AUCKLAND, New Zealand – The USA Men’s Fastpitch National Team locked up a spot in the playoff portion of the International Softball Federation (ISF) World Championship on Thursday by defeating Great Britain 4-1 the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of American and USA Softball announced today. Gerald Muizelaar (Grand Forks, ND) threw the complete come for the Americans picking up his first victory in the tournament. The right hander only gave up one run and struck out 12 Great Britain batters on his way to the win.
Both teams struggled from the plate early in the game. Great Britain went three up, three down in their first two at-bats and Team USA didn’t do much better. But, in the top of the third, the British loaded the bases on a hit and two walks and with two outs, Muizelaar hit a batter to walk in the first run of the game.
The 1-0 Great Britain lead held until the fifth inning when two walks and a fielder’s choice in which all runners advanced safely loaded the bases for Team USA. With no outs, Adam LaLonde (Ashland, Ky.) hit a grounder and Jaime Garcia Jr. (Kansas City, Kan.) beat the throw home to score and Eddy Ketelhut (Frankenmuth, Mich.) followed right behind him for the second USA run.
In the next at-bat, Chase Turner (San Jose, Calif.) singled to score two more USA runs, giving them a 4-1 lead.
Muizelaar continued his outstanding performance from the circle in the sixth and seven innings and Great Britain never challenged again in the contest. The Americans went away with the 4-1 win securing their spot in Friday’s playoff portion of the tournament.
Having played the earliest game in the day, Team USA had to wait until the completion of Thursday’s games to find out that they would be matched up with Pool B’s third seed, Argentina (5-2). The Argentinean National Team locked up the three seed by defeating Colombia 1-0 on Thursday afternoon.
USA and Argentina will meet on the field at 2:30 PM (local time) on Friday in an elimination game with the winner advancing to face the loser of Canada and Venezuela on Saturday. Friday’s contest will be a rematch of last week’s practice game in which Team USA defeated Argentina 5-2. You can follow all of the USA Men’s National Team action at www.USASoftball.com.