THUNDER BAY – John Simms (The Woodlands, Tex.) struck out 11 in six shutout innings to lead the USA Baseball 18U National Team over Italy 10-0 Sunday in USA’s second game of the 2010 IBAF “AAA” (18U) World Junior Championships. USA scored 10 runs on eight hits to defeat Italy in seven innings due to the 10-run rule, improving the U.S. to 2-0 in pool play.
Simms (3-0) was dynamic in six shutout frames, posting his second double-digit strikeout game in four outings this summer. The right-hander worked efficiently allowing just two hits and issuing just one walk. Dillon Maples (West End, N.C.) tossed one scoreless inning to seal the victory.
Team USA registered a team-best five doubles and was paced by Francisco Lindor’s (Clermont, Fla.) 3-for-3 and two RBI performance. Marcus Littlewood (Saint George, Utah) added a pair of hits and RBI. Christian Lopes (Canyon County, Calif.) notched a double and RBI to round out the U.S. attack.
“John [Simms] pitched very well for us tonight,” said head coach Garye LaFevers. “He worked ahead in the count and could of probably finished the game, but it was good to get Dillon [Maples] an appearance.”
The U.S. darted out to an early 1-0 in the first. Back-to-back doubles off the bats of Tony Wolters (Vista, Claif.) and Lindor in the left center gap manufactured the run for Team USA. Italy stopped the rallying with a pick off and two strikeouts to end the first frame.
The Red, White & Blue added two more runs in the second. A pair of doubles off the bats of Lopes and Michael Lorenzen (Anaheim, Calif.) provided the two runs for the U.S., who led 3-0 after two frames.
Simms was extremely sharp in the early innings retiring eight in a row after allowing a leadoff single in the first. The Woodlands, Tex., native fanned eight Italian batters through the first four frames.
USA added two more runs in the third frame courtesy of a pair of walks and one Italian error. The error proved costly for Italy as the U.S. stretched their lead to 5-0 heading into the middle innings.
Team USA strung together five more runs in the middle innings to extend their lead to 10-0. Lindor ripped his third hit of the day, a RBI single, and Littlewood laced a two-RBI double to highlight the two big innings.
Maples fanned two in the seventh and final frame, securing the 10-0 win.
The 18U National team will play their third game of pool play Monday at 7 p.m. against Chinese Taipei from Port Arthur Stadium. The U.S. will challenge Venezuela Tuesday at 7 p.m. and France Wednesday at 9:30 a.m to round out pool play. The medal rounds will being July 30.
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.
USA and Chinese Taipei will square off in a battle of the unbeatens in pool A Monday . . . Chinese Taipei posts wins over France (11-1) and Australia (13-11). . . Simms, who walked just one Italian batter, is the first USA pitcher to not issue a walk in an outing of five or more innings . . .Team USA registered five doubles, the most in 15 games this summer . . .The 18U record for doubles in a game, stands at 13 against South Africa (8/19/2000) . . . USA hurlers have registered 25 strikeouts in two games, translating to 25 of their 48 outs recorded are via the strikeout . . . Lindor was not only was big at the plate Monday, the Clermont, Fla., product made an outstanding diving stop at shortstop to erase a hit from Italy