THUNDER BAY, Canada –- Blake Swihart (Rio Rancho, N.M.) notched three hits and four RBI to lead the USA Baseball 18U National Team over the Netherlands 18-2 Sunday at Baseball Central. Team USA drubbed the Dutch to conclude their summer with a 19-2 mark and tournament-best 7-1 record in the 2010 World Championships.
Philip Pfeifer (Knoxville, Tenn.) pitched 4 2/3 innings, allowing just one run on two hits and eight strikeouts to earn his fifth win of the summer. Ricky Jacquez (El Paso, Tex.) tossed 1 1/3 innings allowing one run on two hits.
“I am very proud of this team and the way they finished,” said head coach Garye LaFevers. “We battled to the end and it was a pleasure coaching this group.”
Swihart, who entered the game in the third inning, led the USA attack with his 3-for-3 and four RBI performance. Bubba Starling (Gardner, Kan.) notched two hits, including a monster home run, and three RBI. Brian Ragira (Arlington, Tex.) also added three hits and one RBI. Six different U.S. players posted two hits as Team USA totaled a summer-best 18 hits.
Team USA owned a 2-0 lead after the first two innings of play. The U.S. scratched out one run on a RBI fielder’s choice off the bat of Nicky Delmonico (Knoxville, Tenn.). After a pair of singles in the second, the U.S. plated another on a bases loaded walk. Pfeifer stymied the Dutch hitters in the early innings, striking out five in the first two frames.
The Red, White and Blue exploded for eight runs on seven hits in the third to push in front 10-0. Seven straight U.S. batters reached base safely highlighted by four RBI singles. A mammoth three-run home run off the bat of Starling that sailed over the left field fence, capped the big USA inning.
Pfeifer did not allow a hit until the fifth frame as the Dutch scored their first run in the inning. Jacquez entered to pitch with the bases loaded and two out in the frame, but quickly wriggled out of the jam with a strikeout.
The U.S. tacked on four more runs in the fifth frame on five hits. Swihart tattooed a two-RBI double to highlight the inning for Team USA, who scored in all but one of the first five innings.
The Dutch added their second run in the top of the sixth, but the U.S. proved too much plating four more in the bottom of the inning to end the game due to the international mercy rule.
Back-to-back-to-back doubles off the bats of Tony Wolters (Vista, Calif.), Francisco Lindor (Clermont, Fla.) and Marcus Littlewood (Saint George, Utah) provided two of the runs. Swihart delivered the big blow, clobbering a two-run shot over the right field wall to end the game at 18-2.
The U.S. finished the 2010 World Championships with a tournament-best 7-1 mark. Four of Team USA’s seven wins were by 10 or more runs. The U.S. outscored their opponents 78-16 in eight games and led the tournament in hitting and pitching entering Sunday.
The 2010 IBAF World Junior “AAA” (18U) Baseball Championship hosts national teams from Australia, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Korea, Netherlands, Panama, Venezuela and the United States. Teams began 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.
With his two-run home run to end the game, Swihart finishes the summer with a team-best five home runs and .448 batting average . . . Starling belted his third home run of the summer in the win . . . Michael Lorenzen (Anaheim, Calif.) finishes the 2010 World Championships with a .556 batting average and nine-game hit streak . . . Lindor is not far behind with a .500 clip . . . USA hurlers struck out 78 batters in the 2010 Worlds . . . On the season, the U.S. pitching staff posts gaudy numbers with 223 strikeouts in 171 innings, with a 1.50 ERA and .150 opponent batting average . . . Littlewood ends his summer with a team-best 11 game hit streak . . . Sunday’s six doubles are a team summer-high . . . Team USA registered 10 or more hits in six of eight tournament games