Press Release

RBI, USA Stars nab Opening Day wins at USA Baseball Tournament of Stars
RBI nips PONY; big inning fuels USA Stars win; AABC-Dixie game suspended

June 19, 2007

CARY, North Carolina – Zach Babitt (INF; Richmond, CA) and Aaron Hicks (OF; Long Beach, CA) each drove in a run with sacrifice flies during a three-run fifth inning to rally RBI to a 4-2 victory against PONY June 19 during opening-day action of the 15th Annual USA Baseball Tournament of Stars. The contest was the inaugural game in Thomas Brooks Park at the new USA Baseball National Training Complex.

The 2007 edition of the Tournament of Stars is serving as the grand-opening event for the training complex, a world-class facility featuring a 2,000-seat signature stadium, which was built through a partnership between the town of Cary and USA Baseball. The tournament, which showcases 144 of the nation’s elite age 18-and-under high school and college athletes, moved to Cary after having been contested in Joplin, Mo., the past six years.

RBI trailed PONY 2-0 entering the home half of the fifth inning. But RBI quickly loaded the bases with no outs against PONY reliever Michael Theodore (RHP; Bloomfield Hills, MI). Babitt, who also had two hits, plated RBI's first run on a fly ball to center field. Hicks followed two batters later with his sacrifice fly. RBI's third run scored via a Theodore wild pitch. Malcom Culver (INF; Palmdale, CA) notched three hits, including a double, for RBI. David Freitas (C; Wilton, CA) scored and collected two of PONY's six hits in the game.

In other opening-round contests June 19, an 11-run explosion in the sixth inning propelled the USA Stars to a 16-1 rout of Babe Ruth. Meanwhile, the game between three-time defending champion AABC and Dixie was suspended with two out in the bottom of the eighth inning because of rain. At the time of suspension, AABC was leading 3-2. The game will be resumed at 12:30 p.m. (Eastern time) June 20.

Besides the completion of the AABC-Dixie contest, three complete games are on tap for June 20. Thirty minutes following the AABC-Dixie game, Dixie will take on Babe Ruth (0-1). Then, at 4 p.m., RBI (1-0) meets NABF. The final game at 7 p.m.will match American Legion against PONY (0-1).

The Stars sent 16 batters to the plate in the sixth inning, parlaying six hits and five Babe Ruth errors to erupt for 11 runs. J.P. Ramirez (OF; New Braunfels, TX) knocked in four runs in the frame with a two-run triple in his first trip to the plate before lining a two-run single in his second at bat. Abe Ruiz (INF; Pacific Grove, CA) also drove in two runs in the inning. Ruiz then clubbed a solo home run to right field in the seventh for the initial roundtripper in the new training complex. Four Stars pitchers limited Babe Ruth to just five hits, including a pair by Dimitri De La Fuente (INF; West Covina, CA) who drove in Babe Ruth's lone run.

A trio of pitchers (T.J. House, Picayune, MS; Kaleb Merck, Keller, TX; and Michael Russo, Hamilton, NJ) combined to allow just two hits while striking out 10 as AABC built a 3-0 lead against Dixie. But Dixie tallied a pair of runs with two out in the bottom of the eighth inning, and had the tying run on base, when the game was halted by inclement weather. Not to be outdone, three Dixie pitchers (Ryan Weber, St. Petersburg, FL; Nolan Belcher, Grovetown, GA; and Matt Richardson, Lake Mary, FL) teamed up to fan 16 while permitting just five hits through eight innings.

The eight-team tournament concludes on June 24 with the-medal games and consolation-round play.

USA Baseball is the National Governing Body of the sport in the United States and 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.

For all USA Baseball game stories, boxscores and results, log on to the official website of USA Baseball:

15th Annual USA Baseball Tournament of Stars
June 19-25, 2007, Thomas Brooks Park, Cary, N.C.

Tournament Results
June 19 Pool Play Results
RBI def. PONY, 4-2
USA Stars def. Babe Ruth, 16-1
AABC leads Dixie, 3-2 (game suspended in bottom of eighth inning; to be resumed June 20)

June 20 Pool Play Schedule (All times Eastern)
AABC vs. Dixie, 12:30 p.m. (completion of June 19 suspended game)
Dixie vs. Babe Ruth (30 minutes following AABC-Dixie contest)
RBI vs. NABF, 4 p.m.
American Legion vs. PONY, 7 p.m.

Pool Play Standings
Pool A
USA Stars 0-0
AABC 1-0
Dixie 0-0
Babe Ruth 0-1

Pool B
RBI 1-0
Legion 0-0
NABF 0-0
PONY 0-1