Jones is golden for Venezuela in the IX Pan American men’s fastpitch championship

Written by Bob on November 1st, 2014

PARANA, ARGENTINA – Needing just one victory to claim the gold medal in the IX Pan American games, Venezuela handed the ball to pitcher Ramon Jones and he didn’t disappoint his countrymen.

The big right-hander, known for his durability and his blistering, sharp-breaking drop ball, held Argentina to just three hits and four walks with 10 strikeouts in pitching Venezuela to a 2-0 victory late Saturday night at Nafaldo Cargnel Stadium in Parana.

    GONZALEZ THREE-BAGGER

Venezuela scored the game’s only runs in the top of the third inning when Jorge Lima doubled to lead off and scored after Franklin Gonzalez drilled a triple to the centerfield fence.

After the ball was mishandled, Gonzalez kept running and crossed home plate, giving Jones an insurance run.

While Jones dominated Argentina’s batsmen, Juan Pottoliccio, started and held Venezuela in check through five and a third innings on five hits and nine strikeouts, while allowing just one earned run.

Lucas Mata took to the circle in the sixth for Argentina and didn’t allow any hits or walks, while striking out four.

    JONES ESCAPES BIG TROUBLE

But as well as Jones pitched, Argentina had its chances by putting the leadoff runner aboard in six of the seven innings.

And Argentina had a golden opportunity in the fourth after loading the bases on two walks and a hit batter with one out.

But Jones reached back and struck out Ladislao Malarczuk and Juan Zara with hard drop balls to escape the jam.

    DROP BALLS FOR THE WIN

And in Argentina’s final at bat, Jones flirted with danger by hitting Malarczuk to lead off the inning. But he once again relied on his drop ball and got a double play to clean the bases.

Then he tempted Leonardo Latasa with an inside drop that he bounced into the glove of shortstop Yeider Chirinos, who threw over to first base to end the game.

    PAN AM’S TOP HURLER

With the win, Jones finished with a 4-1 record through the round-robin and the playoffs. He threw 33 2/3 innings, allowed one earned run on 13 hits for a 0.21 ERA, with 14 walks and 54 strikeouts.

At the plate, Franklin Gonzalez led Venezuela, going 2-for-3, Run, RBI; Jorge Lima went 2-for-2, Run; and Edwin Linares was 1-for-2.

For Argentina, Manuel Godoy, Juan Zara, and Fernando Petric each had one hit.

    CANADA BOUND IN 2015

Venezuela finished as the No. 2 seed out of the qualifying round-robin at 5-2. They opened the playoffs by beating No. 1 seeded Canada, 1-0, with Jones pitching the seventh and shutting down Canada with no hits and two strikeouts.

Argentina entered the playoffs as the No. 3 seed and knocked off the United States, 3-1, and then beat Canada, 5-1, with Pottoliccio going five innings to get the win.

By finishing in the top four, Venezuela, Argentina, Canada, and the United States all qualify for the Pan Am games and the International Softball Federation World Championship that will be played in Canada in 2015.

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