GAMEDAY: Team USA Concludes Pool Play Against Canada

First pitch scheduled for 3:00 p.m. PT/5:00 p.m. ET at Estadio Leonardo Gastelum


LOS CABOS, Mexico – The 18U National Team wraps up pool play at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier on Tuesday against Canada. First pitch is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. PT/5:00 p.m. ET at Estadio Leonardo Gastelum in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.


The U.S. picked up a 9-4 victory over Venezuela on Sunday to improve to 3-0 in Group B play. The squad fell into its first deficit of the tournament–trailing 1-0 in the third–before rattling off consecutive three-run innings to take control of the game. The contest turned when the U.S. hit back-to-back home runs off the bat of Roman Martin and PJ Morlando in the fourth, putting Team USA in front by five runs. Casey Borba put the icing on the cake with a three-run blast in the sixth, adding insurance to what ended up being a 9-4 victory for Team USA.

Carson Messina started on the mound and tossed 4.1 strong innings for the stars and stripes. The South Carolina native permitted three runs–two earned–and struck out seven in his outing. Mavrick Rizy entered in relief and escaped a jam in the fifth before pitching a scoreless sixth, and Matthew Champion got the final three outs of the win.


The United States has played against Canada 48 times at the U-18 level and owns a 39-7-2 all-time record in the series. The two countries last met at the XXX WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup, when Team USA picked up a 7-6 win. The U.S. in 6-0 all-time against Canada in World Cup Qualifiers.


Team USA has scored 16 runs across three third innings so far in tournament play. The nine-run outburst against Peru started the third-inning success, which the U.S. followed by scoring four against Puerto Rico and three against Venezuela in the third frame.


Through three games, the United States' pitching staff has struck out 25 batters in 17.0 innings pitched. Carson Messina's seven punch outs lead the group, followed by Stunner Gonzales' four. The U.S. pitching staff owns a 2.06 ERA and has only permitted 11 hits in its 17.0 innings of work.


The U.S. has won each of the last five U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifiers it has competed in, earning gold in 2009, 2011, 2014, 2016, and 2018 while compiling a 41-1 overall record. The program most recently captured gold in the event with a perfect 9-0 record in 2018, outscoring its opponents 131-27.


United States (3-0)

Venezuela (2-1)

Canada (1-2)

Puerto Rico (1-2)

Peru (0-3)


Team USA’s 20-man roster features four members who have previously donned the stars and stripes. A trio of players reunite on the roster after earning spots on the 15U National Team: Carson Messina, Austin Nye, and Michael Torres. Additionally, Daniel Arambula (2017) and Torres (2018) played for the 12U National Team, both winning gold medals.

In total, 10 of the 20 players on the roster have participated in USA Baseball development programs, including eight players from the 2022 16U/17U National Team Development Program (NTDP). Arambula, Talan Bell, Matthew Champion, Noah Franco, PJ Morlando, Vaughn Neckar, Ford Thompson, and Torres all participated at this year’s NTDP from July 25-29 in Cary, North Carolina. The roster also includes four players who participated in the 2022 Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) League: Casey Borba, Roman Martin, Campbell Smithwick and Nazzan Zanetello.


Denny Hocking is back at the helm of the 18U National Team after guiding the U.S. to a gold medal at this summer’s WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in Bradenton and Sarasota, Florida. The skipper, who owns 13 years of major-league playing experience, has spent time as an analyst, coach, and minor-league manager, and currently works as an analyst on Bally Sports West.

Team USA alum and 14-year MLB veteran Brad Penny returns to the staff as pitching coach after serving in the same role for the program in a friendship series against Canada in 2021. The World Series champ and two-time MLB All-Star led last year’s staff to a 1.53 ERA with 89 strikeouts in 59 innings. Former 12U National Team Manager and longtime Orange Lutheran High School skipper Eric Borba is on staff as an assistant coach, as well as New York Yankees’ minor-league coach James Cooper.