Mancha pitching powers USA over Cuba In Pan American games

Written by Bob on September 20th, 2017

TONY MANCHA seen earlier in his career pitching for Steel of Texas in the NAFA World Series. Photo By BOB OTTO

SANTO DOMINGO, DR – Team USA needed a dominating performance from Tony Mancha if it was going to get past a very good Cuban ball club. And the right-hander responded in splendid fashion in leading the United States to a 5-1 victory in the Pan American Fastpitch Championship Wednesday afternoon.

Cuba’s bats just couldn’t catch up with Mancha’s sharp breaking rise ball, as he fired a two-hitter, along with six strikeouts and just two walks.

This was a much-needed win for the USA as it sat in fourth place in the eight-team Pool A with an uninspiring 3-2 record, while Cuba was firmly planted in second at 5-1. Another loss and any dreams of contending for a Pan Am title could begin fading fast.

After dropping a disappointing 3-2 decision to surprising Colombia a day earlier, Team USA didn’t show any signs of a hangover.

The United States took command from the beginning, plating a run in the top of the first on Erick Ochoa’s run-scoring double. Then after Cuba tied the game in the third, Mancha slammed the door shut while his teammates tacked on solo runs in the fourth and sixth, and put the game away in the seventh on Kevin Castillo’s two-run homer deep over the centerfield wall.

KEVIN CASTILLO seen batting in the International Softball Congress World Tournament. His two-run homer gave Team USA some breathing room in its victory over Cuba. Photo By BOB OTTO

Mancha grew stronger as the game went on. He retired Cuba in order in the sixth and seventh, while striking out five-of-six batters. The win improves his record to 2-1 in the tournament.

The offense collected eight hits with Castillo and Jonathan Lynch each going 2-for-4, with Castillo driving in two runs, while Lynch plated one. Nick Mullins also had an RBI in the sixth when his infield out scored Yusef Davis from third base.

Cuba’s Alain Roman Gonzalez went the distance, and though he gave up the five runs, he showed he’s one of the best pitchers in the tournament, striking out 11 USA batters. The right-hander has all the pitches: hard rise ball high and low, while mixing in a drop that dipped sharply on both sides of the plate.

Team USA has little time to celebrate as they take on Puerto Rico in the nightcap.

The game can be watched live at: Internet TV for a $12 subscription fee that covers the entire tournament.

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