USA BASEBALL NEWS

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FEATURE: Through Kelsie's Eyes

August 17, 2022
The following is a personal reflection of Women's National Team member Kelsie Whitmore about her journey to becoming a professional baseball player. She became the first female to play in the Atlantic League when she made her professional debut on April 21, 2022. She is also the first woman to

The following is a personal reflection of Women's National Team member Kelsie Whitmore about her journey to becoming a professional baseball player.

She became the first female to play in the Atlantic League when she made her professional debut on April 21, 2022. She is also the first woman to play in a league associated with Major League Baseball since 1994.

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Partnership-16x9-BigLeagueChew (1)

USA Baseball Announces Partnership With Big League Chew

Big League Chew to become Official Bubble Gum of USA Baseball
September 19, 2023
CARY, N.C. – USA Baseball and USA Baseball Sports Properties within LEARFIELD today announced a partnership with Big League Chew, baseball’s favorite bubble gum, to become an Official Partner of the organization as the Official Bubble Gum of USA Baseball. Rooted in baseball culture for over four decades, Big League

CARY, N.C. – USA Baseball and USA Baseball Sports Properties within LEARFIELD today announced a partnership with Big League Chew, baseball’s favorite bubble gum, to become an Official Partner of the organization as the Official Bubble Gum of USA Baseball.

Rooted in baseball culture for over four decades, Big League Chew has been a staple for generations of players and fans of America’s pastime. The partnership unites one of America’s most beloved and iconic bubble gum brands with the nation’s premier amateur baseball organization.

“USA Baseball looks forward to teaming up with Big League Chew on and off the diamond,” said USA Baseball COO David Perkins. “Big League Chew has become an iconic part of the game of baseball, and we are excited about this new relationship that will help to elevate the two brands in the amateur baseball realm.”

Big League Chew and USA Baseball are excited to team up in various capacities, such as featuring USA Baseball branding on every pack of Big League Chew, product placement in dugouts during USA Baseball events, and collaborative social media content showcasing how the country’s top young talent has fun with Big League Chew as they chase their big league dreams. Additionally, Big League Chew will provide products to participants at USA Baseball events and to USA Baseball national team athletes annually.

“Joining forces with a prestigious organization like USA Baseball to help promote amateur baseball across the country is something Big League Chew and I can get behind completely,” said Rob Nelson, founder of Big League Chew.

“The momentum for the Big League Chew brand is accelerating rapidly, and our new partnership with USA Baseball will only help us round the bases faster. We are excited to work with the amazing USA Baseball team in 2024 and beyond,” said CEO of Ford Gum Scott Lerner.

USA Baseball Sports Properties within LEARFIELD is dedicated to representing USA Baseball by developing and managing sponsor relationships with brands looking to align with USA Baseball and its events and programming.

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15UGame5

Team USA Downs Puerto Rico, 12-3, to Win Championship

The 15U National Team defeated Puerto Rico, 12-3, to claim the 2023 International Friendly Series title
September 18, 2023
Box Score | Play by Play | Cumulative Stats

Box Score | Play by Play | Cumulative Stats

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic – In the most exhilarating contest of the week, the 15U National Team defeated Puerto Rico, 12-3, to claim the 2023 International Friendly Series title at the Yaguate Baseball Complex, on Monday afternoon. Team USA concludes the series with an undefeated record of 5-0 while outscoring its opponents; 47-5.

Team USA is no stranger to strong starts and this contest was no exception. The stars and stripes scored five runs on seven hits across the first three innings and forced three Puerto Rican defensive miscues en route to the victory.

After Puerto Rico scored twice to make it a 5-3 affair through five complete, the United States felt for the first time, a sense of unease. With a runner on third and one away in the sixth, pitcher Jack Smejkal (The Woodlands, Texas) shook off the clamor from the Puerto Rican dugout and delivered a sinking ball that would change the tone of the contest. Batter, Geraniel Nieves, sent a high fly ball into foul territory along the third base line, and after Brady Harris (Saint Augustine, Fla.) made the extra effort play to secure the baseball for out number two, he then proceeded to throw the tagging runner out at home for the inning-ending double play.

Shortly after, Team USA’s bats came alive once more and delivered the final blow in the home half of the sixth. The squad exploded for seven runs on five hits, highlighted by two home runs, to put itself in the comfortable spot it has been used to heading into the final frame of the contest.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • The United States came out of the gates hot, as an error that allowed James Tronstein (Los Angeles, Calif.) to score was followed up by an RBI base hit off the bat of Harris. One more run scored after Brody Jindra (Elkhorn, Neb.) tallied his first hit of the day with an RBI single to opposite field.
  • Harris continued to see the ball well, as the left fielder sent a 1-2 pitch through the left side to score Tronstein and put Team USA up 4-0 after two innings.
  • In a first for the U.S. this week, JC Pacheco (Wayne, N.J.) hammered a 2-2 offering over the left field wall for a leadoff homer in the third to make it 5-1.
  • After a brief shortage of offense, Team USA was able to get the bats going in the sixth inning. With two baserunners on, Grady Emerson (Argyle, Texas) crushed a ball far beyond the right field wall for a three-run home run. Later that inning, Jorvorskie Lane Jr. (Fort Worth, Texas) found his groove and drove a ball to the center field wall for an RBI triple.
  • Not done just yet, Pacheco homered for the second time, this one being another opposite field shot to make it 11-3. Jindra capped the scoring off by sliding home on a wild pitch after he reached via a triple to center field.

NOTABLES

  • This series marks the first time since 2018 that the 15U United States’ pitching staff finished below a 1.24 ERA, as the 2023 15U National Team secured a mind-boggling 1.16 ERA. 
  • The staff also broke the prior team record of least walks allowed, as the current staff only allowed 10 in the series compared to the previous low of 15 in 2013.
  • Emerson, Harris, and Tronstein all collected at least one hit in each game while Drew Davis (Sumrall, Miss.), Jindra, and Harris each collected six or more RBIs in the series.
  • Out of the 12 players who recorded at least four at-bats, eight compiled a batting average of .350 or higher.
  • Out of the 47 runs the team scored in the series, Tronstein was responsible for a team-high 10 of those.

SOCIAL MEDIA

To follow along with all the action regarding USA Baseball, be sure to follow @USABaseball on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter.

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15UGame4

Team USA Shuts Out the Dominican Republic for Fourth Straight Win

With the win, the United States advances to the International Friendly Series title game versus Puerto Rico
September 17, 2023
Box Score | Play by Play | Cumulative Stats

Box Score | Play by Play | Cumulative Stats

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic – The 15U National Team picked up its fourth straight win in an 8-0 route of Dominican Republic 1 at the Toronto Blue Jays Academy in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on Sunday. Team USA has now beat Dominican Republic 1 twice and outscored them 21-1 in the International Friendly Series.

Despite this contest not having any implications in terms of securing a championship spot, the events that transpired in game four suggested otherwise. The stacked roster of the United States continued to awe the crowd and put up staggering numbers. The Team USA pitching staff once again rode a no-hitter late into the contest, as the arms of Jack Smejkal (The Woodlands, Texas), Will Adams (Hoover, Ala.), and Brody Jindra (Elkhorn, Neb.) were responsible for the Dominican Republic’s goose egg in the run column. These hard throwers combined for eight punchouts, two hits, and only one walk in the shutout of Dominican Republic 1.

On the flip side, the bats of the United States combined for eight runs on nine hits in addition to 10 walks. This time, it was Drew Davis (Sumrall, Miss.) who led the pack, as the two-way player went 3-for-4 while collecting five of the team’s six RBIs. JC Pacheco (Wayne, N.J.) took advantage of his opportunity hitting in the cleanup spot by posting a 2-for-3 performance and crossing home plate twice. Additionally, left fielder Brady Harris (Saint Augustine, Fla.) went 1-for-2 and scored three times, while right fielder Blake Bowen (Riverside, Calif.) drew three walks in his four at-bats.

Team USA had a slow start, but started to gain momentum in the third when the team plated three runs. The U.S. put up another three spot in the fifth frame while a two-run sixth handed the stars and stripes an 8-0 advantage.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Team USA did not erase the zero in the run column until the home half of the third, when Grady Emerson (Argyle, Texas) drove an 0-2 offering up the middle to plate James Tronstein (Los Angeles, Calif.). The inning saw two more runs score after Davis sent a ball to deep right-center for a 2-RBI triple, putting the U.S. up 3-0.
  • The United States put up another three spot in the contest to widen its lead, as Davis struck again. The second baseman collected the hit in the fifth frame with a ball up the middle that scored Pacheco and Harris. Another run scored later that inning as the result of a Team USA player being caught in a rundown, allowing Davis to cross home plate for the United States’ sixth run.
  • Team USA tacked on two more runs in the sixth after a run-producing wild pitch was followed up yet again by Davis’ hot bat. The freshman drove a 2-2 pitch up the middle for an RBI single to make it 8-0 and put the contest far out of reach for the Dominican Republic.

NOTABLES

  • This shutout by the United States’ pitching staff drops its ERA to 0.75, and the squad has given up only nine hits in four days.
  • Davis ties the 15U program individual game record of most RBIs in a game with five. Josh Hartle did it in 2018 against China while Branden Boissiere did it in 2015 against Argentina.
  • Davis, Jindra, and Josiah Morris (Oakley, Calif.) have racked up six RBIs apiece, while Emerson, Harris, and Tronstein have extended their hitting streak to four games.
  • The 15U National Team stays undefeated and moves to 11-0 all-time against the Dominican Republic.

