ORLANDO, Fla. – The USA Men’s Fast Pitch National Team kicked off the 2014 campaign strong going 3-0 with three run rules on day one of the ISGU International Tournament in Altamonte Springs, Fla. on Thursday. Using the event as a player evaluation opportunity, Team USA brought 25 of the country’s best fast pitch players to Florida to display their abilities in hopes of making the 17-player roster that will travel to Parana, Argentina in October for an International Softball Federation (ISF) World Championship and Pan American Games qualifier. While the 25 players are representing a single team in this week’s event, they are playing in two separate spots on the ISGU International Tournament schedule.
Team USA started the day by run ruling Mexico City 8-0 in five innings. If that wasn’t enough, the Americans returned to top Oriundo Soy 14-0 in a three-inning ballgame and then to close out the day, the USA Men defeated the Marlins in four innings by a final of 11-0. Through the three games, Team USA combined to hit at a .452 average and recorded 21 RBI, 4 HR and just 10 strikeouts in 62 at-bats. From the circle, six USA pitchers combined for a perfect 0.00 ERA on the day while striking out 23 batters in 12 total innings of play.
USA 8, Mexico City 0 (Five Innings)
In their first game of the day, a .455 team batting average coupled with a collaborative no hitter from Josh Johnson (El Paso, Texas) and Garrett Hone (Draper, Utah) led Team USA to an 8-0, fiving inning run rule of Mexico City. Johnson started the game and threw three complete innings striking out six batters and allowing just one base runner, via a walk. To start the fourth Hone entered the circle and picked up where Johnson left off holding Mexico City hitless and recording two strikeouts of his own.
USA 14, Oriundo Soy 0 (3 Innings)
In game two, the Americans pick right back up where they had left off in game one. Three hits and four walks in the first USA at-bat led to a quick 6-0 lead over Oriundo Soy. In the bottom half of the first, USA pitcher Tony Mancha (Las Cruces, N.M.) was just as dominant from the circle throwing a three up, three down inning that included two swinging strikeouts.
Even with a sizeable lead entering the second, Team USA didn’t let up. Six hits in the top of the second, highlighted by a Jonathan Lynch (Cape Girardeau, Mo.) solo home run helped the Americans extend the lead to 13-0 entering the bottom of the second. Despite allowing the first hit against Team USA in the tournament, Mancha again put the clamps down and struck out three more Oriundo Soy batters in the bottom of the second.
Johnson scored the fourteenth and final USA run of the game in the top of the third and Sean Kelly (Albion, Mich.) entered the circle to close things out, replacing Mancha in the bottom half of the inning. Three straight strikeouts for Kelly gave Team USA it’s second run-rule victory of the day.
USA 11, Marlins 0 (4 Innings)
In the third and final game of the day, Jerlin Rutt (Bernville, Pa.) matched the earlier pitching performances going two innings without allowing a hit and recording 5 strikeouts in the effort. On the other side, the American bats proved just as lethal as the team scored 11 runs off of eight hits in the four-inning contest.
Team USA was consistent from the plate scoring two runs in the first, three in the second, two in the third and four in the fourth and final inning of the game. Trevor Kelly (Marshall, Mich.) was the star of the American order hitting in the four hole. The Michigan native went two-for-two with two runs and two RBI in the game all of which was highlighted by a two-run homer in the top of the first.
The Americans held the shutout as B.J. Hunhoff (Sioux Falls, S.D.) entered to pitch to start the third. The left-hander allowed just one hit and struck out two to preserve the third win of the day for Team USA.
The USA Men will continue pool play with three more games on Friday. They’ll first face Sureno Soy at 9:00 a.m. (EST) and follow it with an 11:00 a.m. (EST) matchup against Team X Panama before closing out pool play with a 5:00 p.m. contest with Positive Brothers. Please visit www.USAsoftball.com to follow live stats and see photos from all of USA’s games at the ISGU International Tournament.
The Amateur Softball Association, founded in 1933, is the National Governing Body of softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. The ASA has become one of the nation’s largest sports organizations and now sanctions competition in every state through a network of 76 local associations. The ASA has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 200,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than three million. For more information on the ASA, visit http://www.asasoftball.com/.
About USA Softball
USA Softball is the brand created, operated and owned by the ASA that links the USA Men’s, Women’s, Junior Boys’ and Junior Girls’ National Team programs together. USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting these four National Teams to compete in international and domestic competitions. The USA Softball Women’s National Team is one of only two women’s sports involved in the Olympic movement to capture three consecutive gold medals at the Olympic Games since 1996. The U.S. women have also won nine World Championship titles as well as claimed six World Cup of Softball titles. For more information about USA Softball, please visit http://www.usasoftball.com/.