Aug. 14, 1999

USA Baseball Tops Denver Blues, 14-2, in NBC Elimination Game

WICHITA, Kan.– The top-seeded USA Baseball national team staved off elimination and sent home the Denver Blues with a 14-2 triumph Friday afternoon in the losers’ bracket of the 1999 National Baseball Congress World Series, at Lawrence Dumont Stadium.

The USA (24-14 overall for the summer) is one of 10 teams remaining in the annual 34-team national amateur tournament, heading into Saturday’s five-game slate. Team USA must win three more elimination games to reach Tuesday’s title game, with the national team’s next game coming on Saturday versus the San Diego Stars (5:00 p.m. CST).

Friday’s game was halted after seven innings due to the tournament “mercy rule”. USC righthander Marc Prior (4-1) hurled all seven innings, allowing the two runs on four hits and three walks while posting three strikeouts.

Notre Dame junior-to-be righthander Aaron Heilman could see action in Saturday’s game but may be held back for a later start. Heilman had a short outing on Sat., Aug. 7, but the USA staff includes several pitchers who are capable of starting (Heilman also has served as the closer several times this summer).

Team USA broke out on top in the first when Arizona shortstop Keoni DeRenne doubled and scored on a single by Stanford DH John Gall (SS, So, Arizona). The Blues then pushed across two runs in the bottom of the first, after Prior walked the first two batters and allowed an RBI single by Lake Carlson.

The USA retook the lead with a pair of runs in the second, as Kentucky catcher John Wilson doubled home Wichita State second baseman Koyie Hill, followed by an RBI single from North Carolina centerfielder Tyrell Godwin.

University of California third baseman Xavier Nady collected his 17th home run of the summer, a solo shot to right field in the third inning. Nady is tied for second on the USA single-season home run list with Travis Lee (’96), just three off the record (20) set by Tino Martinez in 1988.

The national team added two more runs in the fourth, led by California Wilson’s RBI triple that drove in San Francisco first baseman Tagg Bozied. Texas A&M rightfielder Daylan Holt and Bozied then connected for back-to-back solo homers leading off the sixth, knocking Denver starter Trip Humphrey out of the game. It was Holt’s seventh blast of the summer and Bozied’s second.

Denver later allowed the USA team to score once more in the sixth and five unearned runs in the seventh.

A victory on Saturday would send the USA into Sunday’s action as one of six remaining teams. The Dallas Phillies have advanced to the title game of the winners’ bracket, where they will face the winner of the Liberal (Kan.) BeeJays and the Santa Barbara Foresters (which beat the USA team on Aug. 8).

Other Saturday matchups in the losers’ bracket include: Kenai (Alaska) Oilers vs. Crestwood (Ill.) Panthers, San Francisco Seals vs. the Liberal/Santa Barbara loser, and Anchorage Bucs vs. the El Dorado (Kan.) Bron