AUCKLAND, New Zealand – The USA Softball Men’s National Team opened play at the International Softball Federation (ISF) World Championship on Friday when they faced defending World Champion Australia the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball announced today. The Americans struggled to get much going offensively as costly errors in the field spotted the Aussies the runs they needed for the win.
“We just never quite settled into the ballgame,” said USA assistant coach Avon Meacham. “Australia is a really good team and they deserve credit for the win but we did a lot of things to help them out along the way. With that said, I still feel good about the way our team is playing. We just have to put this one behind us and look to get on a run as we continue through pool play.”
Things looked promising in the start for Team USA when Adam LaLonde (Ashland, Ky.) led off the game with a base hit but Australian pitcher Adam Folkard followed it with two of his 12 strikeouts on the night to hold the Americans scoreless in the first inning.
Travis Price (Orange, Calif.) got the start in the circle for Team USA and held the Aussies scoreless for one and two-thirds innings but with two down in the second, Australia rattled off three quick runs to take the lead. Price surrender runs four and five in the next two innings and with two outs in the fourth, Josh Johnson (Brooklyn, Wis.) entered the circle in relief. Johnson walked his first batter but followed with a strikeout to end the inning.
Trailing late in the game, Team USA couldn’t get anything going offensively as Australia defense retired their final 12 batters in a row. The Aussies added a sixth and final run in the fifth inning and went away with a 6-0 opening-game win.
The USA Men will look to bounce back when they face Samoa in their second pool play game on Saturday at 12 PM local time. Pool play will continue through March 7 when the top four teams from each pool will be seeded into a bracket scheduled for March 8-10. You can follow all of the USA Men’s National Team action at www.USASoftball.com.