PRINCE ALBERT, CANADA – A late rally from the USA Softball Junior Men’s National Team (JMNT) fell short as the Red, White and Blue closed out pool play by falling to the Czech Republic, 6-5. The JMNT finishes fourth in Group B and will face off against Argentina in the opening game of the playoff round on Friday, July 13. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. local time/4 p.m. CT.
“It’s a tough loss but we didn’t play 21 outs tonight,” said Head Coach, Tyron McKinney (Ashland, Ohio). “I think we only played 18 outs tonight and that was difference in the ballgame. When we play 21 outs we can compete with anyone. Our backs are up against the wall so we are going to do what we know how to do and that’s to fight.”
Both teams came out scoring right out of the gate. The Czech Republic put up the game’s first run on a pop fly that fell in and out of a USA glove.
The Red, White and Blue responded at the plate with a crooked number. A pair of back-to back singles by Dalton Gray (South Jordan, Utah) and Jeff Lewis (Amboy, Minn.) helped load the bases after Craig Lewis (Winston, Mo.) reached on an error. Despite down in the count 0-2, cleanup hitter Tony Wark (Munger, Mich.) worked the count back even before knocking a bases clearing triple to the left-center gap to give the JMNT an early 3-1 lead.
A two-run lead did not last long for the JMNT as the Czech Republic strung together four runs on three hits in the second to take a 5-3 lead. As the visiting team, the Czech Republic plated one in the third to cap off five unanswered runs.
C. Lewis entered the game early in the third for USA starter Nathan Landry (Indian Brook, Nova Scotia) who lasted two innings allowing six runs (four earned) on four hits.
C. Lewis shut down the opposition at the plate in the final four frames and has not allowed an earned run in the last 14.2 innings of work.
With a shutdown pitcher in the circle, the JMNT began a rally in the fourth. Derek Gomez (Austin, Texas) led off the half inning with a walk before Daniel Stangel (Kewaunee, Wis.) entered the game as a pinch runner. Stangel came around to score as nine-hitter Seth Brandel (Houghton Lake, Mich.) sent a sharp single up the middle. C. Lewis helped his own cause driving in the second run of the inning on a ground ball that snuck through the left side cutting the USA deficit to 6-5.
The JMNT had their chances late in the game with runners in scoring position but could not produce the tying run as they left two stranded in the final frame.
To follow along with the USA Softball National Team Program, please visit 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.
About the World Baseball Softball Confederation
Headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland -- the Olympic Capital -- the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) is the world governing body for baseball and softball. WBSC has 202 National Federation and Associate Members in 143 countries and territories across Asia, Africa, Americas, Europe and Oceania, which represent a united baseball/softball sports movement that encompasses over 65 million athletes and attracts approximately 150 million fans to stadiums worldwide annually.
The WBSC governs all international competitions involving official National Teams. The WBSC oversees the Softball World Championships (Men, Women, U-19 Men, and U-19 Women), Premier12, World Baseball Classic, and Baseball World Cups (U-12, U-15, U-18, U-23 and Women's).
For more information, visit: www.wbsc.org.