Sept. 27, 2006

  • Box Score  |   Scoreboard/Results
  • SANCTI SPIRITUS, CUBA - A bad hop single with two out in the bottom of the ninth inning drove in the game-winning run as Korea edged the USA Baseball Junior National Team 4-3 Sept. 27 in the gold-medal game of the International BAseball Federation "AAA" World Junior Championships at Jose A. Huelga Stadium. The championships, featuring 12 teams of youth ages 18 and under, ended Sept. 27 with the medal games and final consolation play.

    Korea's victory snapped a five-game winning streak for Team USA, which was seeking its sixth world title and first since 1999. Korea gained its fourth world title to go along with crowns in 2000, 1994 and 1981. Korea's win also was its second in two medal games against the Americans in the last six years. Korea defeated the JNT in 2000 in the Americans' last appearance in the gold-medal game of the World Championships in Edmonton, Canada. Korea also knocked off Team USA to capture the bronze medal at the 2004 World event in Taipei, Taiwan. The silver medal was the USA's 10th in Worlds action.

    Team USA (5-3) was just six outs away from earning the title, taking a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the eighth inning. But Korea (6-2) rallied with a single run in each of the last two frames to take the crown. With the game knotted at 3-3 entering the bottom of the ninth inning, JNT reliever Michael Main (RHP; Deltona, FL) hit Nam Hyung Kim with a pitch. That brought into the game Tim Alderson (RHP; Phoenix, AZ), the JNT's fifth pitcher of the night. A sacrifice bunt moved Kim to second base. Alderson then struck out Kwang Hyun Kim for the second out of the inning. Korea's cleanup hitter, Doo Hwan Lee, who already had two hits and an RBI, was then walked intentionally. That brought up Sang Hwa Lee, who had been inserted as a defensive replacement in the top of the ninth inning. With two strikes on him, Lee hit a routine grounder toward JNT shortstop Justin Jackson (INF; Asheville, NC), who was just a few steps from second base. As the ball approached Jackson, it took a high hop over his head and into center field as Kim raced around from second base for the game-winning run. The hit was only Korea's fourth of the contest.

    "I thought we got everything out of these players that we could. They left it all out on the field," JNT Head Coach Jason Hisey said. "The guys faced a tremendous amount of adversity and were able to overcome it. We just came up one bad hop short."

    Korea had knotted the game 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth inning. A leadoff walk from Main, followed by a sacrifice and a double to right center on a two-strike pitch tallied the tying run. Main escaped the jam in the eighth with a strikeout and a ground out.

    Team USA then threatened to go ahead in the top of the ninth. Mike Moustakas (OF; Northridge, CA) led off the inning by being hit by a pitch. Two outs later, Matt Newman (OF; Glendale, AZ) doubled off the right centerfield wall with Moustakas moving to third on the play. Freddie Freeman (INF; Villa Park, CA) then fanned to end the inning.

    Korea jumped to a 2-0 lead with a pair of runs in the third on only one hit. A walk, wild pitch and a passed ball on a third strike aided the Koreans. One run scored on a wild pitch from Team USA relief pitcher Jarrod Parker (RHP; Bluffton, IN) while the other scored on Doo Hwan Lee's two-out run-scoring single.

    The Americans quickly bounced back with two runs in the top of the fourth to forge a 2-2 tie. The runs scored when Jackson and Moustakas drew bases-loaded walks. Korea pitchers issued nine walks in the game, including six in the opening four innings, along with two hit batsmen. Besides leaving the bases full in the third frame, the Americans did so in the opening inning as well and stranded two runners in the second inning. For the game, the JNT left 14 runners on board to match a Worlds single-game record established earlier in the tournament against Italy. Meanwhile, Korea stranded 11 as Team USA hurlers allowed nine walks on the night.

    "Our pitchers didn't command the strike zone well tonight," Hisey said. "We made some mistakes and, in this game, there just wasn't a whole lot of room for error."

    Matt Harvey (RHP; Mystic, CT) started for Team USA and went 2.0 innings allowing one earned run while issuing three walks. Parker then went 3.2 innings, permitting two hits, two walks and whiffing three before Kevin Rhoderick (RHP; Scottsdale, AZ) tossed 0.2 innings. He walked one and struck out one. Main fanned three and issued two walks in 1.2 innings.

    Team USA took a 3-2 lead in the sixth. Daniel Elorriaga Matra (C; Coral Springs, FL) led off the inning with a walk. He moved to second on a wild pitch and then to third base on a sacrifice by Christian Colon (INF; Corona, CA). Jackson then delivered his second RBI of the game with a one-out single up the middle.

    Two Team USA players-Colon and Main-gained special tournament awards. Colon was recognized as the top second baseman while Main, who also saw time as a designated hitter in the tourney, earned an award for most stolen bases (4).

    In other action on the final day of competition, which began Sept. 17, Canada (6-2) nabbed the bronze medal with a 6-2 win against Mexico (4-4), Chinese Taipei (5-3) needed 12 innings to edge host Cuba (6-2) by a 2-1 count for fifth place and Panama (3-5) claimed seventh with a 7-2 win against the Netherlands (3-5). Rounding out the 12-team field were Australia in ninth (4-3), Italy in 10th (3-4), South Africa in 11th (1-6) and Spain in 12th place (0-7).

    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 JNT has earned five gold medals, 10 silver medals and six bronze medals.

    USA 000 201 000 - 3 5 1
    Korea 002 000 011 - 4 4 1

    Harvey, Parker (3), Rhoderick (6), Main (7), Alderson (9) and Medica. J.G. Lee,
    K.H. Kim (1), H.J. Yang (5), T.H. Im (9), K.H. Kim (9) and K.K. Kim, D.H. Lee (9).
    W: Kim (4-0). L: Main (0-1).
    Time: 3:37. Attendance: 300.
    Two out when winning run scored.

