GUATEMALA CITY -- The 14U National Team rode a 5-run first inning in an 8-3 exhibition victory over the 18U Guatemalan National Team, Thursday, at Enrique "Trapo" Torrebiarte Stadium in Guatemala.

The U.S. jumped on Guatemala's 18U team early and hard. Anthony Alford (Columbia, Miss.) reached on an error by the shortstop to begin the game and C.J. Hinojosa (Spring, Texas) hit a single to center field. But a misplay by the centerfielder brought Alford in to score and sent Hinojosa to third.

Albert Almora (Hialeah, Fla.) then hit a triple to deep right field to bring in Hinojosa and Rio Ruiz (Covina, Calif.) hit a single between first and second to score Almora. Ruiz scored next as the catcher overthrew third on the stolen base to bring the U.S. lead to 4-0 with no outs.

Jeremy Martinez (Fountain Valley, Calif.) was hit by a pitch and advanced to third on a stolen base throwing error by the catcher and would later score the fifth and final run of the first inning on a wild pitch.

After the U.S. picked up another run in the third, the Guatemalan 18U National Team scratched a run on the board in the bottom of the second inning on starting pitcher Cody Poteet (Bonita, Calif.). Leading off with a triple to deep right center the Guatemalans looked to have a big inning, but Poteet struck out the next two batters on 7 pitches and threw a wild pitch allowing the runner from third to come in and bring the score to 6-1 in favor of the U.S.

Guatemala threatened again in the third on new pitcher Robert Whalen (Stroudsburg, Pa.). With consecutive base hits, Whalen struck out the next batter and Chris Chinea (Miami, Fla.) lasered the ball to first base to pick off the runner for the strikeout-pick off double play to end the inning.

The U.S. began threatening again in the fourth inning. David Petrino (Springdale, Ark.) started off with a walk and a stolen base and Adrian Marin (Miami, Fla.) hustled out a base hit to the second baseman to put runners on the corners. Rio Ruiz connected with a clutch double for his third hit of the day to centerfield to bring in Petrino and Marin bringing the score to 8-1.

Bryant Hodge (Moore, Okla.) took the mound in the bottom of the fifth to close out the game for the U.S. but Guatemala would not go down without a fight as three base hits loaded the bases with only one out. An infield fly to the shortstop picked up the second out but Hinojosa attempted to get the final out of the game with an errant throw to first and allowing two runs to cross the plate. Hodge would strike out the next batter, however, to close out the game with the final score of 8-3.

With this victory, the 14U National Team has beaten each of the 14U, 16U and 18U Guatemalan National Teams in a single week.

"As far as I know, this has never happened before," says Head Coach Dave Webb. "I think it is a good gauge on how good our team is. I think going against the 16U and 18U teams gives our team a good look at what they will face in the future years. I am very happy with the additional competition we faced and even happier about our team's performance."

Team USA will be back in action, Friday, as they face Mexico in the semi-finals at 3pm (CT) at Enrique "Trapo" Torrebiarte Stadium in Guatemala City. If they win this game, the U.S. will play for the Gold medal on Saturday versus the winner of the Guatemala/El Salvador matchup.