Back-To-Back World Champions: Team USA Wins Gold at WBSC U-15 Baseball World Cup

U.S. defeats Cuba 4-3 to defend 2018 title

Box Score | PxP | Cumulative Stats

HERMOSILLO, Mexico. – The USA Baseball 15U National Team will return to the U.S. as World Champions after defeating Cuba, 4-3 in the final game of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-15 Baseball World Cup on Sunday at Estadio Sonora in Hermosillo, Mexico.
This marks the second championship for the 15U team overall and it is the third time it has competed in the gold medal game. Including results of the past U-16 Baseball World Cups, the 2022-win marks the seventh world title in this age bracket

Team USA (8-1) defeated Cuba the night before by 10 runs to secure a spot in the gold medal game, but the rematch proved to be vastly different.
Chase Bentley (Granite Bay, Calif.) got the start for the U.S. and came out strong, striking out two of the first three batters to start the game before forcing Cuba’s clean-up hitter to fly out.

In the bottom half of the frame, Team USA jumped on the scoreboard early. Andrew Costello (Fairview, Pa.) drew a five-pitch walk then proceeded to reach third thanks to a passed ball and wild pitch in the next sequence, allowing Brady Ebel (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) to drive him home by putting a ball on the right side of the field.

In the bottom of the second, Brady Murrietta (Yorba Linda, Calif.) launched the stars and stripes’ eighth home run of the World Cup (Cuba was the only other team to hit a home run during the tournament, recording one) over the left field wall to take a 2-0 lead.

Cuba responded in the top of the third inning by using a single, sacrifice bunt, and two doubles to score three runs and knock Bentley out of the game. Zane Burns (Chandler, Ariz.) entered took the mound with two on and one out and was able to halt Cuba’s rally, keeping the deficit at 3-2.

Team USA didn’t stay down long. James Tronstein (Los Angeles, Calif.) singled to center field, Coy James (Advance, N.C.) followed with a single of his own, and Costello moved Tronstein to third by reaching on a fielder’s choice. Ebel stepped up to the plate for another RBI opportunity and delivered with a single through the right side to score Tronstein and tie the game.

The game stayed tied heading into the bottom of the fifth thanks to some strong pitching from Burns. As they did two innings earlier, Tronstein and James both reached safely to start the inning and Costello moved them over, this time with a sacrifice bunt. Ebel was intentionally walked to load the bases for Ethan Holliday (Stillwater, Okla.) who proceeded to put Team USA back in the driver’s seat, plating Tronstein via fielder’s choice.

Down to their last at-bats, Cuba made Team USA work for the gold medal. Burns struck out the first batter but shortly after the bases were loaded via single and two walks. Ryan Harwood (Chandler, Ariz.) who was dominate the night before, entered the game with the crowd cheering franticly for Cuba. Harwood struck out the first batter in four pitches to bring Cuba’s last hope to the plate. Harwood fired a strike, a ball, and induced a swinging strike before he fired a ball past the Cuban bat to end the game and begin the championship celebration.
Bentley had a strong start to the game, going 2.1 innings, striking out four while allowing four hits, and three runs. Burns earned the win by picking up his teammate with 4.0 innings of two-hit baseball and five strikeouts. Harwood came in to secure the final two outs and he did just that with two swinging strikeouts.

Cuba’s Daniel Reyes Nunez was handed the loss after 2.0 innings of work in which he allowed two hits and one earned run.
Offensively, Team USA recorded six hits from five different players with Tronstein collecting the other in a 2-for-2 effort with two runs scored. Ebel, Holliday, and Murrietta recorded RBIs for the U.S. and John Short (Anaheim, Calif.) had a triple for the other extra-base hit aside from Murrietta’s home run.

Team USA placed three on the WBSC U-15 Baseball World Cup All World-Team and collected four individual awards.

James was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament with a .480 batting average, two home runs, eight RBIs, and 15 runs scored. James also was named All-World center fielder and took home the award for most home runs (tied with Costello) and most runs scored (15).

Costello and Holliday each earned All-World honors at designated hitter and shortstop, respectively. Costello hit .462 in the tournament with 12 hits, 12 runs scored, four doubles, a triple, two home runs, and 9 RBIs. Holliday earned the award for most RBIs with 11, recording at least one in every game played, to go along with a .407 batting average, 11 hits, seven runs, and three doubles.

Alex Harrington (San Diego, Calif.) rounded out Team USA’s honors by taking home the individual award for most stolen bases with eight thanks in-part to two games with multiple swiped bags.
Team USA Awards

MVP: Coy James
Most Runs Batted In: Ethan Holliday
Most Home Runs: Coy James
Most Stolen Bases: Alex Harrington
Most Runs Scored: Coy James

WBSC U-15 Baseball World Cup All-World Team
SP: Yao-Yun Chang (Chinese Taipei)
RP: Daniel Reyes (Cuba)
C: Yadier Ruiz (Cuba)
1B: Kanta Kanemoto (Japan)
2B: Tien-Szu Huang (Japan)
3B: Alejandro Cruz (Cuba)
**SS: Ethan Holliday (USA)
**OF: Isaac Carrasquillo (Puerto Rico)
OF: Coy James (USA)
OF: Juan Caballero (Panama)
DH: Andrew Costello (USA)