ON DECK

Team USA concludes the week with a final matchup against Puerto Rico in the 2023 International Friendly Series championship game on Monday. First pitch is set for 1:00 p.m. ET while live stats will be provided via SideArm and streamed on YouTube.

SOCIAL MEDIA

To follow along with all the action with the 15U National Team, be sure to follow @USABaseball15U on Twitter and @USABaseball on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter.

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15UGame3

15U National Team Concedes One Hit in Win Against the Dominican Republic

Starter Wilson Andersen tossed 5.0 high-caliber innings of no-hit ball to lead Team USA past Dominican Republic 2, 4-1
September 16, 2023
Box Score | Play by Play | Cumulative Stats

Box Score | Play by Play | Cumulative Stats

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic – The Team USA pitching staff combined for a one-hit, three-run win as the United States downed the Dominican Republic 2 team by a score of 4-1 at the Toronto Blue Jays Academy Saturday morning. This victory is the United States’ third straight as it improves to a 3-0 record in the International Friendly Series hosted by the Dominican Republic.

The arms of the United States were the story once again, this time led by the slender frame of Wilson Andersen (Tampa, Fla.), who chalked up an impressive 5.0 innings pitched while giving up no hits and punching out seven Dominican batters en route to earning the win. Drew Davis (Sumrall, Miss.) took command in the sixth and finished the job from there. The right-handed pitcher hailing from the small town of Sumrall, Mississippi, tossed 2.0 innings in which only 21 pitches were used to earn the save and cement the Team USA victory.

In contrast to the past pair of contests, the opposing starter did a sufficient job to keep the U.S. bats at bay. Over Gonzalez allowed only two earned runs to cross the plate while the United States tallied up five hits through 4.0 innings, two of those belonging to Grady Emerson (Argyle, Texas).

Despite that, Team USA still put it to the opposing team and outplayed its Dominican counterpart. Two Americans stood out in the blazing Dominican heat, one being Brady Harris (Saint Augustine, Fla.). The left fielder posted a 2-for-3 outing while driving in half of his team’s runs. The other player that left his mark was Emerson, who proved to the crowd why he is the starting shortstop and batting second in the order. The Texan not only ousted a 2-for-3 day at the plate, but was responsible for more than half of the team’s assists in addition to a spectacular 5-6-3 play in the seventh to keep the then no-hitter intact.

The red, white, and blue scored every other inning as the squad plated one in the first, two in the third, and one in the fifth. The Dominican Republic crawled within reaching distance in the top of the fifth, however, as a sacrifice fly scored the lone run for the away team. This effort did not suffice, as Team USA kept its hot streak alive and won its third game in as many days.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Team USA once again drew first blood, this time being the fault of the Dominican infield, as an error not only allowed Jorvorskie Lane Jr. (Fort Worth, Texas) to reach, but also James Tronstein (Los Angeles, Calif.) to score.
  • The contest remained one of defense until the third, when the United States strung together three consecutive hits, the most lethal one being a hard-hit ball into left by Harris for a 2-RBI double.
  • Team USA managed one more run in the game after Brody Jindra (Elkhorn, Neb.) extended his hitting streak to three games with an RBI single, handing the U.S. a 4-1 lead and once again giving the United States a three-run separation.

NOTABLES

  • Team USA continues to flaunt its extensive talent of arms, as the staff owns an impressive 1.06 ERA while surrendering only seven hits and four walks over three days.
  • Out of the 11 players who have recorded an at-bat, 10 of them currently hold a batting average of .300 or higher.
  • Tronstein, Emerson, Jindra, Harris, and Josiah Morris (Oakley, Calif.) all ride three-game hitting streaks heading into the fourth day of competition, while Harris and Jindra have both recorded at least one RBI in each game.
  • The 15U National Team stays undefeated and moves to 10-0 all-time against the Dominican Republic.

ON DECK

Team USA will once more take on Dominican Republic 1 on Sunday with first pitch set for 1:00 p.m. ET. Live stats will be provided via SideArm, and the contest will be streamed on YouTube.

SOCIAL MEDIA

To follow along with all the action with the 15U National Team, be sure to follow @USABaseball15U on Twitter and @USABaseball on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter.

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15UGame2

Team USA Shuts Out Puerto Rico For Second Consecutive Run-Rule Victory

Dominant performances from Tucker Long, Brody Jindra lead to 10-0 win
September 15, 2023
Box Score | Play by Play | Cumulative Stats

Box Score | Play by Play | Cumulative Stats

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic – Team USA brought the heat and shut out Puerto Rico for a 10-0 run-rule victory at the Toronto Blue Jays Academy Friday morning. This marks the second time in as many days the 15U National Team has won by double digits in the International Friendly Series hosted by the Dominican Republic.

Tucker Long (Ottumwa, Iowa) started on the bump for the United States and did not disappoint. The 6-foot, hard-throwing, right-handed pitcher needed only 53 pitches to get through 4.0 exceptional innings to earn the win. Long surrendered a mere three hits on the day while tallying four strikeouts and allowing no runs to cross the plate.

His counterpart, on the other hand, had anything but a day of smooth sailing. The opposing starter, Jomar Rivera, lasted only 1.2 strenuous innings before being pulled. The hot bats of the United States were to blame, as the team picked up right where it left off of yesterday’s contest and punished the opposing squad from the get-go. Team USA once again dipped into double digits in the hit column as three batters had multi-hit performances, not to mention a 4-RBI day by the third baseman, Brody Jindra (Elkhorn, Neb.)

The stars and stripes managed to bat around the lineup over the first two frames, which resulted in six of its 10 runs to score. The matchup saw a two-inning hiatus in which no runs were scored and only two hits assigned to Team USA. A four-hit rally in the fifth sealed the victory, however, as the red, white, and blue notched four final runs before turning to Samir Mohammed (Trinity, Fla.), who was tasked with the fifth and final frame.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Team USA began to apply pressure in the first, as James Tronstein (Los Angeles, Calif.) came out first-pitch swinging to lead off the contest with a base hit. From there, a ball put into play by Brady Harris (Saint Augustine, Fla.) followed by an RBI single by Jindra handed the stars and stripes an early 2-0 advantage.
  • It only ramped up from there, as Tronstein once again made his name heard and put a ground ball into the field for an RBI. Jindra took care of it once again, this time with a deep shot to left for a two-out, bases-clearing double to make it 6-0.
  • Action did not make another appearance until the fifth, as Drew Davis (Sumrall, Miss.) notched his first hit and RBI of the week to score Blake Bowen (Riverside, Calif.), who reached on a double. Josiah Morris (Oakley, Calif.) continued the rally and added another hit to his name with an RBI base knock to drive home Davis for the United States' eighth run.
  • Harris continued the onslaught by singling to left field and bringing home Tronstein and Morris to give Team USA a double-digit lead.

NOTABLES

  • The 15U National Team improves to 3-0 all-time against Puerto Rico, the last meeting being a 15-4 victory.
  • The United States pitching staff continues to show what it is capable of, holding opponents to a mere .171 batting average and allowing only one run to cross the plate in two days.
  • Harris and Jindra combined for six of the team’s nine RBIs while Tronstein, Davis, and Jorvorskie Lane Jr. (Fort Worth, Texas) all scored more than once in today’s contest.
  • Jindra, Harris, and Bowen all had multi-hit days, with the latter two recording 2-for-3 performances.

ON DECK

Team USA will next take on Dominican Republic 2 on Saturday with first pitch slated for 10:00 a.m. ET. Live stats will be provided via SideArm, and the contest will be streamed on YouTube.

SOCIAL MEDIA

To follow along with all the action with the 15U National Team, be sure to follow @USABaseball15U on Twitter and @USABaseball on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter.

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15UGame1

Team USA's Explosive Offense Leads to Statement Win Over the Dominican Republic

Quality pitching and a barrage of runs leads to 13-1 run-rule victory in series opener
September 14, 2023
Box Score | Play by Play

Box Score | Play by Play

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic – Team USA dazzled in its opening game of the 2023 International Friendly Series in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The squad overwhelmed Dominican Republic 1 with a potent offense and shutdown defense en route to a 13-1 run-rule victory on Thursday morning at the Toronto Blue Jays Academy.

Starter Cade Allen (Humboldt, Tenn.) set the tone from the get-go, turning in a quality start that consisted of 4.0 innings of three-hit ball before he was relieved of his duties. On the flip side, his battery mate – Josiah Morris (Oakley, Calif.) – posted an impressive 2-for-2 outing at the plate as did designated hitter Jorvorskie Lane Jr. (Fort Worth, Texas), who notched the only other multi-hit performance for the stars and stripes.

Despite a quiet first inning, Team USA’s bats came to life in the second frame in a substantial manner, as the team batted around the order and plated a staggering seven runs. The runs kept pouring on from there on out, as the red, white, and blue proceeded to score two in the third and four in the fourth frame.

