by Mike Potter
Finally, a competitive game.
USA Baseball's National Team took on an outside domestic opponent for the first time this season, beating the All-Stars of the New England Collegiate Baseball League 4-1 on Sunday in Manchester, N.H.
t was the first time Team USA, which opened with a five-game series against Canada's 18U team followed by a four-game set against a weak Guatemala club, had beaten an opponent by fewer than six runs this season.
The contest was part of a doubleheader, the second half being an Eastern League squabble between the host New Hampshire Fisher Cats and the Portland Sea Dogs.
Team USA, which has won 34 straight games going back to last season, led 3-0 before the NECBL picked up its only run in the fifth.
Coastal Carolina's Cody Wheeler (pictured), who gave up the NECBL's only two hits, improved to 2-0 with seven strikeouts in five innings while Texas Tech's Chad Bettis cashed in on his team's first save opportunity of the season.
Michael Choice of Texas-Arlington led the USA's 13-hit attack with three hits including a double that was the game's only extra-base hit, while Middle Tennessee's Bryce Brentz added three singles.
Team USA will visit the Holyoke (Mass.) Blue Sox of the NECBL tonight.