Blue downs Red, 3-1, to open play
Williams picks up the first win of the 2012 18U trials
CARY, N.C. -- The USA Baseball 18U National Team Trials kicked off its Red/Blue games Tuesday night when the Blue team topped the Red, 3-1, at the National Training Complex in Cary, N.C.
Blue starting pitcher, Garrett Williams, had a 1-0 lead before he even took the mound, and coasted through three solid innings of work to pick up the first win of the trials. "I came out there that first inning, the adrenaline was going," said Williams. "I was a little wild at first, but then I settled back in and threw a good game."
Despite throwing just three innings, Williams picked up the win because of predetermined inning allotments for the pitching staff. He allowed just three hits and one unearned run while striking out four.
The pitching for the Red team was equally impressive, especially from reliever John Kilichowski. The lefty from Tampa, Fla., worked the middle innings, not allowing a hit. He struck out five, while allowing only two base runners to reach--both on walks.
With the dominating pitching from both sides, hits were hard to come by, with just nine total hits between the two squads. Despite being out hit, 5 to 4, the Blue team managed to push across three runs to seal the victory. "We played great as a team," said Williams. "We got clutch hits in the moments we needed them and played together as a team."
Riley Unroe reached on an infield single to start the top of the first inning for the Blue. Nico Giarratano the followed him by hitting the first pitch to left field, putting runners on first and second with no outs. After Red team starter, Ryan Olson, retired the next two hitters, Unroe came around to score on a double steal.
The Red team tied the game in the bottom of the second inning when John Sternagel crushed a 3-1 pitch for an RBI-tripe to center field. Willie Abreu came around to score on the play after having reached on an error to start the inning.
The Blue team struck back quickly in the top of the third. Dom Nunez walked to start the inning, and stole second during Unroe's at bat. After Unroe lifted a pitch to center field, Nunez tagged up and moved up to third base with one out. The next batter, Giarratano, laced a ground ball to the shortstop to score Nunez and give the Blue team the lead back.
The Blue team would extend their lead in the top of the eighth, when Anfernee Grier came around to score on Andy McGuire's reached-on-an-error by the shortstop. The run gave Blue the 3-1 lead, which would prove to be the final tally.
Defensively, McGuire had his hands full at third base for the Blue team. The rising-senior from Vienna, Va., converted six of his seven fielding chances, including starting a 5-4-3 inning-ending double play to erase a lead-off walk in the bottom of the sixth inning. "I went out and started at third, which is new for me position-wise," said McGuire. "I got peppered with ground balls, which was good for me."
Christian Martinek came on to start the seventh for the Blue team, and continued the teams steady ways on the mound. The big lefty allowed just one hit over the final three innings to pick up the save. Martinek, Williams and Ryan Castellani combined to strike out ten hitters over the nine inning game.
Sternagel, playing third base for the Red team, was the only player to record multiple hits on the night. He went 2-for-3 with the lone RBI for the Red team.
Starter Ryan Olson took the loss for the Red team, allowing two runs on three hits over his three innings of work.
The 40 players on the 18U trials roster will return to the National Training Complex Wednesday morning for practice at 9:30 a.m. That practice will be immediately followed by a six inning Red/Blue game on the NTC Stadium at 11:30 a.m.
The players will then break for lunch before returning to the NTC for a 6 p.m. Red/Blue nine inning affair.