Special to the Daily Light
CARY, N.C. — Four Youth National Team pitchers combined on a six-hit shutout and Team USA had a six-run first inning on their way to a 12-0 victory over the Cary Bulls on Monday night at the USA Baseball National Training Complex.
Starter Colton Cain (Waxahachie, Texas) tossed three shutout innings and struck out two while holding the Bulls to three hits. Jacob Tillotson (Lake City, Fla.) fanned three in two scoreless frames, while Zach Lee (McKinney, Texas) struck out five in three hitless innings. Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden, Fla.) then worked a 1-2-3 ninth to preserve the shutout.
Team USA jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the bottom of the first. After rightfielder Robert Refsnyder (Laguna Hills, Calif.) was hit by a pitch to start the inning, shortstop Nick Franklin (Longwood, Fla.) laced a single through the left side. Two batters later, first baseman Austin Maddox (Jacksonville, Fla.) was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Third baseman Luke Bailey (La Grange, Ga.) then drew a walk to score Refsnyder. Franklin would then score on a wild pitch and when Bulls catcher Drew Woodall’s throw to the plate sailed past pitcher Bryan Booth, Maddox scored from second and Bailey advanced to third. Cain followed with an RBI-single to center to drive in Bailey. Centerfielder Andrew Aplin (Suisun, Calif.) singled through the right side to move Cain to second and leftfielder Randal Grichuk (Rosenberg, Texas) drove in Cain with an RBI-single through the left side. Aplin would then be thrown out at third on a steal attempt and Grichuk advanced to second. Second baseman Zach Vincej (Saugus, Calif.) then capped the frame with an RBI-double down the right field line to score Grichuk.
Team USA added a run in the bottom of the second to extend their lead to 7-0. Catcher Max Stassi (Yuba City, Calif.) sent a one-out single up the middle before stealing second. After moving to third on a groundout by Maddox, Stassi scored on a wild pitch.
Second baseman Justin Charles (Galt, Calif.) drew a walk and stole second to start the bottom of the sixth. After Fontana was hit by a pitch, he and Charles pulled off a double steal to give Team USA two runners in scoring position. Stassi then lined an RBI-single to center, scoring Charles and giving Team USA an 8-0 lead.
The Youth National Team added three runs in the bottom of the seventh to go ahead 11-0. Aplin reached on a two-out infield single and advanced to second when the throw from Bulls second baseman Eric Brady got past first baseman David Shambley. Grichuk then sent an RBI-single to left to plate Aplin. Charles followed with a single through the right side, moving Grichuk to third. Charles would then steal second before he and Grichuk scored on a Bulls error.
Stassi struck out swinging to begin the bottom of the eighth but reached first when Woodall could not hold on to the pitch. Stassi would then advance to second on another passed ball. Three batters later, Lee laced an RBI-single to center, driving in Stassi to give Team USA a 12-0 lead.
Grichuk paced Team USA at the plate, going 2-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored on his 16th birthday. Stassi finished 2-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored, Cain was 2-for-2 with a double, an RBI and a run scored and Aplin went 2-for-5 with a run scored.
Vincej finished 1-for-2 with an RBI-double, Lee was 1-for-2 with an RBI and Charles went 1-for-1 with two runs scored. Refsnyder finished 1-for-4 with a run scored, Franklin was 1-for-2 with a run scored and Fontana went 1-for-1 on the night. Bailey had an RBI and scored a run and Maddox added a run in the win.
The Youth National Team will have their final practice on Tuesday morning before packing their bags in preparation for their trip to Venezuela. The team will also take in a Durham Bulls-Charlotte Knights game at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park on Tuesday night at 7 p.m.
Team USA will travel to Barquisimeto, Venezuela to compete in the IBAF World Youth Championships August 17-26.