USA BASEBALL NEWS

18U

Team USA Claims Fourth Consecutive WBSC Baseball World Cup Title

September 10, 2017
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
KOR 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 5
USA 0 0 3 4 1 0 0 0 X 8 12 0
Win: M. Liberatore Loss: Y. Kim Save: None
Box Score | Play-by-Play | World Cup Stats
 

THUNDER BAY, Canada - The USA Baseball 18U National Team completed a dominant stay at the 2017 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup with an equally dominant performance, rolling past Korea, 8-0, at Port Arthur Stadium on Sunday.

Team USA finishes the competition with a perfect 9-0 record, joining the 1989 squad (7-0) as the only two USA Baseball 18U National Teams to go undefeated in World Cup play.

The United States has now won four consecutive 18U world championships, including the 2012 and 2013 IBAF 'AAA' World Cups in Seoul, South Korea and Taichung, Taiwan, respectively, and the 2015 edition in Osaka, Japan. The only other country to have previously accomplished that feat is Cuba which did so from 1984-87 when the tournament was held annually.

The U.S. 18U squad also won the 2011, 2014 and 2016 COPABE Pan American Championships in Cartagena, Colombia, La Paz, Mexico, and Monterrey, Mexico, respectively, giving it international tournament titles in seven consecutive years.

This year's championship avenges the last time the USA Baseball 18U National Team was held off the podium in an international competition as it did not medal at the 2010 WBSC World Cup, which was also held in Thunder Bay.

The World Cup title is the ninth overall for Team USA which also brought back gold medals in 1982, 1988, 1989, 1995, 1999, 2012, 2013, and 2015.

Sunday's victory marked the 16th consecutive win for Team USA in WBSC U-18 World Cup action, including the final seven contests of the 2015 version of the event, held in Osaka, Japan.

As it did the entire tournament, the U.S. pitching staff set the tone, starting with Matthew Liberatore (Peoria, Ariz.). The 6-5 righthander pitched six sparkling innings, holding Korea to just four hits while walking two and striking out one to earn the win.

Cole Wilcox (Chickamauga, Ga.), Mason Denaburg (Merritt Island, Fla.), and JT Ginn (Brandon, Miss.) added one scoreless inning each out of the bullpen to complete Team USA's sixth shutout of the tournament.

In nine World Cup games, the U.S. pitching staff yielded only five runs - four earned - for a team ERA of 0.47. In 77.0 innings of play, 10 pitchers combined to strike out 101 batters and held opposing hitters to a .135 batting average.

After two scoreless innings to open Sunday's contest, the Team USA offense exploded for three runs in the third, four in the fourth, and one more in the fifth.

Tournament MVP Triston Casas (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) had the big blow with a mammoth two-out, two-run home run. He also had an RBI double as he notched three RBIs in the contest, giving him a team-high 13 for the tournament.

In addition to Casas' award, five fellow team members also earned honors from the WBSC. Brandon Dieter (Covina, Calif.) took home the award for the best ERA in the competition (0.00), while Ethan Hankins (Cumming, Ga.), Brice Turang (Corona, Calif.), Mike Siani (Glenside, Pa.), and Alek Thomas (Chicago, Ill.) were tabbed to the All-World Team.

Continue to follow @USABaseball18U on Twitter and visit USABaseball.com for the most up-to-date news about the 18U National Team.

QUOTES

USA Baseball 18U National Team Director Matt Blood

(On winning the World Cup)

"The whole process has been very fulfilling. This is a great group of guys, players, coaches, and staff. Everything from the beginning to the end went very well. We could not be happier with the way we played and the way we handed ourselves. I'm very proud of this group."

(On the dominance of this year's team)

"It would be hard to find a team better than this one, at least statistically. Especially on the mound with what these pitchers did. They pounded the strike zone, they barely gave up any hits, and when they did they were singles. They took it personally that they were not going to give in at all. In doing so, it gave our team and our offense some breathing room and a chance to get comfortable knowing that our pitchers were going to keep us in the game. We didn't have to press offensively. It was a lot of fun to watch this group. To go undefeated through training and the tournament is something that is really hard to do."

(On USA Baseball sweeping the international competitions)

"It has been a good year for USA Baseball. It started with the World Baseball Classic and continued with our other programs, 12U, 15U, and now 18U. We are trying to get USA Baseball back to the No. 1 ranked organization in the world. Hopefully we are getting closer to that."

(On how to improve after this)

"We can continue to look at our processes and how we identify and develop players and try to continue to improve the continuity amongst our players and our coaches. We can help them improve and improve the game of baseball, in general. That is one of our goals, as well. We want to win gold medals but we also want to help develop our elite talent so that the game of baseball continues to thrive all the way up to the Major League level. That is what we will continue to do. We always want to get better."

USA Baseball 18U National Team Manager Andy Stankiewicz

(On winning the World Cup)

"It is never easy. We played like maybe it was, but it is not. Think about all of the time and effort that it has taken to put this team together. Think about what (18U National Team Director) Matt Blood has done, the whole USA organization, to bring these 20 young men together, for them to come together as a team, and to stay on course. I am so proud of all of them and the coaching staff. Coach Mosiello was unbelievable running our offense. Coach Ritchie getting hitters locked in. Ricky Meinhold did an unbelievable job with our hitters. And Coach Carter, our first base coach, with his enthusiasm and passion for these young men. We just came together and it is fun to see the fruits of labor come together like it did this week to win a gold medal."

(On the team playing its most complete game in the final)

"No doubt that was our most complete game. We pitched well from the very beginning and we knew this pitching staff was going to be nails, and they were. It was fun to watch our offense progressively get better and better, day-by-day, and then put together the performance we saw today in the gold-medal game against a good team. Korea is, obviously, a good team or they wouldn't have been in the final. I enjoyed watching our offense stay the course, get better, and save the best performance for last."

(On tournament MVP Triston Casas)

"He is so steady. He is unflappable. His personality is great for a baseball player because he doesn't get too high, he doesn't get too low. He just goes to the plate with intent and focus every time. It was great to see what he did today with that big homer and putting great at-bats together to just get us moving. Then he is a great defender. People see how big he is and I don't think they realize how good he is. When you spend time with him and watch him, he can really play defense. He deserved to win the MVP and we are all excited for him."

(On the team's defense)

"Our defense was unbelievable. We pitched so well that we knew if we didn't give any freebies we would be in a pretty good spot. Brice Turang made some incredible plays on defense. He is so athletic and moves so well to the ball. (Mike) Siani made some great diving plays and then our catchers (Anthony) Seigler and (Will) Banfield were dynamite. They did a great job of calling games and getting strikes on borderline pitches. Our defense was terrific."

