SAN FELIPE, Venezuela -- The 14U National Team took down Venezuela, 12-2, in six innings to win the 2011 COPABE Pan Am 14U Championship gold medal game at Yaracuy Stadium in San Felipe, Venezuela.
The U.S. jumped out to an early 5-0 lead in the bottom of the second as Chris Cullen led off the inning and was hit by a pitch to put him on first, and then Tyler Halas hit a single to left center to put runners on the corners for Chris Betts. Halas took off for second base and Betts hit a ground ball between second and first base which allowed Cullen to score from third, and Betts beat the first baseman back to the bag for the infield hit to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead. Next up, Stephen Bonnain was hit in the back which loaded the bases for Isaak Gutierrez who hit into a fielders choice to bring home Halas to increase the score to 2-0. Nick Madrigal stepped into the batters box with two outs, and with a full count blasted a home run to left field to put Team USA on top, 5-0, going into the third inning.
Venezuela responded quickly with a lead off home run by Franklin Arias to bring the crowd back to life, and then Joswui Castro hit a single to center field with runners on first and second to score one and cut the lead to 5-2 to head into the bottom of the third inning.
Ako Thomas got those two runs back with one swing of the bat as he belted a two run home run to center field in the bottom of the third to give USA the lead, 7-2. Halas would single in the next at bat, and Betts walked on a full count to put two on for Bonnain who hit his first home run of the tournament to right field to increase the lead and make it, 10-2. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Cullen delivered with a home run of his own to give Team USA the 11-2 lead.
Willie Aguilar put the finishing touches on the game with a home run in the bottom of the sixth inning to give the U.S. the victory by mercy rule, 12-2, to win the 2011 COPABE Pan Am 14U Championship.
Bonnain threw 4 1/3 innings surrendering five hits and two runs while striking out six batters for his second win of the tournament. Luken Baker and Bailey Falter would come on in relief of Bonnain and throw 1 1/3 innings while only allowing one hit and giving up no runs.
Cullen (left field) and Aguilar (second base) were named to the All-Tournament team, while Madrigal was awarded for the most stolen bases (8) and Bonnain was awarded MVP for the championship game. Jeff Hewitt was named the tournaments best manager while Nate Logan was awarded with tournaments best delegate. The U.S. outscored its opponents, 92-27, en route to its perfect 8-0 record in San Felipe, Venezuela.
RETURN HOME: The 14U National Team will leave San Felipe, Venezuela, Sunday night and arrive at the airport in the morning to fly to Miami. The team will land in Miami in the afternoon together before they depart later that day for their individual destinations.
BIG HOME RUNS: The home run streak continues for the U.S. as Nick Madrigal hit a big three-run home in the bottom of the second to increase the red, white and blue's lead to 5-0. Ako Thomas and Stephen Bonnain also hit home runs in the bottom of the third inning to go up, 10-2. Chris Cullen would join the gold medal home run club with a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth to extend the lead to 11-2. The only fitting way to win the gold medal was for the team's home run leader, Willie Aguilar, to hit one in the bottom of the sixth to win, 12-2. The U.S. has hit at least one home run in each game in the 2011 COPABE Pan Am 14U Championships, and as a team have combined for 23 with Willie Aguilar leading the team with five home runs.
RUNS IN BUNCHES: The U.S. scored five runs in the second and third inning to silence the crowd in the 2011 COPABE Pan Am 14U Championships in San Felipe, Venezuela. Eight of those runs came off home runs from Madrigal, Thomas and Bonnain. This tournament the U.S. has outscored its opponents, 92-27, en route to its gold medal.