    Sept. 27 - Consolation Round Finals Results
    5th Place: Chinese Taipei (5-3) def. Cuba (6-2), 2-1 (12 inning)
    7th Place: Panama (3-5) def. Netherlands (3-5), 7-2

    Sept. 27 - Medal Games
    Gold: Korea (6-2) def. USA (5-3), 4-3
    Bronze: Canada (6-2) def. Mexico (4-4), 6-2

    Final Team Standings
    1. Korea (6-2)
    2. USA (5-3)
    3. Canada (6-2)
    4. Mexico (4-4)
    5. Chinese Taipei (5-3)
    6. Cuba (6-2)
    7. Panama (3-5)
    8. Netherlands (3-5)
    9. Australia (4-3)
    10. Italy (3-4)
    11. South Africa (1-6)
    12. Spain (0-7)

    TOURNAMENT NOTES: Team USA's 4-0 quarterfinal victory against Cuba marked the first time in seven world championship events that the 2006 host country would not be assured of claiming a medal. The last time that Cuba did not finish among the top three at the Worlds was in 1995 when the USA earned the gold at Boston. Prior to this year, Cuba had won four of six tournaments played since 1995…Besides its 1995 crown, previous World titles for the JNT came in 1999, 1989, 1988 and 1982…Matt Dominguez (INF; Lake Balboa, CA) topped the team in home runs (2), triples (1), RBI (11) and total bases (16). His home runs, each three-run shots, came in medal-round victories against Cuba and Mexico…Christian Colon (INF; Corona, CA) and Justin Jackson (INF; Asheville, NC), the first two hitters in Team USA's batting order during the Worlds, each shared team-high honors in hits with nine and had identical .310 batting averages. That hitting mark was best among regulars who played all eight tournament games…Colon drew a squad-best eight walks to match a Worlds tournament record…Colon had at least one hit in the every tournament game except one (Mexico) while Jackson hit safely in the first five contests and six of the team's eight games…Although he batted in the cleanup spot for most of the tournament, Mike Moustakas (OF-INF; Northridge, CA) was No. 1 in runs scored with nine. He crossed the plate four times in the squad's 18-1 trouncing of Italy to match a JNT single-game Worlds record …he also collected five of his seven tourney RBI in that game… Hunter Morris (OF; Huntsville, AL) was plunked a team-high thee times vs. Italy, a new single-game Worlds mark…In addition, Italy pitchers hit seven batters with pitches in the contest to set another JNT single-game Worlds record…After not getting an extra-base hit through three games, the Americans ended up with 16 in eight outings…After moving into the starting lineup midway through the event, Daniel Elorriaga Matra (C; Coral Springs, FL) finished with hits in five of the final six games and owned team highs for batting average (.412) and slugging percentage (.706) in five starts. He also had the team's first homer of the Worlds in the Italy affair…Tommy Medica (C; San Jose, CA) notched a .304 batting average. He hit safely in half of the team's eight games…Matt Newman (OF; Glendale, AZ) collected hits in all but two of the team's contests, including the last three, while compiling a .269 hitting mark…Victor Sanchez (OF; Norwalk, CA) amassed two of his four tournament hits against Italy. He also drew three of the JNT's single-game record 13 walks in that game to equal a single-game standard in that category…Freddie Freeman (INF; Villa Park, CA) posted both of his tournament base hits in the medal-round win against Mexico. One of those hits was a two-run double that helped Team USA pull away for the win…Team USA hit .262 in eight tournament contests while outscoring opponents 47-16…for the tournament, Team USA stranded 69 runners on base including a single-game record of 14 in both the Italy and Korea contests…The team also left 11 on board in the 8-2 medal-round win against Mexico…Blake Beavan (RHP; Irving, TX) did not allow an earned run in a staff-high 14.2 innings pitched…He scattered seven hits in a complete-game, 11-strikeout performance to lead Team USA to its quarterfinal win against Cuba…His 14 strikeouts in two outings were tops on the squad…After allowing three hits and two unearned runs in 2.1 innings of relief in the team's opener against Chinese Taipei, Tim Alderson (RHP; Phoenix, AZ) bounced back to throw five innings of shutout relief in the semifinal win against Mexico…He struck out 11, allowed just one walk and did not permit an earned run in a staff-best four tournament appearances…Matt Harvey (RHP; Mystic, CT) fanned 11 in 7.1 innings on the mound in two starts…Jarrod Parker (RHP; Bluffton, IN) notched an 0.77 earned run average in 11.2 innings of mound duty, spanning one start and two relief appearances. He whiffed 10…Greg Peavey (RHP-OF; Vancouver, WA) fanned 12 and allowed just three hits in a seven-inning complete-game win against Spain…Also finishing in double-figure strikeouts was Neil Ramirez (RHP; Virginia Beach, VA) who registered 10 in starts against Canada and the Mexico semifinal contest…He registered a 2.89 ERA…Kevin Rhoderick (RHP; Scottsdale, AZ) struck out seven in 3.2 scoreless innings of relief…He tossed 3.0 innings in the JNT's 2-1 win against Canada…Michael Main (RHP; Deltona, FL) allowed just one hit but two earned runs in two relief appearances…Main earned a save by getting the final two outs in the Canada pool-play victory… Team USA pitchers ended up with 78 strikeouts in eight games and allowed just 41 hits and 11 earned runs in 64.1 innings on the mound for a 1.54 staff earned run average…JNT hurlers struck out 11 in each of its final three games against Cuba, Mexico and Korea…Opponents batted just .181 against Team USA pitchers and managed only six extra-base hits…the USA squad committed 13 errors in eight games for a .954 fielding percentage.