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18U

Casas and Stankiewicz Honored, Seiler Elected Vice Chairman at WBSC Congress

October 16, 2017

DURHAM, N.C. - USA Baseball 18U National Team member Triston Casas and manager Andy Stankiewicz were honored by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) at its annual Congress on Sunday when they were named Player of the Year (Baseball) and National Team Coach of the Year (Baseball), respectively. Casas is the first Team USA athlete to win the international Player of the Year award since the then-International Baseball Federation named Zach Collins the Junior Athlete of the Year in 2011.

In addition to the two awards, USA Baseball Executive Director and CEO, Paul Seiler, was elected the 2nd Vice Chairman for the baseball division of the WBSC during its election on Friday.

"We are very pleased that our international partners recognize the achievements of USA Baseball in 2017 with the naming of Triston Casas as their Player of the Year and Andy Stankiewicz as the Manager of the Year," said Mike Gaski, USA Baseball President. "We are also delighted that the WBSC appreciates the importance of having the USA, and in particular Paul Seiler, as a member of the leadership team. Paul's experience and expertise will help the WBSC prepare for baseball's return to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and navigate the difficult qualifying process."

These honors came after USA Baseball had its most successful year in international baseball history after sweeping through its international competition with gold medals at the World Baseball Classic, WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup, COPABE Pan Am "AA" Championships and the WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup; in addition to the Collegiate National Team winning all three of its international friendship series against Chinese Taipei, Cuba and Japan.

Triston Casas was named the MVP of the 2017 WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in Thunder Bay, Canada, after leading Team USA to its fourth consecutive world championship title. A stalwart at first base, his bat did the most damage, collecting tournament-highs with 13 RBIs and three home runs, including a two-run shot in the gold medal game.

Under the guidance of manager Andy Stankiewicz, Team USA finished the competition with an undefeated record (9-0) for the first time since 1989. The U.S. outscored its opponents 61-5 and held a miniscule cumulative team ERA of 0.47 in 77 innings pitched.

"We are honored and excited that both Andy and Triston were recognized for their success this year at the 18U World Cup," said Matt Blood, Director of the 18U National Team. "Coach Stankiewicz has vast experience and knowledge of the game and manages with positive energy and a steady demeanor. He and his staff were able to bring this team together over a short period of time and prepare them for success while in Canada but also in their future careers.

"Triston has been a force in the middle of Team USA's lineup for the past three summers. He prides himself on being patient and consistent across all aspects of his game, which allows him to stay calm and produce in big moments. He was one of the leaders on this year's team and he did it by example both on and off the field."

Overall, Casas was the eighth USA Baseball player to earn international Player of the Year and Stankiewicz is just the fifth Team USA coach to be honored with Coach of the Year award.

USA Baseball International Players of the Year:
Triston Casas, 2017, Player of the Year (WBSC - Baseball)
Zach Collins, 2011, Junior Athlete of the Year (IBAF)
Justin Smoak, 2009 Senior Athlete of the Year (IBAF)
Laura Brenneman, 2004 Woman Player of the Year (IBAF)
Justin Bristow, 2003 Youth Player of the Year (IBAF)
Delmon Young, 2002, IBAF Youth Player of the Year
Jeff Flaig, 2001, Youth Player of the Year (IBAF)
Tony Richie, 1998, Youth Player of the Year (IBAF)

International National Team Coaches of the Year
Andy Stankiewicz, 2017, National Team Coach of the Year (WBSC - Baseball)
Scott Brosius, 2012, Coach of the Year (IBAF)
Frank Cruz, 2004, Coach of the Year (IBAF)
Steve Cohen, 1995, Coach of the Year (IBAF)
Mark Marquess, 1989, Coach of the Year (IBAF)

For more information on the World Baseball Softball Confederation Congress, please visit www.WBSC.org.

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Eighty-Five USA Baseball Alumni in 2017 MLB Postseason

October 3, 2017

DURHAM, N.C. - Eighty-five Team USA alumni have made the Major League Baseball Postseason with their respective clubs in 2017, USA Baseball announced on Tuesday.

All ten teams that have made the 2017 postseason have at least five alumni on their rosters; seven boast eight or more and four have at least 10 players that have represented the red, white and blue.

The Washington Nationals lead the way with 14 alumni, while the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros rosters all feature 10 alums. The Dodgers are close behind with nine and the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks both have eight.

Of the 85 alumni, 46 are gold medalists, 22 took home silver and eight secured bronze for the stars and stripes, including 12 that won gold at the 2017 World Baseball Classic (WBC) and three from the bronze medal-winning 2008 Olympic team.

In addition, 20 of the players have represented the U.S. on multiple teams with seven-time alum Albert Almora and five-time alum Alex Bregman having competed on the most USA Baseball squads.

The postseason starts Tuesday, October 3, with the American League Wild Card game between the Minnesota Twins and the New York Yankees at 8 p.m. ET.

The complete list of USA Baseball alumni, by Major League Club, who appear on 2017 MLB Postseason rosters is as follows:

Arizona Diamondbacks (8):
Jake Barrett - 2008 18U National Team, 2015 Professional National Team
Daniel Descalso - 2009 Professional National Team
Paul Goldschmidt - 2017 World Baseball Classic Team
David Hernandez - 2013 World Baseball Classic Team
Chris Iannetta - 2009 World Baseball Classic Team
Jeff Mathis - 2005 Professional National Team
A.J. Pollock - 2011 Professional National Team
Robbie Ray - 2009 18U National Team

Boston Red Sox (10):
Matt Barnes - 2010 Collegiate National Team
Jackie Bradley Jr. - 2010 Collegiate National Team
Joe Kelly - 2007 Collegiate National Team
Craig Kimbrel - 2013 World Baseball Classic Team
Deven Marrero - 2011 Collegiate National Team
Dustin Pedroia - 2002 & 2003 Collegiate National Teams, 2009 World Baseball Classic Team
Drew Pomeranz - 2009 Collegiate National Team
David Price - 2005 & 2006 Collegiate National Teams
Blake Swihart - 2010 18U National Team
Sam Travis - 2013 Collegiate National Team

Chicago Cubs (10):
Albert Almora - 2007 & 2008 14U National Teams, 2009 & 2010 16U National Teams, 2010 & 2011 18U National Teams, 2015 Professional National Team
Jake Arrieta - 2006 Collegiate National Team, 2008 Olympic Team
Kris Bryant - 2012 Collegiate National Team
Brian Duensing - 2007 Professional National Team, 2008 Olympic Team
Jon Jay - 2005 Collegiate National Team
Dillon Maples - 2010 18U National Team
Mike Montgomery - 2010 Professional National Team
Addison Russell - 2011 Collegiate National Team
Kyle Schwarber - 2013 Collegiate National Team
Ben Zobrist - 2005 Professional Team, 2013 World Baseball Classic Team

