PARANA, Argentina - The USA Men's Fastpitch National Team fell to 2-3 in round robin action on Tuesday evening with a 4-3 loss to Canada at the IX Conpasa Men's Fastpitch Panam Championship the Amateur Softball Association (ASA)/USA Softball announced today. Leading 3-1 in the top of the seventh, a three-run home run by Canada's Gregg Garrity sealed the win for the Canadians as Team USA was unable to answer in their final at-bat.
"We had our backs to the wall today and we came out and played a huge ball game," said Head Coach Denny Bruckert (Gillespie, Ill.). "It didn't end the way we wanted it to, but Tony gave us everything he had. We hit the ball well and got the timely hits we've been missing. I've seen a lot of positives from the guys."
In their opening at-bat, the USA loaded the bases with two outs but were unable to capitalize on the opportunity. It was a back and forth pitcher's duel for both teams until the bottom of the third inning when the U.S. scored their first run of the game. With one out, Matt Palazzo (Pleasant Hill, Iowa) walked and came around to score on an errant throw by Canada's third baseman. The lead did not last long as Canada tied the game in the top of the fourth inning on a solo home run by Andy Skelton.
The score would remain tied at one run apiece until the bottom of the sixth inning when the U.S. offense came alive. Josh Johnson (El Paso, Texas) doubled to left field to start the at-bat and scored on a single to left field from Nick Mullins (Toms River, N.J.). Tony Mancha (Las Cruces, N.M.) followed up with a single to right field to put two runners on base for the U.S. before Pat Sagdal (Richland, Wash.) brought Mullins home with a ground ball to short stop.
Leading 3-1 heading into the top of the seventh, the U.S. was three outs away from securing the upset over the undefeated Canadians. Back-to-back groundouts put USA just one out away from the victory, but back-to-back singles kept the Canadians alive. With two outs, Garrity sent the long ball over the centerfield fence to put Canada up 4-3.
Down to their last at-bat, USA put their leadoff batter Nate Devine (Sonora, Calif.) on base with a walk and Palazzo advanced him to third on a double to centerfield. With two runners in scoring position with one out, Johnson walked to load the bases for the U.S., but a ground ball to third base and a fly ball to center field ended the rally with Canada taking the 4-3 win.
Mancha got the start in the circle for the USA and went the complete game, allowing nine hits and four runs while striking out six. Offensively, the U.S. combined for eight hits as both Mancha and Palazzo went 2-for-3.
With the loss, the USA Men fall to 2-3 in round robin action and will look to bounce back when they face home country Argentina at 7 p.m. CT tonight. You can follow all of the USA Men’s National Team action at www.USASoftball.com.
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 as well as claimed seven World Cup of Softball titles. For more information about USA Softball, please visit http://www.usasoftball.com.