USA Men's National Team drops seventh inning decision to Venezuela

July 15, 2015

Toronto, ON



July 14, 2015

Men's National Team drops seventh inning decision to Venezuela at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games

TORONTO, Ontario, Canada  — A two-run seventh inning sealed the fate for the USA Softball Men's National Team as the eagles came out on the losing side of a 3-1 decision against Venezuela at the 2015 Pan American Games.  Team USA took the lead in the bottom of the third as Chris Miljavac (Easton, Mo.) came around to score on a single from Derrick Zechman (Watsontown, Pa.), but the U.S. failed to respond to Venezuela's three runs scored in the fourth and seventh innings.  With the loss, Team USA moves to 1-2 at the 2015 Pan American Games with two remaining games left in the preliminary rounds. 


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"We lost a hard ball game to a great pitcher and a great team," said Head Coach Denny Bruckert (Gillespie, Ill.).  "We made some mistakes early in the ball game that cost us a few runs and it would have been a much different game heading into that final inning.  Josh pitched a great game, he did his job, now we just have to do ours and get some more timely hits."


The first pitch of the game resulted in a base hit for Venezuela but the U.S. defense would keep the runner from doing any damage with three-straight groundouts to bring them to the plate.  The Red, White and Blue responded in kind as Miljavac hit a hard ground ball to centerfield for a single to start the at-bat for Team USA.  Advancing to second on a sac-bunt from Zechman, Miljavac attempted to advance to third but was thrown out at the bag for the second out of the inning.  Matt Palazzo (Pleasant Hill, Iowa) would also single in the bottom of the first, but a strikeout kept him at bay and kept the game scoreless.


The game would remain tied until the bottom of the third inning when the U.S. put the first run of the game on the board on a misplayed ball in the outfield.  Miljavac led the charge with a one-out single and advanced a base when Zechman hit a shot to the left fielder, who mishandled the ball to allow Miljavac plenty of time to round third and score. 


Venezuela made the game interesting in the top of the fourth with a solo home run to tie up the game at one run apiece.  Venezuela would take the eventual game winning lead in the top of the seventh with a leadoff walk followed by a double to right field.  An intentional walk would load the bases with no outs before a sac-fly to right field gave Venezuela the 2-1 lead. 


With the out came a pitching change for the U.S. as Gerald Muizelaar (Grand Forks, N.D.) entered in relief for U.S. starter Josh Johnson (El Paso, Texas).  Muizelaar would intentionally walk the next batter to load the bases for the second time in the inning before a hit batter would plate another run for Venezuela to give them the 3-1 lead.  Back-to-back strikeouts kept Venezuela from furthering the damage, giving the U.S. one more chance to extend the game or claim the walk-off win.


Down to their final at-bat, Team USA was unable to adjust to Venezuela's Ramon Jones as three strikeouts ended the game with the U.S. taking the 3-1 loss.


"We're in a win or lose situation now," said Miljavac.  "We're going to find out how tough this team is in the next few days and we'll go from there."


Johnson was charged with the loss, giving up three earned runs with four strikeouts, two walks and five hits through six and one-third innings pitched.  Muizelaar finished the final two-third innings with two strikeouts and one walk.


Team USA will look to rebound in their next game in a 4:30 p.m. EDT battle against Argentina.  Live stats will be available throughout the Pan American Games and fans at home can follow along with recaps and more at ASAUSASoftball.com.



About ASA/USA Softball

Founded in 1933, the Amateur Softball Association (ASA)/USA Softball is the National Governing Body Softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. One of the nation’s largest sports organizations, ASA/USA Softball sanctions competition in every state through a network of 74 local associations and has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 165,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than 2.5 million.  ASA/USA is responsible for training, equipping and promoting the six USA Softball National Teams that compete in international and domestic competitions. The USA Softball Women’s National Team is one of only two women’s sports involved in the Olympic movement to capture three consecutive gold medals at the Olympic Games since 1996. The U.S. women have also won nine World Championship titles as well as claimed eight World Cup of Softball titles. For more information about ASA/USA Softball, please visithttp://www.asausasoftball.com/.



Codi Warren


Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications

Amateur Softball Association of America/USA Softball

Office 405.425.3431 | Cell 405. 420. 2817


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