Cleveland Indians (6):
Trevor Bauer - 2009 Collegiate National Team
Francisco Lindor - 2009 16U National Team, 2010 18U National Team
Austin Jackson - 2002 16U National Team
Andrew Miller - 2017 World Baseball Classic Team
Tyler Naquin - 2011 Collegiate National Team
Bradley Zimmer - 2013 Collegiate National Team

Colorado Rockies (8):
Tyler Anderson - 2010 Collegiate National Team
Nolan Arenado - 2017 World Baseball Classic Team
Chad Bettis - 2009 Collegiate National Team
Jonathan Lucroy - 2013 & 2017 World Baseball Classic Teams
Jake McGee - 2017 World Baseball Classic Team
Pat Neshek - 2017 World Baseball Classic Team
Mark Reynolds - 2006 Professional National Team
Tony Wolters - 2008 16U National Team, 2009 & 2010 18U National Teams

Houston Astros (10):
Alex Bregman - 2010 16U National Team, 2011 18U National Team, 2013 & 2014 Collegiate National Teams, 2017 World Baseball Classic Team
Tyler Clippard - 2017 World Baseball Classic Team
Evan Gattis - 2002 16U National Team
Luke Gregerson - 2013 & 2017 World Baseball Classic Teams
Brian McCann - 2009 World Baseball Classic Team
Lance McCullers Jr. - 2010 18U National Team
George Springer - 2010 Collegiate National Team
Max Stassi - 2006 & 2007 16U National Teams, 2008 18U National Team
Justin Verlander - 2003 Collegiate National Team

Los Angeles Dodgers (9):
Walker Buehler - 2014 Collegiate National Team
Yasmani Grandal - 2009 Collegiate National Team
Curtis Granderson - 2009 World Baseball Classic Team
Kyle Farmer - 2012 Collegiate National Team
Logan Forsythe - 2007 Collegiate National Team
Clayton Kershaw - 2005 18U National Team
Corey Seager - 2010 16U National Team
Chase Utley - 2006 World Baseball Classic Team
Alex Verdugo - 2010 14U National Team

Minnesota Twins (5):
Jason Castro - 2009 Professional National Team
Kyle Gibson - 2008 Collegiate National Team
Robbie Grossman - 2007 18U National Team
Joe Mauer - 2000 18U National Team, 2003 Professional National Team, 2013 World Baseball Classic Team
Glen Perkins - 2013 World Baseball Classic Team

New York Yankees (6):
Dellin Betances - 2005 18U National Team
Todd Frazier - 2006 Collegiate National Team, 2010 Professional National Team
Sonny Gray - 2009 & 2010 Collegiate National Teams
Matt Holliday - 1997 18U National Team, 2003 & 2006 Professional National Teams
Erik Kratz - 2010 Professional National Team
David Robertson - 2017 World Baseball Classic Team

Washington Nationals (14):
A.J. Cole - 2007 16U National Team
Sean Doolittle - 2005 & 2006 Collegiate National Team
Gio Gonzalez - 2013 World Baseball Classic Team
Bryce Harper - 2008 16U National Team, 2009 18U National Team
Howie Kendrick - 2005 Professional National Team
Ryan Madson - 2003 Professional National Team
Daniel Murphy - 2017 World Baseball Classic Team
Anthony Rendon - 2010 Collegiate National Team
Tanner Roark - 2017 World Baseball Classic Team
Max Scherzer - 2005 Collegiate National Team
Stephen Strasburg - 2008 Collegiate National Team, 2008 Olympic Team
Trea Turner - 2012 & 2013 Collegiate National Team
Matt Wieters - 2005 Collegiate National Team
Ryan Zimmerman - 2004 Collegiate National Team

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18U

Dieter Fires Gem as Team USA Blanks Australia, 9-0

September 9, 2017
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
AUS 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 3
USA 1 0 5 0 1 0 0 2 X 9 12 0
Win: B. Dieter Loss: D. Johannsen Save: None
Box Score | Play-by-Play | World Cup Stats
 

THUNDER BAY, Canada - Brandon Dieter (Covina, Calif.) gave the USA Baseball 18U National Team eight shutout innings on the mound as it closed the Super Round at the 2017 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup with its fifth shutout of the tournament, a 9-0 blanking of Australia at Port Arthur Stadium on Saturday.

 

The victory marked the 15th consecutive win for Team USA in WBSC U-18 World Cup action, including the final seven contests of the 2015 version of the event, held in Osaka, Japan.

 

The three-time defending World Cup champions, the U.S. remains the only undefeated team in this year's tournament with an 8-0 record and will play as the home team in Sunday's gold-medal game at 5 p.m. ET. Team USA's opponent will be determined later on Saturday afternoon following games between Japan-Korea and Canada-Cuba.

 

Dieter faced just three batters over the minimum, did not allow a baserunner past first base, and struck out eight over eight innings of three-hit ball to earn the win. Joseph Menefee (Richmond, Texas) then pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to close out the contest.

 

Saturday's game marked the second in this year's World Cup in which the U.S. pitching staff did not allow a runner past first and the fourth in which a runner did not advance past second.

 

The red, white, and blue will carry a combined 0.53 ERA into Sunday's gold-medal game with opposing batters hitting just .136. Team USA's five shutouts equal the total for the other 11 teams in the tournament combined.

 

Offensively, the U.S. was terrific with two outs once again, recording seven two-out hits and scoring all but two of its runs with two outs on the scoreboard.

 

Five different players notched multi-hit contests, while Alek Thomas (Chicago, Ill.) and Nolan Gorman (Glendale, Ariz.) drove in a pair of runs each. Team USA also added five stolen bases against Australia, including two from Gorman, to increase its tournament-leading total to 23 in just eight games.

 

The U.S. wasted little time getting started on Saturday with Mike Siani (Glenside, Pa.) and Carter Young (Selah, Wash.) opening the home half of the first with back-to-back doubles for the game's first run.

 

Thomas and Gorman's big knocks both came in the third which ended up being a five-run inning to break the game open for Team USA. A Will Banfield (Lawrenceville, Ga.) run-scoring single in the fifth and RBIs by Jarred Kelenic (Waukesha, Wis.) and Triston Casas (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) in the eighth accounted for the game's final tally.

 

Team USA is the three-time defending World Cup champion and is looking to become the second country to win four consecutive gold medals in the tournament.

