USA Men’s National Fastpitch Team playing for medal in IX Pan American games

Written by Bob on October 31st, 2014

PARANA, ARGENTINA – The United States 1-0 victory over Guatemala on Thursday secured the No. 4 seed in the IX Pan American playoffs. Team USA meets No. 3 seed Argentina at 7 p.m. (CT), Friday.

The winner will advance, while the loser will be eliminated from the competition.

The other playoff finds No. 1 seed Canada battling No. 2 seed Venezuela in Friday’s nightcap.

the playoffs will continue on Saturday for the gold, silver and bronze medals.

Visit Pan American Games for up to date scheduling and results.

Visit USA Softball to follow Team USA

FINAL ROUND ROBIN STANDINGS

  • Canada 6-1
  • Venezuela 5-2
  • Argentina 5-2
  • United States 4-3
  • Dominican Republic 3-4
  • Mexico 3-4
  • Guatemala 1-6
  • Cuba 1-6
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    USA beats Guatemala, qualifies for IX Pan American fastpitch playoffs

    Written by Bob on October 30th, 2014

    ASA.usa

    PARANA, ARGENTINA – It wasn’t a dominating win, but it certainly was clutch.

    The United States Men’s National Fastpitch Team wheedled out a single run and pitcher Tony Mancha made do with it.

    The right-hander came through with his finest performance, holding Guatemala (1-6) to just one hit with 15 strikeouts, in leading the USA to a 1-0 victory in the final game for both teams in round-robin play of the IX Pan Am games, Thursday.

    “Tony pitched another great game,” said Head Coach Denny Bruckert (Gillespie, Ill.). “Our bats aren’t exploding but we’re playing really great defense. Today is a new day and we’re going to have a tough rematch with Argentina tonight.”

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    Zambrano and Jones lead Venezuela into Pan Am playoffs

    Written by Bob on October 30th, 2014

    PARANA, Argentina – Venezuela may just be Team USA’s best friend at the IX Pan American games in Parana.

    John Zambrano scored the lone run of the game, and Ramon Jones hurled a gem to give Venezuela a 1-0 victory over the Dominican Republic (3-4) in their final game of round robin play on Thursday.

    The win opened the door – at least a crack – for the United States to qualify for the final playoff spot of the four awarded. Canada, Argentina and now Venezuela are in.

    The USA (3-3) must defeat Guatemala (1-5) to squeeze into the “Final Four” that will crown the Pan American champion when the playoffs begin Friday.

    Zambrano doubled to lead off the top of the second inning and later scored on a bases loaded walk. But that was the only run Jones would need.

    Jones (3-1) hurled a three-hitter with 11 strikeouts to give Venezuela a 5-2 record and possibly a share of second place, with Canada (6-0) and Argentina (4-2) scheduled to play in the nightcap.

    The game between the USA and Guatemala is currently underway.

     

    Thursday’s Turning Back The Pages: Remembering Brian Paton, one of Canada’s greatest fastpitch players

    Written by Bob on October 30th, 2014

    Brian Paton ISC HofF.7lr

    Paying tribute to Brian Paton, who was inducted into the International Softball Congress Hall of Fame in 2011. Photo By BOB OTTO / 1995 ISC World Tournament

    Woodstock, Ontario, CA – Brian Paton played in 12 consecutive International Softball Congress World Tournaments and was a member of three ISC championship teams – twice with the Toronto, Ontario Gators (1993-95) and with the Smokers of Tampa Bay, Florida (1998).

    In 1995, he helped to lead the Toronto Gators in their amazing come-back week to capture the ISC title in Sioux City, Iowa. In so doing, Paton established a new record for hits in a tournament (17) and was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

    Patrolling centre field, he was one the best at stealing what appeared to be “sure-hits” and limiting base runners to singles. He was not simply a member of great teams – those teams enjoyed their successes in no small part as a result of Brian’s leadership – witness his nine “top-four” finishes in ISC world tournaments.

    Paton has numerous other notable softball accomplishments, including playing for Team Canada (1985-2002) and helping his country win four Pan-Am gold medals and silver and gold in the International Softball Federation World Championship.

