TAIPEI, Taiwan – Team USA was shut out by Korea, 4-0, in the bronze medal game of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup on Sunday afternoon at Tianmu Baseball Stadium.
The U.S. completes tournament play with a 5-4 record, while Korea wraps up the World Cup with a 6-3 mark and a bronze medal.
The stars and stripes could not get anything going against Korea starter Taekyon Kim on Sunday, as the right-hander tossed a complete game and struck out nine in the process. PJ Morlando (Summerville, S.C.) provided the only two hits for the U.S. in the defeat, singling in the second and hitting a double in the fourth. Bryce Rainer (Simi Valley, Calif.), who drew a walk in the second, was the only other Team USA baserunner in the loss.
Cooper Williams (Alvin, Texas) started on the mound for the United States and turned in a start similar to his first. As he did against Japan in pool play, Williams surrendered two runs in the first before settling down for the remainder of the outing. Williams–who suffered the loss–pitched three innings before Matthew Champion (Laguna Niguel, Calif.) took over and tossed 2.2 innings of two-run ball. Trey Gregory-Alford (Colorado Springs, Colo.) finished the sixth and pitched a scoreless seventh.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- An RBI triple by Tongkeon Yeo and a run-scoring bunt single from Jihwan Park gave Korea an immediate 2-0 lead in the top of the first.
- Korea threatened to extend its lead in the top of the second when Seungmin Lee hit a one-out double, but Williams locked in and retired the next two batters to maintain the two-run U.S. deficit.
- The Korea advantage grew to three in the top of the fourth on an RBI single by Sangjun Lee before Rainer threw a runner out at the plate to keep the stars and stripes within striking distance.
- Morlando tried to ignite the Team USA bats with a two-out double in the fourth, but Kim induced an inning-ending ground out to keep his shutout intact.
- Champion was chased from the game in the sixth when Seungmin Lee hit his second extra-base hit of the game, an RBI triple to grow Korea’s lead to 4-0.
- Kim sent the United States down in order in the bottom of the seventh to finish off his complete-game shutout.
- Morlando finishes the tournament as the team’s leading hitter, batting .409 (9-for-22) in World Cup play. The lefty collected a hit in eight of the nine U.S. games.
- Including Sunday’s performance, Gregory-Alford went unscored upon in four tournament appearances out of the bullpen, allowing just two hits in six innings of work.
- The U.S. pitching staff wraps up the World Cup with a 2.44 team ERA.
- The loss was Team USA’s second all-time defeat to Korea in World Cup bronze medal games after it also dropped the third-place matchup in 2004.