 

Continue to follow @USABaseball18U on Twitter and visit USABaseball.com for the most up-to-date news about the 18U National Team.

 

QUOTES

USA Baseball 18U National Team Manager Andy Stankiewicz

(On Saturday's win over Australia)

"It all started with Brandon Dieter. He's just a machine. He commands his fastball so well in-and-out, has a beautiful changeup, and a nice breaking ball. He took control of the game from the get-go. He let up that leadoff hit then he picked the guy off and that set the tone and got the momentum back on our side. A great job by him, first and foremost. Our mission is to win every game we play. We are encouraged by what we have done so far, but we all know the big one is tomorrow. Hopefully this was a nice tune-up, the guys feel good about their at-bats, and we can take that into tomorrow."

 

(On available pitching for the gold-medal game)

"We feel like we are in a good spot going in to the gold-medal game. We have a lot of arms down there and it will be all hands on deck. They have to be ready to roll. It was a big game by (Brandon) Dieter, obviously, and I loved the job that (Joseph) Menefee did. He came in and got strike one right away. He'll be ready to go tomorrow, if needed, too."

 

(On the team's two-out offense)

"The guys are understanding that just because we have two outs the inning isn't over. If we get that next guy on, our ability to run and hit in motion allows us really put pressure on the defense. Coach Mosiello has done a great job of keeping our guys in motion and creating that pressure. That is the way we have to do it. We can't give away any at-bats."

 

(On the team's mindset going in to tomorrow)

"We just need to play our game. Sometimes in big moments like we will have tomorrow guys try to be something they are not. We just need to be who we are, understand our roles, and come out tomorrow as a team and get after it."

 

Starting Pitcher Brandon Dieter

(On his goal on the mound today)

"My number one goal today was to be efficient. The coaches wanted me to go as many innings as I could so being efficient was the key. Throwing a lot of strikes, getting ahead early, and getting a lot of first-pitch outs was huge today."

 

(On playing for the gold medal tomorrow)

"This is what we came here to do, to win this game tomorrow. To be able to give some rest to the rest of our pitchers and allow everyone to be on deck tomorrow was my goal today. I achieved that and it is all hands on deck tomorrow because we are going out to win a gold medal."

 

(On the 18U national team playing for a fourth consecutive gold medal)

"We all know it, it is in the back of our heads. We want to keep that streak going, no one wants to break that streak. But, like the coaches have been saying, we have been playing one pitch at a time, one game at a time, and taking it step-by-step. I think that is what is making us successful so far."

 

Infielder Nolan Gorman

(On having two hits versus Australia)

"I was just trying to anything I could for the team by putting the ball in play, which I haven't been doing. It's starting to come around though and it felt good to barrel up a couple of balls."

 

(On the team's offensive mindset)

"We are seeing it really well right now which is good going into the gold-medal game. If we can just carry that into tomorrow, we should be alright. The goal has always been to win every game and not let down against anybody. We are happy to get this win today but we have one more before we can celebrate anything."

 

(On the experience of playing for Team USA)

"It is special. There really aren't any words for it yet. Maybe after I get home and have some time to let it sink it, but there are no words to describe it right now. It is just so special."

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18U

U.S. Clinches Spot in Gold-Medal Game with 2-0 Win Over Korea

September 8, 2017
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 2 8 0
KOR 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 2
Win: R. Weathers Loss: B. Gwak Save: JT Ginn
Box Score | Play-by-Play | World Cup Stats

THUNDER BAY, Canada - Ethan Hankins (Cumming, Ga.) and two relievers combined to strike out 19 batters as the USA Baseball 18U National Team clinched a spot in the gold-medal game at the 2017 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup with a 2-0 shutout of Korea at Port Arthur Stadium on Friday.

The shutout was the fourth of the tournament for Team USA, the three-time defending World Cup champions, and leaves the U.S. as the only unbeaten team remaining in Thunder Bay with a record of 7-0. The loss was Korea's first of the competition.

Team USA has one game remaining in the Super Round as it is scheduled to take on Australia at 9 a.m. ET on Saturday. The gold-medal game will be played at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday at Port Arthur Stadium.

Hankins was dominant from the start on Friday, striking out the side in the first inning and never looking back. He would accomplish that feat a total of four times on the morning, finishing with 14 punchouts over six superb innings in which he yielded just two singles, a walk, and a hit batter.

Ryan Weathers (Loretto, Tenn.) came in out of the bullpen and picked up right where Hankins left off, fanning four batters of his own in 2.2 scoreless frames before JT Ginn (Brandon, Miss.) entered the game to strike out the final batter and end the contest.

Combined, the three pitchers did not allow a baserunner past second base, marking the third time in the tournament the U.S. has done so, and struck out 19 batters.

Great pitching and stellar defense by both clubs kept the scoreboard blank for most of the game until an error and a passed ball by Korea opened the door for the U.S. to push a run across in the eighth.

The U.S. would tack on an insurance run in the top of the ninth with Brice Turang (Corona, Calif.) following a Nolan Gorman (Glendale, Ariz.) double with a base hit back up the middle to make it a 2-0 game.

Korea would threaten in the game's final frame, putting two on with two out but Ginn needed just four pitches to strike out the only batter he faced to seal the victory, earn the save, and send the U.S. to Sunday's gold-medal game.

Although he would be saddled with the tough-luck loss, Korea starting pitcher Been Gwak was outstanding on the mound as well. He struck out nine batters of his own while allowing just two runs - only one earned - on five hits over 8.1 innings.

Team USA is the three-time defending World Cup champion and is looking to become the second country to win four-straight gold medals in the tournament.

Continue to follow @USABaseball18U on Twitter and visit USABaseball.com for the most up-to-date news about the 18U National Team.

QUOTES
USA Baseball 18U National Team Manager Andy Stankiewicz
(On earning a spot in the gold-medal game)
"That is what you play for and why we are here. That was the goal, obviously, to get to the gold-medal game. I'm proud of our guys for the way they have gone about it. That is back-to-back battles, which is great. This is what you need to have. In order to be a championship team, you have to be able to rise up in those moments. I'm very proud of how we have responded, both last night and tonight."

(On Ethan Hankins)
"He just attacks the zone. Sometimes he is a little emotional, he is young and wears his emotions on his sleeve. I think as he matures, he will be able to settle down in those big moments, but in terms of just his arm and his stuff, it is just fantastic. He did a great job of just pounding that zone. Sometimes he got squeezed a little bit but he responded well and kept making pitches when he had to."

