It has been ten years since Team USA baseball has played in New England, so on Saturday night the Red White and Blue played the second game of a series VS Team Japan at LeLacheur Park in Lowell MA.
Japan would score three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning for a 5-4 comeback win before 1,803 fans. While the score and outcome are not important, the opportunity to compete against each other may be.
For those who have not been following closely, baseball is back in the Olympics in the 2020 Summer Games in Japan. For some of the players who took part in this game, a chance to be a part of an even bigger stage could be ahead.
Team USA is made up of freshman and sophomore college players, who instead of playing in a summer league somewhere in this county spent part of their summer playing ball VS team from other countries. They played the likes of Cuba, Japan, and Chinese Tiael to name a few. It was a short scheduled of only 20 games for Team USA but the pluses outweigh the minuses.
The Manager of the team is John Savage, who during the collegiate season is the head coach of the UCLA Bruins. After the game, he talked about running this group. He thanked the Boston Red Sox for the chance to play in Lowell. He talked about the different feel and mindset that is needed when playing teams from other countries. With Japan Savage said, “they are more left handed and more athletic”. He also said Japan was an older college team.
As for the game itself, Team USA could not get the big hit when needed. They left 12 runners on base and gave up the lead in the 8th inning. Japan plated three on a leadoff walk, single to LF, which was followed by a triple to right to drive in both runners to tie the game at 4-4. The winning run was driven in by a sac fly to right field. All the runs were scored off of Sean Wymer who took over for starting pitcher Konnor Pilkington who went the first four innings. Each team finished with six hits, Japan committed a couple of errors, while the USA made one fielding mistake.
The two teams have two more games left to play in this series. On Sunday they will meet in Worcester and then on Monday night in Nashua NH.
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