TAINAN, Taiwan – Colin Anderson hit two homers and Team USA scored nine unanswered runs to beat Venezuela 10-2 in the gold-medal game of the VI World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-12 Baseball World Cup on Sunday at Asia-Pacific Main Stadium.
With the victory, the U.S. has now won four world championships at the U-12 level (2013, 2015, 2017, and 2022). 2022 marks the first world title since the stars and stripes won its third-consecutive WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup in 2017, and is the first time the red, white, and blue finished a world cup unbeaten.
Team USA (8-0) grabbed a lead in the bottom of the second inning on a Dylan Mercado solo home run; however, Venezuela (6-3) responded with a two-run home run of its own to take a 2-1 lead in the top of the third.
From there, Team USA’s offense took over.
Anderson came to the plate with a red-hot bat after Anthony Frausto III was hit by a pitch with one out in the bottom half of the frame, and he delivered. The tournament’s home run king added another one to his tally with his go-ahead, two-run blast to right center. Not to be outdone, Jordan Leon followed by demolishing a ball over the left field wall, giving the U.S. a lead it would not relinquish.
Two batters later, Team USA started a rally to plate two more to cap a five-run inning. Mercado singled to left field with two outs and Tristin Gaines walked on four pitches to put two runners on base. Ty Chambless then split the gap in left-center field to put the U.S. ahead by four, 6-2, through three complete.
From there, Jimmy Stout III and the stout Team USA defense held the Venezuelan offense to just two hits over the final three innings as the stars and stripes’ offense continued to roll.
With two outs and nobody on in the fourth, Anderson continued his tear by hitting his seventh longball of the tournament with a moonshot home run that landed in the scaffolding of a nearby building. The U.S. continued to pull away in the fifth inning, putting five consecutive runners on base and scoring three runs. Anthony Ramon singled, Mercado walked, and Gaines singled before Chambless drew a bases-loaded walk to make it 8-2. Maximus Villalva capped the scoring for Team USA in the next at-bat with an RBI-single up the middle to score Gaines and Mercado, putting the U.S. ahead 10-2 with only three defensive outs keeping them from the world title.
After giving up a two-out walk in the top of the sixth, Stout coaxed a ground ball to Gaines, who stepped on second base for the final out, securing Team USA’s fourth world championship title.
Stout was stellar in relief of U.S. starting pitcher Frausto. He entered the game with the bases loaded in the second inning and escaped the jam unscathed to hold the stars and stripes’ one-run lead. After surrendering a two-run homer in the third, he shut down the Venezuela offense, retiring 11 of the next 15 batters to earn the win. The right-hander finished the night giving up four hits and striking out three in 4.1 innings.
Venezuela’s starter, Williangel Sánchez suffered the loss, giving up seven earned runs on nine hits in four innings.
Offensively, eight of the nine hitters in the lineup tallied hits on the day, paced by Anderson (2-for-3, 3 RBIs), Mercado (2-for-2, 3 runs), Gaines (2-for-2, 2 runs), and Villalva’s (2-for-3, 2 RBIs) multi-hit games.
The U.S. collected seven individual awards and placed six players on the VI WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup All-World Team. After batting .556 (10-for-18) with a tournament-high seven homers and 21 RBIs, Anderson was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament. Anderson homered in five of Team USA’s eight games, posting two multi-home run games. The Evans, Georgia, native also earned a spot on the All-World Team as an outfielder.
Frausto received the honor as the leading hitter in the tournament after batting .700 (14-for-20). Frausto was a force in the lineup for the duration of the event, picking up at least one hit in each game he played in. He had five multi-hit games and scored 14 times to earn the crown for most runs scored.
Villalva was a stalwart in the middle infield for the U.S. to earn the Best Defensive Player award, playing second base in every game and making numerous key plays. Villalva was also a force at the plate, batting .467 (7-for-15) with a homer and five RBIs to earn a spot on the All-World Team at second base.
Additionally, Levi Kerr had the best win-loss record in the tournament at 3-0. Kerr threw 7.2 shutout innings for the stars and stripes, including a complete-game shutout in Team USA’s 10-0 win over the Dominican Republic in Group B play. He earned a spot on the All-World Team as a relief pitcher.
Jonah Saken (outfield) and Leon (designated hitter) rounded out the U.S. representatives on the All-World Team. After starting the tournament a perfect 5-for-5, Saken continued to produce at the top of the lineup for Team USA while patrolling the outfield. The Brentwood, Tennessee, native finished with a .455 (10-for-22) average while tallying a homer, three doubles, and six RBIs.
Leon opened the tournament with two homers in the first inning and never looked back, cranking four dingers and batting .438 (7-for-16). He picked up a hit in six of the team’s seven games and scored a run in each contest.
Team USA Awards
- MVP: Colin Anderson
- Best Defensive Player: Maximus Villalva
- Leading Hitter: Anthony Frausto III
- Pitcher Best Win-Loss Avg: Levi Kerr
- Most Runs Batted In: Colin Anderson
- Most Home Runs: Colin Anderson
- Most Runs Scored: Anthony Frausto III
VI WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup All-World Team
- SP: Cesar Altagracia (Dominican Republic)
- RP: Levi Kerr (USA)
- C: Po-Sheng Chen (Chinese Taipei)
- 1B: Anthony Frausto III (USA)
- 2B: Maximus Villalva (USA)
- 3B: Ezequiel Rivera (Mexico)
- SS: Woochan Jung (Chinese Taipei)
- OF: Sheng-Zhi Wu (Chinese Taipei)
- OF: Colin Anderson (USA)
- OF: Jonah Saken (USA)