USA Men finish pool play with perfect 6-0 record after downing Argentina
Christchurch, N.Z.---The U.S. posted its fifth shutout and completed pool play with a perfect 6-0 record after defeating Argentina 7-0 tonight at the ISF Men’s World Championship. The U.S. is the only undefeated team left in the championship after New Zealand fell 5-4 to Canada in its final pool play game.
After a sluggish start, the USA bats finally came alive in the fifth inning when Todd Schultz (Williamston, MI) laid down a bunt single and advanced to third on a throwing error by the catcher. Todd Garcia (Woodbridge, CA), who reached on a fielders choice, executed a successful squeeze play to score Schultz. Steve Schott (Kelso, MO) then hit a hard grounder that was snagged by the second baseman but the throw to first was offline allowing Schott to take two bases and Garcia to move to third. A single by Kyle Magnusson (Salt Lake City, UT) scored Garcia and Schott to give the U.S. a 3-0 advantage.
The U.S. picked up four insurance runs in the top of the seventh inning to remove any doubt in the outcome of the game. Chris DeLarwelle (Appleton, WI) led off with a pinch hit single up the middle and was replaced at first with Garcia who he had pinch hit for. Joe Morales (El Paso, TX) continued the hit parade with a double down the left field line to put runners at second and third.
Adam LaLonde (Cheboygan, MI), who is leading the U.S. in hitting with a .667 batting average, cleared the bases with a triple to right field before Ross Dey (Sedalia, MO) picked up his second hit of the day, a round tripper to right field to push the U.S. lead to 7-0.
Each one of the U.S. pitchers saw action in the game with Doug Gillis (Novi, MI) getting the start. He was relieved after two innings of work in favor of Travis Price (Santa Ana, CA) who actually picked up the win in two innings of work. Price allowed only one hit and struck out four of the eight batters he faced. Michael White (Eugene, OR) and Doug Middleton (Blue Springs, MO) each pitched in the game.
The U.S., which collected 12 hits in the game, was lead at the plate by Schultz and Dey with two hits apiece, while LaLonde and Dey picked up two RBI each. Eight teams advanced to the playoff round with Canada and the U.S. holding the top spot in their respective pools. The U.S. faces defending world champion New Zealand on Thursday, February 4 at 10 p.m. CST. Canada will face Japan at 12:30 a.m. on February 5 in the other 1-2 match-up.
A win tomorrow would guarantee the U.S. a spot in the medal round. The gold medal game of the championship is scheduled for Saturday, February 7 at 9 p.m. EST. The U.S., which has won five of the 10 World Championship gold medals, has not captured gold since 1988.