, Alberta. The Pan Ams serve as a qualifier for the ensuing year's World Championships.
"Most importantly, our goal here at the Pan Ams was to qualify for next year's Worlds and give the 2008 Junior National Team an opportunity to win the world title," JNT Head Coach Victor Solis said. "We have several players on this year's Junior National Team who are age-eligible and could be a member of the 2008 squad."
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 program has earned five gold medals, 10 silver medals and six bronze medals in World Championship competition.
Against Canada (3-3), Team USA proved to be opportunistic. While the Americans (3-3) managed just six hits, they took advantage of five walks and six fielding miscues. With the errors, four of the USA's runs were unearned.
Team USA grabbed an early 1-0 advantage when L.J. Hoes (OF; Bowie, MD) scored on a bases-loaded throwing error by Canada's catcher. With the game tied 1-1, the Americans took the lead for good with two unearned runs in the fourth when Canada committee three errors. Robbie Grossman (OF; Cypress, TX) plated one run with a sacrifice fly. A three-run fifth inning provided the USA's final offensive outburst. Riccio Torrez (INF; Phoenix, AZ), who was name the event's top second baseman, lined a single to drive in Harold Martinez (INF: Miami, FL), who had opened the inning with a double.
"We wanted to go out with a bang and win this game," Torrez said. "We knew this might be the last time that many of us could be playing together. We capitalized on chances when we had them. When you play hard, good things will happen."
Mychal Givens (INF; Tampa, FL) also added a two-out run-scoring base hit to give the Americans a 6-2 advantage.
Two USA pitchers-Tim Melville (RHP; Wentzville, MO) and Nick Maronde (LHP; Lexington, KY)-combined to allow only five hits. The pair teamed up to strand 15 Canadian base runners. Maronde hurled the final four innings to pick up his second Pan Ams win.
"Tim and Nick did a great job competing on the mound for us," Solis said. "Their minimizing of Canada's chances was the difference in the game."
Besides Torrez, three other USA players gained tournament honors. Ryan Weber (RHP; St. Petersburg, FL) was honored as the top righthanded pitcher as well as for having the best earned run average. Kyle Skipworth (C: Riverside, CA) was recognized for the most home runs while Grossman was selected as one of the tourney's top outfielders.
In a battle of unbeaten teams in the tournament, Cuba (6-0) blanked host Mexico 7-0 to capture the gold medal and defend its 2005 title. Only the event's medal games were played on Sept. 2 after intermittent rains postponed the Sept. 1 schedule, which included final consolation round action. All other remaining games were cancelled.
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. 2 Ixtapa, Mexico
September 2 Medal Round Results
Gold Medal Game: Cuba (6-0) def. Mexico (5-1), 7-0
Bronze Medal Game: USA (4-2) def. Canada (3-3), 6-2
September 1 Consolation Round Results (games cancelled due to rain)
Fifth Place: Puerto Rico (3-2) vs. Venezuela (2-2)
Seventh Place: Nicaragua (1-3) vs. Aruba (2-3)
El Salvador (0-4) vs. Bahamas (0-4)
Ninth Place: El Salvador-Bahamas winner vs. Panama (1-3)
FINAL TEAM STANDINGS
1. Cuba (6-0)
2. Mexico (5-1)
3. USA (4-2)
4. Canada (3-3)
5 (tie) Puerto Rico (3-2)
7. (tie) Aruba (2-3)
9. (tie) Panama (1-3)
El Salvador (0-4)