(On Korea starting pitcher Been Gwak)
"Their guy pitched a great game, there is just no getting around it. He mixed his pitches well and he threw a nice changeup to our lefties who had a hard time seeing it. He hid it well and it came out clean like a fastball so we were out in front a lot. Then once in a while he would drop a breaking ball in on a lefty, which is just good pitching. It's a higher division of pitching to be able to do that. That is what we expected. We knew coming in that this was their guy and he pitched a great game. It was a really great ball game from a purist standpoint."

(On the team's resiliency)
"This morning we had 6:30 breakfast, 7:00 bus, and we were out taking BP when it was 37 degrees outside. They didn't care. They just said, 'Let's go, we have a job to do.' From that standpoint, that is maturity to be able to rise above the elements and focus on the task at hand over everything else."

Outfielder Mike Siani
(On earning a spot in the gold-medal game)
"It has been a battle. The competition has been great but we came together today for a tough game. Good pitching, but we battled, and the pitching was even better on our side. It is a great feeling. Kind of what we expected but we had to fight to get here and, obviously, we are excited."

(On Korea)
"The pitcher we saw, even though we haven't seen a lot of right-handed pitchers this tournament, he was good. A lot of off-speed and he was spotting up. He was tough to hit. As the game went on we worked better at-bats, worked deeper counts, and the hits came. We had eight of them which is enough, and the two runs we kind of scrapped across. Just putting the ball in play was the most important part. We didn't have as many strikeouts today which definitely helped us out."

(On playing in the gold-medal game on Sunday)
"That is the best feeling ever. We are ready to go. Obviously we have one tomorrow against Australia, and that is important too, but everybody is pumped for Sunday. The four returning guys on this team, we have to let everybody know how it is going to be, talk to the guys, and get everybody together. We are really looking forward to it."

Starting Pitcher Ethan Hankins
(On Korea)
"Korea is a really good team. We were both undefeated coming into the game so I knew they would be very disciplined hitters and that is exactly what they showed out there. I expected them to go after some high fastballs or, at least, fastballs around the zone but they were so patient. They waited for their pitch every single time until it got to two strikes and then I was able to work a little bit."

(On what it will be like to wear the USA jersey while playing for a gold medal)
"It is awesome but, at the same time, all part of the plan we have going. It is going to be a feeling that I can't really describe. It is already a blessing to be able to go out in a game like this and wear the USA across your chest. To have the opportunity to do it in a gold-medal game is not something I can even put into words."

(On the team's resiliency to come back after an emotional game last night)
"We are all here for the same goal. We all want the gold medal just as bad as everyone else. We knew that this was a big morning to get us there so we came out ready to play."

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18U

Casas' Five RBIs Lift U.S. Past Canada, 8-3

September 8, 2017
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
CAN 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 3 10 3
USA 2 0 1 0 0 1 1 3 X 8 6 1
Win: L. Marceaux Loss: C. Cerantola Save: None
Box Score | Play-by-Play | World Cup Stats

THUNDER BAY, Canada - A five-RBI night from Triston Casas (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) paved the way for the USA Baseball 18U National Team as it opened the Super Round at the 2017 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup with an 8-3 win over Canada in front of a sell-out crowd of 3,107 at Port Arthur Stadium on Thursday.

The three-time defending World Cup champions, Team USA will have a quick turnaround as it is slated to take on the only other undefeated team in the tournament, Korea, at 9 a.m. on Friday. Casas finished 3-for-4 with a solo home run, a three-run double, an RBI infield single, and a walk.

The home run was his second of the competition, having also homered against Japan, while he pushed his RBI total to a team-leading nine.

The U.S. got the scoring started in the first after three walks by Canada starter Eric Cerantola loaded the bases and Casas brought a run in with a groundball back up the middle. Alek Thomas (Chicago, Ill.) then tacked on another tally with an RBI groundout to make it a two-run cushion.

Although Canada got one of the runs back in the second, two terrific defensive plays by Nolan Gorman (Glendale, Ariz.) and Thomas to cut runners down at the plate from third and left, respectively, kept the U.S. lead intact.

The 6-5 first baseman then came through for Team USA again in the third when he took a first-pitch fastball and deposited it over the wall in right-center to make it a 3-1 ball game.

That is where the score would remain until sixth when a pair of Canada errors allowed another U.S. runner to cross the plate to make it 4-1.

With the sellout crowd raucously cheering them on, Canada threatened in the top of the seventh, loading the bases with just one out but a well-turned 6-4-3 double play allowed the red, white, and blue to escape unscathed.

Team USA then responded with a run-scoring single off the bat of Thomas, his second RBI of the night, in the home half of the frame.

Canada was able to scratch across two in the eighth but Casas made that irrelevant in the bottom of the inning with a two-strike, two-out, three-run double that pushed the score to its final tally of 8-3.

On the mound, Kumar Rocker (Watkinsville, Ga.) started and struck out four while allowing one run on six hits over 3.2 innings. Landon Marceaux (Destrehan, La.) provided a strong effort out of the bullpen with six punchouts in 4.1 frames before Mason Denaburg (Merritt Island, Fla.) pitched a scoreless ninth to end the game.

Team USA is the three-time defending World Cup champion and is looking to become the second country to win four-straight gold medals in the tournament.

Continue to follow @USABaseball18U on Twitter and visit USABaseball.com for the most up-to-date news about the 18U National Team.

QUOTES

USA Baseball 18U National Team Manager Andy Stankiewicz

(On Triston Casas)

"Not only did he have five RBIs but he made two great picks at first base at crucial parts of the ball game. Obviously the bat was fantastic tonight as well. He drove the ball real well and used the middle of the diamond, that is his strength. It was just a matter of time, he is a big boy, and we knew he was going to get it going. Certainly we needed it tonight, so great performance by Triston."

(On Canada)

"They are good. They are competitive at the plate, they know how to handle the bat, and their young starter did a great job. He had some command issues but once he settled in he did a nice job of mixing his pitches and the guy who came in out of the bullpen did a great job as well. They are good up-and-down the lineup. They put the ball in play, they put pressure on you, and make you play defense. The difference tonight was the three double plays we turned. They are tough and a competitive ball club. We had to make plays and fortunately we made the plays we needed to."

(On the environment in the sellout stadium)

"We knew coming in that this is their home turf. Playing Canada in the nightcap, kind of the highlight game, we knew there was going to be a sellout crowd and there was. But that's exciting, that is what we want. We want to play in the big arena with a bunch of fans and emotions. I'm proud of how the guys reacted. They settled in and played a real good game."

First Baseman Triston Casas

(On his offensive effort)

"I'm very happy that my team came out with a 'W.' Throughout the tournament I've just been missing a couple of balls. I've been taking good at-bats and finally everything culminated with a good performance. I've been trying to keep a level head and I knew eventually a couple balls would click and tonight was the night. I'm very fortunate that I was able to contribute as much as I did and am looking forward to getting after it tomorrow morning."

