Miscues trip up USA in loss to Japan
Haarlem, Netherlands – Less than 24 hours after defeating Chinese Taipei, the NJCAA / USA Baseball All-Stars were defeated by Japan 4-2 Saturday on the second day of the 2010 Honkbal Tournament in Haarlem, Netherlands. The USA squad will next play at 11:30 a.m. (5:30 a.m. Eastern) Sunday against Cuba.
Several miscues, including four errors, by the United States helped Japan to their first win of the tournament. After taking the lead 1-0 in the top of the first inning, Japan went up 2-0 in the third following an error on an attempted pickoff by pitcher Derek Cone (Mesa CC, Ariz.). With runners on first and third, the pickoff play forced a rundown between first and second base, which allowed the runner from third base to score.
“We made some mistakes today that cost us,” said head coach Jeff Willis. “They (Japan) are a good, disciplined team and they did the right things to win.”
The NJCAA All-Stars scored in the bottom of the third when Austin Smith (State College of Fla.) singled with one out and then stole second and third base. Lucas Hileman (John A. Logan, Ill.) pushed Smith home with an infield single.
The score was then tied in the bottom of the fifth after James Brooks (Cochise College, Ariz.) and Smith both singled with one out in the inning. After Hileman loaded the bases with a walk, Marty Gantt’s (Spartanburg Methodist, S.C.) sacrifice fly scored Brooks. However, the United States was unable to score any additional runs in the frame.
Japan took the lead 4-2 in the top of the seventh. Cody Scott (Midland College, Texas), who relieved Cone at the start of the sixth inning, ran into trouble with one out after hitting Kat Noguchi and giving up a hit to Yukihiro Mishima. The bases then were loaded after a walk to Ryota Kitamura. A fielder’s choice RBI by Kazuki Murai and a USA throwing error then made the score 4-2.
The United States looked to be threatening in the bottom of the eighth when A.J. Regoli (Broward College, Fla.) led off the inning with a walk. The potential USA threat was nullified with back-to-back grounders to second base that led to a fielder’s choice and a double-play.
Japan’s pitchers allowed just six hits from the USA batters, due in large part to their repertoire of off-speed pitches.
“Their pitchers were not overpowering our hitters,” said Willis. “They located pitches and had our guys off balance with their off-speed stuff. Our hitters struggled getting good wood on the ball.”
Cone started for the United States on the hill and went five innings, giving up four hits and two earned runs. Scott, who got tagged with the loss, went two full innings with one earned run and two strikeouts. Ryan Torgerson (Des Moines Area CC, Iowa) pitched two scoreless frames in the eighth and ninth.
Brooks and Smith both powered the USA offense, each collecting two hits apiece. Hileman and Gantt each had a hit and an RBI.
The NJCAA / USA All-Stars will play Cuba tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. (5:30 a.m. Eastern). Cuba defeated Japan 6-0 Friday night in their lone game of the tournament thus far.
You can follow the NJCAA All-Stars as they represent the United States at the Honkbal Tournament online at http://www.njcaausabaseball.wordpress.com and for live game stats, live webcam and live audio (Dutch) to www.honkbalweek.nl.
Japan 4, United States 2 (Jul 10, 2010 at Haarlem)
———————————————————————-Japan…………… 101 000 200 – 4 7 0
United States……. 001 010 000 – 2 6 4
Pitchers: Japan – MASUDA Tatsuya; MATSUBAYASHI Yusuke(6); SHIRAHAMA Naoki(7) and ITATANI Yohei.
United States – CONE Derek; SCOTT Cody(6); TORGERSON Ryan(8) and BEMBOOM Anthony.
Win-MATSUBAYASHI Yusuke Save-SHIRAHAMA Naoki Loss-SCOTT Cody T-2:36 A-1250