USA Softball Mens Fastpitch National Team wins Durk Sherman Classic Championship

By Steven Embree | Sept. 02, 2014, 12 a.m. (ET)

ELKLAND, Pa. – In their first event as a team, the 2014 USA Softball Men’s Fastpitch National Team took the championship of Durk Sherman Classic in Elkland, Pa. this weekend. Using the event as a tune-up for next month’s IX Conpasa Men’s Fastpitch Panam, Team USA went 5-0 in the event capped off with a 7-0 win over the USA Futures in the Championship game.

“I was very happy with our defense this weekend,” said USA Head Coach Denny Bruckert. “We had some questions coming into this tournament and I think our 17 guys answered them. They were an extremely professional group and they all accepted their roles. The defense was a bright spot for us. Coming in we as a coaching staff knew that we could hit the ball well but our defense was equally as impressive in this tournament. I think we only had one error in the five games that we play. I was very happy with the way we played on that side of the ball.”

Championship: USA 7, USA Futures 0
Click here to view the Box Score

A no-hitter from USA pitcher Josh Johnson (El Paso, Texas) coupled with seven runs on nine hits from the USA batters spurred a 7-0 shut out by the USA National Team over the USA Futures Team in the finals of the Durk Sherman Classic over the weekend. Johnson finished the game with five strikeouts in six innings in the circle. Nick Mullins (Toms River, N.J.) paced a hot USA lineup going 2-2 with a run and three RBI. 

After a scoreless first inning, the USA National Team blew the game open with five runs on three hits and an error in the top of the second. After allowing four runs on two hits, Jerlin Rutt (Bernville, Pa.) was replaced by B.J. Hunhoff (Sioux Falls, S.D.) midway through the second. Hunhoff finished up the game for the USA Futures by allowing three more runs on seven hits while striking out four.

The 5-0 score held to the fifth when Chase Turner (San Jose, Calif.) scored on a wild pitch to make it 6-0. Needing just one more run for the run rule in the sixth, Johnson doubled to center field and later came around to score giving Team USA a 7-0 advantage.

Down to their last at-bat the USA Futures needed one run in the bottom of the sixth to extend the game but Johnson had other plans in the circle. Back-to-back groundouts were followed up with a Johnson’s fifth strikeout of the game to end it.

How they got there…

The USA Softball Men’s National team earned their trip to the tournament finals by going 4-0 in the winner’s bracket including a 16-0 win over Jersey Shore in their opening game, a 7-2 win over CPI in the second round, an 8-0 win over ESA in the third round and a 4-0 victory over the USA Futures in the winners-bracket final. In all, Team USA outscored opponents 42-2 in the tournament. Derrick Zechman (Watsontown, Pa.) lead the team offensively going 8-14 for a .571 average. In the circle, USA Pitchers Johnson, Tony Mancha (Las Cruces, N.M.) and Gerald Muizelaar (Grand Forks, N.D.) combined for a 0.62 ERA and allowed just two runs on 10 hits in 29 innings.

The USA Softball Futures team showed the future of USA Men’s fastpitch is in good shape as the young squad went 4-2 in the tournament with their only losses coming to the USA National Team. The Futures began the event by defeating Dick’s Diner 9-1 in round one, squeaked by the NY Bombers 2-1 in round two and beat Bedford 5-1 in round three. A 4-1 loss to the National Team in the winners-bracket final sent them to the losers bracket where they defeated ESA 6-4 to earn a rematch with the National Team in the finals where they fell 7-0.

Following the tournament championship, the USA Softball Men’s National team regroup in October and travel to Parana, Argentina to compete in the IX Conpasa Men’s Fastpitch Panam where they will look to earn berths to the 2015 Pan American Games as well as the 2015 International Softball Federation (ISF) World Championship. Please visit www.USASoftball.com throughout the year for updates on the USA Softball Men’s National Team.

About ASA
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 165,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than 2.5 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 the 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 including the last seven consecutive as well as claimed six World Cup of Softball titles. For more information about USA Softball, please visit 
http://www.usasoftball.com.
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