ST. PAUL, Minn. –- Evan Grills tossed three shutout innings to lead the Canadian National Team over the USA Baseball 18U National Team 4-3 Sunday afternoon at Midway Stadium. Brian Ragira (Arlington, Tex.) led the U.S. with a pair of hits and one RBI.
Christian Montgomery (Indianapolis, Ind.) suffers the loss allowing two runs in one inning. Starter A.J. Vanegas (Alameda, Calif.) allowed two runs, both unearned, on one hit with five walks and seven strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings of work. Reliever Bubba Starling (Gardner, Kan.) fanned four in 2 1/3 frames.
“We came up on the short end today,” said head coach Garye LaFevers. “We played hard and battled to the end, but cam up on the short end.”
Offensively Ragira paced USA with two hits and one RBI. Marcus Littlewood (Saint George, Utah) added a double and Michael Lorenzen (Anaheim, Calif.) notched a single and RBI.
The U.S. gained an early lead in the second, scoring one run on two hits and one Canadian error. Ragira laced a RBI single to the left center gap to score Christian Lopes (Canyon Country, Calif.) and give USA a 1-0 lead.
Vanegas was sharp early getting ahead in counts and pounding the strike zone. The right-hander did not allow a hit through the first three frames and fanned six Canadian batters.
The Red, White & Blue tacked on two more runs in the fourth. A wild pitch scored Lopes and Lorenzen knocked in Ragira on with a RBI single to provide the U.S. runs.
Canada cut the USA lead to 3-2 in the fifth manufacturing two runs courtesy of four U.S. walks and one USA error. Vanegas’ day ended in the fifth and Montgomery inherited three runners, allowing one to score.
The Canadians added two more in the sixth to push in front 4-3. A two-out RBI single off the bat of Justin Atkinson provided the go-ahead runs. Atkinson’s single took a high bounce over the head of shortstop Francisco Lindor (Clermont, Fla.) to trickle into center field for a base hit.
The 18U National team will resume exhibition play Monday night in St. Cloud, Minn. The U.S. will play two more exhibition games against area all-star teams and international opponents in Minnesota, before embarking on the 2010 IBAF “AAA” (18U) World Junior Championships from July 23-Aug. 1.
The 2010 IBAF World Junior “AAA” (18U) Baseball Championship will host national teams from Australia, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Korea, Netherlands, Panama, Venezuela and the United States. Teams will begin qualifying games on July 23 and the tournament will culminate in the gold medal game on August 1 at Port Arthur Stadium in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. Visit the website at www.worldbaseball2010.com. For tickets, please call toll free at 1-877-422-3201.