Team USA in the KFC American Challenge Series

July 15, 2007

Oklahoma City, OK

United States vs Japan (Jul 13, 2007)

Argentina vs United States (Jul 13, 2007)

Posted: 7/15/2007


USA Men’s National Team takes home inaugural American Challenge Series title
Oklahoma City -- USA Softball Men’s National Team won the inaugural KFC American Challenge Series on Sunday by defeating Japan 7-0 in the championship game.
Team USA rode the bat of Chris DeLarwelle (Forestville, Wisc.) to the championship. DeLarwelle went 2-3 with three RBI. For the tournament, DeLarwelle hit .333 with 12 RBI and two home runs.
“I saw that the umpires were giving the pitchers a bit on the outside of the plate,” DeLarwelle said. “So I adjusted and challenged the Japanese pitchers to pitch me on the outside half of the plate.”
DeLarwelle’s adjustment paid off when he blasted a two RBI single down the left-field line in the third inning to start the scoring for Team USA.
DeLarwelle, the MVP for the ISF Men’s World Cup last month in Prague, struck again in the fifth inning with an RBI single to centerfield.
“I had worked on hitting prior to Prague and continued so after I returned from the World Cup,” DeLarwelle said. “I found what worked for me and it helped me to be consistent.”
The win marked a reversal of fortune for Team USA against Japan. The Americans had lost four straight, including two in the ACS, before winning the championship game against them.
“We were trying to find a line-up that worked against Japan,” Coach Peter Turner said. “Plus, the more we play together, the better we get.”
Japan was never able to find a rhythm against pitcher Terry Luster (Bunceton, Mo.). He allowed only two hits in five innings of work.
“Terry just hit his spots and made it easy for me,” USA catcher Frank DeGroat Jr. (Ringwood, N.J.) said. “When a team like Japan has a lot of team speed and likes to bunt, you have to try and change the locations quite frequently.”
After taking the lead off DeLarwelle’s two RBI single in the third, Team USA struck again in the fourth. Sonny Perkins (St. Michaels, Ariz.) hit an RBI single to put them up by three.
Omar Moraga (Tucson, Ariz.) started things off in the fifth inning with an RBI triple. After an RBI single by DeLarwelle, DeGroat knocked in another run with a single. Nate Devine (Merced, Calif.) hit a walk off single that scored DeGroat from second to end the game after five innings due to the international run rule.
Team USA advanced to the championship game by surviving a late rally by Argentina during the play-in game earlier in the day.
Team USA started strong, jumping out to 11-3 lead after four innings, including a grand slam by DeLarwelle. However, Argentina had a six-run rally in the fifth to pull within two.
Argentina captured third place in the inaugural KFC American Challenge Series.

USA Men drop opener to Japan at KFC American Challenge Series

Oklahoma City---The USA Softball Men’s National Team suffered a heart breaking, 9-7, loss to Japan in the their opening game of the KFC American Challenge Series. The game was knotted at seven apiece until the bottom of the six when Japan plated two runs on an error and a passed ball to secure the win.
The USA used a couple of illegal pitches combined with some timely hitting to put up three-runs in the top of the first inning. Adam LaLonde (Cheboygan, Mich.) and Chris Miljavac (St. Joseph, Mo.) singled to lead off the inning. They both advanced one base on a passed ball and then took another base on an illegal pitch that scored LaLonde. Miljavac also scored on an illegal pitch. Nate Devine (Merced, Calif.) was the only one in the first who accounted for an RBI with a single shot to left field that scored Chris DeLarwelle (Forestville, Wis.) who walked to reach base.
Japan put up an equally impressive first inning with Kei Kusumoto and Takuma Yasui putting up back-to-back singles to set up the bases for Norihiko Aoyama who hit a homerun to left field to even the game. Japan took the lead in the second inning with a solo homerun by Haruka Fukuju.
The USA evened the score in the fourth with a solo homerun by Devine and took the lead in the top of the fifth. LaLonde got things started with a double down the left field line, moved to second on a single by Miljavac and scored on a sacrifice fly by Omar Morago (Agoura Hills, Calif.).
The lead was short lived as Japan responded with a run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Fukuju led off with a triple to right center and scored on a single by Yasui.
After the momentum had shifted back and forth through the first five innings, Japan took the lead for good scoring two runs in the sixth for a 7-5 lead. Japan had two singles but two errors and two passed balls by the U.S. would be the factor in the loss.
The U.S. tried to get its lead back in the seventh with two hits but could not put a run on the board. Cody Thomson (Salt Lake City, Utah) earned the loss for the team giving up five

