TAINAN, Taiwan – Anthony Ramon hit a walk-off single to cap a sixth-inning comeback as Team USA beat Mexico, 6-5, in the Super Round opener at the VI World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-12 Baseball World Cup on Thursday afternoon in Tainan, Taiwan.
With the win, Team USA moves to 5-0 overall and inches closer to securing a spot in the VI WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup gold medal game.
Down by one in the bottom of the sixth, the U.S. rallied for a pair of runs to secure the dramatic win. The tying run came with Team USA down to its final two outs, as Cristian Matos cranked a pinch-hit solo homer over the right field wall to knot the game at five. After Max Villalva walked and advanced to third, Anthony Frausto was intentionally walked to put Anthony Ramon at the plate. Ramon then swung at the first pitch he saw and dumped it into center field for a base hit, plating Villalva and giving the U.S. the walk-off win.
The sixth-inning comeback was not the first time Team USA clawed back from a deficit in the game. Down by two in the bottom of the fifth, Anthony Frausto and Colin Anderson each hit solo homers to straightaway center field to tie the game. Mexico grabbed a run in the top of the sixth to take the lead back, setting up for the U.S. offense to eventually walk it off in the bottom half of the frame.
Team USA’s pitching staff worked around traffic all afternoon to keep the game within striking distance. Jordan Leon started the game and pitched three innings, allowing three runs and striking out four. Jimmy Stout III turned in 2.1 innings of relief and allowed two runs before Levi Kerr took over in the top of the sixth and got two big outs to earn the win.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Mexico’s offense came out strong in the top of the first to score the game’s first run. Johnny Martinez led off the game with a single and later scored on a two-out base-hit by Ivan Chaires to give Mexico the 1-0 lead.
- As it has all tournament, Team USA scored a run in the first inning to tie the game. Anthony Frausto doubled and came around to score on an RBI double off the left field wall by Colin Anderson to even the score at one.
- Mexico plated its second run in the second inning on an RBI groundout by Leonardo Garza and Ivan Chaires homered in the top of the third to extend Mexico's lead to 3-1.
- Team USA cut its deficit to one in the bottom of the third. Jonah Saken singled and Anthony Frausto doubled to put runners on second and third, and Saken scored on an RBI groundout by Trent O’Malley to make it a 3-2 lead for Mexico.
- Mexico loaded the bases with nobody out in the top of the fourth, but Jimmy Stout III allowed just a sacrifice fly and nothing more as Mexico’s lead became 4-2.
- Team USA had a chance to score in the bottom of the fourth when it put runners on second and third with no outs, but Mexico’s Alfredo Itturalde evaded trouble to keep it a two-run game.
- With Team USA down 4-2 in the bottom of the fifth, Anthony Frausto led off with a solo homer to center and Colin Anderson followed with a mammoth shot over the batter’s eye to knot the game at four.
- Mexico scratched a run across on an RBI groundout in the top of the sixth to regain the 5-4 lead, but Levi Kerr picked up a big strikeout to give the U.S. offense a chance in the bottom of the inning.
- With one out and nobody on in the final inning, Cristian Matos turned on a 3-1 pitch and hit it over the right field wall to tie the game at five.
- Max Villalva drew a walk, advanced to second on a balk, and moved over to third on a groundout to put the winning run on third base in the sixth. After Anthony Frausto was intentionally walked, Anthony Ramon hit a bloop single to center field to plate Villalva and secure the come-from-behind win for the United States.
- Team USA has now scored a first-inning run in all five of its games, combining for 23 total first-inning runs in the tournament.
- Overall, the U.S. is batting .462 (60-for-130) with 17 homers and 69 runs scored. Nearly half of the team’s hits have been for extra bases as it has 29 extra-base hits in the tournament.
- Team USA is now 3-1 all-time against Mexico at the U-12 level.
- The United States’ defense did not make an error in the win and now owns a .958 team fielding percentage.
- According to WBSC rules, Team USA now owns a 3-0 record in the Super Round after beating Group B representatives, the Dominican Republic and Korea, in pool play.
- Anthony Frausto went 3-for-3 in the win to raise his tournament-best batting average to .818 (9-for-11). He hit two doubles and a homer in the victory.
- Jonah Saken picked up a hit in the win to continue his hitting streak, as the outfielder has now gotten a knock in all five games and is batting .571 (8-for-14).
- Three of Cristian Matos’ four hits in the tournament have been home runs after his roundtripper in the win.
- With his two-hit, two-RBI day, Colin Anderson raised his stat line to a .636 average (7-for-11) with four homers and 16 RBIs.
Team USA returns to Super Round action on Friday night when it takes on Chinese Taipei at 6:30 p.m. local/6:30 a.m. ET at Asia-Pacific Main Stadium in Tainan, Taiwan.
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