Bronze for 'best team'

Pitcher Seth Greisinger gave up just two hits in seven innings and Travis Lee hit a three-run first-inning home run to lift the United States to a 10-3 victory over Nicaragua yesterday to clinch the bronze medal.

Bronze was some consolation for the Americans, whose coach, Skip Bertman, tried to put a brave face on their failure to win the title. "Of course we are disappointed but do not tell me that these kids are not America's Dream Team. One game in which they were not does not spoil it," he said. "It's the best US Olympic team ever assembled."

Greisinger said: "When I look at the bronze medal, I'll think it was gold because I still think we're the best team."

Greisinger, a control pitcher, walked only one and struck out five, surrendering all three runs in the first inning before settling down.

The Nicaraguan starter Jose Luis Quiroz gave up four first-inning runs and departed early in the second inning after walking two batters.

With one out in the first inning, Mark Kotsay walked and Quiroz hit Jacque Jones with a pitched ball. Lee, the American captain, followed with a three-run home run to left field. Matt LeCroy also blasted a homer for a four-run inning and the Americans never looked back.