Team USA Beats Panama to Stay Perfect

In a perfect world, rivals Team USA and Team Canada would head into Saturday's showdown without any blemishes on either team's record. Unfortunately, Canada lost to Mexico Friday while the US stayed perfect with another impressive win, this time over Panama.

Phoenix, AZ – Colorado Rockies prospect Ryan Shealy (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) went 4-for-4 with two doubles, a home run and three RBI and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (Braves/West Palm Beach, FL) added a pair of solo homers as the United States (4-0) remained the only unbeaten team with a 9-3 victory over Panama (1-3) Friday at HoHoKam Park, in the 2005 CONCEBE Regional Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

"I was seeing the ball extremely well today, and had a great batting practice" said Saltalamacchia, who is now batting .875 for the tournament. "It doesn't matter where you bat in this lineup, you're going to see a lot of good pitches to hit."

"We definitely will be ready for Canada tomorrow," said Team USA manager Davey Johnson. "Our goal all along has been to go undefeated, and we're one win away from doing that."

Panama touched American starter Steven White (Yankees/League City, TX) for a run in the second. Avelino Asprilla's rbi-single scored Jaime Jaen as Panama took a brief 1-0 lead. But Team USA immediately erased that deficit in the bottom half when Shealy led off with a double, and came around to score on a Bryan LaHair (Mariners/Worcester, MA) base hit. After LaHair stole second, Travis Hanson (Cardinals/Port Orchard, WA) singled up the middle to give Team USA a 2-1 advantage.

But in the third, Panama tied it 2-2 on a sacrifice fly by Carlos Munoz that plated Earl Agnoly. Shealy broke the tie again on a hit that scored Brad Snyder (Indians/Bellevue, OH), and the Americans took control off Panamanian starter Jose Nieto (0-1).

Nieto was relieved by Donald Julio with two outs in the fourth after allowing a triple by Shane Victorino (Phillies/Las Vegas, NV). Julio was greeted by a Howie Kendrick (Angels/Callahan, FL) line drive up the middle that plated Team USA's fifth run.

White (1-0) worked 5.0 innings to gain credit for the victory, as he limited Panama to two runs on six hits while walking two and fanning five. Nick Ungs (Marlins/Dyersville, IA) allowed one run in 2.2 stanzas of relief, while Jonah Bayliss (Royals/Williamstown, MA) got the final four outs of the game.

Team USA (4-0) wraps up the event on Saturday when they face Canada (3-1) in a 1:05 pm MT tilt at Maryvale. Bill Murphy (Diamondbacks/Phoenix, AZ) gets the call for the Americans.

Meanwhile, Canada lost for the first time in the tournament, falling to Mexico 7-2. Phillies' prospect Scott Mathieson, who was added to the Phillies 40 man roster on Friday, started and took the loss for Canada. Mathieson threw four innings, giving up two earned runs on six hits and two walks.

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