Four-run first leads Team USA past Japan, 9-2

August 20, 2007

  • Box Score  |  Scoreboard/Results
  • BARQUISIMETO, Venezuela – The Youth National team scored four runs in the bottom of the first, highlighted by a leadoff home run from shortstop Nick Franklin (Longwood, Fla.) and a two-run jack by first baseman Austin Maddox (Jacksonville, Fla.), to defeat Japan, 9-2, on Monday afternoon at Daniel Canonico Stadium.

    Franklin hammered the third pitch of the inning from Japan’s Ryo Nakagawa over the wall in right center for a leadoff home run. Second baseman Justin Charles (Galt, Calif.) followed with a single to right. After advancing to second on a balk, Charles scored when catcher Max Stassi (Yuba City, Calif.) reached on a throwing error by second baseman Kentaro Ishikawa. Maddox then turned on a 2-1 offering and sent a two-run blast sailing over the left field fence to chase Nakagawa out of the game.

    Centerfielder Andrew Aplin (Suisun, Calif.) drew a leadoff walk and rightfielder Robert Refsnyder (Laguna Hills, Calif.) was hit by a pitch to begin the bottom of the second. Franklin followed with a bunt single to load the bases. Charles then lined a two-run single to left, scoring Aplin and Refsnyder to give Team USA a 6-0 advantage.

    Japan centerfielder Daisuke Hara scored on a wild pitch in the top of the fifth to cut USA’s lead to 6-1.

    Team USA added a pair of runs in the bottom half of the fifth to extend their lead to 8-1. Maddox sent a leadoff single up the middle to begin the frame. After coming in to pinch run for Maddox, Zach Lee (McKinney, Texas) would advance to second on a failed pickoff attempt. Leftfielder Randal Grichuk (Rosenberg, Texas) then belted an 0-1 pitch over the wall in left for a two-run homer. It was the second home run in as many games for Grichuk, who homered yesterday against Mexico.

    Relief pitcher A.J. Cole (Winter Springs, Fla.) singled through the right side to start the bottom of the seventh. Cole would then steal second and third before scoring on a wild pitch, giving Team USA a 9-1 lead.

    Japan leftfielder Aoi Enomoto then had an RBI-double in the top of the eighth to make it a 9-2 ballgame.

    Charles led Team USA at the plate, going 3-for-3 with a pair of RBI and a run scored. Maddox finished 2-for-3 with a two-run homer, Grichuk was 2-for-4 with a two-run jack and Franklin went 2-for-4 with a solo shot. Cole went 1-for-1 with two stolen bases and a run scored, second baseman Zach Vincej (Saugus, Calif.) was 1-for-2 with a double, starting pitcher Richie Shaffer (Charlotte, N.C.) finished 1-for-2 and Stassi, Lee, Aplin and Refsnyder would all score a run in the victory.

    Shaffer held Japan to one hit in three scoreless frames with one strikeout, while Matt Davidson (Yucaipa, Calif.) picked up the win, limiting Japan to one run on two hits in two innings of relief. Cole fanned two batters in two shutout innings, while Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden, Fla.) held Japan to one run on two hits in one inning. Steven Rodriguez (Miami, Fla.) then came in and worked a 1-2-3 ninth with one strikeout.

    Team USA and Japan, the top two teams from Pool A, and Venezuela and Cuba, the top two teams from Pool B, will resume play in Barquisimeto on Wednesday, while Aruba, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico will finish out play in San Cristobal. The exact schedule will be determined at a later time.