Junior Men split opening day of Las Vegas Road Trip XI

By Codi Warren (cwarren@usasoftball.com) | April 07, 2018, 12:12 a.m. (ET)

Jeff Lewis at the plate at the Las Vegas Road Trip XI tournament.

LAS VEGAS -   The USA Softball Junior Men’s National Team (JMNT) split games on Friday at the Las Vegas Road Trip XI, USA Softball announced today.  In their opening game of the tournament, the U.S. picked up a 10-7 win over the Oklahoma Sykos¬≠¬≠ before falling 5-1 to the Pala Braves in their second contest of the day.

“I saw a lot of good things today,” said Head Coach, Tyron McKinney (Ashland, Ohio).  “Offensively we did very well. We moved the ball, hit the ball behind runners and had great situational hitting.  We’ve got to get better defensively.  We struggled a bit today on defense and gave the teams a few more extra outs.” 

USA 10, Oklahoma Sykos 7
Click here for box score

Fueled by a five-run third inning, Team USA earned a hard-fought 10-7 win in their opening game of the day against the Oklahoma Sykos.  With a 3-for-3 outing by JMNT veteran Jeff Lewis (Amboy, Minn.), the U.S. combined for 11 hits in the game while Craig Lewis (Winston, Mo.) and Nathan Landry (Indian Brook, Nova Scotia) combined for the win in the circle.

The U.S. got on the scoreboard early in the top of the first inning after J. Lewis tripled and scored on a single from Justin Martinez (Covina, Calif.).  The Oklahoma Sykos would respond with a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame after a pair of singles put two runners on base with two outs.  A walk loaded the bases and back-to-back hit batters scored two runs before a ground out ended the inning.

Team USA bounced back to tie up the game in the top of the second after Steven Hecht (Vassar, Mich.) reached on an error by the third baseman.  Advancing to second base on a ground out, Tony Wark (Munger, Mich.) drove in Hecht with a single to right field to tie the game up at two runs apiece.

The offense would explode in the third inning after Chayton Lloyd (Lakeside, Calif.) led off with a home run to put the U.S. up by a run.  Paul Miklovic (Caro, Mich.) followed with a single, advanced to second on a passed ball and came around to score on a single from J. Lewis.  Two more runs would cross the plate after J. Lewis, Ethan Rodriguez (San Ramon, Calif.) and Hecht scored to put Team USA up 7-2. 

A two-run home run by J. Lewis in the top of the fourth inning made it a 9-2 ballgame for Team USA, but the Oklahoma Sykos would shorten the lead by one after plating a runner in the bottom of the fourth.  An error, passed ball and walk quickly put two runners on the corners before a single cut Team USA’s lead to 9-3.

Seth Brandel (Houghton Lake, Mich.) drove in the final run of the game for the Red, White and Blue after plating Trey Brown (Sanford, Fla.) to put Team USA up 10-3.  Down to their final at-bat, the Oklahoma Sykos made the game interesting by plating four runs before the U.S. was able to lock up the 10-7 win.

C. Lewis picked up the win after allowing just three hits and two earned runs while fanning one batter in three innings in the circle.  Landry pitched the final two innings of the game, striking out four batters while allowing just one earned run.

J. Lewis was perfect at the plate, driving in three runs while scoring three times while Hecht drove in two runs while scoring twice. 

Pala Braves 5, USA 1
Click here for box score

The U.S. could not overcome a four-run first inning by the Pala Braves, suffering a 5-1 loss in their second game of the day.  Team USA was limited to just five hits in the contest with their sole run of the game coming in their final at-bat.

Alejandro Ibarra (Cedar Hill, Texas), who got the start in the circle for the U.S., issued back-to-back walks to start the top of the first innings.  A pair of singles plated the first two runs of the game before a triple and a double put Team USA in a four-run deficit.

Both sides would be retired in order until the bottom of the second inning when Team USA threatened the score.  Walks to Derek Gomez (Austin, Texas), Wark and Dalton Gray (South Jordan, Utah) loaded the bases with two outs but a strikeout kept the U.S from scoring.  A pair of runners for the Red, White and Blue would get on base in the bottom of the third after a walk to Miklovic and J. Lewis was hit by a pitch, but a hard hit line drive by Martinez was caught for the third out of the inning.

The bats would be silent for both teams until the top of the sixth inning when the Pala Braves added to their lead with a solo home run.  With the U.S. needing to plate five to extend the game into extra innings in their final at-bat, Team USA got a rally going after back-to-back bunt singles from Miklovic and J. Lewis.  Martinez drove a ball right up the middle, allowing the speedy Miklovic to score from second to plate Team USA’s only run of the game.  With two runners on base and no outs, a pair of popups and a fly ball to right field ended the game with Team USA on the losing side of a 5-1 score.

Ibarra suffered the loss for the U.S., going the full six innings with five hits and five runs allowed while striking out three batters.

Team USA now heads to the loser’s bracket where they will face off against the Blue Jays at 8 a.m. PT tomorrow morning.  Fans at home can follow along with free live streaming (if available) and live stats at 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 69 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.