PARANA, Argentina – The USA Softball Junior Men’s National Team fell to Canada 4-2 in a playoff elimination game on Saturday at the International Softball Federation (ISF) IX Junior Men’s World Championship the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America announced today. With the loss, Team USA takes fifth place in the 13-team tournament.
“We just never could really get things going offensive today,” said USA Head Coach Tim Lyon. “Six of our first 10 at-bats ended with a strike out. We were finally able to put some runs on the board late in the game but spotting them four runs in the first four innings really hurt us.”
Tyler Johnson (Union, Mo.) began the game with a single for Team USA in the top of the first inning and eventually found his way to third by way of a stolen base and passed ball but a pop up and two strike outs ended the USA at-bat, stranding Johnson on third.
The USA hitting slump continued into the second and third innings as they went 10 consecutive batters before Mauro Olivarria (San Diego, Calif.) was able to connect with a base hit in the fourth inning.
On the other side of the ball, Canada jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning after USA starting pitcher Jerlin Rutt (Ephrata, Pa.) hit the first batter of the inning which was followed with an RBI triple in the next at-bat. Three batters later, an error at short stop for Team USA scored the second Canadian run. Two innings later, Canada added to their lead with a third run despite two Rutt strikeouts in the inning.
Two three up, three down at-bats for USA and Canada in the third inning preserved the 3-0 score to the fourth. USA failed to take advantage of their second base runner of the game in the top of the fourth and then allowed a fourth Canadian run in the bottom half of the inning to extend their lead to 4-0.
USA finally got things going from the plate in the fifth when Spencer Yackel (Lake Crystal, Minn.) walked and Austin Tuttle (Payson, Utah) followed with a single. With the runners at first and second, consecutive wild pitches to Dylan Elmer (Machesney Park, Ill.) first advanced them to second and third and then scored Yackel and put Tuttle on third. Elmer drew the walk to bring up the top of the order for Team USA. With a 2-2 count, Tyler Johnson grounded up the middle to the short stop who tagged Elmer at second but the hit was enough to score Tuttle from third to make the score Canada 4, USA 2.
USA held Canada scoreless in the fifth and sixth innings preserving the 4-2 score into the seventh. With one last opportunity to get back into the game in the top of the seventh, the USA batters came up short sealing the victory for the Canadians.
USA finished the tournament with a 5-3 record, the first winning record for a USA Junior Men’s National Team at the ISF World Championships since a 7-3 finish in 1985. Team USA outscored its opponents 55-33 in the event and went 58-of-193 from the plate for a combined batting average of .301.
Jerlin Rutt led the way for the Americans from the circle. The right hander finished the tournament with a 4-2 record and a 2.52 ERA.
“I’m really proud of the way this team competed at this World Championship,” said Lyon. “These guys went on a run that really opened some eyes to the program. I think the success that we had this year is going to be huge for the Junior Men’s National Team in the future.”
The next ISFJunior Men’s World Championship is scheduled for June of 2014 in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada. Please visit www.USAsoftball.com for box scores and photos from all of USA’s games at the 2012 ISF World Championship.