Allen kept his composure throughout, as he did not allow a hit until the third inning. The Humboldt, Tennessee, native refused to surrender a run until the fourth, when Dominican centerfielder Alexander Frias led off with a double then proceeded to score two batters later. That inning highlighted the extent of the Dominican offense, however, the team racked up a mere three hits while striking out seven times overall, five of them by means of Allen’s right arm.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Errant plays by the Dominican pitcher allowed Lane Jr., who led off the second with a walk, to advance to third and then score two batters later after Trey Ebel (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) put the ball in play and drove in Lane Jr. for the first run.
  • Blake Bowen (Riverside, Calif.) jumped on a 2-2 offering later that inning and lined one up the middle to plate Brody Jindra (Elkhorn, Neb.) and Ebel. Morris’ big day began right after, as he tripled down the right field line and scored Bowen for his first RBI on the day.
  • James Tronstein (Los Angeles, Calif.) found the right-centerfield gap immediately after, easily plating Morris from third and triggering a Dominican pitching change.
  • Back-to-back singles through the right side by Lane Jr. and Jindra handed the United States a sizable lead and rounded off the seven-run second inning.
  • A 1-2-3 inning by Allen in the second immediately put Team USA back on offense as a rocket to right field off the bat of Brady Harris (Saint Augustine, Fla.) tacked on two more runs for the U.S. in the third.
  • The stars and stripes got back to work in the fourth frame as a run-producing wild pitch was followed up by an RBI single off the bat of Ebel, making it 11-0. Morris’ second hit of the day was once again a three-bagger, scoring Ebel and Team USA’s 12th run. Tronstein notched an RBI right after, easily bringing home Morris from third for a 13-0 advantage.

NOTABLES

  • The 15U National Team stays undefeated and improves to an impressive 9-0 all-time record against the Dominican Republic.
  • Morris broke the individual game record of most triples in a game with two. The previous record being one with the latest at the hands of John Short who recorded a triple against Cuba in 2022.
  • The United States exhausted only two arms, Allen, who earned the win, and Alex Haro (Whittier, Calif.) who tossed a 1-2-3 fifth inning.
  • Allen tied an individual record in the second as he needed only three pitches to get through the inning.
  • Tronstein, Harris, Ebel, Bowen, and Morris each had 2-RBI performances. Morris also scored three times while Jindra, Ebel, and Lane Jr. each scored twice in the contest.

ON DECK

Team USA will next take on Puerto Rico on Friday, with first pitch set for 10:00 a.m. ET. Live stats will be provided via SideArm, and the contest will be streamed on YouTube.

SOCIAL MEDIA

To follow along with all the action with the 15U National Team, be sure to follow @USABaseball15U on Twitter and @USABaseball on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter.

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15UDay_3

15U National Team Dominates Exhibition Play With Back-To-Back Lopsided Victories

The 15U National Team won by a combined score of 24-6 in Monday's doubleheader exhibition matchup against Elite Squad
September 12, 2023
GAME ONE - TEAM USA PICKS UP AN EARLY LEAD AND NEVER LOOKS BACK IN AN 8-2 VICTORY OVER ELITE SQUAD MIAMI, Fla. – Multi-hit performances from Grady Emerson (Argyle, Texas) and Blake Bowen (Riverside, Calif.) got Team USA off to a running start and helped power the 15U National

GAME ONE - TEAM USA PICKS UP AN EARLY LEAD AND NEVER LOOKS BACK IN AN 8-2 VICTORY OVER ELITE SQUAD

MIAMI, Fla. – Multi-hit performances from Grady Emerson (Argyle, Texas) and Blake Bowen (Riverside, Calif.) got Team USA off to a running start and helped power the 15U National Team past Elite Squad, 8-2, in the first matchup Monday evening at Alex Rodriguez Park.

Despite giving up two early runs, the 15U National Team showed off its offensive capabilities and quickly responded in its home half of the first frame as three runs were plated thanks to Brady Harris (Saint Augustine, Fla.) and Jorvorskie Lane Jr. (Fort Worth, Texas), handing the stars and stripes a lead it would never relinquish.

An RBI base knock off the bat of Emerson in the second inning put the U.S. up by a pair while the bats exploded once more for a four-run fourth as a handful of hits tacked on extra insurance for the home team.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Back-to-back walks issued to James Tronstein (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Emerson gave the 15U National Team two early baserunners who promptly scored after Harris ripped a double to left later in the first inning.
  • Lane Jr. tacked on a run himself as he won a hard-fought at-bat by driving a 3-2 offering up the middle for an RBI.
  • An Emerson single in the second plated one more and gave the team a two-run advantage.
  • A busy fourth frame was ignited by Taytum Reeves’ (Menifee, Calif.) base hit followed up by a double steal and a hard-hit shot to right off the bat of Tronstein for a double, making it 6-2. JC Pacheco (Wayne, N.J.) joined in on the action and tallied a pair of RBIs with a base hit to center, giving Team USA an 8-2 lead.

NOTABLE STATS

  • Emerson and Bowen each amassed a pair of base hits and runs scored, with Emerson knocking in a run as well.
  • Tronstein posted a 1-for-3 performance with an RBI and two runs scored while Reeves also garnered a hit while scoring once.
  • Cade Allen (Humboldt, Tenn.) refused to concede a hit as he pitched two shutout innings and punched out three batters.
  • Tucker Long (Ottumwa, Iowa), Jack Smejkal (The Woodlands, Texas), and Brody Jindra (Elkhorn, Neb.) each got in a clean inning of work while only giving up three combined hits.

GAME TWO - TEAM USA EXPLODES OFFENSIVELY AND SAILS PAST ELITE SQUAD, 16-4

The 15U National Team picked up right where it left off, as the team combined for 15 total hits, highlighted by homers from both Harris and Tronstein as they led their team to a 16-4 blowout victory in game two of the exhibition doubleheader.

This time, the stars and stripes struck first, as a trio of base hits in addition to an error allowed the 15U National Team to jump to an early 2-0 lead in the second. Elite Squad, however, saw an error in its favor soon after, as the misthrow handed the team a pair of runs with only one being earned.

One more run scored for Team USA in the third and things quickly got out of hand from there, as the red, white, and blue then outscored Elite Squad 10-2 over the next two innings. The scoring did not stop there, as the 15U National Team plated three more runs in the sixth before playing defense for two consecutive frames as the opposing team’s bullpen was depleted.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Reeves and Tronstein teamed up in the second and gave their team an early 2-0 advantage after Reeves legged out an infield single and Tronstein doubled on a line drive to center.
  • Drew Davis (Sumrall, Miss.) took advantage of an error earlier in the third and slashed a two-out offering to right for an RBI single.
  • Reeves kicked off the key rally in the fourth with a leadoff base hit; Tronstein then proceeded to hammer a 1-0 pitch high and deep over the left field wall for the team’s first blast of the week. A double off the bat of Harris produced another run while an error allowed the seventh run to cross the plate.
  • Bowen’s bat stayed hot as he laced a two-out pitch up the middle to give the stars and stripes a seven run advantage and 9-2 lead after four frames.
  • Base knocks continued to litter the field in the fifth, while Harris manufactured one more run and a wild pitch tacked on two more. Jindra capped the scoring off with an RBI single to left, making it 13-2.
  • Elite Squad strung together three hits in the fifth with two coming around to score after a wild pitch scored one followed by an RBI base hit by Jordan Young.
  • Harris kept the offense going with a no doubt homer to dead center to once again give Team USA a double-digit lead. Josiah Morris (Oakley, Calif.) knocked in one more run to solidify a 16-4 final score.

NOTABLE STATS

  • Harris did his fair share of damage at the plate, as he went 3-for-5 with four RBIs and three runs scored. Tronstein was also dangerous with the bat, as he gathered a pair of hits and runs scored while driving in three runs.
  • Bowen recorded a 2-for-3 outing with a pair of RBIs and two stolen bags while Reeves also stole a base as he accumulated two hits and two runs scored as well.
  • Will Adams (Hoover, Ala.), Samir Mohammed (Trinity, Fla.), Andrew Jimenez (Wildomar, Calif.), and Reeves each tossed one scoreless frame.

ON DECK

Team USA travels to the Dominican Republic to play a five-game set of international friendly contests against the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, Sept. 14-18.

SOCIAL MEDIA

To follow along with all the action with the 15U National Team, be sure to follow @USABaseball15U on Twitter and @USABaseball on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter.

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PJ NEw Article

Korea Shuts Out Team USA in World Cup Bronze Medal Game

U.S. completes tournament with 5-4 record, fourth-place finish
September 10, 2023
Box Score & Plays | Cumulative Stats

Box Score & Plays | Cumulative Stats

TAIPEI, Taiwan – Team USA was shut out by Korea, 4-0, in the bronze medal game of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup on Sunday afternoon at Tianmu Baseball Stadium.

The U.S. completes tournament play with a 5-4 record, while Korea wraps up the World Cup with a 6-3 mark and a bronze medal.

The stars and stripes could not get anything going against Korea starter Taekyon Kim on Sunday, as the right-hander tossed a complete game and struck out nine in the process. PJ Morlando (Summerville, S.C.) provided the only two hits for the U.S. in the defeat, singling in the second and hitting a double in the fourth. Bryce Rainer (Simi Valley, Calif.), who drew a walk in the second, was the only other Team USA baserunner in the loss.

