USA Men shutout by New Zealand at World Championships
Christchurch, N.Z.---The U.S. will have to advance from the loser’s bracket if it is to capture its sixth World Championship gold medal after being shutout by defending world champion New Zealand 9-0 in five innings.
The U.S. offense, which has dominated opposing pitching thus far in the championship, was stymied by New Zealander hurler Jimmy Wana. The only time runners were even in scoring position came in the first and last inning.
Chris Miljavac (St. Joseph, MO) drew a walk and advanced to second on a single by Ross Dey (Sedalia, MO) but both were left stranded when Chris DeLarwelle (Appleton, WI) struck out to end the inning.
“This is obviously not the result we were looking for tonight but now have to refocus and put this game behind us and move ahead,” said DeLarwelle. “We know we can compete with any team here and we have to go out and prove it.”
New Zealand chased U.S starter Doug Gillis (Novi, MI) from the game in the second inning after scoring five runs on just four hits. Donny Hale led off the inning with a double to right center and Taifau Matai followed with a bunt single. A sacrifice bunt by Brad Rona put runners in scoring position for Nathan Nukunuku who capitalized with a single to right field that scored the first run for New Zealand. Dion Nukunuku followed his brother with a walk and Stacy McLean reached on a fielding error by U.S. second baseman Todd Schultz (Williamston, MI) that scored a run.
Doug Middleton (Blue Springs, MO) Middleton entered the game to try and stop the bleeding but to no avail. With runners on second and third, Middleton uncorked a wild pitch to score D. Nukunuku. An infield single by Jarrad Martin placed runs on the corners for Mark Sorenson who hit a sacrifice fly to deep centerfield. Two more singles in the inning produced two more runs for the Kiwis.
Michael White (Eugene, OR) entered the game in the bottom of the third but did not fair much better against the New Zealand bats. The Kiwis scored three additional runs on three hits but the U.S. did have two errors in the inning. Travis Price (Santa Ana, CA) pitched the final inning and retired the side for the first time in the game.
Joe Morales (El Paso, TX) picked up the only other hit for the U.S. in the fifth with a single to right and advanced to second on a fielding error but was left stranded as the game ended. Gillis was saddled with the loss and is now 1-1 at these championships.
With the loss the U.S. drops to the loser’s bracket and will face Samoa at 8:15 p.m. CST on Friday.