Palmerston North, New Zealand – The USA Softball U-18 Men’s National Team (MNT) fell behind early and couldn’t come back in a 10-3 loss to Guatemala on Monday at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Men’s Softball World Cup.
Quickly loading the bases after a pair of walks and hit-by-pitch, Guatemala drew another walk off starting pitcher Parker Hopkins (Decatur, Ill.) to plate the first run of the game. Despite Josh Eurich (Sebewaing, Mich.) entering the circle, Guatemala’s offense kept at it as they scored another three runs for a four-run first inning. Ian Winterhalder (Murray, Utah) drew a walk and William Ponce (Olathe, Kan.) reached on a hit-by-pitch to place two runners aboard for the U.S., but Thomson grounded into a fielder’s choice before a strikeout ended the inning.
Guatemala’s offense capitalized on two triples, a single, a walk and sac fly to post another four-run inning and make it an 8-0 ballgame, while the U.S. was left scoreless through the second.
Looking to bounce back, the U.S. defense quickly collected three outs and kept Guatemala from scoring additional runs. A one-out double from Eli Rivas (Whittier, Calif.) energized the U.S. dugout and after back-to-back walks to Winterhalder and Klay Kilpatrick (Sydney, Australia) loaded the bases, Chase Thomson (Herriman, Utah) drew a walk to plate Rivas. Guatemala’s Morales issued another strikeout from the circle before Matthew Armitage (Evansville, Wisc) reached on a walk, making it an 8-2 ballgame after three innings of play.
The score remained 8-2 through the next two innings despite singles from Will Kirby (Millington, Mich.), Braden DuCharme (Hudson, Wisc.) and Thomson. A walk to Josh Pernetti (Ceres, Calif.) resulted in a bases-loaded opportunity for the Red, White and Blue in the bottom of the fifth, but two strikeouts and a fly out kept the runners at bay.
Retiring Guatemala in the top of the sixth, Rivas stepped up to the plate with one out and sent a 2-1 pitch out of the park to make it 8-3. Rivas’ home run was the second of the tournament for the U.S. squad after Thomson’s in the U.S. game against New Zealand.
Eurich struck out the first two batters in the final inning before Guatemala battled back and scored another two runs, proving to be enough as the U.S. fell 10-3 in Game 3 of the WBSC U-18 Men’s Softball World Cup.
Thomson and Rivas led the team with two hits apiece, while Hopkins took the loss after giving up four runs in the opening frame.
Team USA returns to action to face Denmark Tuesday, Feb. 25 at 12:00 pm local time.