It’s Cuba day. That’s always a great day, and even moreso when you get a chance to play them with a World Championship on the line. They’ll be in their reds, and we’ll be in our cuba-killer gray-blue combo that’s worked so well on many different levels the past few years.
This game will be tough, but it should be when somebody comes out the other side with the Gold Medal of a World Champion around their neck. We are better than they are and we have scouted harder than they have. But we need to go and back that up with our best effort. That didn’t happen last night and Mexico gave us fits when I really think they were happy settling for a loss and trying to beat Venezuela for the bronze the next day.
I was not happy last night and I’m glad I gave it a night before I shared my thoughts about our performance on this blog. Hopefully we are refocussed and want this more than anything we’ve ever wanted before. I know Cuba does and they’ll play like it. If we do we’ll be fine and we’ll peel ourselves off of each other on the dogpile and get a chance to taste that Gold Medal porridge on the plane ride home.
11th INNING: Wolters Placed at 1st base, Mason placed at 2nd base to begin inning. Littlewood hit by pitch to load the bases. Harper walked, Mason scored. All runners advance on passed ball, Wolters scores. Wild pitch by Delgado, Littlewood scores. Bottom of the 11th: Rivalta placed at second base, Ramirez placed at first base. Rivalta scores on throwing error by new pitcher Bryce Harper. Aviles grounds out for the first out of the inning. Fuste flies out to left. Soler walks, loading the bases. Penaluer grounds out to the pitcher for the final out. Team USA wins 3-1 in 11 innings over Cuba.
10th INNING: Montgomery and Lopes grounded out to begin the inning. Delmonico drew a walk. Pinch hitter Matt Lipka singles up the middle, advancing Delmonico to third. Lipka advances to second on a wild pitch. Mason strikes out to end the top of the 10th. Ajete grounds out to first base to begin the bottom of the 10th. Aviles draws the one out walk. Fuste grounds into 6-3 double play to end the 10th. Onto the 11th and the new rules for extra innings in international play.
9th INNING: Wolters is hit by a pitch to begin the 9th. Cuban pitcher Hansel Delgado comes on in relief of Luis. Delgado picks Wolters off of first for the first out of the 9th. Littlewood struckout for the second out. Harper hit a single to right field. Rodriguez struck out to end the top of the 9th. Mason walked the first two Cuban batters before striking out Jimenez to get the first out of the bottom of the 9th. Mason walks Delgado to load the bases, then Soler is tagged out by Rodriguez in a run down at third. Rivalta is walked to load the bases for second time in the 9th. Ramirez hits a grounder to third, Rodriguez steps on third for the final out of the 9th. We now go into extra innings with the score knotted at 0.
8th INNING: Lopes reached on an infield single to the shortstop to start the inning. Delmonico reached first base on a bunt down the third base line, advancing Lopes to second. Lorenzen struck out swinging. Pinch hitter Connor Mason hit into the 1-4-3 double play to end the USA threat. Mason came on in releif of Pfeifer. Ajete grounded out to first for the first out of the bottom half of the 8th. Aviles grounded out to third base for Cuba’s second out of the inning. Fuste grounded out to Delmonico at first to the end the 8th inning. On to the 9th with no score here at Estadio Beto Avila.
7th INNING: Harper began the inning by grounding out to the shortstop. Rodriguez flied out to center field before Montgomery lined out to second base to end the top of the 7th. The bottom of the 7th began with a infield single by Jimenez. Luis struck out looking attempting to sacrifice bunt. Jimenez was thrown out by Montgomery at second. Rivalta hit a 2-out single to center. Ramirez grounded out to Wolters at second for the final out of the inning.
6th INNING: Lorenzen began the inning with a walk. Pfeifer laid down a sacrifice bunt, advancing Lorenzen to second base. Wolters advanced Lorenzen to third on a groundout to the first baseman. Littlewood popped up to the second baseman for the final out of the top half of the 6th. Fuste began the Cuban half of the inning by running out a grounder to third for an infield single. Soler then flied out to Bryce Harper in right field for the first out. Team USA recorded thier third double play of the game to end the 6th inning. Still scoreless after 6 innings of play.
5th INNNING: Ladson Montgomery grounded out to third for the first out of the inning. Starter Luis struck out Lopes and Delmonico to end the top of the 5th. The bottom of the 5th began with a groundout to second base by Cuban second baseman Yamil Rivalta. Cuban centerfielder Lazaro Ramirez flied out to Littlewood. Ajete then hit a bloop single to center for the first hit of the inning. Tony Wolters made a diving grab on a Guilermo Aviles grounder in the gap and threw to first to end the inning. Score remains 0-0 after 5 innings here in Veracruz.
4th INNING: Littlewood grounded out to the pitcher to begin the inning. Harper grounded out to second and Rodriguez popped up to the shortstop to the end the top half of the 4th. In the bottom of the 4th, Cuban catcher Javier Fuste leadoff with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Pfeifer walked the next batter before striking out Yosani Penluer for the first out. Gelkis Jimenez then flied out to right, advancing Fuste to third. Pfeifer then struckout Luis to record the final out of the inning. After 4, the game remains scoreless.
3rd INNING: Cuban starting pitcher Omar Luis retired the first three batters he faced in the top half of the 3rd. In the bottom of the 3rd, Pfeifer walked the leadoff batter before inducing a 4-6-3 double play. Yansiel Ajete then singled to left field and was thrown out by Michael Lorenzen at third base after a single into center field two batter later. On to the 4th inning…
2nd INNING: In the top of the 2nd, Christian Lopes hit a two out single to left field before Nicky Delmonico flied out to left field to end the top half of the 2nd. Jorge Soler lead off the bottom of the 2nd with a double to left center. After a groundout to third advanced Soler to third base and a walk by the next Cuban batter, Pfeifer induced a 1-6-3 double play to end the Cuban threat.
1st INNING: In the top of the 1st inning, Tony Wolters lead off with a walk. Marcus Littlewood struckout, Bryce Harper flied out to center. Wolters caught stealing at 2nd base. In the bottom of the 1st, Philip Pfeifer issued one walk, struck out 2 and induced a fly out to right field to end the 1st inning.
UPDATE: Puerto Rico has defeated Aruba 14-13. Team USA and Cuba have moved onto the field at Estadio Beto Avila. Approximate start time is 8:15PM CST.
PREGAME: Good evening and welcome to Game 2 for Team USA at the COPABE “AA” Youth Pan American Championships in Veracruz, Mexico. Tonight Team USA will take on Cuba at 7:00PM CST. Currently we are in a rain delay with 1 out remaining in the Puerto Rico vs. Aruba afternoon game. Stay tuned for an updated start time as the rain begins to clear.
1. Tony Wolters, 2B
2. Marcus Littlewood, SS
3. Bryce Harper, RF
4. Jake Rodriguez, 3B
5. Ladson Montgomery, C
6. Christian Lopes, LF
7. Nicky Delmonico, 1B
8. Michael Lorenzen, CF
9. Philip Pfeifer, P