In what was supposed to be a warmup game before the second round has turned into a must win game for Team USA. Not many people would expect that the almost entirely amateur team from South Africa would have the slightest chance of beating the millionaires of Team USA, but the game is on the schedule and the USA has to win or else they're out of the tournament.
Roger Clemens will get the start for the American side. No starter for South Africa had been named, but South Africa manager Rick Magnante will be taking applications.
The U.S. defeated Mexico in its opener 2-0, but then lost to Canada 8-6. But Mexico's 9-1 pounding of Canada Friday sent Mexico on to the Anaheim Regional second round. South Africa almost pulled off an upset of Canada, but lost in the 9th, 11-8. Mexico defeated South Africa 10-4.
Most would think that the best South Africa can hope for is to avoid having the game shortened by the mercy rule. The US team isn't going to take South African lightly. But you still have to play the game.
Interestingly despite a few apparent mismatches in the tournament, only three games have ended early. Japan had two shortened wins over China and Taiwan and Italy had a surprisingly short 10-0 win over Australia. Two days later, Australia fell to Venezuela, 2-0.
U.S. lineupDamon, LF
MERCY! United States 17, South Africa 0 in 5 innings.
WP - Roger Clemens
LP - Carl Michaels
HR - Ken Griffey Jr. 2, Derrek Lee
South Africa did manage two hits off of the US pitchers (one off of Clemens and the second off of Mike Timlim). This put them ahead of Panama which got no hits in 7 innings today against Shairon Martis. And Australia has just two hits in two games!
The U.S. moves on to the Anaheim Regional and will play Sunday at 1 pm PT against Japan. Jake Peavy expected to start for the U.S. Japan will likely start Koji Uehara if they stick to their rotation from the first round.