15U: USA Rallies, Edges Panama in Extras
Eleventh inning sacrifice fly gives Team USA first win
|Win: Winn Loss: Sugasty Diaz
Box Score Play-by-Play Cumulative Stats
CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA - After facing a sixth-inning 1-0 deficit, the 15U National Team fought back, tooth and nail, to force extra innings en route to a 3-2 triumph over Panama on Friday evening in the first game of the 2017 COPABE Pan Am "AA" Championships in Cartagena, Colombia.
In a nail-biting, nearly-five-hour spectacle, Panama got on the board first with double to left field and then a single deep to right to score the first run of the ballgame.
The United States wouldn't snap its hitless streak until the six when Roc Riggio hit one of his two singles on the night, but it would take until the top of the seventh for the Stars and Stripes to put a run on the board.
Masyn Winn hit a chopping infield single to the shortstop who couldn't handle it, allowing Win to reach safely before Petey Halpin laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Winn into scoring position. Robert Moore came in to pinch hit and lined up a stinger through the middle, bringing home Winn and tying up the game, 1-1.
Neither team would be able to nudge the score in any direction before the game went into extra innings. With international tie-breaking rules in effect in the 10th, Pete Crow-Armstrong and Michael Brooks were placed on first and second, respectively, with Alek Boychuk up to bat. Boychuk reached on a fielder's choice before Mac Guscette was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
In a wild turn of events, the next batter, Winn, would also be hit by a pitch to bring score Crow-Armstrong and put Team USA up one.
But Panama wouldn't go down quite so easily, scoring on a suicide squeeze before loading the bases with one out. With the outcome looking bleak for the United States, Winn pitched a fastball that was bunted high and into third-basemen Giuseppe Ferraro's glove at the base, giving him the chance to simply step to get the runner for a clutch double play to keep hope alive.
In the decisive 11th inning, Davis Diaz and Halpin were placed on first and second, respectively, before Ferraro was able to reach bunt and throwing error by the pitcher to load the bases. Riggio would once again step up, hitting the eventual-game-winner when he sliced a sacrifice fly to left field to bring in Halpin and give the U.S. a 3-2 lead.
The United States would hold strong defensively in the bottom-half to complete the come-from-behind victory.
On a night when hits were hard to come by, Riggio led all hitters with a 2-for-3, one RBI performance while Moore came in for the clutch pinch hit RBI early in the game. Winn finished 1-for-2 with the other RBI and one run as well, while Diaz recorded the final hit for Team USA.\
Winn also received the win on the night, tossing the final 3.0 innings, allowing no earned runs and just three hits while striking out three batters. Nelson Berkwich got the nod to start the first game, having a fine outing. He finished with a game-high seven punchouts in 6.0 innings, allowing five hits and just one run.
Pitching between Berkwich and Winn was Jackson Miller who tossed 2.0 no-no innings, striking out one.
The 15U National Team continues play on Saturday, Aug. 12 when it takes on Cuba. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.
Continue to follow @USABaseball15U on Twitter for the most up-to-date news about the 15U National Team.
The COPABE Pan Am Championships is a World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Continental Championships and serves as a qualifier to the WBSC U-15 Baseball World Cup in 2018.