HAARLEM, Netherlands – A veteran Cuba team defeated the NJCAA / USA All-Stars 7-4 Sunday afternoon at Pim Mulier Stadium in their third contest of the 2010 Haarlem Honkbal Tournament. The United States representative will next play Monday evening at 7 p.m. (1 p.m. Eastern) against tournament host Netherlands due to the new double round robin format of the event.
Hits again were hard to come by early for the NJCAA All-Stars as Cuban pitcher Maikel Folch retired the USA lineup in order through the first three innings, with the exception of a Tyson Workman (Pensacola JC, Fla.) walk in the third.
Trailing Cuba 1-0, the United States tied the game on a two-out RBI single by Jared Womack (Ranger College, Texas) in the bottom of the fourth inning. The hit scored James Brooks (Cochise College, Ariz.) who led off the inning with a walk.
Cuba reclaimed the lead 2-1 in the top half of the fifth inning when Danel Castro singled with one out and then stole second and third base. He was driven in by a Lazaro Sanchez line drive to left field.
Action then heated up in the bottom of the fifth for the young American team. Catcher Max Rossiter (Central Arizona College) singled with one out to begin the rally, which was followed up by a double from Tyler Hall (Grand Rapids CC, Mich.). With runners on second and third base, Workman then singled home Rossiter to tie the game at 2-2.
Austin Smith (State College of Florida) then stepped up to the plate and executed a perfect squeeze bunt to score Hall to give the United States a 3-2 lead. However, after Hall and Smith had both made their way back to the dugout the home plate umpire informed USA head coach Jeff Willis that Smith was called out and that Hall’s run would not count. The umpire determined that Smith had stepped on home plate when he bunted the ball, which is an illegal play and an automatic out.
“I was really confused,” said USA head coach Jeff Willis about the bizarre turn of events. “One second we have the lead and get the momentum of the game and the next second the umpire tells me the run doesn’t count and that Smith is out. I was shocked. I have never seen that call made before.”
With two outs and runners at first and third, the NJCAA All-Stars got a clutch hit from Brooks to put the team atop Cuba 3-2 with no controversy. The United States made it 4-2 when Lucas Hileman (John A. Logan College, Ill.) singled to score Workman from second base. A.J. Regoli (Broward College, Fla.) then walked to load the bases, but the rally ended with a Womack fly out to center field.
The lead would not last for long as pitcher Tyler Bremer ran into trouble in the top of the sixth inning. A 36th round draft pick of the Chicago Cubs in this year’s MLB Draft, Bremer performed well for United States, allowing just two runs from the veteran Cuban lineup through five innings. But in the sixth frame, Cuba pushed three runs across and picked up two additional runs in the eighth.
Meanwhile, the Cuba pitching staff did not give up another hit past the fifth inning to the American team.
Chuck Ghysels (Lincoln Trail College, Ill.) and Pulama Silva (Yavapai College, Ariz.) both tossed one and two-thirds innings in relief. Ghysels gave up two hits and two earned runs. Silva did not give up a hit and recorded a strikeout.
USA’s seven hits came from seven different players. Hileman got his fourth hit of tournament, which leads the team and his second RBI while Brooks collected his third hit along with an RBI.
The NJCAA / USA All-Star Team will take on the host team from the Netherlands Monday at 7 p.m. (1 p.m.) in front of a sellout crowd at Pim Mulier Stadium. Local Haarlem fans have been in a festive, patriotic mode at the tournament due to their national soccer team being in the final of the World Cup. The atmosphere at Monday’s contest should be one that the players will never forget.
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.
Cuba 7, United States 4 (Jul 11, 2010 at Haarlem)
Cuba……………. 100 013 020 – 7 11 1
United States……. 000 130 000 – 4 7 0
Pitchers: Cuba – FOLCH V Maikel; PORTAL C Yoandry(5); CRUZ R Yoelkis(9) and LA ROSA A Yuleixis.
United States – BREMER Tyler; GHYSELS Chuck(6); SILVA Pulama(8) and ROSSITER Max.
Win-PORTAL C Yoandry Save-CRUZ R Yoelkis Loss-BREMER Tyler T-3:27 A-4250
SCORERS: BANNINK Dieks, ZAAL Brigitta
TC: GRONINGEN van Fred