GAMEDAY: Team USA Plays Super Round Finale Against Nicaragua

First pitch scheduled for 2:00 p.m. MT/4:00 p.m. ET at Estadio Arturo C. Nahl


LA PAZ, Mexico – The 18U National Team wraps up Super Round play at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier against Nicaragua. First pitch is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. MT/4:00 p.m. ET at Estadio Arturo C. Nahl in La Paz, Mexico.


Team USA secured its spot in the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier title game with an 8-7 walk-off win over Mexico on Friday night. After falling into a quick 4-0 hole, an RBI hit by Ty Southisene and a two-run blast by Casey Borba tied the game up in the second. Then, with the U.S. trailing by a run in the bottom of the seventh, PJ Morlando and Noah Franco hit clutch doubles to tie it before Nazzan Zanetello delivered the final blow with a walk-off single to secure the victory.

Team USA's bullpen was key in the win, as it tossed 6.1 innings and allowed just three runs (one earned). Mason Brassfield was the first pitcher out of the bullpen and he turned in 1.2 strong frames before handing the ball to Stunner Gonzales, who pitched four innings of one-run ball. Cade Townsend, who earned the win, pitched a scoreless seventh to set the table for Zanetello's walk-off knock.


Team USA and Nicaragua have met five times at the U-18 level, with the U.S. holding a 4-1 advantage in the series. After first playing one another in 1992, the two nations last competed at the 2018 WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier, which resulted in a 17-2 win for the United States.


With last night's victory over Mexico, Team USA has already clinched a spot in the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier gold medal game. Additionally, the U.S. has qualified for next summer's WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in Tainan, Taiwan, where the squad will look to defend its title from 2022.


Casey Borba hit his second home run of the tournament on Friday against Mexico, a clutch two-run shot to tie the game in the second. Borba now has a team-best 10 RBIs to go with his two dingers, ranking him second in the tournament in that category. The Santa Ana, California native has also scored at least once in all six of the team's games, joining PJ Morlando and Ty Southisene as the only two players to accomplish that feat.


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 (4-0)

Mexico (2-2)

Panama (2-2)

Venezuela (2-2)

Nicaragua (1-3)

Puerto Rico (1-3)


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.