Venezuela’s Ramon Jones sends United States home from Pan American Games

Written by Bob on July 17th, 2015
Venezuela's Ramon Jones turned in a dominating pitching performance in a 1-0 victory over the United States in Friday's Pan American Games playoffs.

Venezuela’s Ramon Jones turned in a dominating pitching performance in a 1-0 victory over the United States in Friday’s Pan American Games playoffs.

TORONTO – Ramon Jones throws the ball hard, he throws the ball with lots of spin, he has the best drop ball in men’s fastpitch. He’s unquestionably one of the top pitchers in the world.

Team USA can attest to that.

And painfully so, as Jones notched a 1-0 victory in Friday’s playoff round that ousts the United States from the Pan American Games and out of medal contention. Meanwhile, Venezuela (4-2) moves into Saturday’s Bronze Medal game against Argentina, which lost 2-0 to undefeated Canada (6-0) in Friday’s second playoff game.


Jones spun a seven-inning three-hitter with two walks and seven strikeouts. But as well as he threw, the United States had him on the ropes in the seventh with a great chance to pull out a win, or at least tie the game.

Chase Turner led off the inning with a double, followed by Kris Bogach, who was hit by a pitch. Then after Tony Mancha struck out, Nick Mullins grounded back to Jones for the second out, with Turner and Kevin Castillo racing to second and third on the play.

That, however, was as far as Jones would bend as he retired Pat Sagdal on a comebacker to end the game.


Jones (3-1) certainly was good, but he was matched pitch-for-pitch by Mancha. The right-hander from El Paso, Texas scattered five hits, allowed the one run, and struck out seven in six innings.

Mancha’s only mistake was a leadoff home run in the second inning to Jorge Lima, whose blast flew over the centerfield fence. After that, Mancha allowed just three hits over the final four innings and stranded runners at second base twice.

Mancha established himself as one of the tournament’s top pitchers, albeit with a large dose of bad luck. Though he had one of the best earned run averages at 0.91, he was saddled with a 1-3 record. Largely because Team USA struggled at the plate.


Throw out an opening 10-0 victory over an overmatched Dominican Republic that did not win a game (0-5), and after that the United States, which finished 2-4, averaged just a little over a run per game. That’s not going to beat the likes of Canada or Argentina or Venezuela, the cream of the Pan American Games.

The United States was led by Matt Palazzo, Josh Johnson and Turner, who had one hit each. For Venezuela, Yeilder Chirinos was 2-for-3, and Lima (RBI, HR), John Zambrano and Iran Paez had one hit apiece.

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