Junior Men suffer first loss at World Championship
PARANA, Argentina – The USA Softball Junior Men’s National Team fell to Australia 12-1 in their last pool-play game at the International Softball Federation (ISF) World Championship on Thursday the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America announced today. With the loss, USA raps up pool play with a 5-1 record securing the No. 2 seed entering Thursday’s bracket play.
“At this point in the tournament everyone starts with a clean slate,” said USA Head Coach Tim Lyon. “We have to put everything that has happened over the past few days behind us and focus on the coming games. If we play like we’re capable of playing then we’re going to be just fine.”
Zach Lach (Frankenuth, Mich.) started the game in the circle for Team USA. The right hander threw 3.2 innings allowing four runs on seven hits and two walks. With the loss, Lach’s tournament record moves to 1-1.
The Americans struggled to get much going offensively throughout most of the night. After little production in the first two innings Nicolas Serrato (Corona, Calif.) and Dylan Elmer (Machesney Park, Ill.) both managed to reach base to begin the third inning. A sacrifice bunt from Tyler Johnson (Union, Mo.) advanced the runners to second and third but was followed up with two strikeouts to end the inning and the runners were stranded on base.
With two outs in the top of the fourth, Brent Meshke (Lake Crystal, Minn.) entered the circle for Team USA and picked up the final out of the inning to preserve a 4-0 Australian lead.
The USA’s sole run came in the fifth inning when Serrato again reached base from the lead-off position, this time after being hit by a pitch. Two batters later, Justin Wurtz (New Haven, Mo.), facing an 0-2 count, hit a ball to center field and a fielding error turned the play into a double bringing Serrato around from first base to score. After five innings of play, USA found themselves trailing 6-1.
Both teams were held scoreless in the sixth inning and the USA had one last opportunity to get back into the game in the seventh. Meshke began the inning but surrendered three runs on four hits prompting the second USA pitching change. Michael Lewis (Amboy, Minn.) entered the circle with his team trailing 9-1 and allowed three additional Australian runs before recording the final out.
Dakota Wells (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) began the bottom of the seventh with a chopper that bounced over the first baseman’s head for a base hit. Two batters later Wells was put out at second when Dylan Elmer grounded to first for the fielder’s choice. In the next at-bat Elmer was able to reach third when a ground ball from Tyler Johnson rolled under the second baseman’s glove for an error. Team USA found themselves with two runners on base but a ground ball to the pitcher ended any chances of a comeback.
With a 5-1 record, the USA Junior Men lock up the No. 2 overall seed in Pool A. The team will now turn it’s sights toward a 5:30 p.m. (CT) matchup with the host country Argentina who ran through Pool B with perfect 6-0 record to gain the No. 1 seed from that pool. With a win over Argentina, USA would advance to face the winner of Australia and Japan but a loss would mean a matchup with the winner of Thursday morning’s New Zealand versus Mexico game. Please visit www.USAsoftball.com to follow live stats and see photos from all of USA’s games at the ISF World Championship.