Cooper Williams (Alvin, Texas) started on the mound for the United States and turned in a start similar to his first. As he did against Japan in pool play, Williams surrendered two runs in the first before settling down for the remainder of the outing. Williams­–who suffered the loss–pitched three innings before Matthew Champion (Laguna Niguel, Calif.) took over and tossed 2.2 innings of two-run ball. Trey Gregory-Alford (Colorado Springs, Colo.) finished the sixth and pitched a scoreless seventh.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • An RBI triple by Tongkeon Yeo and a run-scoring bunt single from Jihwan Park gave Korea an immediate 2-0 lead in the top of the first.
  • Korea threatened to extend its lead in the top of the second when Seungmin Lee hit a one-out double, but Williams locked in and retired the next two batters to maintain the two-run U.S. deficit.
  • The Korea advantage grew to three in the top of the fourth on an RBI single by Sangjun Lee before Rainer threw a runner out at the plate to keep the stars and stripes within striking distance.
  • Morlando tried to ignite the Team USA bats with a two-out double in the fourth, but Kim induced an inning-ending ground out to keep his shutout intact.
  • Champion was chased from the game in the sixth when Seungmin Lee hit his second extra-base hit of the game, an RBI triple to grow Korea’s lead to 4-0.
  • Kim sent the United States down in order in the bottom of the seventh to finish off his complete-game shutout.

NOTABLES

  • Morlando finishes the tournament as the team’s leading hitter, batting .409 (9-for-22) in World Cup play. The lefty collected a hit in eight of the nine U.S. games.
  • Including Sunday’s performance, Gregory-Alford went unscored upon in four tournament appearances out of the bullpen, allowing just two hits in six innings of work.
  • The U.S. pitching staff wraps up the World Cup with a 2.44 team ERA.
  • The loss was Team USA’s second all-time defeat to Korea in World Cup bronze medal games after it also dropped the third-place matchup in 2004.

SOCIAL MEDIA

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GAMEDAY: Team USA Meets Korea in World Cup Bronze Medal Game

First pitch scheduled for 2:00 p.m. local/2:00 a.m. ET (Friday) at Tianmu Baseball Stadium
September 10, 2023
WATCH LIVE ON GAMETIME ($) TAIPEI, Taiwan – The 18U National Team finishes play at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup with the bronze medal game against Korea on Sunday. First pitch is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. local/2:00 a.m. ET at Tianmu Baseball Stadium in Taipei,

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TAIPEI, Taiwan – The 18U National Team finishes play at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup with the bronze medal game against Korea on Sunday. First pitch is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. local/2:00 a.m. ET at Tianmu Baseball Stadium in Taipei, Taiwan.

PITCHING MATCHUP

RHP Taekyon Kim (KOR) vs. LHP Cooper Williams (USA)

LAST TIME OUT

Team USA dropped its Super Round finale on Saturday, falling in a close 4-3 defeat to Puerto Rico. Despite carrying a lead into the late innings, the U.S. bullpen allowed a pair of runs in the sixth and seventh frames and the bats could not rally in the loss. Team USA scored first in Saturday’s game, plating a run in the first inning on a sacrifice fly by PJ Morlando. Puerto Rico answered with a run in the top of the third to tie it, but the U.S. responded in the bottom half with Konnor Griffin’s RBI triple and Derek Curiel’s sac fly to regain a 3-2 lead. However, a wild pitch in the sixth and a Puerto Rico sac fly in the seventh put the U.S. behind and it was unable to muster anything off of reliever Jarrette Bonet.

Levi Sterling started for the U.S. and was solid, tossing 4.1 innings and allowing two runs. Sterling finished the tournament with a 1.86 ERA in 8.1 frames and walked just one batter. Jack McKernan suffered the loss on Saturday by yielding two runs in two innings. Konnor Griffin got the final outs on the mound for the U.S.

BRONZE MEDAL GAME HISTORY

The United States has competed in five bronze medal games at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup. Picking up its first bronze medal win in 1986, the team has gone 4-1 overall in the third-place contest. The U.S. and Korea have played one another on two separate occasions in the bronze medal game; Team USA won the first meeting in 1996, and Korea took home bronze in the most recent matchup in 2004.

HISTORY AGAINST KOREA

At the U-18 level, the United States and Korea have played one another 22 times. Team USA owns a slight series advantage over Korea, posting a 13-9 all-time record. The series began when the U.S. earned a 7-5 victory over Korea in the opening game of the 1988 World Junior Championships, while the most recent meeting was a 5-1 win for the U.S. in game two of the Super Round. The two nations have met in the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup bronze medal game twice, each winning one of those matchups.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENT

Korea enters the bronze medal matchup fresh off a 3-1 win over the Netherlands in its Super Round finale, which secured its spot in Sunday’s bronze game. Korea emerged from Group A as the number two seed for Super Round play after going 4-1, suffering an opening game loss to Chinese Taipei and then rattling off four wins in a row. The squad dropped its first two Super Round games (7-1 vs. Japan and 5-1 vs. Team USA) before Saturday’s 3-1 victory over the Netherlands.

The team is currently led at the plate by Hyunmin Cho, who is batting .350 (7-for-20) with a double, eight RBIs, and four runs scored. Yulyee Lee, who owns a .263 average (5-for-19), ranks second in the team with six RBIs and is tied for first with four runs scored. On the mound, Korea owns a 2.25 ERA with an astounding 77 strikeouts in 53 innings pitched. Sunday’s starter, Taekyon Kim, is 1-0 with a 1.56 ERA with 20 punch outs in nine innings of work.

INSIDE THE ROSTER

Nine players on the 2023 roster have previously played for Team USA. A trio of players from last year’s WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier squad return to the 18U National Team, as Matthew Champion, Noah Franco, and PJ Morlando all helped the U.S. win gold last November. In addition, three players from the 2021 15U National Team–Konnor Griffin, Ethan Schiefelbein, and Nolan Traeger–will reunite on this year’s roster, while two-time alum Jack McKernan and Coy James represent the 2022 15U squad. Bryce Rainer returns to Team USA and makes his second trip to Taiwan after playing for the 2017 12U team.

The 2023 Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) League featured 17 members of this year’s team. The PDP League, which serves as the primary identification event for the 18U National Team, is an invitation-based development and assessment opportunity for high school players eligible for the following year’s MLB Draft. Additionally, 14 members of the squad have previously participated in USA Baseball’s development programs. Three athletes who participated in the 2023 16U/17U National Team Development Program (NTDP)–James, McKernan, and Joey Oakie–earned spots on the final 20-man squad. Eleven members of the 2022 16U/17U NTDP and four players from the 2021 16U/17U NTDP roster were also named to the team. In addition, James and McKernan both participated in the 2021 13U/14U Athlete Development Program (ADP).

ALUM AT THE HELM

Team USA manager Michael Cuddyer is only the second alumnus to play for and manage the 18U National Team, joining Jason Hisey, who played for the U.S. in 1987 and managed the squad in 2006. Cuddyer is a two-time 18U National Team alum, as he played for the program in both 1996 and 1997. In 1996, Cuddyer batted .367 with five RBIs on a roster that featured seven future big leaguers, including Rick Ankiel **and Josh Bard**. Cuddyer then posted a .397 average with an .853 slugging percentage while leading the U.S. in home runs (7) and RBIs (26) at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in New Brunswick, Canada, in 1997.

SOCIAL MEDIA

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.

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Team USA Loses to Puerto Rico in Super Round Finale

U.S. drops to 5-3 overall, will play for bronze on Sunday
September 9, 2023
Box Score & Plays | Cumulative Stats

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.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • 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.

NOTABLES

  • 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.

ON DECK

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 Gametime.sport from Tianmu Baseball Stadium.

SOCIAL MEDIA

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.

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GAMEDAY: Team USA Finishes Super Round Against Puerto Rico

First pitch scheduled for 10:00 a.m. local/10:00 p.m. ET (Friday) at Tianmu Baseball Stadium
September 8, 2023
WATCH LIVE ON GAMETIME ($) TAIPEI, Taiwan – The 18U National Team wraps up World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup Super Round play on Saturday against Puerto Rico. First pitch is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. local/10:00 p.m. ET (Friday) at Tianmu Baseball Stadium in Taipei, Taiwan. PITCHING

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TAIPEI, Taiwan – The 18U National Team wraps up World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup Super Round play on Saturday against Puerto Rico. First pitch is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. local/10:00 p.m. ET (Friday) at Tianmu Baseball Stadium in Taipei, Taiwan.

PITCHING MATCHUP

RHP Jose Bulted (PUR) vs. RHP Levi Sterling (USA)

SUPER ROUND STANDINGS

Chinese Taipei (4-0)

Japan (3-1)

USA (2-2)

Korea (1-3)

Netherlands (1-3)

Puerto Rico (1-3)

LAST TIME OUT

Team USA notched its first Super Round victory on Friday afternoon, picking up a 5-1 win over Korea. After being held off the scoreboard through the game’s first four innings, big hits by Derek Curiel and PJ Morlando helped the U.S. put up a four-spot in the fifth. All four United States’ runs came with two outs in the fifth-inning rally, and Bryce Rainer added a sac fly in the sixth for some insurance.

The U.S. pitching continued its dominant stretch at the World Cup in Friday’s win. Ethan Schiefelbein had his second straight impressive start, tossing five innings of one-run ball and not walking a single batter. Schiefelbein turned it over to reliever Trey Gregory-Alford in the sixth, and the big right-hander got the final six outs to secure the win. Gregory-Alford now has three saves to lead all pitchers in the tournament, one ahead of teammate Noah Franco.