  • Information courtesy of the International Softball Congress. For more information about world tournaments, statistics, photos, record-setting achievements, and more, please visit the: ISC website.
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    Argentineans having big impact on United States major-division fastpitch

    Written by Bob on October 30th, 2014
    Argentina's Men's National Fastpitch Team has a roster full of talent recognized as among the best on the worldwide stage of men's fast pitch.

    Argentina’s Men’s National Fastpitch Team has a roster full of talent recognized as among the best on the worldwide stage of men’s fast pitch.

    PARANA, ARGENTINA – I was curious, so I did some checking about some of these familiar names on the Argentina men’s national fastpitch team roster.

    The same team that the United States beat 1-0 in the IX Pan American games on Wednesday. A team loaded with pitching and hitting talent; superstars largely applauded as some of the greatest athletes in the current-era of the sport.

    And for odds makers, a team that should have been highly favored over the USA. But through the gut-check pitching of Gerald Muizelaar and Tony Mancha, along with the game-winning hit by Josh Johnson, Team USA pulled out the win. Odds makers be damned.

    But I digress.

    What I was really inquisitive about was the impact Argentina’s stars had on U.S. major-division teams. How many of them are routinely recruited to play stateside during the North American fastpitch season.

    The numbers are an eye-opener.

    The name of the game is pitching, of course. And Argentina pitchers Roman Godoy, Lucas Mata, Juan Pottoliccio, and Maximiliano Montero are highly recruited and considered in the upper echelon of worldwide pitching talent; and no doubt on the wish list of many a U.S. sponsor and manager.

    Each summer, this foursome can be found pitching for the likes of Circle Tap of Denmark, Wisc., and Pennsylvania Power of Harrisburg.

    But U.S. club teams don’t just recruit pitching talent; they go after the worlds’ best position players as well.

    And Argentina has an abundant supply in the likes of Bruno Motroni (catcher), Fernando Petric (outfielder), Ladislao Malarczuk (infielder), Juan Cruz Zara (infielder), Manuel Godoy (outfielder). And the list goes on.

    And when you take into account that Argentina’s junior men’s team has won back-to-back International Softball Federation World Championships in 2012 and 2014, the supply chain for U.S. teams should continue for year’s to come.

    For without the contributions of Argentina’s international fastpitch stars, the fortunes of several U.S. clubs competing in the International Softball Congress World Tournament would be substantially watered down.

    So it stands to reason that host Argentina has to be considered one of the favorites to win the IX Pan American championship being held in Parana (Oct. 24-Nov.3)

    Argentina currently resides in second place with a 4-2 record, trailing only Canada at 6-0. And in a match-up that’s sure to fill Estadio Panamericano de Softbol Nafaldo Cargnel, the two teams meet today (Thursday) at 8 p.m. (EDT).

    I also took a look at the top producers in the tournament. And Argentina’s talent, like cream rising to the top, is among the leaders.

    Motroni is batting .333 – second only to Canada’s Mathieu Roy at .368.

    And as for pitching, Pottoliccio (0.38 ERA, 36 strikeouts in 18.1 innings) and Montero (0.78 ERA, 17 strikeouts in 9 innings) have each won two games, and are among the tournament’s upper echelon of hurlers.

    But as scintillating as Argentina’s pitching obviously is, Canada’s is even better. Sean Cleary leads all pitchers with 21.2 innings; has the best record at 3-0, and carries a perfect 0.00 ERA, with 45 strikeouts and only three walks.

    So today’s Canada and Argentina matchup should be a great one.

    On tap today is a huge game for the USA against Guatemala (1-5), and Venezuela (4-2) versus Domincan Republic (3-3).

    The USA needs Venezuela to knock off the Dominicans to be assured of a top-four finish that would qualify the United States for a playoff spot.

