Big sticks and Manley lead the United States to playoff win in Men’s Softball World Championship

Written by Bob on July 14th, 2017

JEREMY MANLEY seen pitching for his native New Zealand Black Sox in an earlier time, turned in an outstanding pitching performance in leading the USA to an 11-3 victory over Venezuela.

WHITEHORSE, YK, Canada – In what was predicted to be a tightly contested game, Team USA pulled off a shocker by pounding Venezuela, one of the world’s most powerful teams, 11-3, in five innings under the mercy rule in the first-round of playoffs, Friday afternoon.

This huge victory moves Team USA (6-2) into the second round of the playoffs, Saturday, where they will take on the loser between New Zealand and Australia being played later Friday night.

Tony Mancha started, but he struggled from the outset and gave up a two-run homer in the first inning to catcher Rafael Flores that put Venezuela on top, 2-1.

After Mancha walked Jorge Lima, Head Coach Denny Bruckert was out of the dugout motioning for Jeremy Manley.

Bruckert’s decision proved a game-changer.

Other than a solo home run by Carlos Carreno, Manley shutdown the powerful Venezuelan bats on a three-hitter with six strikeouts and no walks over the final 4 1/3 innings.

Just how good is Venezuela?

Due to a traveling conflict, Venezuela (6-2) arrived late to the tournament and had to forfeit their first pool play game to Japan. After that they won six straight and beat the stuffing out of every team in Pool B, outscoring their foes by an unprecedented margin of 78 to 12, including a 7-3 whipping of the world’s number one ranked team, New Zealand.

So yes, this was a most impressive performance by Manley and his teammates.

Team USA hitters made Manley’s job much easier by racking three Venezuelan pitchers for nine hits and 10 earned runs.

Tyler Dudley (2-for-4, 2 RBI) continued his clutch hitting by doubling in a run in the first inning and blasting a three-run homer (his third of the tournament) in the second to give Team USA a 5-2 advantage.

Nick Mullins doubled in a run in the third, and in the fifth, Team USA broke the game open, scoring five times.

Shortstop Chris Heinlein, batting in the ninth spot, was a perfect 2-for-2, and drove in two runs in the fifth with double to the right-field fence.

After Heinlein’s hit, Bruckert sent Jeff Nowaczyk to the plate as a pinch hitter. And he rewarded his coach’s confidence by drilling a two-run double into the right-centerfield gap. Bryce Kay scored the final run on Marcus Tan’s sacrifice fly.

And in the bottom half of the fifth, Manley set down the side with two ground balls and a strikeout to improve his record to 2-0 and give Team USA a most impressive win.

Team USA was led by Dudley, 2-for-4; Heinlein, 2-for-2, and Nowaczyk, Derrick Zechman, Erick Ochoa, Matt Ratliff and Nick Mullins with a hit each.

Saturday’s game is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at the Pepsi Softball Centre and can be watched live on Sports Canada TV.

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