CARTAGENA, Colombia -- After weeks of trials, training, and competition, the 18U National Team is the 2011 champions of the COPABE 18U/AAA Pan American Championships. Team USA (9-0) defeated Canada (6-2) in eight innings, 12-2, to take home gold.
The U.S. fell behind for only the second time in the tournament, 1-0, in the top of the first, but like last time its deficit lasted only a half-inning. in the bottom of the same frame, the U.S. exploded for seven runs to take the lead, 7-1.
In the inning, Team USA sent 12 to the plate and collected five hits. One of those hits came when Addison Russell came up to bat with the bases loaded. He proceeded to hit a grand slam homerun over the left field wall.
The U.S. piled on a pair of runs in the second when pitcher Carson Kelly roped a two-RBI double down the left field line to make it 9-1. After trading one run innings, the U.S. won the game in the bottom of the eighth. In that inning, the first two batters got out before four consecutive singles, including a walk off hit by Gavin Cecchini, made it the final score of 12-2.
Carson Kelly (2-0) received the win for the red white and blue going six innings while allowing only two runs on four hits with five strikeouts. Troy Conyers and Nick Travieso each pitched a scoreless inning in relief.
Leading the way at the plate for USA was Russell going 2-for-3 with a walk, four RBIs, and three runs scored. Nine players had a hit for the squad including multi-hit games from Cecchini, Russel, and Kelly.
The U.S. after having concluded the 2011 COPABE 18U/AAA Pan American Championships will fly out of Cartagena on Monday to Miami. From there, all players, coaches, and staff will fly to their respective homes.
TOURNAMENT AWARDS WON BY USA:
MVP: Albert Almora
Best Average: Alex Bregman (.570)
Highest Slug%: Gavin Cecchini (.750)
Most RBIs: Albert Almora (8)
Most Runs Scored: Mikey White (9)
Most Stolen Bases: Albert Almora (9)
Best ERA: Jesse Winker (0.00)
FIRST TEAM ALL-TOURNAMENT
Pitcher: Jesse Winker (USA)
Catcher: Raphael Barbosa (BRA)
First Base: Daniel Pinero (CAN)
Second Base: Gavin Cecchini (USA)
Third Base: Alex Bregman (USA)
Shortstop: Addison Russell (USA)
Left Field: Brett Sidall (CAN)
Center Field: Albert Almora (USA)
Right Field: Carlos Arroyo (VEN)
Coach: Scott Brosius (USA)
PITCHING, DEFENSE, HITTING: The U.S. finished the tournament having allowed the fewest runs (8), having scored the most runs (88), and having committed the fewest errors (2).
DOING IT ALL: Carson Kelly, the starting pitcher of Sunday's game, was allowed to hit for himself. He rewarded the team by going 3-for-3 including a double with two RBIs and a run scored.
GRAND SALAMI: In the first inning, the U.S. jumped out to an early 7-1 lead thanks in large part to a grand slam home run by Addison Russell. It was USA's first home run of the tournament.
Only the records vs. the other teams that advanced to round 2 count towards a medal
#1 USA (5-0)
#2 Canada (3-2)
#3 Venezuela (3-2)
#4 Panama (2-3)
#5 Colombia (1-4)
#6 Mexico (1-4)