GAMEDAY: Team USA Wraps Pool Play Against Venezuela

First pitch scheduled for 2:30 p.m. local/2:30 a.m. ET


TAIPEI, Taiwan – The 18U National Team looks to finish pool play with a 4-1 record as it takes on Venezuela in its Group B finale. First pitch is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. local/2:30 a.m. ET at Tianmu Baseball Stadium in Taipei, Taiwan.


RHP Brian Fernandez (VEN) vs. RHP Levi Sterling (USA)


Team USA got back in the win column with a 6-4 victory over Panama on Monday night. Starting with Coy James’ leadoff single, the U.S. came out of the gates hot in the victory and scored six runs in the first three innings, including a four-run third. The first two tallies of the third-inning outburst came when Konnor Griffin reached on a fielder’s choice and the throw got away to bring in a pair of runs, and then Noah Franco and Manny Marin each had RBI knocks to extend the advantage to six.

Matthew Champion pitched five innings of two-run ball to earn the win. The California native was nearly spotless through the first four before yielding a pair of runs in the fifth. When the lead dwindled to 6-4 in the sixth, Trey Gregory-Alford entered and slammed the door with a four-out save to lock down the win.


Since first meeting in 1992 at the Junior World Championships, Team USA owns a 16-3 all-time record against Venezuela at the U-18 level. The most recent contest between the two sides was at the 2022 WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier, when the U.S. notched a 16-3 win. The United States is 7-1 all-time against Venezuela at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup.


Venezuela enters Tuesday’s contest at 1-3 and has already been eliminated from potential Super Round play. It opened tournament play falling 13-4 to Panama before dropping an 8-2 contest to the Netherlands. After getting back on track with a 6-1 defeat of Spain, Venezuela was shutout by Japan on Monday to drop to 1-3.


Nine players on the 2023 roster have previously played for Team USA. A trio of players from last year’s WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier squad return to the 18U National Team, as Matthew Champion, Noah Franco, and PJ Morlando all helped the U.S. win gold last November. In addition, three players from the 2021 15U National Team–Konnor Griffin, Ethan Schiefelbein, and Nolan Traeger–will reunite on this year’s roster, while two-time alum Jack McKernan and Coy James represent the 2022 15U squad. Bryce Rainer returns to Team USA and makes his second trip to Taiwan after playing for the 2017 12U team.

The 2023 Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) League featured 17 members of this year’s team. The PDP League, which 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. Additionally, 14 members of the squad have previously participated in USA Baseball’s development programs. Three athletes who participated in the 2023 16U/17U National Team Development Program (NTDP)–James, McKernan, and Joey Oakie–earned spots on the final 20-man squad. Eleven members of the 2022 16U/17U NTDP and four players from the 2021 16U/17U NTDP roster were also named to the team. In addition, James and McKernan both participated in the 2021 13U/14U Athlete Development Program (ADP).

30 FOR 30

The U.S. is the only nation in the world to compete in all 30 WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cups. The first edition of the tournament was held in 1981 in Newark, New Jersey, when the U.S. grabbed a silver medal. Chinese Taipei has played in 29 World Cups, while Australia has participated in the event on 28 different occasions.


Japan (4-0)

USA (3-1)

Netherlands (3-1)

Panama (1-3)

Venezuela (1-3)

Spain (0-4)