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.

Gerald Muizelaar, Josh Johnson, and Tony Mancha teamed-up for the win on a six-hitter that improves Team USA to 2-1 in the tournament with four games left in round-robin play before the playoffs begin on Nov. 1.

First baseman Matt Palazzo, batting third in the order, broke open a scoreless game in the bottom of the third by tripling into right field scoring Pat Sagdal and Chris Miljavic.

The Americans tacked on two more runs in the fourth on Sagdal’s single and a bases loaded walk to Miljavic that brought home Kris Bogach, who reached safely on a walk.

Cuba, known for its love for baseball and producing great talent, proved they can also play fastpitch softball at a high level by scoring single runs in the fifth and sixth – along with threatening to tie or win the game in the seventh.

In the fifth, Cuba capitalized on a walk, infield error, and Juan Carlos Rodriguez’s single to score a run. But Muizelaar escaped further damage by getting a ground ball to end the inning.

Gerald Muizelaar, a veteran on the USA National Men's Fastpitch Team, picked up the win over Cuba with five innings of work. Photo By BOB OTTO

Gerald Muizelaar, a veteran on the USA National Men’s Fastpitch Team, picked up the win over Cuba with five innings of work. Photo By BOB OTTO

Then in the sixth, Cuba mounted a major threat by loading the bases with one out. But Johnson, who relieved Muizelaar with no outs and runners on first and second, pitched out of the huge jam by retiring Cuba on a strikeout, groundout and fly ball.

Mancha came on in the seventh and retired the first two Cubans, but then ran into trouble. Alexander Alvarez worked the right-hander for a walk, and Guillermo Marquez followed with an infield chopper to put runners on first and second.

That brought Roberto Escarte to the plate. He fouled off Mancha’s first three pitches before grounding out to third baseman Derrick Zechman to end the game.

Muizelaar went five innings to pick up the win, allowing one earned run on five hits, with three walks and six strikeouts.

In one inning, Johnson gave up a walk with a strikeout. And Mancha got the save in the seventh, giving up a hit, a walk, along with a strikeout.

Team USA managed just five hits off three Cuban pitchers, led by Pat Sagdal, 2 for 3, run, rbi; and Bogach (run), Palazzo (2 RBI), and Chase Turner each had one hit.

Cuba collected two earned runs on six hits, led by Yessander Rodriguez, 2 for 4, rbi; Marquez, 2 for 3; and Juan Carlos Rodriguez and Escarte had one hit each. Juan Rios, 0-2, rbi.

Gusbal Plutin started for Cuba and was saddled with the loss. He went four innings, allowing two earned runs on three hits, with four strikeouts and no walks.

To follow Team USA, visit: USA Softball / Pan Am Games

Leave a Comment