HISTORY AGAINST PUERTO RICO

Team USA has won all five matchups it has played against Puerto Rico at the U-18 level, starting with a 7-1 victory at the 2005 COPABE Pan Am “AAA” Championships. Saturday’s meeting will be just the second all-time between the two nations at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup – the U.S. won the only other contest, 7-0, in 2008.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENT

The No. 3 seed out of Group A, Puerto Rico went 3-2 in pool play and won one of its first two Super Round games. The squad got off to a hot start, beating Czechia, Australia, and Mexico to begin the group stage with a 3-0 record. However, it came up short against Korea and Chinese Taipei­–thus entering the Super Round with a 0-2 mark–before beating the Netherlands and dropping Friday’s game to Japan.

Yeriel Pastrana is the leading hitting for Puerto Rico, pacing the team with a .500 (6-for-12) average and three RBIs. Jan Luis Reyes and Adonys Velez have also chipped in three RBIs apiece to tie for the team lead. The team has posted a 4.92 ERA on the mound thus far with 45 strikeouts in 42.2 innings pitched, paced by Ibrahim Gonzalez’s 15 K’s in 9.1 innings.

INSIDE THE ROSTER

Nine players on the 2023 roster have previously played for Team USA. A trio of players from last year’s WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier squad return to the 18U National Team, as Matthew Champion, Noah Franco, and PJ Morlando all helped the U.S. win gold last November. In addition, three players from the 2021 15U National Team–Konnor Griffin, Ethan Schiefelbein, and Nolan Traeger–will reunite on this year’s roster, while two-time alum Jack McKernan and Coy James represent the 2022 15U squad. Bryce Rainer returns to Team USA and makes his second trip to Taiwan after playing for the 2017 12U team.

The 2023 Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) League featured 17 members of this year’s team. The PDP League, which serves as the primary identification event for the 18U National Team, is an invitation-based development and assessment opportunity for high school players eligible for the following year’s MLB Draft. Additionally, 14 members of the squad have previously participated in USA Baseball’s development programs. Three athletes who participated in the 2023 16U/17U National Team Development Program (NTDP)–James, McKernan, and Joey Oakie–earned spots on the final 20-man squad. Eleven members of the 2022 16U/17U NTDP and four players from the 2021 16U/17U NTDP roster were also named to the team. In addition, James and McKernan both participated in the 2021 13U/14U Athlete Development Program (ADP).

DEFENDING GOLD

Team USA is aiming to defend its gold medal at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup after winning the title last summer in Bradenton and Sarasota, Florida. The U.S. defeated Chinese Taipei in the world championship game in 2022, marking its ninth World Cup gold medal. The United States won four consecutive titles from 2012-2017, joining Cuba as the only two nations to win four straight World Cup gold medals.

ALUM AT THE HELM

Team USA manager Michael Cuddyer is only the second alumnus to play for and manage the 18U National Team, joining Jason Hisey, who played for the U.S. in 1987 and managed the squad in 2006. Cuddyer is a two-time 18U National Team alum, as he played for the program in both 1996 and 1997. In 1996, Cuddyer batted .367 with five RBIs on a roster that featured seven future big leaguers, including Rick Ankiel **and Josh Bard**. Cuddyer then posted a .397 average with an .853 slugging percentage while leading the U.S. in home runs (7) and RBIs (26) at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in New Brunswick, Canada, in 1997.

SOCIAL MEDIA

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.

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Fifth-Inning Outburst Carries Team USA Past Korea in Super Round

U.S. scores four runs with two outs in fifth en route to 4-1 victory
September 8, 2023
Box Score & Plays | Cumulative Stats

Box Score & Plays | Cumulative Stats

TAIPEI, Taiwan – Team USA broke through for four runs in the fifth inning to get past Korea, 5-1, in its second game of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup Super Round on Friday afternoon at Tianmu Baseball Stadium.

The U.S. is now 5-2 overall in tournament play and 2-2 in the Super Round, per WBSC tournament regulations. Korea falls to 4-3 overall and 1-3 in the Super Round.

After being shut out by Chinese Taipei in Thursday’s Super Round opener, the U.S. was held off the scoreboard for the first four innings on Friday before breaking through with a two-out rally in the fifth. With Team USA trailing by a run, Carter Johnson (Oxford, Ala.) singled before a fly out recorded the second out of the inning. Konnor Griffin (Florence, Miss.) then notched a single of his own to set the table for Derek Curiel (West Covina, Calif.), who snuck a hard ground ball down the right field line to plate two and give the stars and stripes a 2-1 advantage.

Levi Clark (Marietta, Ga.) followed by drawing a walk, and two stolen bases put runners on second and third for PJ Morlando (Summerville, S.C.). The cleanup man delivered, hitting a two-run single past the outstretched arms of Korea’s Anseok Jeong as Team USA’s lead became 4-1 in the fifth. The U.S. added an insurance run in the sixth and Trey Gregory-Alford (Colorado Springs, Colo.) got the final six outs to shut the door on the United States’ first Super Round win.

Ethan Schiefelbein (Corona, Calif.) started on the mound for Team USA and was dominant for the second time this tournament. He turned in five innings and allowed just four hits and one run, striking out four and not walking a single batter. Gregory-Alford got Schiefelbein out of a two-on, no-out jam in the sixth and then pitched a perfect seventh to earn the six-out save. Junseo Hwang started for Korea and surrendered four runs in 4.2 innings to suffer the loss.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Back-to-back singles by Nolan Traeger (Spring, Texas) and Bryce Rainer (Simi Valley, Calif.) loaded the bases for the U.S. with just one out in the second but Korea starter Hwang got two big outs to keep the game scoreless.
  • Korea finally got to Schiefelbein after three hitless innings, scoring on a two-out RBI single by Hyunmin Cho to take a 1-0 lead in the fourth.
  • Singles by Johnson and Griffin put two on for Curiel with two outs in the fifth and he delivered, doubling down the right field line and giving the U.S. a 2-1 lead.
  • After Clark drew a walk to keep the fifth inning alive, Morlando lined a two-run single to right center field as the United States’ dugout erupted and its advantage grew to three.
  • An error and single put two on with no outs in Korea’s half of the sixth; Gregory-Alford came in from the bullpen and made quick work of the next three batters to maintain the 4-1 lead.
  • The U.S. put together two team at-bats in the sixth, resulting in a sacrifice fly by Rainer to plate Coy James (Advance, N.C.) and make it a 5-1 advantage for the stars and stripes.
  • Gregory-Alford came back out for the top of the seventh and retired the side in order to earn his third save of the tournament and finish off the 5-1 win.

NOTABLES

  • Six different players in the U.S. lineup recorded a hit, led by Curiel and Morlando, who each had two RBIs.
  • Morlando has recorded a hit in six of Team USA’s seven games in tournament play and is now batting .353.
  • Schiefelbein and Gregory-Alford showed great command in Friday’s win, not walking a single batter while striking out six.  
  • Over two starts, Schiefelbein has permitted just one run with 12 strikeouts in nine innings pitched.
  • Gregory-Alford’s three saves lead all pitchers at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup. Noah Franco (Downey, Calif.) sits second with two.
  • The United States’ record against Korea at the U-18 level improves to 13-9 all-time.

ON DECK

Team USA wraps up WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Super Round play on Saturday, taking on Puerto Rico with first pitch set for 10:00 a.m. local/10:00 p.m. ET (Sept. 8). Catch all the action from Tianmu Baseball Stadium by watching live on Gametime.sport.

SOCIAL MEDIA

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.

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GAMEDAY: Team USA Takes on Korea in Super Round

First pitch scheduled for 2:30 p.m. local/2:30 a.m. ET
September 8, 2023
WATCH LIVE ON GAMETIME ($) TAIPEI, Taiwan – The 18U National Team continues World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup Super Round play on Friday against Korea. First pitch is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. local/2:30 a.m. ET at Tianmu Baseball Stadium in Taipei, Taiwan. PITCHING MATCHUP RHP Junseo

WATCH LIVE ON GAMETIME ($)

TAIPEI, Taiwan – The 18U National Team continues World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup Super Round play on Friday against Korea. First pitch is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. local/2:30 a.m. ET at Tianmu Baseball Stadium in Taipei, Taiwan.

PITCHING MATCHUP

RHP Junseo Hwang (KOR) vs. LHP Ethan Schiefelbein (USA)

SUPER ROUND STANDINGS

Chinese Taipei (3-0)

Japan (2-1)

USA (1-2)

Korea (1-2)

Netherlands (1-2)

Puerto Rico (1-2)

LAST TIME OUT

Team USA fell in its Super Round opener to Chinese Taipei, 3-0, on Thursday night at Tianmu Baseball Stadium. Taipei’s Nian-Hao Wang drove in all three runs for the victors, skying a two-run homer to left in the third and adding an insurance run with an RBI single in the seventh. Tegan Kuhns was strong in his start despite the loss, tossing 5.2 innings of two-run ball to keep Team USA in the game. Kuhns worked around trouble in the outing, allowing four walks and three hits, but was able to keep Taipei in check aside from one swing by Wang in the third. PJ Morlando and Nolan Traeger had the only two hits for the United States, each notching two-out singles in the first and second innings, respectively.

