Team USA Loses to Puerto Rico in Super Round Finale

U.S. drops to 5-3 overall, will play for bronze on Sunday

Box Score & Plays | Cumulative Stats

TAIPEI, Taiwan – Team USA lost to Puerto Rico, 4-3, in its World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup Super Round finale on Saturday morning at Tianmu Baseball Stadium.

The loss drops the United States to 5-3 overall and 2-3 in the Super Round, per WBSC tournament regulations. Puerto Rico is also now 5-3 overall and 2-3 in the Super Round standings. Despite the loss, the U.S. has secured a spot in Sunday’s bronze medal game against an opponent to be determined.

After holding onto a one-run lead after five, Team USA allowed a run in both the sixth and seventh innings and could not rally late. Puerto Rico tied the game on a wild pitch in the sixth inning, and a sacrifice fly by Henry Clausell provided the go-ahead and eventual winning run in the top of the seventh before the U.S. went down in order to end it. 

Levi Sterling (Los Angeles, Calif.) started for the stars and stripes and lasted 4.1 innings while allowing two runs on five hits. Sterling departed the game with the lead intact and Jack McKernan (Missouri City, Texas) escaped a bases-loaded jam to keep it a 3-2 edge in the fifth, but the southpaw surrendered runs in the sixth and seventh to suffer the loss. Jarrette Bonet turned in 4.1 hitless innings of relief for Puerto Rico and earned the win.

At the plate, Team USA was led by Konnor Griffin’s (Florence, Miss.) two-hit performance. Griffin singled and scored in the first, then hit an RBI triple and scored again in the third, to be responsible for all three U.S. runs. PJ Morlando (Summerville, S.C.) collected a hit and an RBI with a sacrifice fly in the first, while Derek Curiel (West Covina, Calif.) chipped in a sacrifice fly of his own.


  • Griffin singled to begin the U.S. first and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Morlando to put Team USA up 1-0 out of the gates.
  • Puerto Rico’s Harold Laracuente hit a two-out single down the right field line in the top of the third to bring home a run and level the contest at 1-1.
  • The U.S. regained a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the third when Griffin stayed hot and ripped a triple to left center to plate Manny Marin (Miami, Fla.), who led off the frame with a single.
  • Curiel hit the second sacrifice fly of the game for the stars and stripes in the third to bring home Griffin and extend the lead to two.
  • Puerto Rico crept back within one on an RBI triple by Adrian Padro in the top of the fourth.
  • Padro led off the top of the sixth with a single for Puerto Rico and scored on a wild pitch to tie the game at three.
  • Three consecutive singles loaded the bases for Puerto Rico in the top of the seventh before Clausell hit a sacrifice fly to center to give his team its first lead of the game.
  • Bonet continued to be a tough task for U.S. hitters as he retired the side in the bottom of the seventh to complete the 4-3 win.


  • Morlando continued his hot tournament with a hit on Saturday and has now collected a knock in seven of Team USA’s eight games played. The lefty is batting .389 with a .480 on-base percentage.
  • Griffin has picked up three hits and scored three runs over Team USA’s last two games.
  • Sterling finishes his tournament on the mound with a 1.86 ERA in 8.1 innings pitched, walking just one batter.
  • Saturday’s loss was the first for Team USA against Puerto Rico in six all-time matchups at the U-18 level.


Team USA awaits its opponent for the bronze medal game at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup. The bronze medal game is set for 2:00 p.m. local/2:00 a.m. ET and will be streaming live on from Tianmu Baseball Stadium.


To follow along with all the action with the 18U National Team, be sure to follow @USABaseball18U on Twitter and @USABaseball on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter.