Palmerston North, New Zealand – The USA Softball U-18 Men’s National Team (MNT) struggled to get their offense going on opening day of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Men’s World Cup and fell to Mexico, 10-1, in five innings at Colquhoun Park.
Eli Rivas (Whittier, Calif.) scored the sole run of the game after hitting a leadoff double, advancing to third on a passed ball and touching home on a wild pitch. The U-18 MNT loaded the bases with one out after a pair of walks to William Ponce (Olathe, Kan.) and Josh Pernetti (Ceres, Calif.), and a single from Chase Thomson (Herriman, Utah), but a strikeout and fly out ended their chances.
The U.S. defense held Mexico to zero in the bottom half of the frame despite Mexico loading the bases. Mexico collected two singles and drew a walk before the runner was caught stealing home.
After a 1-2-3 inning for the U.S. in the top of the second, Mexico took the lead and pulled away for good with three runs of their own in the bottom half of the frame.
Braden DuCharme (Hudson, Wisc.) and Pernetti drew walks to lead off the third and fourth innings but could not advance against Mexico’s defense. Mexico continued to add to their hit column and put up a two-run third inning and five-run fourth inning to jump out to a 10-1 lead.
Down to their last at-bat with the run-rule in effect, No. 1 batter Rivas drew a two-out walk before Brennan DuCharme (Hudson, Wisc.) entered for Braden DuCharme. A walk to DuCharme put two U.S. runners on base but a strikeout issued to Ponce ended the game.
Rivas and Thomson collected one hit apiece in the USA’s WBSC U-18 Men’s World Cup opening game. Josh Eurich (Sebewaing, Mich.) took the loss after giving up 10 runs and 17 hits over four innings of work, while Fernando Lopez earned the win for Mexico.
Team USA continues pool play, returning to action to face host-country New Zealand Sunday, Feb. 23 at 7:30 pm local time.