CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico – Team USA picked up timely two-out hits to complete a pool play sweep with a 10-4 win over Canada at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier on Tuesday afternoon in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
After finishing pool play unbeaten, the U.S. now advances to the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier Super Round.
PJ Morlando (Summerville, S.C.) delivered the first punch with a two-out homer in the top of the first, sending a deep shot over the wall in right-center field to bring home Casey Borba (Santa Ana, Calif.) and open the scoring. Then, after the U.S. added four runs in the second on walks and singles by Ty Southisene (Henderson, Nev.) and Campbell Smithwick (Conway, S.C.), the offense continued its two-out hitting in the fourth when Borba and Smithwick struck for back-to-back knocks with two away to extend the U.S. lead to eight.
Canada then chipped away with a run in the fifth and three more in the sixth, but the U.S. answered with two in the seventh and held on for a 10-4 win.
Morlando and Smithwick each tallied two-hit days for the U.S., which collected nine total hits and drew nine walks as a team. Smithwick had a team-high three RBIs, picking up a pair of RBI singles to go along with a run-scoring fielder’s choice. Borba and Morlando also drove in multiple runs, each plating a pair and scoring once. Daniel Arambula (Yucaipa, Calif.) and Nazzan Zanetello (Florissant, Mo.) led the team with two runs scored apiece.
Austin Nye (Roseville, Calif.) got the start for Team USA and was solid in his two innings on the hill, working around three singles to punch out five batters and keep Canada off the board. Cade Townsend (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) pitched 2.2 innings of one-run relief and had six strikeouts to earn the win for the U.S., which struck out 13 batters in the game. Elliot Cadieux Lanoue started for Canada and lasted just an inning plus, allowing five runs to surrender the loss.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- The U.S. put together a two-out rally in the top of the first when Casey Borba was hit by a pitch and PJ Morlando brought him home with a two-run homer to right field to take a quick 2-0 lead.
- Canada hit two singles in the bottom of the first and eventually put two runners in scoring position, but Austin Nye picked up three clutch strikeouts to keep Team USA in front by two.
- After three consecutive walks loaded the bases for the United States in the top of the second, Ty Southisene and Campbell Smithwick hit back-to-back singles to make it a 4-0 advantage.
- Team USA’s lead grew to 6-0 in the top of the second on an RBI groundout by Casey Borba and a wild pitch that brought home Ty Southisene.
- With two outs and Talan Bell on second in the top of the fourth, Campbell Smithwick hit his second RBI single of the game to make the score 7-0 in favor of the U.S.
- Casey Borba singled up the middle in the top of the fourth to bring home another run for Team USA and grow the lead to eight.
- Canada’s offense was held in check in the third and fourth innings by Cade Townsend, who struck out five of the eight batters he faced in those two frames to maintain the eight-run lead for the stars and stripes.
- An opposite-field, solo homer by Canada’s Jorge Valdes put the Canadians on the board and trimmed their deficit to 8-1 in the bottom of the fifth.
- Canada drew two bases-loaded walks and scored on a fielding error in a three-run sixth inning, cutting the U.S. lead to 8-4.
- Danny Arambula led off the top of the seventh with a single, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a passed ball to put Team USA back up by five.
- The stars and stripes extended their lead to 10-4 in the top of the seventh on an RBI fielder’s choice by Campbell Smithwick that brought home Nazzan Zanetello.
- Ty Southisene pitched a perfect seventh inning to secure the 10-4 win and clinch the pool play sweep.
- PJ Morlando leads the tournament with three home runs. He is tied with six former U.S. players for most home runs hit at a WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier.
- Talan Bell, Roman Martin, and Nazzan Zanetello drew two walks in the win as part of a nine-walk day for Team USA. Martin has now drawn multiple bases-on-balls in a game twice in tournament play.
- Talan Bell (2) and Nazzan Zanetello (1) both stole bases in the victory and are tied for the team and tournament lead in that category with three.
- With 13 combined strikeouts from Austin Nye, Ty Southisene, Michael Torres, and Cade Townsend, U.S. pitchers struck out double-digit batters for the second consecutive game.
- Casey Borba has driven in a run in all four games for the red, white, and blue, giving him a team-best eight RBIs.
- Team USA is the only team in the tournament to boast an unbeaten record at the conclusion of the Opening Round.
- The win was the United States’ 40th all-time against Canada at the U-18 level.
The U.S. will advance to the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier Super Round in La Paz, Mexico, from November 10-12. The full Super Round schedule will be announced soon.