Jul 22, 2014
Just 12 hours after finishing the first exhibition game of trials week Monday night, 40 15U players looking to make the USA Baseball national team trotted out on the diamond at Durham Bulls Athletic Park Tuesday morning for exhibition two. In another nail-biting game that again featured a ton of stellar individual performances, the blue team gained a measure of revenge over the red squad with a 7-6 victory.
Early on, the contest looked like it could be a blowout as the blue team put up six runs in the first two innings while blue starting pitcher Ryan Vilade (Frisco, Texas) was dazzling in recording six quick outs. The righty only threw 16 pitches as he gave up no hits and induced five groundouts. The blue offense was just as impressive as a Jake Cosgrove (Brentwood, Calif.) double scored the game’s first run before Tyler Keenan’s single plated two others in the first.
The second inning saw Austin Martin (Orange Park, Fla.), Doug Nikhazy (Ocoee, Fla.) and Jacob Blas (Carlsbad, Calif.) all drive in runs to up blue’s lead to 6-0.
However, the red team wouldn’t go down without a fight as it slowly chipped away at the lead. Red crossed the dish twice in the third, once in the fourth and three times in the fifth to come all the way back and tie the game at six. Ty Coleman (Midland, Texas) and Michael Perez (Cerritos, Calif.) drove in runs in the third, Boyd Vander Kooi (Mesa, Ariz.) did the same in the fourth and Noah Campbell (Durham, N.C.) helped complete the comeback in the fifth with an RBI of his own.
Blue wouldn’t be denied though as catcher Matt Oldham (Pittsboro, N.C.) placed a double just inches from the right-field chalk to bring Ronald Washington (Houston, Texas) home for the winning run.
Coleman, Martin and Joe Fitzhugh (San Diego, Calif.) all recorded two hits on the day, while Keenan was the lone player to register a pair of RBI. Hunter Greene (Stevenson Ranch, Calif.) and Coleman each scored two runs for the red team in a losing effort.
Despite an impressive day at the plate for many of the Team USA hopefuls, some outstanding pitching was also on display. In addition to Vilade, Justin Willis (West New York, N.J.) and Nikhazy showcased some explosive stuff as they combined to give up three hits, two walks and no runs in four innings of work for blue. On the red side, Kristofer Armstrong (Jupiter, Fla.) and Jordon Adell (Louisville, Ky.) each hurled two no-hit innings with Armstrong nearly matching Vilade’s pitch count with just 20 pitches thrown to record six outs.
Both teams will get a quick workout in at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday night at the USA Baseball complex before setting their sights on Wednesday, which will feature a 1:15 p.m. workout and a 4 p.m. exhibition at the National Team Complex as the 40 players, coaches and staff near the mid-way point of trials week.
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