(On his two picks at first base)

"My defense is something that I have taken a lot of pride in ever since I was young. Playing a lot of innings over there at first base has definitely helped me out. I'm just glad those two picks landed in my glove because as easily as they did, I could have missed them just as easily. I feel very fortunate."

(On the team's defense)

"Our defense is definitely one of our stronger points, which gives our pitchers a lot of confidence to go out there and throw strikes. We work on defense a lot and take a lot of pride in our defense."

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18U

Two-Out Runs Lead U.S. Past Cuba, 8-1

September 6, 2017
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
CUBA 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 2
USA 0 1 2 2 1 0 0 2 X 8 13 1
Win: C. Wilcox Loss: M. Perez Save: None
Box Score | Play-by-Play | World Cup Stats
 

THUNDER BAY, Canada - The USA Baseball 18U National Team scored all eight of its runs and had 11 hits with two outs on Tuesday as it defeated Cuba, 8-1, to finish pool play with a perfect 5-0 record at the 2017 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup.

 

The three-time defending World Cup champions, Team USA joins Korea as the only undefeated teams in the competition. With two games remaining on Wednesday, the U.S. now awaits those results before learning its schedule for the Super Round starting on Thursday.

 

Continuing the trend of dominant pitching for the U.S., starting pitcher Cole Wilcox (Chickamauga, Ga.) was outstanding against Cuba. The 6-5 righthander yielded only one unearned run on two hits and three walks while striking out five over seven stellar innings.

 

Fellow Peach State native Kumar Rocker (Watkinsville, Ga.) and JT Ginn (Brandon, Miss.) closed out the victory with one scoreless frame each.

 

Through the first five games of World Cup action, the U.S. pitching staff has a combined 0.22 ERA with just a single earned run allowed over 41.0 innings pitched. A total of 10 pitchers have taken the mound for Team USA, combining to strike out 59 while yielding just 12 hits and holding opposing hitters to a .094 batting average.

 

Offensively, Team USA tied its tournament high with 13 hits in the contest on Tuesday, 11 of which came with two outs on the scoreboard.

 

Alek Thomas (Chicago, Ill.) led the way with a 3-for-4, two-RBI effort, while Anthony Seigler (Cartersville, Ga.) finished 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs as well. Mike Siani (Glenside, Pa.) and Raynel Delgado (Miami Lakes, Fla.) also added two hits apiece.

 

Cuba actually scored first, taking advantage of a U.S. error to plate an unearned run in the second which ended a streak of 34.0 innings without allowing a run by Team USA. That would be all Wilcox and the rest of the staff would allow for the rest of the day, however.

 

The U.S. offense responded immediately with a Thomas single tying the game in the second before adding five more runs over the next three innings to race out to a commanding, 6-1, lead.

 

A Siani RBI triple and a Carter Young infield single to bring him home accounted for the game's final two runs.

 

Team USA is the three-time defending World Cup champion and is looking to become the second country to win four-straight gold medals in the tournament.

 

Continue to follow @USABaseball18U on Twitter and visit USABaseball.com for the most up-to-date news about the 18U National Team.

 

QUOTES

USA Baseball 18U National Team Manager Andy Stankiewicz

(On the offense breaking out on Tuesday)

"It was just a matter of time. The guys have been putting too much pressure on themselves and they just needed to relax and do what they are capable of doing. We are a really good offensive team. Sometimes when you get into a little bit of a funk guys start stressing out a little bit. It was great to see the guys relax and put some good at-bats together. To get all those runs with two outs is huge. The guys are getting excited about putting the ball in play and put some great swings together. That is what it is about. A lot of base hits back up the middle, a lot of opposite-field gaps. If we hit to the middle of the diamond we are pretty good offensively. If we get pull-conscious, pull-happy that's when we don't have as much success."

 

(On Cole Wilcox)

"Phenomenal job. He's just a competitor who attacks the zone and is a big, strong young man. He trusts his stuff, especially his fastball and attacks with it. He works off the fastball and that just makes his off-speed stuff that much better. He just did a great job of attacking the zone and going after hitters today."

 

(On finishing pool play undefeated)

"Every game we play we want to win and we've put ourselves in a good spot going into the Super Round. We know that we have a lot of work to do and we'll be facing the best three teams from the other bracket in the Super Round. They are in the Super Round for a reason, they are playing well, so we have some work in front of us. To finish our side at 5-0 is a great accomplishment and step one. Step two is the Super Round and we are looking forward to the challenge."

 

(On the rivalry with Cuba)

"The history of baseball is so strong in Cuba. They have such a great tradition of players and coaches. I think it is a respectful rivalry on both sides. We take it very seriously and both countries are very competitive. It is great for our sport. Anytime you get an opportunity to play Cuba in international play, emotions are going to be a little heightened and we saw a little bit of that from both sides today."

 

Infielder Raynel Delgado

(On facing Cuba)

"We expected a tough game from the get-go. We knew we were going to have to bring our A-game today and we knew they were going to come out and be aggressive. We just had to play our game. Like I said yesterday, I wanted to beat them and today we did just that."

 

(On Cole Wilcox)

"It was his day today. Seven innings, two hits, he came to play today. What a clutch performance by him."

 

(On finishing pool play undefeated)

"That's what we wanted to do, get to 5-0 and be in good shape for the Super Round. Now it's time to go win the gold."

 

Outfielder Alek Thomas

(On having three hits today)

"It is a game of adjustments. We did a little extra hitting this morning and I tweaked a few things in my swing and with my feet, just making I am aligned with the pitcher."

 

(On playing Cuba)

"I know the other players who have played internationally before had a little bit of a history with Cuba and I could see it. They have a lot of good players on their team and it was a fun game to play today. I feel like we really bonded as a team and really came together."

 

(On finishing pool play undefeated)

"Our mentality is just to keep on winning, no matter how we get it. We are trying to whatever we can to get the next win. It doesn't matter if we strike out 23 times, we are going to find a way to score runs and our pitchers are going to get their job done."

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18U

U.S. Fires Third Straight Shutout, Beats South Africa, 5-0

September 4, 2017
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
USA 2 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 5 10 1
RSA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0
Win: J. Menefee Loss: M. Alaoui Save: None
Box Score | Play-by-Play | World Cup Stats
 

THUNDER BAY, Canada - The USA Baseball 18U National Team fired its third consecutive shutout, defeating South Africa, 5-0, with Jarred Kelenic (Waukesha, Wis.) and Will Banfield (Lawrenceville, Ga.) both hitting home runs and four pitchers combining to allow only four hits on Monday at the 2017 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup.

