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Team USA Pitches Past JUCO All-Stars, Wins 5-1


Phoenix, Ariz. – Game one started rocky for the USA Baseball 18U National Team, Friday, as the JUCO All-Stars took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. But Team USA did not take long responding; garnering a lead that they would not relinquish at Phoenix Municipal Stadium as team USA went on to win 5-1.

Dominic Gamboa got aboard with a lead-off walk on USA starting pitcher Matthew Purke (Spring, Texas) to begin the game for the JUCO All-Stars. A double to left center by Aaron Munoz scored Gamboa to take the early lead, but Purke then struck out the next two batters and forced a groundout to prohibit more JUCO runs.

USA answered early as Andrew Aplin (Suisun City, Calif.) started things off; reaching on a bunt-hit single with one out. A Jeff Malm (Las Vegas, Nev.) single moved Aplin to third and Harold Martinez (Miami, Fla.) brought in the tying run with a single to right center. Martinez was then caught stealing for the second out and Austin Maddox (Jacksonville, Fla.) lined out to end the inning.

Team USA got on the board again in the bottom of the second as Max Stassi (Yuba City, Calif.) singled to right field and stole second to put a runner in scoring position with no outs. A Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden, Fla.) single advanced Stassi to third base, and a wild pitch by pitcher Justin Harper brought Stassi in to score, taking the lead at 2-1 whilst putting Fontana in scoring position with one out. Fontana moved to third base on a Wes Hatton (Norco, Calif.) groundout and then scored on another Harper wild pitch putting Team USA up 3-1 after two innings.

USA added another run in the bottom of the fourth as David Nick (Cypress, Calif.) started things off with two outs as JUCO pitcher Ryan Guy hit him in the arm to put him aboard. Nick then stole second before Fontana hit a single to right field to score Nick from second bringing the score to 4-1. Wes Hatton then singled to right field putting runners on the corners to continue the rally but Donavan Tate (OF; Cartersville, Ga.) grounded out to second base to end the rally.

Andrew Aplin started off the fifth inning with a slam to the right-center field wall for a triple, hoping to add some more insurance runs on the JUCO All-Stars. Malm then smacked a sacrifice fly to center field to bring Aplin in for what would be the final score, 5-1.

Winning pitcher, Matthew Purke did well in his exhibition debut with Team USA as he went 4.0 innings giving up one run on two hits. Purke ended with three strikeouts. Jacob Turner (RHP; St. Charles, Mo.) shone in relief Friday as he pitched two scoreless innings without giving up a hit and recorded four strikeouts. Jeff Malm also pitched an inning of scoreless relief as he managed to end the game on only ten pitches.

Team USA will play the JUCO All-Stars again Saturday in their final exhibition game in the country as they will be traveling to Canada, Sunday, for a series of exhibition games before the IBAF World Junior Championships.

Photo of Matthew Purke from Perfect Game

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