GOLD MEDAL GAMEDAY: Team USA, Panama Meet in Gold Medal Game

First pitch scheduled for 3:00 p.m. MT/5:00 p.m. ET at Estadio Arturo C. Nahl


LA PAZ, Mexico – The 18U National Team takes on Panama in the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier gold medal game on Sunday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. MT/5:00 p.m. ET at Estadio Arturo C. Nahl in La Paz, Mexico.


The U.S. finished off a Super Round sweep on Saturday with an 8-4 win over Nicaragua. After Nicaragua answered with a run following back-to-back doubles by Campbell Smithwick and Casey Borba, the U.S. took back the lead for good on a two-run single by Daniel Arambula in the bottom of the third. Borba went 3-for-4 on the day with two runs driven in, increasing his RBI total to a team-best 12. Nazzan Zanetello continued his tear at the plate, smoking a two-run homer for some insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth.

Michael Torres started for the U.S. on the mound and was effective, tossing four innings of one-run ball. The southpaw worked into and out of a jam in the third inning to keep the Nicaraguan offense at bay and ended the day with five strikeouts. Ty Southisene pitched two innings in relief and allowed a run, and Noah Franco retired the final three batters despite permitting two runners to score.


The U.S. has played Panama 24 times at the U-18 level and owns a 22-2 record in the series, including an 18-1 record at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier. The two sides met for the first time in 1987 and most recently played earlier in this tournament, with Team USA picking up a 5-2 win in Super Round action.


The title game will be the 10th such contest for Team USA in 14 appearances at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier. The U.S. first appeared in the tournament's gold medal game in its debut tournament in 1993, where it fell to Cuba, 5-1. After not making the title game in the following three tournaments, the United States has appeared in the game nine times in its last 10 tries. Overall, the 18U National Team is 5-4 in the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier championship game.


Team USA and Panama met in the title game at the most recent WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier, playing for gold on December 2, 2018, in Chitre, Panama. The U.S. knocked off Panama, 17-2, scoring early and often to secure its fifth-consecutive gold medal. Current Texas Rangers top pitching prospect Jack Leiter started that game for the stars and stripes and struck out nine batters in four innings, and current Kansas City Royal Bobby Witt Jr. hit for the cycle to help lead Team USA to the gold medal win.


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 (5-0)

Panama (3-2)

Mexico (3-2)

Venezuela (2-2)

Nicaragua (1-4)

Puerto Rico (1-4)


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.