HISTORY AGAINST KOREA

At the U-18 level, the United States and Korea have played one another 21 times. Team USA owns a slight series advantage over Korea, posting a 12-9 all-time record. The series began when the U.S. earned a 7-5 victory over Korea in the opening game of the 1988 World Junior Championships, while the most recent meeting was an 8-3 win for the stars and stripes at the 2021 WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENT

Korea enters Friday’s contest at 4-2 overall and 1-2 in the Super Round, an identical record to the U.S. Emerging from Group A as the two seed, Korea dropped its tournament opener to Chinese Taipei before winning its next four games to go 4-1 in pool play. It fell in its first Super Round contest, however, losing a 7-1 contest to Japan on Thursday afternoon.

Korea is batting .271 as a team through its first six games, led by Sangjun Lee, who is batting .417 (5-for-12). Hyunmin Cho has tallied six hits and four runs scored, while Yulye Lee has a team-high six RBIs. On the mound, Korea owns a team ERA of 1.93 with 58 strikeouts in 40 innings pitched. Junseo Hwang, who is starting on Friday against Team USA, is 1-1 with a 2.74 ERA in two appearances at the World Cup.

INSIDE THE ROSTER

Nine players on the 2023 roster have previously played for Team USA. A trio of players from last year’s WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier squad return to the 18U National Team, as Matthew Champion, Noah Franco, and PJ Morlando all helped the U.S. win gold last November. In addition, three players from the 2021 15U National Team–Konnor Griffin, Ethan Schiefelbein, and Nolan Traeger–will reunite on this year’s roster, while two-time alum Jack McKernan and Coy James represent the 2022 15U squad. Bryce Rainer returns to Team USA and makes his second trip to Taiwan after playing for the 2017 12U team.

The 2023 Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) League featured 17 members of this year’s team. The PDP League, which serves as the primary identification event for the 18U National Team, is an invitation-based development and assessment opportunity for high school players eligible for the following year’s MLB Draft. Additionally, 14 members of the squad have previously participated in USA Baseball’s development programs. Three athletes who participated in the 2023 16U/17U National Team Development Program (NTDP)–James, McKernan, and Joey Oakie–earned spots on the final 20-man squad. Eleven members of the 2022 16U/17U NTDP and four players from the 2021 16U/17U NTDP roster were also named to the team. In addition, James and McKernan both participated in the 2021 13U/14U Athlete Development Program (ADP).

DEFENDING GOLD

Team USA is aiming to defend its gold medal at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup after winning the title last summer in Bradenton and Sarasota, Florida. The U.S. defeated Chinese Taipei in the world championship game in 2022, marking its ninth World Cup gold medal. The United States won four consecutive titles from 2012-2017, joining Cuba as the only two nations to win four straight World Cup gold medals.

ALUM AT THE HELM

Team USA manager Michael Cuddyer is only the second alumnus to play for and manage the 18U National Team, joining Jason Hisey, who played for the U.S. in 1987 and managed the squad in 2006. Cuddyer is a two-time 18U National Team alum, as he played for the program in both 1996 and 1997. In 1996, Cuddyer batted .367 with five RBIs on a roster that featured seven future big leaguers, including Rick Ankiel **and Josh Bard**. Cuddyer then posted a .397 average with an .853 slugging percentage while leading the U.S. in home runs (7) and RBIs (26) at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in New Brunswick, Canada, in 1997.

SOCIAL MEDIA

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.

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Team USA Drops Super Round Opener to Chinese Taipei

U.S. loses 3-0 contest despite strong start from Kuhns
September 7, 2023
Box Score & Plays | Cumulative Stats

Box Score & Plays | Cumulative Stats

TAIPEI, TaiwanTegan Kuhns (Gettysburg, Pa.) pitched 5.2 strong innings, but Team USA fell to Chinese Taipei, 3-0, in the first game of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup Super Round on Thursday night at Tianmu Baseball Stadium.  

The U.S. is now 4-2 overall and 1-2 in the Super Round standings, per WBSC tournament regulations. Chinese Taipei improves to 6-0 overall and 3-0 in the Super Round.

Taipei’s Nian-Hao Wang was the difference in Thursday’s contest. After a two-out walk put a runner on in the third, Wang sent a high fly ball over the left field wall for Taipei’s first hit, a two-run shot that gave it a 2-0 lead. Taipei starter Jun-Wei Zhang held the U.S. off the scoreboard from there, and Wang added an insurance run with a two-out RBI single in the seventh.

Zhang gave the Team USA lineup all it could handle, striking out seven over 6.1 shutout innings to earn the victory. Zhang permitted hits in the first and second innings but nothing after that, retiring 11 consecutive U.S. hitters before allowing a walk in the seventh. Yi-Lei Sun took over and recorded the final two outs to earn the save.

Despite suffering the loss, Kuhns delivered a strong outing on the mound for the stars and stripes. The right-hander scattered four walks and three hits in his 5.2 innings of work, striking out four and yielding just the two runs on Wang’s home run. Bryce Rainer (Simi Valley, Calif.) got the U.S. out of a jam in the sixth with a strikeout but allowed an insurance run in the seventh in relief, striking out a pair in his outing.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Chinese Taipei’s Ting-Lun Hsu was hit by the first pitch of the game but was erased on the basepaths on a strike-him-out, throw-him-out double play orchestrated by catcher Nolan Traeger (Spring, Texas).
  • PJ Morlando (Summerville, S.C.) notched the first hit of the day for Team USA in the bottom of the first by legging out an infield single before being stranded at first on an inning-ending fly out.
  • A fielder’s choice ended the U.S. half of the third after Traeger singled up the middle for the United States’ second two-out hit in as many innings.
  • Wang hit a two-run homer for Chinese Taipei’s first hit of the day to put Team USA in a 2-0 hole in the third.
  • A bunt single by Chia-Wei Lin and a two-out walk chased Kuhns from the game in the sixth; Rainer then entered and notched a strikeout to keep the U.S. deficit at two.
  • Wang hit an RBI single with two outs in the top of the seventh to drive in his third run of the game and put Chinese Taipei in front by three.
  • Levi Clark (Marietta, Ga.) drew a one-out walk in the seventh to knock Zhang out of the game, but Sun got the final two outs in relief to complete the 3-0 victory for Chinese Taipei.

NOTABLES

  • Morlando (1-for-3) and Traeger (1-for-3) had the only two hits for the United States in the contest.
  • With his four strikeouts on Thursday, Kuhns is now tied with Ethan Schiefelbein (Corona, Calif.) for the team lead with eight punch outs.
  • The loss was the first time the 18U National Team has been shut out since 2015 (vs. Japan).
  • Team USA is now 22-10-1 all-time against Chinese Taipei at the U-18 level.

ON DECK

Team USA continues WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Super Round play, taking on Korea on Friday at 2:30 p.m. local/2:30 a.m. ET. Catch all the action from Tianmu Baseball Stadium by watching live on Gametime.sport.

SOCIAL MEDIA

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.

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Morlando Article

GAMEDAY: Team USA Opens Super Round Play Against Chinese Taipei

First pitch scheduled for 6:30 p.m. local/6:30 a.m. ET
September 7, 2023
WATCH LIVE ON GAMETIME ($) TAIPEI, Taiwan – The 18U National Team gets World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup Super Round play underway on Thursday, taking on Chinese Taipei. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. local/6:30 a.m. ET at Tianmu Baseball Stadium in Taipei, Taiwan. PITCHING

WATCH LIVE ON GAMETIME ($)

TAIPEI, Taiwan – The 18U National Team gets World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup Super Round play underway on Thursday, taking on Chinese Taipei. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. local/6:30 a.m. ET at Tianmu Baseball Stadium in Taipei, Taiwan.

PITCHING MATCHUP

RHP Tegan Kuhns (USA) vs. RHP Jun-Wei Zhang (TPE)

SUPER ROUND STANDINGS

Chinese Taipei (2-0)

USA (1-1)

Japan (1-1)

Korea (1-1)

Netherlands (1-1)

Puerto Rico (0-2)

LAST TIME OUT

Team USA finished Group B action with a 4-1 victory over Venezuela on Tuesday to complete pool play with a 4-1 record. The U.S. got a strong outing on the mound from Levi Sterling, who tossed four shutout innings while the offense put up some early runs. It was an immediate 1-0 lead for the stars and stripes on Tuesday, as Coy James led off with a single and scored on an error in the bottom of the first. The other U.S. runs came in the second and third innings when Manny Marin scored on a wild pitch, Konnor Griffin hit a sacrifice fly, and Derek Curiel came home on a balk. Venezuela got the tying run to the plate in the sixth, but Joey Oakie entered in relief to put out the fire before Noah Franco recorded the final out to secure the win.

HISTORY AGAINST CHINESE TAIPEI

Team USA and Chinese Taipei have met 32 times at the U-18 level, with the U.S. holding a 22-9-1 advantage in the all-time series. The first-ever meeting between the two nations came in the opening game of the 1987 World Junior Championships, when the United States picked up a 10-0 victory. Most recently, the two nations faced off in the gold medal game of the 2021 WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup, which resulted in a 6-2 victory for the stars and stripes.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENT

The only remaining unbeaten team at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup, Chinese Taipei went 5-0 in Group A play. The reigning silver medalists opened play with a 3-0 win over Australia and beat Korea, 6-1. After consecutive 4-1 wins over Mexico and Czechia, Taipei finished pool play with a resounding 16-2 victory over previously undefeated Puerto Rico.

Offensively, Taipei is led by Ching-Hsien Ko, who is 7-for-11 with a home run and four runs scored so far in tournament play. Chao-Hung Chang poses a power threat in Taipei’s order as he has hit two home runs and driven in seven runs through five games. The club is batting .300 as a team and has scored 36 runs in five contests. On the mound, Taipei owns a 0.85 team ERA and has punched out 35 batters in 33 innings pitched. It has gotten the most innings out of Yi-Lei Sun, who has tossed nine scoreless frames allowing just three hits.

SUPER ROUND SUCCESS

Dating back four tournaments, Team USA has experienced great success in the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Super Round. The team is 11-1 in its past 12 Super Round games, with its only loss coming last summer against Chinese Taipei. The United States went unbeaten through the Super Round in 2015, 2017, and 2019, winning gold in two of those tournaments.

INSIDE THE ROSTER

Nine players on the 2023 roster have previously played for Team USA. A trio of players from last year’s WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier squad return to the 18U National Team, as Matthew Champion, Noah Franco, and PJ Morlando all helped the U.S. win gold last November. In addition, three players from the 2021 15U National Team–Konnor Griffin, Ethan Schiefelbein, and Nolan Traeger–will reunite on this year’s roster, while two-time alum Jack McKernan and Coy James represent the 2022 15U squad. Bryce Rainer returns to Team USA and makes his second trip to Taiwan after playing for the 2017 12U team.

The 2023 Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) League featured 17 members of this year’s team. The PDP League, which serves as the primary identification event for the 18U National Team, is an invitation-based development and assessment opportunity for high school players eligible for the following year’s MLB Draft. Additionally, 14 members of the squad have previously participated in USA Baseball’s development programs. Three athletes who participated in the 2023 16U/17U National Team Development Program (NTDP)–James, McKernan, and Joey Oakie–earned spots on the final 20-man squad. Eleven members of the 2022 16U/17U NTDP and four players from the 2021 16U/17U NTDP roster were also named to the team. In addition, James and McKernan both participated in the 2021 13U/14U Athlete Development Program (ADP).

DEFENDING GOLD

Team USA is aiming to defend its gold medal at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup after winning the title last summer in Bradenton and Sarasota, Florida. The U.S. defeated Chinese Taipei in the world championship game in 2022, marking its ninth World Cup gold medal. The United States won four consecutive titles from 2012-2017, joining Cuba as the only two nations to win four straight World Cup gold medals.

ALUM AT THE HELM

Team USA manager Michael Cuddyer is only the second alumnus to play for and manage the 18U National Team, joining Jason Hisey, who played for the U.S. in 1987 and managed the squad in 2006. Cuddyer is a two-time 18U National Team alum, as he played for the program in both 1996 and 1997. In 1996, Cuddyer batted .367 with five RBIs on a roster that featured seven future big leaguers, including Rick Ankiel and Josh Bard. Cuddyer then posted a .397 average with an .853 slugging percentage while leading the U.S. in home runs (7) and RBIs (26) at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in New Brunswick, Canada, in 1997.

SOCIAL MEDIA

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.

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Levi Article

Team USA Finishes Pool Play With 4-1 Win Over Venezuela

September 5, 2023
Box Score & Plays | Cumulative Stats

Box Score & Plays | Cumulative Stats

TAIPEI, TaiwanLevi Sterling (Los Angeles, Calif.) pitched four shutout innings as the United States took down Venezuela, 4-1, in its pool play finale at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup on Tuesday afternoon at Tianmu Baseball Stadium.

The U.S. finishes pool play with a 4-1 mark, while Venezuela’s record sits at 1-4.

Despite tossing four scoreless innings, Sterling’s day had a tumultuous beginning when Venezuela collected back-to-back hits to put two in scoring position with no outs in the first. The right-hander locked in, however, getting a ground out, fly out, and strikeout to strand both runners on base and get the momentum back on the U.S. side. When Venezuela then put runners on in the third and fourth innings, Sterling–who earned the win–quickly erased them with inning-ending double plays to keep a zero on the scoreboard. Jack McKernan (Missouri City, Texas) then yielded a run in 1.2 innings of work before Joey Oakie (Ankeny, Iowa) and Noah Franco (Downey, Calif.) combined to finish off the victory.

Offensively, it was a quiet day for the U.S., which only collected three hits. Manny Marin (Miami, Fla.) kept his hot bat going, notching a hit for the fifth consecutive game. Derek Curiel (West Covina, Calif.) and Coy James (Advance, N.C.) delivered the only other knocks for the stars and stripes, while PJ Morlando (Summerville, S.C.) drew a pair of walks.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Two consecutive hits put runners on second and third with nobody out in the top of the first for Venezuela, but Sterling induced a ground out, fly out, and strikeout to escape unscathed.
  • James led off the U.S. half of the first with a single, advanced to second on a walk, and then scored on a fielder’s choice and throwing error to give Team USA an early 1-0 lead.
  • A single and a hit batter put two on with one out for Venezuela in the third, but Sterling again got out of trouble by coaxing a 5-4-3 double play to keep the one-run lead intact.
  • After a well-struck single put Marin aboard to begin the third inning, he made his way around the bases and scored on a wild pitch as the United States’ lead became 2-0.
  • The U.S. advantage grew to four in the third on a sacrifice fly by Konnor Griffin (Florence, Miss.) that plated James and a balk that brought Curiel home from third.
  • A two-out rally led to Venezuela cracking the scoreboard in the sixth on an RBI single by Francisco Rivero.
  • Venezuela brought the tying run to the plate in the sixth before Oakie entered to put out the fire, getting a big swinging strikeout as the U.S. held onto its 4-1 lead.
  • A sliding catch by Curiel in right center field recorded the final out of the 4-1 victory for Team USA.

NOTABLES

  • Collecting a hit in all five games of pool play, Marin owns a .500 batting average to lead the team. His two doubles also lead the club at the completion of Group B play.
  • James’ leadoff single in the first was his team-leading sixth hit of the tournament. His six knocks tie for second among all players in the World Cup.
  • Sterling joins Carter Johnson (Oxford, Ala.) and Ethan Schiefelbein (Corona, Calif.) as the three U.S. starters to toss at least four innings and allow no runs.
  • By permitting just one run in Tuesday’s victory, the United States lowered its tournament ERA to 1.80.
  • The U.S. improves to 17-3 against Venezuela all-time at the U-18 level and 8-1 at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup.

ON DECK

Team USA advances to the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Super Round, where it will play three games with the schedule to be announced later this evening. Catch all the action from Tianmu Baseball Stadium by watching live on Gametime.sport.

SOCIAL MEDIA

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.

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CJ Article

GAMEDAY: Team USA Wraps Pool Play Against Venezuela

First pitch scheduled for 2:30 p.m. local/2:30 a.m. ET
September 5, 2023
WATCH LIVE ON GAMETIME ($) TAIPEI, Taiwan – The 18U National Team looks to finish pool play with a 4-1 record as it takes on Venezuela in its Group B finale. First pitch is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. local/2:30 a.m. ET at Tianmu Baseball Stadium in Taipei, Taiwan. PITCHING MATCHUP

WATCH LIVE ON GAMETIME ($)

TAIPEI, Taiwan – The 18U National Team looks to finish pool play with a 4-1 record as it takes on Venezuela in its Group B finale. First pitch is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. local/2:30 a.m. ET at Tianmu Baseball Stadium in Taipei, Taiwan.

PITCHING MATCHUP

RHP Brian Fernandez (VEN) vs. RHP Levi Sterling (USA)

LAST TIME OUT

Team USA got back in the win column with a 6-4 victory over Panama on Monday night. Starting with Coy James’ leadoff single, the U.S. came out of the gates hot in the victory and scored six runs in the first three innings, including a four-run third. The first two tallies of the third-inning outburst came when Konnor Griffin reached on a fielder’s choice and the throw got away to bring in a pair of runs, and then Noah Franco and Manny Marin each had RBI knocks to extend the advantage to six.

Matthew Champion pitched five innings of two-run ball to earn the win. The California native was nearly spotless through the first four before yielding a pair of runs in the fifth. When the lead dwindled to 6-4 in the sixth, Trey Gregory-Alford entered and slammed the door with a four-out save to lock down the win.

HISTORY AGAINST VENEZUELA

Since first meeting in 1992 at the Junior World Championships, Team USA owns a 16-3 all-time record against Venezuela at the U-18 level. The most recent contest between the two sides was at the 2022 WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier, when the U.S. notched a 16-3 win. The United States is 7-1 all-time against Venezuela at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENT

Venezuela enters Tuesday’s contest at 1-3 and has already been eliminated from potential Super Round play. It opened tournament play falling 13-4 to Panama before dropping an 8-2 contest to the Netherlands. After getting back on track with a 6-1 defeat of Spain, Venezuela was shutout by Japan on Monday to drop to 1-3.

INSIDE THE ROSTER

Nine players on the 2023 roster have previously played for Team USA. A trio of players from last year’s WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier squad return to the 18U National Team, as Matthew Champion, Noah Franco, and PJ Morlando all helped the U.S. win gold last November. In addition, three players from the 2021 15U National Team–Konnor Griffin, Ethan Schiefelbein, and Nolan Traeger–will reunite on this year’s roster, while two-time alum Jack McKernan and Coy James represent the 2022 15U squad. Bryce Rainer returns to Team USA and makes his second trip to Taiwan after playing for the 2017 12U team.

