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Three Huskies Given Opportunity to Play Against Team USA

The American Collegiate National Team played an exhibition against a Futures League All-Star team on Tuesday.

Shawn McGrath/The UConn Blog

The USA Collegiate National Team has been touring the United States this summer, after doing so internationally in 2016. They played five-game series against both Cuba and Chinese Taipei in North Carolina and have now taken their show on the road to New England with a five-game set against Japan across five ballparks in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Before the games against the Japanese began, the Collegiate National Team played an exhibition against a contingent of Futures League all-stars.

“It’s always a big deal when you get to be on the same field as Tim Cate and people like him,” rising senior outfielder Troy Stefanski, who is spending his summer playing for Martha’s Vineyard, said. Cate, a left-hander for UConn, is on Team USA for his second summer.

Right-handed pitcher Jake Wallace, who is spending his second summer in Bristol, feels the same way about the opportunity.

“It’s really an honor to be out here with them, it’s a good experience,” he said.

Incoming freshman Joe Simeone was the third player from the Huskies selected to the team.

“I’m pumped to be out here,” he said.

The game took place on a Tuesday night at Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field, home of the Worcester Bravehearts on the campus of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts.

It was a wonderful evening for baseball, with the first pitch temperature around 75 degrees and a nice sunset beginning over the Rotman’s Furniture building beyond left field. The game itself did not disappoint either.

While many expected a lopsided result in favor of Team USA, the affair was actually close and if the Futures League All-Stars walked less than nine guys, they might have been able to change what was eventually a 6-4 defeat.

After four innings, the Futures League All-Stars had a 4-3 lead, but two runs in the fifth and another in the eighth sealed the win for Team USA.

While Cate did not pitch for the Americans, each of the three UConn guys in the first-base dugout appeared in the game. Stefanski pinch-hit in the bottom of the fourth and moved to center field.

He was 0-for-2, but made four putouts in the field, three of which came in a sixth inning that was pitched by Simeone. He was hit well, but Stefanski was able to make the play on everything that came to him to help his future teammate set down Team USA in order.

Wallace was the last to enter the game, pitching the final 2/3 of the ninth inning. He walked one and notched a strikeout, not allowing a hit.

All three, in addition to Ben Maycock who is trying to make the team after being one of the last 2017 cuts, were named Futures League All-Stars and will be facing off on July 18 at Muzzy Field.

As for Cate, Team USA played in Hartford on Wednesday and is scheduled to play in Brockton, Massachusetts on Friday and Lowell, Massachusetts on Saturday. Team USA will be back in Worcester on Sunday.