SANTO DOMINGO, D.R. – The USA Softball Men’s National Team’s began its pursuit of its first Pan Am gold medal today with a 4-0 win over Mexico. Doug Gillis (Novi, Mich.), fanned 14 of the 21 batters he faced in route to a perfect game and a 4-0 victory over Mexico.
In a very closely contested game the U.S. scattered six hits but couldn’t manage to post a run until the bottom of the sixth inning.
Kyle Magnusson (Salt Lake City, Utah) led off the sixth with a single through the left side and was replaced at first by pinch-runner Chris Miljavac (St. Joseph, MO). A groundout by Kerry Shaw (Odessa, MO) moved Miljavac to second and Ross Dey (Sedalia, MO) was intentionally walked to get to Mike Dryer (Blue Springs, MO). Dryer made them pay for the decision, taking a 2-2 pitch deep over the center field fence for a 3-0 lead.
“You never know when your chance is going to come and it was my turn today and I’m sure somebody else will be able to do it tomorrow,” said Dryer. “This team is full of players who have been in big game situations and we were fortunate enough to come out with the win today.”
The U.S. increased its lead to 4-0 later in the inning after a walk to catcher Todd Garcia (Woodbridge, Calif.) brought Tom Owen (Elkhart, Iowa) to the plate. Owen drove a line drive double through the left side for the RBI and a 4-0 advantage.
Gillis shut down the Mexican offense in the seventh to secure the win. Magnusson and Dryer connected with two hits a piece leading the U.S. to its first Pan Am victory in 2003.
“The first game is always tough and I’m always happy with a win and I thought the guys played well,” head coach Pete Turner said. “The guys were hitting the ball really well but we were getting no results. But they stayed with it and didn’t give in, showed patience at the plate and waited for the run to come.”
The USA continues round-robin play on Friday against Argentina at 6 p.m.
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