Dave Serrano has spent his summer as the manager of Team USA
July 20, 2012
HAARLEM, Netherlands - Tennessee head coach Dave Serrano has spent the past month preparing for the next two days as he gets set to lead the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team into the medal rounds at Honkbal Week in the Netherlands starting Saturday.
The Collegiate National Team opened its training with 10 days in North Carolina where it played a selection of collegiate summer teams and participated in the second annual Prospect Classic with the USA Baseball 18U squad. Serrano then took his troops into uncharted territory, becoming the first U.S. squad to travel to Cuba to take on its national team in 16 years.
Despite playing a veteran Cuban squad featuring 12 players who have competed in the World Baseball Classic and four who have done so twice, the Collegiate National Team proved its mettle by bookending the five-game series at Latin American Stadium with victories. In fact, four of the five contests were decided by one run and the other came down to the last at-bat.
The now battle-tested squad next traveled to its current destination in the Netherlands where it has spent the past eight days competing in pool play in Honkbal Week at Pim Mulier Stadium in Haarlem. Team USA suffered just one hiccup - a one-run loss to Puerto Rico - as it rolled to a 4-1 record and the No. 2 seed entering the medal rounds.
Under Serrano's watchful eye, the U.S. pitching staff has been tremendous, allowing just five earned runs in 44 innings for an ERA of 1.02 during pool play. The staff has peaked at the right time, throwing shutouts over Chinese Taipei and the Netherlands in its last two games. It has not allowed a run over its last 20.1 innings of work.
Serrano and the U.S. will now play a short waiting game as their opponent in the semifinals of Honkbal Week will be determined tonight when Cuba and the Netherlands square off. The Red, White and Blue will take on the winner of that contest on Saturday for the right to move on to the gold-medal game on Sunday.
For the most up-to-date information about the Tennessee baseball program, visit UTSports.com/baseball and follow @Vol_Baseball on Twitter. For more information about USA Baseball or the Collegiate National Team, visit USABaseball.com and follow @USABaseballCNT on Twitter.