Bobby Dalbec Brings The Power For Team USA
PHOENIX — As soon as Team USA’s roster for Olympic qualifying was announced, it was clear the team would go only as far its big boppers would take it.
Bobby Dalbec did the honors on Friday night.
Dalbec doubled and hit a long three-run homer to lead Team USA to a 7-3 win over Arizona State in its opening scrimmage. Battling rust and a long layoff for many of its players, Team USA struggled to shake ASU early before snapping a 3-3 tie with four runs in the seventh inning, capped by Dalbec’s blast into the right-field bullpen at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
"I felt really good,” said Dalbec, the Red Sox’s No. 3 prospect. "At the end of the season, I went up to Boston and worked on some things mechanically that I think will set me up for more consistency, which is something I take pride in. It feels good to have it translate so soon after really grinding on it.”
Drew Waters set the table by reaching base three times out of the leadoff spot, and Dalbec largely did the rest. The 24-year-old third baseman doubled Waters home to open the scoring in the first and brought Waters home again on his three-run homer.
That is the formula Team USA intends to follow once it gets to Premier12, the Olympic qualifying tournament, in November: Get the top of the lineup on, and let the mashers take care of the rest.
"We got a lot of guys,” Dalbec said. "I think everyone is just kind of (about) pass the baton, especially for this. No one cares about averages or numbers. It’s just about competing that at-bat, that pitch.”
Team USA’s pitching staff had a less smooth opening scrimmage despite striking out 17 batters.
Starter Parker Dunshee surrendered three doubles—all hit hard—in 2.1 innings. Reliever Caleb Thielbar entered in the third and walked in the tying run. Brooks Pounders allowed three of his first five batters to reach base and surrendered the tying run in the fifth after Team USA regained the lead. Wyatt Mills hit the first batter he faced, although he did bounce back to strike out his next four hitters.
J.P. Feyereisen managed to finish the evening on a high note with 1.1 scoreless innings.
All in all, Team USA allowed eight hits and three runs in eight innings of work (non-roster righthander Jake Godfrey pitched the ninth). It also issued three walks and hit a batter.
"Overall, it was very much what we expected,” manager Scott Brosius said. "It’s been a while. It’s one thing to be throwing bullpens. It’s another thing when you’re facing another uniform and the speed picks up a little bit. I didn’t see anything that worried me, I didn’t see anything that was unexpected. I was really pleased with the back end guys and how the last couple guys came in and slammed the door.”
Junior outfielder Hunter Jump went 2-or-4 with a double and two runs scored out of the leadoff spot to lead ASU. First baseman Spencer Torkelson, a projected top draft pick next summer, went 1-for-4 with a double and two strikeouts.
Seabold was removed from the roster after he suffered an injury pitching in the Arizona Fall League. Howard, the No. 55 prospect on the BA Top 100, was removed for undisclosed reasons.
Team USA will head south to Tucson for a scrimmage against Arizona on Saturday. It will conclude with scrimmages against Central Arizona JC on Sunday and Gateway (Ariz.) JC on Monday at Surprise Stadium.