TEAM USA WINS SEMI-FINALS GAME OVER MEXICO 12-2 ADVANCING TO FINALS VS. VENEZUELA

August 12, 2006

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  • BARQUISIMETO, Venezuela - Team USA has advanced to Sunday's championship game to face Venezuela, after beating Mexico in the semi-finals matchup 12-2, in an 8-inning run-rule enforced game (10 + run margin after 7 innings). D.J. Hicks crushed a grand slam homer in the 7th, Max Stassi smashed a 6th inning solo homer, and Tyler Rahmatulla had two hits and two runs scored. Kyle Winkler struck out 14 batters over his eight innings, earning the win.

    Kyle Winkler (Sugar Land, TX) was the starting and winning pitcher for Team USA (8 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 14 K). In the top of the 1st inning, after getting the first batter to fly out to left, Mexico's shortstop Leal tripled to center, as Jaff Decker fell down attempting to get back on the ball. Winkler struck out the next batter, but with two outs, Navarette hit a 2-run home run to left, providing Mexico with a 2-0 lead. Team USA had trailed for only two innings in their first seven games of the week heading into these semi-finals.

    In the home 1st, Team USA scored a run off Mexico's lefty starter Avelino. With Mexico leading 2-0, L.J. Hoes (Mitchelville, MD) lined to second. Tyler Rahmatulla (Mission Viejo, CA) singled sharply to right with one out. Jaff Decker (Phoenix, AZ) did the same, pushing Rahmatulla to second. Harold Martinez (Miami, FL) popped out to second for the second out. Kyle Skipworth (Riverside, CA) bounced an RBI single to right, scoring Rahmatulla, advancing Decker to third base. Mexico's lead shrunk to 1-0. Max Stassi (Yuba City, CA) took three pitches, striking out to end the threat.

    In the 2nd inning, Winkler tossed a perfect frame, keeping the score 2-1 Mexico.

    In the home 2nd, D.J. Hicks (Altamonte Springs, FL) opened with a walk - his 7th of the tournament. Mychal Givens (Tampa, FL) grounded the ball to the shortstop, but in his attempt to force Hicks at second base, the ball was thrown into right for an error, scoring Hicks to tie the game (2-2) and allowing Givens to race to third base. After Winkler popped out to the catcher, L.J. Hoes's grounder to shortstop, scored Givens, producing Team USA's first lead of the night, 3-2. Tyler Rahmatulla flied to right to end the inning.

    In Mexico's 3rd inning, Winkler struck out the side in order - tallying six strikeouts through three innings.

    Team USA went in order in the home 3rd. Jaff Decker struck out looking leading off the 3rd. Harold Martinez bounced to third for the second out. Kyle Skipworth popped out to second.

    Winkler worked a scoreless 4th, allowing a 2-out single, snapping a string of retiring 9 straight since yielding the 1st inning home run.

    Team USA's 3-2 lead was frozen in the 4th. Max Stassi opened the 4th with a fly out to right. D.J. Hicks popped to the catcher for the second out. Mychal Givens struck out swinging, but reached on a wild pitch. Givens advanced to second on a wild pitch to Kyle Winkler, who then flied to left to wrap up the inning.

    In the 5th, Winkler pitched a perfect inning, with two more strikeouts, giving him 10 through 5 innings.

    The margin grew to 4-2 in the bottom of the inning. L.J. Hoes struck out looking. Tyler Rahmatulla tripled inside the right field line. Jaff Decker's sacrifice fly RBI to center was deep enough to plate Rahmatulla. Harold Martinez grounded out to second to end the inning.

    The 6th inning was harmless for Winkler, yielding only a single. Winkler earned his 11th strikeout of the game to finish the inning.

    Team USA extended the lead to 7-2 with three runs in the home 6th. After Kyle Skipworth grounded back to the pitcher, Max Stassi drilled his first pitch over the center field fence for the 5-2 advantage. Stassi's first homer in Venezuela. Mychal Givens reached on the shortstop's fielding error. Kyle Winkler's RBI single to medium-deep right-center scored Givens all the way from first base, for a 6-2 Team USA lead. Mexico changed pitchers, bringing in lefty Demetrio Gutierrez. A wild pitch moved Winkler to second, and L.J. Hoes singled home Winkler (7-2), and reached third on the left fielder's throwing error. Tyler Rahmatulla was hit by a breaking ball, putting runners on the corners. Jaff Decker struck out swinging to end the inning.

    Winkler worked a perfect 7th, adding his 12th strikeout.

    Team USA scored four runs in the 7th, producing an 11-2 lead. Harold Martinez opened the bottom of the 7th with a walk, and took third base on a single to right by Kyle Skipworth (who advanced to second on the right fielder's throw to third). Max Stassi, who homered in his previous at-bat, walked, filling the bases with no outs. D.J. Hicks smashed a two-strike grand slam homer to right, boosting Team USA's lead to 11-2. Mexico brought in its third pitcher Cesar Carrillo. Mychal Givens struck out swinging for the first out. Kyle Winkler flied out. L.J. Hoes reached on a two-base throwing error from Mexico's third baseman. Tyler Rahmatulla struck out to finish the inning.

    In the 8th, Winkler allowed a one-out double, but stranded Carrillo, while also registering his 13th and 14th strikeouts.

    In the bottom of the 8th, Jaff Decker started the inning with a walk. Harold Martinez reached on a two-base throwing error by the third baseman, who was attempting to start a 5-4-3 double play, but the initial throw ended up in right. Decker reached third. Kyle Skipworth's RBI groundout to third scored Decker and ended the run-rule enforced game, 12-2.

    Venezuela beat Cuba 8-7, scoring the winning run in the bottom of the 9th inning on a wild pitch, to advance to Sunday's Finals game at 2pm, when they'll meet Team USA.

    Head Coach Garye LaFevers commented on his team's victory - "I told them to focus on the white ball, (when trailing in the first inning). It was an emotional two runs that we gave up. He (Winkler) made one mistake - he left the ball up (on the homer). Winkler's been dominant all night long. He got stronger as the innings went along. It probably was little shock to him to be down in the first, but he picked himself up and the rest of the team backed him up. D.J. Hicks is playing a complete game. He's hustling in all aspects of the game. (He made a scoop and diving effort at first base, in addition to a grand slam homer). Max Stassi had a big night (homered)…he's been solid behind the plate. The walk he got was impressive - he was down in the count. We need to be focused tomorrow. We lost our approach at the plate, after getting caught up in our emotions. We need to calm down. After the game we talked about playing the white ball (and leaving the external influences out of the game).

    Team USA (#1 seed) will play Venezuela at 2pm on August 13th, in the championship game. As a result of a coin toss, Team USA will be the home team.

    Team MEXICO……20000000
    Team USA………....12001341

    WP: Winkler (2-0)
    LP: Avelino (0-1)

    August 12th (semi-finals) - VENEZUELA 8 CUBA 7

    Team USA scores


    August 5th - d. Brazil 12-0 (7 innings)
    August 6th - d. Venezuela 14-0 (7 innings)
    August 7th - d. Cuba 8-5
    August 8th - d. Mexico 8-1
    August 9th - d. Aruba 17-0 (5 innings)
    August 10th - d. Columbia 18-1 (5 innings)
    August 11th - d. Dominican Republic 17-1 (5 innings)
    August 12th - d. Mexico 12-2 (8 innings)