The 2023 Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) League featured 17 members of this year’s team. The PDP League, which serves as the primary identification event for the 18U National Team, is an invitation-based development and assessment opportunity for high school players eligible for the following year’s MLB Draft. Additionally, 14 members of the squad have previously participated in USA Baseball’s development programs. Three athletes who participated in the 2023 16U/17U National Team Development Program (NTDP)–James, McKernan, and Joey Oakie–earned spots on the final 20-man squad. Eleven members of the 2022 16U/17U NTDP and four players from the 2021 16U/17U NTDP roster were also named to the team. In addition, James and McKernan both participated in the 2021 13U/14U Athlete Development Program (ADP).

30 FOR 30

The U.S. is the only nation in the world to compete in all 30 WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cups. The first edition of the tournament was held in 1981 in Newark, New Jersey, when the U.S. grabbed a silver medal. Chinese Taipei has played in 29 World Cups, while Australia has participated in the event on 28 different occasions.

GROUP B STANDINGS

Japan (4-0)

USA (3-1)

Netherlands (3-1)

Panama (1-3)

Venezuela (1-3)

Spain (0-4)

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090423JH-18U-07450-e-social

Four-Run Third Propels Team USA Past Panama in Pool Play

Gregory-Alford slams door on 6-4 victory
September 4, 2023
Box Score & Plays | Cumulative Stats

Box Score & Plays | Cumulative Stats

TAIPEI, Taiwan – Team USA scored four runs in the third inning and Trey Gregory-Alford (Colorado Springs, Colo.) earned a four-out save in a 6-4 win over Panama on Monday night in World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup Group B play at Tianmu Baseball Stadium.

The win improves Team USA’s record to 3-1 in Group B. Panama is now 1-3 through its first four World Cup games.

Already leading by two entering the third, the U.S. put up a four-spot to extend its lead and pull away from Panama. The rally began when Derek Curiel (West Covina, Calif.) drew a walk in between singles by Coy James (Advance, N.C.) and PJ Morlando (Summerville, S.C.) to load the bases. Konnor Griffin (Florence, Miss.) then drove in one run on a fielder’s choice before another came home to score on an error to make it a 4-0 lead, and to cap it off, Noah Franco (Downey, Calif.) and Manny Marin (Miami, Fla.) smacked back-to-back hits to put the United States up by six.

Panama scored two runs in both the fifth and sixth innings to creep within two runs at 6-4, but Gregory-Alford entered and slammed the door over the final 1.1 innings to secure the U.S. win.

James (2-for-4, 2 R) and Marin (2-for-3, RBI) each had two-hit games to pace Team USA offensively. Franco was all over the box score as well, going 1-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI. Griffin collected the only other RBI for the U.S. with his third-inning fielder’s choice.

Matthew Champion (Laguna Niguel, Calif.) was handed the ball to start for the stars and stripes. The right-hander pitched five innings of two-run ball to earn the win, working four shutout frames before allowing two in the fifth. Griffin entered in relief and nearly escaped a jam but allowed two runs, making way for Gregory-Alford take over and earn the four-out save.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • An infield single put James on to start the game and he eventually came home to score on a double steal to put the U.S. in front by a run in the first.
  • Levi Clark (Marietta, Ga.) singled up the middle to begin Team USA’s second inning, later scoring on a throwing error to extend the early lead to 2-0.
  • With the bases loaded and no outs in the third, Griffin reached on a fielder’s choice to bring home one run before a throwing error let another U.S. run cross home plate and make it a 4-0 score.
  • Back-to-back two-out hits by Franco and Marin each plated a run to cap the four-run third and put the stars and stripes in front by six.
  • Champion got through four shutout frames, but Panama finally scratched a pair across in the bottom of the fifth on RBI singles by Yeremy Sanchez and Julio Casas to make it 6-2 in favor of the United States.
  • Panama scored twice more in the bottom of the sixth on a two-out, two-run single by Hector Rayo, but Gregory-Alford entered and picked up a big strikeout to keep Team USA’s lead at 6-4.
  • Gregory-Alford returned to the mound in the bottom of the seventh and worked around a leadoff walk to lock down the 6-4 U.S. victory.

NOTABLES

  • Marin’s two-hit day raised his tournament batting average to .500. The shortstop has a hit in all four games of the World Cup, including two doubles.
  • James had two hits and scored twice in the win for the second time in the World Cup. The North Carolina native had an identical stat line in Saturday’s win over Spain.
  • With his leadoff single in the second, Clark has now collected a hit in all three of his starts and is 3-for-6 in tournament play.
  • Team USA can secure a spot in the Super Round ahead of its pool play finale if Japan beats Venezuela in this evening’s Group B matchup.
  • The U.S. is now 24-2 all-time against Panama since the two clubs first met in 1987.

ON DECK

Team USA will wrap up the pool play portion of the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup against Venezuela at 2:30 p.m. local/2:30 a.m. ET on Tuesday. Catch all the action from Tianmu Baseball Stadium by watching live on Gametime.sport.

SOCIAL MEDIA

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.

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PJ A

GAMEDAY: Team USA Looks to Rebound Against Panama

First pitch scheduled for 5:00 p.m. local/5:00 a.m. ET
September 4, 2023
WATCH LIVE ON GAMETIME ($) TAIPEI, Taiwan – The 18U National Team looks to bounce back from its first loss at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup, taking on Panama in Group B play. First pitch is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. local/5:00 a.m. ET at Tianmu

WATCH LIVE ON GAMETIME ($)

TAIPEI, Taiwan – The 18U National Team looks to bounce back from its first loss at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup, taking on Panama in Group B play. First pitch is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. local/5:00 a.m. ET at Tianmu Baseball Stadium in Taipei, Taiwan.

PITCHING MATCHUP

LHP Matthew Champion (USA) vs. RHP Anthony Gantes (PAN)

LAST TIME OUT

The U.S. suffered its first loss of the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup on Sunday night, falling in heartbreaking fashion to Japan, 4-3. Trailing 4-0 and down to its final out, Team USA rallied for three runs and got the tying run in scoring position before a strikeout ended the comeback threat. Coy James and Manny Marin collected RBI knocks in the last-minute rally, and Bryce Clavon scored on a wild pitch. Derek Curiel went 2-for-4 with a double to pace the stars and stripes offensively; PJ Morlando also collected a double.

On the mound, Cooper Williams was solid for Team USA. After a two-out, two-run triple put him in an early hole, the southpaw battled and finished his night with two perfect innings to toss four frames overall. Tegan Kuhns (2 ER, 2 IP) and Joey Oakie (0 ER, 1 IP) also got work in on the mound in the setback.

HISTORY AGAINST PANAMA

After first meeting at the 1987 World Junior Championship in Windsor, Ontario, the U.S. and Panama have since played one another 24 times at the U-18 level. Team USA holds a 23-2 all-time record against Panama, including its most recent 11-1 victory in the gold medal game of the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier. The two nations haven’t met at the WBSC U-18 World Cup since 2002, when the stars and stripes picked up a 21-2 win.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENT

Panama enters Monday’s contest with a 1-2 record in Group B play. After opening the World Cup with a commanding 13-4 win over Venezuela, it has suffered two consecutive setbacks: a 7-0 loss to Japan and a 4-3 defeat against the Netherlands. The squad is led offensively by Julio Cesar Casas Lopez, who is 4-for-9 with three RBIs through three games. Jose David Bernal Carrion also has three runs batted in for the Panamanians. On the mound, Panama owns a 3.85 team ERA and has a 15:10 K/BB ratio through 20 innings pitched.

INSIDE THE ROSTER

Nine players on the 2023 roster have previously played for Team USA. A trio of players from last year’s WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier squad return to the 18U National Team, as Matthew Champion, Noah Franco, and PJ Morlando all helped the U.S. win gold last November. In addition, three players from the 2021 15U National Team–Konnor Griffin, Ethan Schiefelbein, and Nolan Traeger–will reunite on this year’s roster, while two-time alum Jack McKernan and Coy James represent the 2022 15U squad. Bryce Rainer returns to Team USA and makes his second trip to Taiwan after playing for the 2017 12U team.

The 2023 Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) League featured 17 members of this year’s team. The PDP League, which serves as the primary identification event for the 18U National Team, is an invitation-based development and assessment opportunity for high school players eligible for the following year’s MLB Draft. Additionally, 14 members of the squad have previously participated in USA Baseball’s development programs. Three athletes who participated in the 2023 16U/17U National Team Development Program (NTDP)–James, McKernan, and Joey Oakie–earned spots on the final 20-man squad. Eleven members of the 2022 16U/17U NTDP and four players from the 2021 16U/17U NTDP roster were also named to the team. In addition, James and McKernan both participated in the 2021 13U/14U Athlete Development Program (ADP).

ALUM AT THE HELM

Team USA manager Michael Cuddyer is only the second alumnus to play for and manage the 18U National Team, joining Jason Hisey, who played for the U.S. in 1987 and managed the squad in 2006. Cuddyer is a two-time 18U National Team alum, as he played for the program in both 1996 and 1997. In 1996, Cuddyer batted .367 with five RBIs on a roster that featured seven future big leaguers, including Rick Ankieland** Josh Bard**. Cuddyer then posted a .397 average with an .853 slugging percentage while leading the U.S. in home runs (7) and RBIs (26) at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in New Brunswick, Canada, in 1997.

GROUP B STANDINGS

Japan (3-0)

USA (2-1)

Netherlands (2-1)

Panama (1-2)

Venezuela (1-2)

Spain (0-3)

SOCIAL MEDIA

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.

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