The three-time defending World Cup champions, Team USA improves to 4-0 in the competition, joining Korea as the only two unbeaten teams. The U.S. will close out pool play at 6:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday when it squares off against Cuba at Baseball Central.

Including Monday's contest against South Africa, the United States pitching staff has not allowed a run in 33 2/3 innings, dating back to the first inning of the team's tournament opener against the Netherlands.

After being staked to a quick 2-0 lead thanks to a two-run home run by Kelenic in the top of the first, Brandon Dieter (Covina, Calif.) started the game with two scoreless frames, striking out two.

Lefty Joseph Menefee (Richmond, Texas) then took the mound, fanning four in three hitless innings. Mason Denaburg (Merritt Island, Fla.) and Landon Marceaux (Destrehan, La.) then twirled two shutout stanzas each to finish the game, combining to strike out eight of the final nine batters South Africa sent to the plate.

The red, white, and blue tacked on single tallies in three more innings to account for the final score of 5-0 with Anthony Seigler (Cartersville, Ga.) and Alek Thomas (Chicago, Ill.) driving in runs in the sixth and seventh, respectively, before Banfield's longball in the ninth.

Carter Young (Selah, Wash.) also had a strong day at the plate, finishing 3-for-4 with a pair of runs scored.

South Africa starting pitcher Mohamed Alaoui went the distance on the mound for his team, striking out four and walking just one.

Team USA is the three-time defending World Cup champion and is looking to become the second country to win four-straight gold medals in the tournament.

Continue to follow @USABaseball18U on Twitter and visit USABaseball.com for the most up-to-date news about the 18U National Team.

QUOTES

USA Baseball 18U National Team Manager Andy Stankiewicz

(On South Africa's starting pitcher Mohamed Alaoui)

"He did a great job. He is a competitive guy on the mound, he mixed his pitches well, and he threw a breaking ball for strikes. He got our guys a little bit antsy, coming out of the zone. We did enough to win, which is what it is all about, but you have to tip your cap to his performance. He pitched a great game. He is a competitor to go nine (innings). But at the same time, we have to get better. We have tried to stress that to our guys that we have to put better at-bats together. If we have to make some changes, we will. That's one of the messages that I sent to the guys, that this type of offensive performance is not going to help us get to where we want to go."

(On using four pitchers today)

"We wanted to get our pitchers some work today. We knew today was going to be a staff day and we wanted to get as many guys out there as possible. (Mason) Denaburg was huge, getting him back out there, and then getting (Landon) Marceaux back out there after he got that one inning of work in the rainout. It was good to get him back on the mound and see him pound the zone. From that respect, it worked out well for us. Hopefully our guys will be fresh, our arms will be sharp, and we'll be ready to roll as we get into the rest of the week."

(On this year's pitching staff)

"When we got to trials, we knew that we had some nice arms. We had to make some tough decisions. There were some pitchers who deserved to be here as much as the guys who are here but we had to make some tough decisions. We felt coming in that the strength of this team and this year's squad was going to be on the mound and I think that is showing."

Catcher Will Banfield

(On his home run)

"It felt great. Coming off the bench, being able to come in and catch, and have a big at-bat, I was just trying to put something in play and get something started for the team. I was glad that I could put one over the fence and get a run."

(On the team's confidence)

"We are feeling good. I feel like we should have played better today, and I think everyone else feels the same way, but we are playing well. To be 4-0 going into the last pool play game, we are feeling confident. We are ready for Cuba tomorrow. We can't look forward to the Super Round yet because tomorrow will be a tough challenge."

(On playing for Team USA)

"It has been a blessing. God has blessed us 20 guys to have the opportunity to be out here playing the great game of baseball. To be able to play the game with USA across our chest is really something else."

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18U

U.S. Blanks Mexico in Rain-Shortened Game, 6-0

September 4, 2017
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
MEX 0 0 0 0 0 0 X X X 0 1 3
USA 1 0 0 2 0 3 X X X 6 2 0
Win: M. Liberatore Loss: C. Mendoza Save: None
Box Score | Play-by-Play | World Cup Stats
 

THUNDER BAY, Canada - Playing in a steady rain for most of the game, the USA Baseball 18U National Team rode the left arm of Matthew Liberatore to victory on Sunday as he struck out 12 batters over six innings in a rain-shortened 6-0 triumph (6 innings) over Mexico at the 2017 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup.

 

The three-time defending World Cup champions, Team USA improves to 3-0 in the tournament and is currently the only undefeated team in Group B. Korea has also won all three of its games in Group A and both teams have now clinched spots in the Super Round.

 

Liberatore was dominant from the get-go, striking out the side in the top of the first and never looking back. He would accomplish that feat twice more in his six innings of work, during which he yielded just one hit and did not allow a runner past first base.

 

Through the first three games of the WBSC U-18 World Cup, the U.S. pitching staff has a combined ERA of 0.39, having allowed just one run on five hits over 23.0 innings. Seven pitchers have combined to strike out 37 batters while walking just nine. Opposing hitters are batting just .071 thus far in the competition.

 

In Sundays' contest, the U.S. got on the board in the first thanks to an unearned run after an error by the Mexico shortstop.

 

The red, white, and blue, tacked on two more in the fourth. After loading the bases with nobody out, RBIs from Mike Siani (Glenside, Pa.) and Carter Young (Selah, Wash.) pushed the U.S. lead to 3-0.

 

With raining pouring down, a bases-loaded wild pitch and a two-run throwing error put a three-spot up on the board for Team USA shortly before the game was halted. The two teams waited over an hour with little sign of the rain dissipating before the game was called.

 

Team USA is the three-time defending World Cup champion and is looking to become the second country to win four-straight gold medals in the tournament. The U.S. will take on South Africa at 2 p.m. ET on Monday at Baseball Central.

 

Continue to follow @USABaseball18U on Twitter and visit USABaseball.com for the most up-to-date news about the 18U National Team.

 

QUOTES

USA Baseball 18U National Team Manager Andy Stankiewicz

(On Matthew Liberatore)

"He was commanding his fastball. I don't think he was as sharp as he has been typically but I will kind of chalk that up to him not having as much action as he usually does. The bottom line is getting outs and that is what he has done. His changeup was working well, he was commanding his fastball, and he threw a couple of nice breaking balls. That's what we need out of him."

 

(On the weather affecting the team's pitching)

"I think we are still in a good spot. We've lined it up pretty good and we feel like we have gotten our guys some work. We still have two more games in pool play so it shouldn't be an issue getting the other guys some work. That can sometimes be difficult. Weather sure has been an issue but the guys have responded well."