     

    USA wins thriller over Argentina in IX Pan Am games

    Written by Bob on October 29th, 2014
    Josh Johnson drilled a first-inning RBI single, scoring the only run the USA would need in defeating Argentina, 1-0, in the IX Pan American games in Parana, Argentina, Thursday. Photo By BOB OTTO

    Josh Johnson drilled a first-inning RBI single, scoring the only run the USA would need in defeating Argentina, 1-0, in the IX Pan American games in Parana, Argentina, Thursday. Photo By BOB OTTO

    PARANA, ARGENTINA – The United States Men’s National Fastpitch Team scored a run in the bottom of the first inning and made it stand up to defeat Argentina, 1-0, in the IX Pan American games on Wednesday.

    The win was critical in USA’s quest to finish in the top four in round robin play and advance into the four-team playoffs that start on Friday. The win evens the American’s record at 3-3, while Argentina is still in second place at 4-2.

    Josh Johnson had but one hit, but it was huge as his single to right field drove in Nate Devine with the winning run. Devine reached safely on a walk, moved to second after Matt Palazzo was hit by a pitch, and then raced home on Johnson’s hit.

    The pitching tandem of Gerald Muizelaar, who started, and Tony Mancha, who relieved in the sixth, made the run stand up.

    Muizelaar was nearly unhittable through five innings, allowing but one hit to Francisco Sabate in the third, and striking out six with two walks to craft a 2-0 record in the eight-team international tournament.

    Gerald Muizelaar pitched five strong innings to lead the USA to victory over Argentina. USA Softball Photo

    Gerald Muizelaar pitched five strong innings to lead the USA to victory over Argentina. USA Softball Photo

    “Our backs were up against the wall tonight,” said Muizelaar. “It was a complete team effort, from top to bottom, and everyone contributed. We’ve been a bit inconsistent this week, but we beat two of the top three teams and had a lead on Canada. It just proves that we can play with anybody.”

    But Argentina had Team USA sweating in the final two frames.

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    Garrity blasts Canada past USA in IX Pan Am games

    Written by Bob on October 28th, 2014

    McCulloughDevon.34web Devon McCullough was one of four pitchers that helped Canada defeat the USA, 4-3, in the IX Pan American games, Tuesday. Photo By BOB OTTO

    PARANA, ARGENTINA – In his first three at bats, Gregg Garrity hadn’t done much. In fact, Canada’s cleanup hitter was 0-3, and had popped up, grounded out, and hit into a double play.

    But like all good hitters, eventually he’s going to hit the ball. And in his final at bat he did. In the most dramatic of ways.

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    Errors costly for Team USA in loss to Dominican Republic

    Written by Bob on October 27th, 2014
    2014 United States men's national fast pitch softball team.

    2014 United States men’s national fast pitch softball team.

    PARANA, ARGENTINA – Defense and pitching have been USA Men’s National Fastpitch Team’s staples through the first three games of the IX Pan American games.

    The pitching stayed reliable on Monday, but the defense didn’t.

    As a result, Team USA suffered a 6-1 loss to the Dominican Republic, which evens the American’s record at 2-2 in the tournament.

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    Horses carrying Team USA in IX Pan Am games

    Written by Bob on October 27th, 2014

    PARANA, ARGENTINA – There’s a saying in fastpitch when a pitcher’s hot that goes something like this: “We’ll ride our big horse to the championship.”

    Meaning of course, that the pitcher is throwing so well that the team climbs on his back and rides him to a tournament or league title.

    Well, fortunately for the USA Men’s National Fastpitch Team, they have three big horses to ride. And all three of them – Tony Mancha, Josh Johnson, and Gerald Muiselaar – are pitching extraordinarily well in the IX Pan Am games.

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    USA defeats Cuba in IX Pan Am games

    Written by Bob on October 26th, 2014
    Matt Palazzo (Des Moines, Iowa) drove in two runs to help Team USA defeat Cuba, 4-2, in the Pan American games on Sunday. Photo By BOB OTTO

    Matt Palazzo (Des Moines, Iowa) drove in two runs to help Team USA defeat Cuba, 4-2, in the Pan American games on Sunday. Photo By BOB OTTO

    PARANA, ARGENTINA – The pitching was steady, the hitting sufficient enough, and the USA Men’s National Fastpitch Team defeated Cuba 4-2 in the IX Pan American games, on Sunday.

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