USA, Cuba, Mexico and Nicaragua advance to WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup 2017 in Thunder Bay, Canada.
MONTERREY, Nuevo Leon, Mexico – The United States defeated Cuba, 6-1, in the Final of the U-18 Pan-American Baseball Championship 2016 -- the Americas qualifier into the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup 2017 in Thunder Bay, Canada.
U.S. starting pitcher Hans Crouse struck out 11 batters over 7 shutout innings to earn the gold medal victory.
U-18 Baseball World Cup 2015 MVP Nick Pratto had an RBI-double and Jarred Kelenic hit a 2-run home run to power USA's offense.
USA WINS GOLD!!!!! Final: USA 6, Cuba 1 pic.twitter.com/mXccSOyVd5
— USA Baseball 18U (@USABaseball18U) October 9, 2016
The two-time defending Americas (Caribbean, Central-, North- and South America) champions will head to the 12-nation battle in Thunder Bay also as the three-time defending world champions (2012, 2013 and 2015).
Earlier in the day, Mexico defeated Nicaragua, 4-0, to earn the Americas bronze.
Finishing within the top four, USA, Cuba, Mexico and Nicaragua will advance to Thunder Bay on behalf of the Americas -- along with World Cup host Canada -- to compete For the Title of World Champion in the U-18 category.
Ten nations have secured their place in the pinnacle youth international competition, with the Africa and Oceania representatives yet to be decided:
- Africa (1): TBD
- Americas (5): No. 2 United States, No. 5 Cuba, No. 6 Canada, No. 8 Mexico and No. 18 Nicaragua
- Asia (3): No. 1 Japan, No. 3 Korea and No. 4 Chinese Taipei
- Europe (2): No. 9 Italy and No. 10 Netherlands
- Oceania (1): TBD
An unprecedented 9 of the 10 nations that have qualified are currently in the Top 10 of the Baseball World Rankings.
U-18 Americas 2016 - FINAL STANDINGS
*Qualify for U-18 Baseball World Cup 2017 Thunder Bay
The continental championship in Monterrey was hosted by the Mexican Baseball Federation in cooperation with the State Government of Nuevo Leon and the State Institute for Sport and Physical Culture (INDE) – also hosts of the upcoming WBSC U-23 Baseball World Cup 2016 (28 Oct to 6 Nov).