USA Softball Men’s National Team homers past Argentina
Oklahoma City---The USA Softball Men’s National Team used the long ball to defeat Argentina, 9-6, in game three of the KFC American Challenge Series late Friday night. Chris DeLarwelle (Forestville, Wisc.) had 4 RBI, two off a home run in the sixth inning, to lead Team USA (1-1) past the Argentines (1-1).
Omar Moraga (Tucson, Ariz.) started things off in the first with an RBI single up the middle. DeLarwelle added to the total with a triple to deep right field, bringing home two more runs. Frank DeGroat, Jr. (Ringwood, N.J.) finished the scoring in the first with a double to right center.
Team USA added another run in the second off a single to left field by Tim Hunt (La Habra, Calif.). Julio Gamarci of Argentina responded by doubling to right field, scoring one run. Bruno Montroni added a two-run homer to left field to pull Argentina within two.
But that was the closest Argentina would come. Hunt homered down the right-field line in the fourth and although Montroni countered for Argentina by bringing home one run courtesy of a sacrifice fly to center field in the top of the fifth, home runs by Matt Palazzo in the bottom of the fifth and DeLarwelle in the bottom of the sixth were just what the Red, White and Blue needed for the win.
After DeLarwelle’s homer in the sixth, Argentina responded in the top of the seventh inning with another RBI from Montroni and Andres Gamarci scored off a passed ball but it wouldn’t be enough as the USA held on for a 9-6 victory.
Argentina faces Japan (1-1) at noon on Saturday on day two of the KFC American Challenge Series. Japan then turns around to play Team USA at 3 p.m. on the stadium field. This game will be shown on a tape delay basis on ESPN2 on July 22 at 12 p.m. CST


Posted: 7/14/2007


Japan secures berth in American Challenge Series championship game with 4-2 win over USA

Oklahoma City---Japan (3-1) scored two runs in the fifth inning to break a 2-2 tie and secure a 4-2 win over the USA Men’s National Team in game five of the KFC American Challenge Series Saturday afternoon at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium. The win secured Japan a spot in the championship game on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

Team USA took an early lead in the first inning when Nate Devine (Merced, Calif.) ripped a single that plated two runs. However, those two runs would be all Japanese starting pitcher Shun Moromizato would surrender in a complete game effort.

Takuma Yasui put Japan on the board in the fourth inning with an RBI double to left-center. Takashi Nagaoka added another run with a single to left field in the fifth to tie the game.

Moromizato allowed only four more runners to reach base the rest of the game and turned to his offense to get him the win and they responded with two big hits. In the sixth inning, Yasui launched a solo home run to left field to give Japan the lead and teammate Norihiko Aoyama followed with a home run of his own in the exact same spot.

Travis Price (Santa Ana, Calif.) suffered the loss in the circle for the USA after allowing four runs on four hits. He also walked three and struck out four in five innings of work.

Team USA (1-2) wraps up double round-robin play at 9 p.m. Saturday night against Argentina (1-2) before playing in the semi-finals at 12 p.m. on Sunday against Argentina


Argentina pounds Team USA in final game of the KFC American Challenge Series

Oklahoma City -- Argentina rolled past the USA Softball Men’s National Team in the final game of double round-robin play in the KFC American Challenge Series, 12-2.

Team USA, which had played earlier in the day, let many of their starters rest in preparation for the single elimination tournament that begins at 11:30 a.m. Sunday. Team USA (1-3) will face off against Argentina (2-2) for a spot in the championship game.

Greg Cascaes (Apple Valley, Minn.) drove in the first run for Team USA in the second inning. Matt Palazzo (Des Moines, Iowa) drove in the only other run of the game.


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