Sept. 20, 2006

  • Box Score  |   Scoreboard/Results
  • CIEGO DE AVILA, CUBA – Two fifth-inning runs and clutch pitching performances from a trio of hurlers propelled the USA Baseball Junior National Team to a come-from-behind 2-1 pool-play victory against Canada Sept. 20 in the International BAseball Federation "AAA" World Junior Championships at J.R. Espero Stadium.

    The victory was the first for Team USA in three games in the 12-team tournament, which began Sept. 17 and continues through Sept. 27. The Americans also dealt Canada its first loss after it had opened the tourney with a pair of wins.

    "In terms of the tournament, this was a huge win for us," JNT Head Coach Jason Hisey said. "It gives us a shot at being a decent seed if we make it to the (championship) quarterfinals. Prior to today, the team had not played together. The squad had been feeling itself out. But we competed better today. Obviously, the win helps our confidence. We want to continue to get better."

    Trailing 1-0, Team USA would score all the runs it needed in the fifth inning with the game-winning tally being unearned. With one out, Matt Newman (OF; Glendale, AZ) was hit by a pitch from Canada starting pitcher James Paxton (0-1). Newman moved to second when Canada second baseman David Narodowski bobbled a potential double-play grounder by JNT designated hitter Michael Main (OF/RHP; Deltona, FL). With Christian Colon (INF; Corona, CA) at bat, the Americans executed a double steal with Newman taking third base and Main going to second. Colon worked Paxton for a walk and when Paxton’s offering on ball four sailed over the Canadian catcher’s head, Newman raced home to tie the game at 1-1. Main advanced to third on the wild pitch and scored what proved to be the winning run on a single to right field by Justin Jackson (INF; Asheville, NC) off Canada reliever Drew Parker. Later in the inning, with Colon on third base and Jackson at second, Mike Moustakas (OF; Northridge, CA) flied out to center field. With both Colon and Jackson running after the catch, Canada centerfielder Chase Larsson fired the ball to third base to get Jackson and complete a double play before Colon was able to cross home plate.

    Canada had grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second inning off Team USA starter Neil Ramirez (RHP; Virginia Beach, VA). A leadoff single followed by a ground out, a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly brought home Canada’s only run. Ramirez (1-0) allowed two hits while striking out seven and issuing four walks before leaving the game with one out in the sixth inning and the tying run on second base. On the first hitter he faced, reliever Kevin Rhoderick (RHP; Scottsdale, AZ) permitted a single to center field but the Canadian hitter was tagged out trying to advance to second base on an 8-2-6 play. With a runner on third and two out, Rhoderick then got the final out of the inning on an infield grounder to end Canada’s scoring threat. Rhoderick allowed three hits while fanning six in three innings of mound duty. After issuing a one-out walk in the ninth inning, he was replaced by Main. With a light rain beginning to fall, Main needed only four pitches to get a 6-4-3 double play bouncer to end the contest.

    "All three pitchers threw great," Hisey said. "We used both of our closers (Rhoderick and Main) but thought we needed them in this situation. We also got a couple of breaks today. We didn’t catch any breaks in our first 14 innings of the tournament."

    Team USA has two remaining contests in its six-team pool. The JNT takes on Italy at 1 p.m. (Eastern time) on Sept. 21 at Moron City. The Americans then finish pool play against Spain on Sept. 22. The top four teams in each of the event’s two, 6-team pools will advance to championship round action beginning Sept. 24. Consolation round action also starts Sept. 24.

    Canada 010 000 000 – 1 5 3
    USA 000 020 00x – 2 6 2

    Paxton, Parker (5) and Wideman. Ramirez, Rhoderick (6), Main (9) and Elorriaga Matra, Medica (6).

    W: Ramirez (1-0). L: Paxton (0-1). S: Main (1).

    Time: 2:30. Attendance: 2,000.

    Sept. 19 Pool Play Results
    Mexico def. USA, 3-0 (called after 5.2 innings because of rain)
    Chinese Taipei def. Italy, 17-1 (7 innings)
    Netherlands def. Australia, 4-1
    Canada def. Spain, 12-4
    Panama def. South Africa, 9-0
    Cuba def. Korea, 8-4

    Sept. 20 Pool Play Results
    USA def. Canada, 2-1
    Italy def. Mexico, 8-6
    Chinese Taipei def. Spain, 7-0
    South Africa vs. Netherlands
    Australia vs. Korea
    Panama vs. Cuba

    Sept. 21 Pool Play Schedule (All times Eastern)
    Mexico vs. Spain, 10 a.m.
    Korea vs. South Africa, 1 p.m.
    USA vs. Italy, 1 p.m.
    Netherlands vs. Panama, 2 p.m.
    Canada vs. Chinese Taipei, 2 p.m.
    Cuba vs. Australia, 9 p.m.