Nationals edge Americans 7-6 in All World Classic

 

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A four-run sixth inning paved the way to a narrow victory for the Nationals in the All World Classic of the 10th Annual International POWER SHOWCASE at Miami Marlins Park late Saturday night. The decisive runs came thanks to contributions from three showcase finalists and the winning run came in on a sacrifice-flyout RBI from World Champion Justin Farmer that drove in game MVP Chad McDaniel.

McDaniel had a strong overall game to help account for nearly half his team’s runs. He went 1-for-2 with a walk, stolen base, a run and two RBIs. He got the rally started as the junior from Florida drew a leadoff walk and then stole a base leading off the sixth. Texas’ Hunter Watson and France’s showcase finalist Fred Walter both drew walks to load the bases. A wild pitch allowed McDaniel to score and Nebraska’s Trent McMullen plated Watson with a 6-3 RBI groundout.

 

The Netherlands’ showcase finalist Julian Rip worked a walk and stole a base, and Walter scored on a throwing error on the play to put the Nationals ahead. Farmer then lifted a shot to deep right field to allow Rip to score the winning run.

Trailing 7-5 the American squad cut that deficit in half with a run in the eighth. Facing Florida 5’10”, 150-pound right-hander Matthew Johnson, fellow Floridians Ubaldo Lopez led off with a double to deep left field and Diego Ramos followed with a single past second. A passed ball allowed Lopez to score, before Johnson set down the next three batters in order.

Johnson pitched into the ninth inning before running into trouble by allowing a pair of walks.

Farmer then came on for the Nationals and struck out the final three batters to earn the save.

The Americans also got solid pitching to keep them in the contest down the stretch. Mississippi’s 6’1”, 165-pound right-hander Jacob Gilliland tossed the final three innings, facing the minimum nine batters while receiving two double plays from his defense. Gilliland allowed one hit and struck out one.

The biggest buzz of the night came from the quietest member of the National team in winning pitcher Hirokazu Doi. The 5’7”, 170-pound left-hander from Japan speaks almost no English, but the impressive southpaw let his pitching do all the talking for him. Doi dazzled everyone with three stellar innings in which he needed just 24 pitches to record nine outs while facing the minimum number of hitters. Featuring an incredible curveball complimented by a velocity as high as 82 miles per hour, Doi seemed unhittable as he struck out four and did not allow the ball to leave the infield.

Both teams featured massive left-handers to start the contest. The Netherlands southpaw Nick Keur stands at 6’3”, 240 pounds and he featured an electric fastball that rose to the uppers 80’s. Keur allowed just one earned run in his three innings, allowing four hits and a walk while recording four strikeouts. American starter Jack Schmidt stands an imposing 6’6” and weighs 225 pounds, and he showcased a fastball that topped in the mid-eighties. Schmidt allowed three unearned runs on two hits and two walks in his three frames of work, and he struck out two.

The Nationals opened the scoring with three runs with two outs in the bottom of the first. McMullen walked, Walter reached on an error and Watson was hit by a pitch to load the bases. A wild pitch allowed McMullen to score and McDaniel sent a bouncer up the middle to plate two.

The Americans answered back for five runs over the next two innings to take a 5-3 lead. Canada’s Ryan Rijo was hit by a pitch, Diego Ramos walked and Ubaldo Lopez lined an RBI single into right field to plate Rijo and put runners on the corners. Lopez broke for second and successfully swiped the base and Ramos came home on a throwing error on the play.

An inning later they went ahead with three more runs. Venezuela’s Audie Nunez walked and fellow countryman Angel Vargas reached on a fielder’s choice. Minnesota’s Jimmy Ramsey then lined a shot past the shortstop to plate both runners and Puerto Rico’s Axel Salgado lined an RBI single to left field to send Ramsey home.

Florida’s Austin Matthews also had three solid innings for the Americans. The 5’11”, 170-pound right-hander allowed one hit and five walks while striking out two.

 

By Rick Duteau

 

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