SARASOTA, Fla. – The 18U National Team continues XXX World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup play on Saturday night, taking on Korea. First pitch is set for 7:00 p.m. ET at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida.
Christian Rodriguez (USA) vs. Myunggeun Park (KOR)
LAST TIME OUT
The U.S. opened World Cup play with a 9-3, come-from-behind victory on Friday night against the Netherlands. After the Netherlands opened the scoring with homers in each of the first two innings to take a 3-0 lead, the U.S. answered in the second and fourth innings to tie the game at three. Then, with the bases loaded in the fifth, Bryce Eldridge deposited a go-ahead grand slam over the right-field wall to put Team USA in front by four. The stars and stripes tacked on two more runs in the final frames to secure the 9-3 victory.
Blake Dickerson started for Team USA and pitched 4.1 innings, allowing three runs on three hits and striking out six. Cameron Tilly earned the win with 1.2 hitless relief innings, and Alex Clemmey got the final three outs to lock down the victory.
HISTORY AGAINST KOREA
The United States and Korea have met 20 times at the U-18 level, with the U.S. holding a slight 11-9 all-time edge. The nations first competed against one another on December 10, 1988, with Team USA picking up a 7-5 win at the VIII Baseball World Championships in Sydney, Australia. Most recently, the U.S. beat Korea, 8-5, in the XXIX WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Super Round.
GROUP A STANDINGS
- Team USA (1-0)
- Brazil (1-0)
- Canada (0-0)
- Korea (0-0)
- Netherlands (0-1)
- South Africa (0-1)
INSIDE THE ROSTER
The 20-man 18U National Team roster features four players who have previously suited up for the stars and stripes. Aidan Miller is making his third appearance on a national team roster after playing for the 12U National Team in 2016 and winning a gold medal with the 15U National Team in 2019. Colt Emerson and Gavin Grahovac reunite after winning the 2017 WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup together, and Blake Mitchell returns to the 18U National Team after competing for the squad in a friendship series against Canada in 2021.
The roster features 19 players who competed in the 2022 Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) League. The PDP League, which was held from June 29-July 6 at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina, serves as the primary identification event for the 18U National Team, is an invitation-based development and assessment opportunity for high school players eligible for the following year’s MLB Draft.
Nine players on this year’s squad have previously participated in a USA Baseball National Team Development Program. Dylan Cupp and Miller participated at the 2018 14U NTDP, while Emerson and Grahovac both played at the 2019 14U NTDP. That duo also competed at the 2021 16U/17U NTDP, along with Max Clark, Cupp, Bryce Eldridge, Emerson, Grahovac, Adam Hachman, Miller, Mitchell, and Christian Rodriguez.
MEET THE COACHES
The 2022 18U National Team is managed by Denny Hocking, who brings 13 years of major league playing experience to the role. After spending 11 seasons with the Minnesota Twins and a season with both the Colorado Rockies and Kansas City Royals, Hocking has spent time as an analyst and a coach in the professional ranks. In addition, he was a manager at the 2021 PDP League and 2021 18U National Team Trials. Hocking will be joined on staff by pitching coach Adam Moseley and assistants Roberto Vaz and Jack Wilson.
The 18U National Team won eight consecutive international tournament titles from 2011-2018, including winning four straight WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cups in 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2017. Currently the U.S. and Cuba are the only two countries to win four consecutive world championship titles at the U-18 level. In total, the program has won eight world championships. The U.S. most recently earned a silver medal at the 2019 WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in Gijang, South Korea.
ON HOME SOIL
The XXX WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup will be the first tournament held in the United States since 1995, when the event took place in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Overall, it will be the sixth U-18 Baseball World Cup held in the U.S., with the first one being held in Newark, Ohio, in 1981.