 

(On the offense capitalizing on opportunities)

"Our guys are starting to realize that we have to put the ball in play. We cut down on the strikeouts today which was good to see. We still have to get better and commit to contact. We saw some good things. There was a nice bunt by (Brice) Turang to load the bases up. He has to know that has to be part of his game, putting pressure on the defense. He is so skilled. Alek Thomas got a nice little lick with a line drive back up the middle off a lefty, which is good. Anytime these guys can put some good AB's together it will help them gain some confidence. I would venture to say that we are going to continue to see a lot of left-handed pitching. If I was the opponent I would do that as well. Our guys have to understand that when they are throwing that left-handed breaking ball we have to see it up in the zone. It was better today, for sure, but we know that in order to do well down the road here we still have to get better."

 

(On advancing to the Super Round)

"That is the goal. It is kind of one step at a time so we knew we had to get to the Super Round. It is exciting. It is international baseball. There are a lot of different elements coming at you with the weather, sometimes umpires have different strike zones. It has been a quick, abbreviated look but I think the guys are starting to understand what it is going to take to be competitive down the stretch."

 

Starting Pitcher Matthew Liberatore

(On what was working for him)

"My fastball command was pretty good. I kept my curveball in my back pocket until about the fourth or fifth inning but it felt really good when I finally broke it out. My command of that was really good to."

 

(On playing for Team USA)

"For me there is no greater accomplishment than being able to represent your country doing what you love. It is a pretty cool feeling to go out there and pitch wearing USA across my chest and on my hat. I definitely want to win a gold medal."

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18U

Weathers Shines in 4-0 Shutout of Japan

September 3, 2017
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
USA 0 2 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 4 7 1
JPN 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2
Win: R. Weathers Loss: K. Kawabata Save: None
Box Score | Play-by-Play | World Cup Stats
 

THUNDER BAY, Canada - On a rainy evening quite similar to the gold-medal contest two years ago between the same two teams, the USA Baseball 18U National Team emerged victorious against Japan, outlasting a pair of 90-minute rain delays to claim a 4-0 victory at the 2017 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup on Saturday at Port Arthur Stadium.

 

Following the second rain delay of the afternoon - the start of the contest was also delayed for an hour-and-a-half - Ryan Weathers (Loretto, Tenn.) toed the rubber to begin the second inning and provided an incredible effort out of the bullpen.

 

The 6-1 southpaw fired seven stellar innings of one-hit ball, striking out eight batters and walking only one. He allowed just one runner to reach scoring position en route to earning the victory.

 

Just prior to the lengthy delay, Triston Casas (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) struck the game's biggest offensive blow when he took an 0-2 offering and crushed it the other way for a two-run home run. Just seconds later the skies opened up, forcing the team's back to their respective locker rooms.

 

The three-time defending World Cup champions, Team USA was undeterred after the break, however, and used some heads-up baserunning from Mike Siani (Glenside, Pa.) to manufacture another run in the fifth.

 

Siani struck out swinging to open the frame but hustled safely down to first when the pitch scooted away from the catcher before Carter Young (Selah, Wash.) promptly sacrificed him up to second. Siani's baseball IQ was on full display a few pitches later when a passed ball on another swinging strike three sent the ball to the backstop. Never stopping, he raced around third and scored standing up as Japan left the plate uncovered on the passed ball.

 

It was Siani once again in the sixth when he punched a two-out RBI single into left to plate Brice Turang (Corona, Calif.) for what would be the game's final run.

 

JT Ginn (Brandon, Miss.) would come out of the bullpen firing bullets in the ninth, striking out two to seal the victory. Landon Marceaux (Destrehan, la.) started the contest with a scoreless first but was forced to exit the game after the rain delay.

 

Team USA is the three-time defending World Cup champion and is looking to become the second country to win four-straight gold medals in the tournament. The U.S. will take on Mexico at 6:30 p.m. ET on Sunday at Baseball Central.

 

Continue to follow @USABaseball18U on Twitter and visit USABaseball.com for the most up-to-date news about the 18U National Team.

 

QUOTES

USA Baseball 18U National Team Manager Andy Stankiewicz

(On Ryan Weathers)

"Coming in we knew that Ryan (Weathers) could be a starter or equally as effective out of the bullpen. Once we got to that rain delay and we were getting close to an hour in, we knew it was time to put that versatility to use. Talk about stepping up, wow. He was enormous. I don't have the words to describe the job he did. He was a bulldog and just attacked hitters. It was fun to watch."

 

(On the team's offensive effort)

"The home run by (Triston) Casas was huge just to give us a little margin to work with. That was all Ryan needed. It wasn't pretty from an offensive standpoint, but Mike Siani came up big with the two-out knock and then the hustle-and-score from second on the strikeout. Anytime you can add one against a team like Japan is huge."

 

(On Japan)

"Japan is good. Their starting pitcher, talk about a competitor. You have to tip your hat, he was good. He was pounding the zone, getting his fastball over early, and then throwing a nice little breaking ball that tied our guys up. Hopefully our team can learn from this and if we face them again, which we think we probably will, we'll have to be ready to commit to putting the ball in play."

 

Relief Pitcher Ryan Weathers

(On his effort out of the bullpen)

"I knew going into the game that if something like that happened with the rain delay I had a chance of going in. I knew when they pulled the tarp off that I had 30 minutes so I just went through my normal routine like I would if I was starting. That helped me out a lot."

 

(On having a 2-0 lead when he entered the game)

"It definitely gave me a little room for comfort. It would have been different going into a game 0-0 because you don't have any room for error. You still don't want to give up any runs even though you are up two, but it helped me mentally to be prepared to go out there and do work."

 

First Baseman Triston Casas

(On what he saw out of Japan)

"I was expecting exactly what we got. They have a lot of good pitching and kept getting off balance all game. On the defensive side for us, they put a lot of balls in play and made us play defense."

 

(On his home run)

"That kid on the mound was great. He had me on the ropes all night. He just made a mistake on 0-2 and I was able to put a good swing on it. I was just trying to get a job done with a guy on third and less than two outs and just trying to get a ball airborne. I got a ball airborne and it just happened to go over the fence. I just choked up a little, widened out my stance, and put a good swing on the ball. I can't speak highly enough of the Japanese pitching and I was just lucky to put a good swing on it, to be honest."

 

(On the rain delay)

"I was pretty relaxed. We were all hungry because we hadn't really eaten since about 11:30 or noon. We ate some apples and some oranges, and we got some hot dogs from the concession stand. We were just relaxing and chatting it up a little bit. I don't think it was as disruptive as people might think. I don't think the weather delay bothered us at all."

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