Team USA Erases 11-Run Deficit to Win Gold

Twenty-nine runs sets 12U National Team single game record

Box Score | Plays | Cumulative

AGUASCALIENTES, Mexico – Team USA (9-0) overcame an 11-run deficit to win gold at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-12 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier with a 29-28 win over Venezuela (6-3) in seven innings on Sunday in Aguascalientes.

When Team USA faced Venezuela in the Opening Round, nearly a week earlier, the 25-24 game ended with a U.S. walk-off home run. Fast forward to Sunday and the two teams combined for eight more runs scored in the contest, but this time it ended with a walk-off drag bunt.

The battle between the WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier’s two highest scoring teams lived up to the hype. Team USA led 15-6 in the third before Venezuela scored 19 unanswered runs to lead by 10 in the fifth, 25**-**15. The U.S. added two in the bottom of the fifth, but Venezuela added three in the sixth to earn the game’s largest lead at 28-17 headed into the final inning.

With three outs left in the game, Team USA stayed calm, collected, and patient at the plate to score seven until it had one out to go. Zaylon Johnson stepped up to the plate with the bases-loaded and hit a grand slam to tie the game. One inning later, an error on a sacrifice bunt allowed Team USA to win gold and set a 12U National Team record for most runs scored in a single game.

The game started by Venezuela scoring one in the top of the first. Leyland Henry, Johnson, and Nathan Handley-White responded with homers; three-run, solo, and a three-run, respectively, in the bottom frame to take a 7-1 lead.

Venezuela stayed in the game by using home runs, singles and wild pitches to score five, closing the gap to three runs in the second.

A Ty Glaus RBI-double, a Ryder Serna RBI, a Jett Schoolcraft RBI-single, and a Tyler Early RBI kept Venezuela at bay through two complete.

In the bottom of the third, Team USA kept the pressure on thanks to a two-RBI double from Bryant Ju and a two-run home run by Boston Targac. The stars and stripes took a 15-6 lead into the fourth inning.

That's when Venezuela took control, scoring 19 unanswered runs in the span of two innings to flip the script and go up by 10 after four-and-a-half innings for its first lead since the top of the first.

Targac tried to power Team USA with a two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth, but a Venezuela double-play two batters later ended any momentum that was gathering.

A three-run homer from Venezuela in the top of the sixth provided the largest lead for either team, 28-17.

Team USA stayed resilient, fought back with its impressive 11-run sixth inning and walk-off run in the seventh to head home with a gold medal.

Team USA had five players earn honors at the WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier. Johnson earned tournament MVP honors and Jacob Miller earned the tournament’s Best Pitcher award, recording the most wins (3) and lowest ERA (0.50). Additionally, Early, Targac, and Johnson were named to the All-Tournament Team at left field, catcher, and designated hitter, respectfully.

With the top-four finish at the WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier, Team USA will head to the WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup in Tainan, Taiwan, this summer. The U.S. is the defending champion after defeating Venezuela in the 2022 edition. This will be the sixth World Cup appearance for the 12U National Team after winning four of the five that it has previously participated in. Stay tuned to @USABaseball12U on Twitter for the most up-to-date news about the 2023 12U National Team.