Men’s National Team goes 3-0 to earn No. 1 seed at BBL Invitational Tournament

June 08, 2019, 10:37 p.m. (ET)

Stevens, Pa. – Continuing its preparation for the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Men’s World Championship, the USA Softball Men’s National Team went 3-0 on the opening day of the BBL Invitational Tournament to earn the No. 1 seed Sunday. The Red, White and Blue outscored opponents 28-3 and return to action tomorrow at 11 a.m. ET.

 

Game 1: Team USA 7, Varmy’s Army 2

 

In their first contest of the day, the MNT combined for seven runs on nine hits in their 7-2 win over Varmy’s Army. Striking first in the bottom half of the first inning, the U.S. fell behind in the second after Varmy’s Army launched a two-run shot to take a 2-1 lead. Kevin Castillo (Long Beach, Calif.) quickly tied up the game in the next half inning with a solo shot. 

 

The Red, White and Blue turned a double play and got out of a bases-loaded jam in the third, before taking the lead for good in the bottom half of the frame. Jonathan Lynch (Cape Girardeau, Mo.) led off with a homer to right field before Erick Ochoa (Imperial, Calif.) sent one out of the park, one out later, for the 4-2 lead after three innings.

 

Keeping Varmy’s Army off the board, the U.S. extended their lead in the bottom of the fourth inning when Cam Schiller (Prescott, Ariz.) doubled to plate three runs and make it, 7-2. The U.S. held their lead through the next three innings to secure the 7-2 win, with Schiller finishing with a team-high three RBI. Tony Mancha (Las Cruces, N.M.) earned the win, allowing five hits while fanning 12 batters through seven complete innings of work. 

 

Game 2: Team USA 16, Fisher’s 0 (five innings)

 

The U.S. earned a 16-0 (five innings) shutout over Fisher’s in the second game of the day behind the arm of Jon Gwizdala (Bay City, Mich.). Scoring in each of the five innings played, Yusef Davis (Long Beach, Calif.), Matt Ratliff (American Fork, Utah) and Kevin Castillo (Long Beach, Calif.) finished with multiple RBI apiece.

 

Back-to-back doubles from Davis and Ratliff led off the game, allowing the U.S. to score first for the second-straight game. Ochoa singled to plate Ratliff before Jeff Nowaczyk (Midland, Mich.) doubled to put two runners aboard. One out later, Ochoa crossed home on a passed ball and Lynch, who entered as a courtesy runner for Nowaczyk, scored following a sacrifice fly from Castillo. 

 

Gil Saenz (El Paso, Texas) singled on a 1-1 count to lead off the second inning, stole second and scored on a RBI single from Davis. An RBI double from Ratliff made it 6-0 heading into the bottom half of the frame, with the U.S. keeping Fisher’s scoreless. The MNT plated another three runs in the third inning, with Castillo leading off with a double, advancing to third on a passed ball and scoring after Jenner Christiansen (Hayward, Calif.) singled to right. Two singles from Saenz and Davis made it 8-0 before a sacrifice fly from Ratliff extended the score, 9-0.

 

After retiring the side for the second time, the U.S. offense returned and proceeded to add to their lead. Nowaczyk went yard to lead off the fourth inning and make it 10-0. A six-run fifth inning capped off the 16-0 shutout win, highlighted by both Ratliff and Castillo going yard. Tossing the complete five innings, Gwizdala earned the win and finished with 10 strikeouts.

 

Game 3: Team USA 5, Bear Bottom Lodge 1

 

It was a pitcher’s duel through the first three innings in the third game of the BBL Invitational Tournament. Both teams were kept off the board until Christiansen connected for a grand slam in the top of the fourth inning, plating Ochoa, Tyler Dudley (Battle Creek, Mich.) and Tyler Bouley (Champlin, Minn.) who reached on a double, single and walk. 

 

Both teams stranded a runner over the next inning, before Bouley went yard to make it 5-0 in favor of the U.S. Bear Bottom Lodge scored a run in the bottom of the seventh off an RBI double but the U.S. defense held up, with Joel Cooley (St. Paul, Minn.) firing his seventh strikeout to finish the game. The Red, White and Blue earned the 5-1 victory and thus, the No. 1 seed entering Sunday.

 

Following the BBL Invitational Tournament, the team will travel to the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Men’s Softball World Championship in Prague, Czech Republic June 13-23.

 

Announced earlier this year was the coaching staff for the 2019 team, including Head Coach Gregg Leather, in addition to Assistant Coaches Ron Guzman (Salinas, Calif.), Ron Hackett (Richmond, Va.), Greg Hicks (Bakersfield, Calif.), Nick McCurry (Ashland, Ohio) and Gerald Muizelaar (Grand Forks, N.D.). 

Fans at home can follow along all summer long with the USA Softball National Teams 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 through a network of Local Associations, which includes all 50 states and select metro associations.  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.