2017 Pan American Fastpitch Championship

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Mancha pitching powers USA over Cuba In Pan American games

Wednesday, 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.

Columbia holds off USA in men’s Pan American fastpitch games

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

SANTO DOMINGO, DR – On the men’s fastpitch world stage, Columbia isn’t regarded as a top tier team and a favorite to win a world softball championship.

But Columbia’s stock in the sport rose sharply after beating the United States, 3-2, in the Pan American Fastpitch Championship on Tuesday to improve its record to 4-1 in Pool A.

Columbia jumped out to a 3-0 lead before Team USA finally plated a run in the sixth on Erick Ochoa’s solo home run, and pulled within one in the seventh when Derrick Kennedy laced a run-scoring single plating Nick Mullins, who led off the inning with a single down the right-field line.

But Luis Amaya Fuenmayor struck out the next two batters and got a ground out to end the game with tying run on second base. Fuenmayor hurled the final two innings to pick up the save in relief of starter Elkis Chinchilla Prado.

Duane Weiler started for the USA and allowed one earned run on five hits with two strikeouts in three innings before giving way to Tony Mancha, who finished the final four innings, giving up a run on four hits with four strikeouts and two walks.

Team USA collected seven hits led by Kennedy who was 3-for-3 with an RBI, and Mullins, 2-for-3. Both Cameron Schiller and Ochoa had one hit each.

Josimar Cardozo Romero was 3-for-3, and and Eduardo Cuesta Baena was 3-for-4 with two RBI to pace Columbia’s nine-hit attack.

The United States drops to fourth place in the eight-team Pool A with a 3-2 record, and takes on second-place Cuba (5-1) on Wednesday.

    AT A GLANCE

…Team USA is batting a healthy .313 and has scored 34 runs…Derrick Kennedy leads the team with a .500 average (6-for-12), followed by Nick Mullins at .455 (5-for-11) with four RBI…Jeff Nowaczyk has driven in a team-high nine runs while batting .300 with two home runs…Yusef Davis, in his first promotion to Team USA, is No. 3 in batting at .400 (4-for-10) and has scored four runs.

Tony Mancha leads the pitching staff with 17 2/3 innings for a 1-1 record. He has struck out 17 and has a 2.37 ERA…Duane Weiler is 1-1 in seven innings, along with six strikeouts and a 2.00 ERA…and Joel Cooley, enjoying his first assignment with the national team is 1-0 in five innings of work, while striking out seven, and he hasn’t allowed any runs for a perfect 0.00 ERA.

USA Softball men competing in 2017 Pan American Fastpitch Championship

Friday, September 15th, 2017

SANTO DOMINGO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – Where would I rather be today than in beautiful Southern California?

Well, at the top of my list would be Santo Domingo for the X Pan American Fastpitch Championship featuring 16 countries that offer some of the very best in men’s fastpitch softball.

But since I can’t afford the expense that such travel would command, for just $11.95 I can watch the action by webcast, which I intend to do. (See subscriber link below.)

The championship features two pools of eight teams each. The United States is in Pool A which also includes Aruba, Brazil, Columbia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.

Team USA begins play Sept. 15 at 5 p.m. (PT) against Brazil.

HELPFUL LINKS TO FOLLOW THE ACTION

  • USA Softball National Team roster
  • Pan American Games Internet TV
  • Live Stats