USA Softball Men’s National Team downs Canada 6-5 at Pan American Championship

Sept. 22, 2017, 11 p.m. (ET)

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic — The USA Softball Men’s National Team (MNT) had six hits at the plate and collected eight strikeouts in the circle en route to a 6-5 win over Canada Friday evening at the Centro Olimpico Juan Pablo Duarte, home of the Pan American Championship, USA Softball announced.

“Tonight’s win was big as it guaranteed us a spot on the medal stand,” said Head Coach Gregg Leather. “The team battled hard and stayed after it the entire game. It was a team win all around and despite the distractions between weather and flights, it was huge to see the team stay focused and unite as a team. We will play one game at a time and see how it goes, but our goal has always been to win the Gold Medal.”

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Both teams would come up scoreless in the first inning and strand a runner after producing a single apiece. For Team USA, it was Erick Ochoa (Imperial, Calif.) who hit a two-out single to right field but was caught advancing to second after Tyler Dudley (Battle Creek, Mich.) grounded into a fielder’s choice. Canada’s leadoff hitter singled on a first pitch but two outs later, would be caught attempting to second after Nick Mullins (Toms River, N.J.) fired the ball to Dudley at second base to keep Canada off the board.

Chase Turner (San Jose, Calif.) was issued a two-out walk in the top of the second inning but an infield ground out would prevent him from advancing and end the half inning. After a pair of singles placed runners on the corners in the bottom half of the frame, Canada would take the early 1-0 lead from a RBI single before a pop out sent the U.S. back to the plate.

Canada’s lead wouldn’t last long as a solo home run from Yusef Davis (Long Beach, Calif.) evened the scoreboard at one run apiece. Cameron Schiller (Prescott, Ariz.) would then reach on an error by the shortstop, advance to third off a single from Mullins, and be brought home after an infield single from Dudley. With the Red, White and Blue now ahead 2-1, the U.S. defense continued to do work in the bottom half of inning as Tony Mancha (Las Cruces, N.M.) picked up a pair of strikeouts before an infield groundout ended Canada’s at-bat.

A leadoff walk to Kevin Castillo (Long Beach, Calif.) in the top of the fourth inning prompted a pitching change for Canada, while a wild pitch followed to move him to second. A groundout from Turner allowed Castillo to reach third before he plated another run for the U.S. on a groundout from Jonathan Lynch (Cape Girardeau, Mo.). Canada answered back by closing in on the U.S. lead with a solo shot to center field in the bottom half of the fourth inning.

The U.S. offense tacked on two more runs to the scoreboard in the top of the fifth inning. Mullins reached first on a one-out walk before Ochoa sent a deep fly ball over the center field to extend the lead, 5-2. Canada returned the favor in the bottom half with a two-run shot of their own, putting the score within one at 5-4.

The score would remain through the sixth inning. After the U.S. was retired in order in the top of the inning, a hit by pitch would result in a pitching change for Team USA as Duane Weiler (Richland, Pa.) entered in relief and proceeded to close out the inning.

Holding onto their 5-4 lead with one inning left to play, an error by the shortstop allowed Mullins to reach first resulting in Canada making their second pitching change of the night. With Travis Nevin (Indian River, Nova Scotia) in as a courtesy runner, a single from Ochoa would move him to second. Jenner Christiansen (Castro Valley, Calif.) then entered as a pinch runner for Ochoa and while a strikeout was to follow, Jeff Nowaczyk (Midland, Mich.) drew a walk to load the bases for Team USA. Nevin would score for the Red, White and Blue on a passed ball before the half inning was up.

Three outs away from the win, Team USA stayed focused and completed the game in dominating fashion. After a hit by a pitch, a one-out single from Canada would put runners on the corners. Canada then sent a fly ball to center field for a RBI single before the U.S. produced a double play to seal their 6-5 victory and secure a spot on the medal stand.

Mancha earned the win for the Red, White and Blue, pitching five innings with six strikeouts and allowing four runs on seven hits. Weiler earned the save, pitching the final two innings with two strikeouts. Ochoa went 3-for-4 at the plate and recorded two RBI after his two-run shot in the fifth inning, while Davis, Dudley, and Lynch picked up one RBI apiece.

Team USA returns to action tomorrow to face Argentina at 2 p.m. CT. Fans can watch Team USA throughout the tournament with live streaming through InternetTV for an $11.95 (USD) subscription.  Live stats will also be available for fans to follow along through USASoftball.com.

About USA Softball
USA Softball is a 501(c)(3) not-for profit organization headquartered in Oklahoma City, Okla., and is designated as the National Governing Body (NGB) of Softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. One of the nation’s largest sports organizations, USA Softball sanctions competition in every state through a network of 70 local associations and has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 150,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than 2 million.  USA Softball is dedicated to providing people of all ages the opportunity to play the game they love at a variety of levels by offering recreational, league, tournament and competitive play for fast pitch, slow pitch and modified pitch.  USA Softball annually conducts thousands of tournaments throughout the country including over 100 National Championships.  The USA Softball umpire program is among the nation’s largest and are widely known as the best trained umpires in the game.

As the NGB for the sport of softball, USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting the six USA Softball National Teams that compete in events such as the Olympics, Pan American Games, World Championships and other international and domestic events. For more information on USA Softball, including its founding and history as the Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA), please visit, www.USASoftball.com.