FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
EDMONTON, Alberta – Powered by three big innings, including a nine-run fourth, the USA Baseball 18U National Team erupted for 16 hits in a 20-5 rout of the Netherlands today in pool-play action of the International Baseball Federation’s AAA World Junior Championships at Telus Field. The tournament, featuring the world’s top 18-and-under players from 12 countries, will conclude Aug. 3.
The win improved the USA’s record to 2-0. Team USA will continue pool play at 5 p.m. (EDT) July 28 against Russia (0-2) at Telus Field. Russia was blanked 12-0 by Mexico today, also in a seven-inning run-rule affair.
“It’s awesome to score a bunch of runs,” Team USA Head Coach Mark Elkins said. “What’s more, we stranded four runners in scoring position in the first two (scoreless) innings. It was a total team effort. We had players come off the bench who had several positive at bats. We certainly are counting on them doing that in the tournament.”
The USA’s 20 runs and 18 RBIs tied the third best single-game total in each category for an 18U Team at the Worlds. Austin Maddox (DH; Jacksonville, Fla.) had six at bats, matching the second best mark in that category.
The Americans broke open the contest, which had been slated to start at 9:05 p.m. (EDT) but was delayed two hours because of early-evening rain, with a six-run third inning. The first five USA batters in the inning notched hits and the first seven reached base. Maddox slammed a three-homer for the big hit in the uprising, Team USA’s only home run of the night. In fact, no USA player had more than three RBI, three runs scored or three hits.
Team USA then stretched its lead to 15-0, courtesy of a nine-run at bat in the fourth when the Americans sent 14 batters to the plate. Max Stassi (C; Yuba City, Calif.) had a two-run double and Harold Martinez (INF; Miami, Fla.) logged a two-run single while Jeff Malm (INF; Las Vegas, Nev.), David Nick (INF; Cypress, Calif.), and Nick Franklin (OF; Longwood, Fla.) also garnered RBIs in the inning. Malm had three hits and scored three times.
Trailing by 15 runs, the Netherlands (1-1) reached USA starter Jacob Turner (RHP; St. Charles, Mo.) for four hits and four runs in its half of the fourth inning. Turner, who struck out seven, had retired the first nine batters he faced and did not surrender a hit until the fourth. A pair of USA errors aided the Netherlands’ efforts, although all four runs against Turner were earned. Jake Barrett (RHP; Mesa, Ariz.) got the final two outs of the inning.
“We had a couple of big innings and it’s easy to get flat in that type of situation,” Elkins said “That happens sometimes in baseball. The long innings made it tough for Jacob to get back into his pitching rhythm. It’s often difficult for a pitcher although, in another sense, it’s a nice problem to have when you score all those runs.”
After the Netherlands added another run in the sixth inning, the Americans salted away the run rule with a five-run blitz in the top of the seventh. All five runs were driven in by different players—Cameron Garfield (C; Murrieta, Calif.), Andrew Aplin (OF; Suisun City, Calif.), Nolan Fontana (INF; Winter Garden, Fla.), Jonathan Meyer (INF; Simi Valley, Calif.) and Franklin.
Like Malm, Donavan Tate (OF; Cartersville, Ga.) crossed the plate on three occasions while six players — Fontana, Franklin, Malm, Martinez, Stassi and Nick — recorded two RBIs. Six more — Fontana, Franklin, Maddox, Stassi, Nick and Aplin — scored two runs.
Following Barrett’s 1.2 innings of hitless relief, Wes Hatton (RHP; Norco, Calif.) tossed the final two innings allowing a pair of hits and one earned run.