MESA, Ariz. – Team USA put together a late rally but ultimately fell short, dropping a 5-4 contest to GateWay Community College on Tuesday afternoon at Gene Autry Park in Mesa, Arizona.
It was the final tune-up game as the U.S. gears up for the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier from November 4-13 in La Paz and Los Cabos, Mexico.
After the stars and stripes grabbed a quick lead on Campbell Smithwick’s (Conway, S.C.) RBI single in the bottom of the first, GateWay responded with a run in the second and two in the third to take the lead. Team USA eventually battled back to tie the game at three on a sacrifice fly by Casey Borba (Santa Ana, Calif.) in the fifth, but the Geckos scratched a run across in each of the final two frames and held off a seventh-inning rally by the U.S. offense to emerge with the win.
Team USA got multi-hit efforts from Roman Martin (Whittier, Calif.) and Smithwick, who both went 2-for-3 in the defeat. Smithwick drove in a team-high two runs on RBI singles in the opening and final frames. Ty Southisene (Henderson, Nev.) reached base three times and scored on all three occasions, drawing two walks and getting hit by a pitch. Noah Franco (Downey, Calif.) went 1-for-3 and scored Team USA’s only other run.
Mason Brassfield (Bakersfield, Calif.) got the ball to start for Team USA on the mound and tossed 2.0 innings, allowing one run and striking out five. Austin Nye (Roseville, Calif.) struck out three and allowed two runs in two innings of work for the U.S., who also got innings from Mavrick Rizy (Fiskdale, Mass.) and Cade Townsend (Aliso Viejo, Calif.).
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Ty Southisene led off the bottom of the first with a walk and eventually scored on a two-out single by Campbell Smithwick, giving Team USA an early 1-0 edge.
- GateWay’s Braden Watkins drew a leadoff walk in the top of the second and came around to score on a wild pitch to knot the score at one.
- A pair of two-out doubles put GateWay in front in the top of the third as Braden Watkins split the gap in left-center field to make it 3-1 in favor of the Geckos.
- Roman Martin got the U.S. back within a run in the bottom of the third with an RBI single past the drawn-in infield, trimming the deficit to 3-2.
- Macon Winslow led off the stars and stripes’ half of the fourth with a double but was stranded after a double play to keep the Geckos in front by a run.
- After reaching on a hit-by-pitch to lead off the bottom of the fifth, Noah Franco came home on a deep sacrifice fly by Casey Borba to tie the game at three.
- GateWay jumped back in front in the top of the sixth on the strength of a two-out RBI single by RJ Molina, giving the Geckos a 4-3 advantage.
- RJ Molina hit his second RBI single in as many innings to put the Geckos up 5-3 in the top of the seventh.
- An RBI single by Campbell Smithwick put Team USA within a run in the bottom of the final frame, but GateWay’s Kyle Cop coaxed a pop out and a fly out with runners on the corners to secure the Geckos’ victory.
- Ty Southisene stole two bases in Tuesday’s game, giving the U.S. four swiped bags in two games.
- Team USA’s pitching staff finished its two-game exhibition slate with 25 strikeouts in 15.1 innings of work. Mason Brassfield and Carson Messina led the group with five punch outs apiece.
- Thanks to his two-hit performance on Tuesday, Roman Martin concluded exhibition play with a team-high three hits.
- Casey Borba’s sacrifice fly gave him four RBIs in the two-game exhibition schedule, putting him in the team lead in that category.
- The U.S. offense displayed patience at the plate in exhibition action, drawing 10 walks as a team.
- Team USA did not commit a single error over its two games to post a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage.
Team USA will travel to the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier in La Paz and Los Cabos, Mexico, from November 4-13.