09/09/2022 - 18/09/2022

#U18WorldCup  

Hosted by:   USA

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United States defeat Chinese Taipei in the final, earn 10th U-18 Baseball World Cup

United States defeat Chinese Taipei in the final, earn 10th U-18 Baseball World Cup
18/09/2022
The speed of centre fielder Kendall George kept the hosts in the game and put them ahead. A three-run homer by Bryce Eldridge opened the score. Blake Mitchell earned the win, and Eldridge pitched the seventh.

The United States defeated Chinese Taipei in the final, 5-1, to win the XXX WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup. It's their 10th World Title in the age bracket making the World No. 5 the second best programme at the U-18 level after Cuba, who have earned 11 World Titles.

It's also the third WBSC world title for USA Baseball this year and fourth for USA after claiming the Women's Softball World Championship trophy at the World Games and the U-12, U-15 World Titles previously.

"The WBSC is a different brand of baseball," said USA manager Denny Hocking at the end of the game. "It's about what you can do for your country. I think this group became a family on its way to this World Championship game."

"I think the big moment for us came last night. We returned to the hotel, and captain Dylan Cupp called a team meeting. He texted me when the meeting was over and said I didn't need to worry; we had it."

The 52-year-old Hocking had a 13-year and 954-game MLB career as a player. Now he is back to the basics. "Relationships have always been the number one priority for me. All I wanted was to give these young men the opportunity to play for a gold medal. I found it very rewarding as a leader of men sitting on the bench after the game and watching my players celebrate."

The US won the World Championship game thanks to an impressive comeback. Chinese Taipei took the lead in the bottom of the second when DH Yi Lei Sun doubled off starter Matthew Dallas and third baseman Chieh Hsi Huang followed with an RBI single.

Center fielder Kendall George kept the US in the game as he closed the second with a superb sliding catch on a fly to shallow right center by catcher Jia Xiang Sung.

The US didn't get their first hit against Sheng En Lin until the third, but they tied the game in the fourth. First baseman Bryan Eldridge walked, advanced on a sharp grounder to the right and scored on a base hit by catcher Gavin Grahovac.

They took the lead in the top of the fifth. George ran a blooper to center into a double, advanced on a sacrifice hit and scored on a wild pitch.

Blake Mitchell, who had caught five innings against Japan in the morning, stepped to the mound to earn the win. He allowed only one hit over 2.2 innings and closed the sixth with back-to-back strikeouts.

"I tried to keep my energy high through the whole game. I knew I was going to go to the mound," said Mitchell. "The way we won this morning gave us all the confidence in the world."

Bryce Eldridge broke the score open in the top of the seventh as he hit a three-run homer against Pao Lo Huang, the third Chinese Taipei pitcher. He then made it to the mound for the bottom half of the frame.

"We have a lot of guys on this roster that can do it all," Eldridge told the WBSC. "It's important to give them a chance to contribute. I think this team was very well put together. You need to give credit to the coaches."

USA have now five of the last six editions of the U-18 Baseball World Cup and now lead the ledger with Chinese Taipei in finals of this age group 3-2 but their win in this latest gold medal game is even more remarkable considering how they came-from-behind to beat Japan in the final Super Round game just 45 minutes prior to the final.