Palmerston North, New Zealand – Notching their first win of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Men’s Softball World Cup, the U.S. squad outlasted Denmark to come away with the 7-3 win on Tuesday at Colquhoun Park. William Ponce (Olathe, Kan.) went 3-for-4 to lead the team, while starting pitcher Josh Eurich (Sebewaing, Mich.) fanned six batters in his seven innings of work.
Denmark led off the game with a single to right field but after retiring the next three batters faced, the U.S. offense got to work. Ian Winterhalder (Murray, Utah) drew a one-out walk and came around the bases on two passed balls before Ponce singled him home on a ground ball up the middle. Chase Thomson (Herriman, Utah) then reached on a walk to put runners on the corners before Parker Hopkins (Decatur, Ill.) singled on a fly ball to centerfield to make it 2-0.
The U.S. defense kept at it, stranding two Denmark runners in the top of the second with Eurich issuing two strikeouts. Despite Blake Kerr (Vassar, Mich.) and Manual Mendham (Vassar, Mich.) grounding out to start the bottom half of the frame, the U.S. continued to battle with Rivas singling and Winterhalder reaching on his second walk of the game. Ponce doubled down the right field line to plate the two before a single from Thomson extended the U.S. lead, 5-0.
Quickly retiring the Denmark lineup in order in the third, Klay Kilpatrick (Sydney, Australia), Kerr, and Rivas reached on a walk to load the bases with two outs for the U.S. Heads-up base running by Kilpatrick allowed him to cross the plate on a passed ball and make it 6-0 after three innings.
Retiring three-of-four batters in the top of the fourth and stranding one runner, the U.S. added to their lead in the bottom half of the frame after Hopkins doubled to score Ponce who had reached on a single.
The fifth inning saw Denmark rally to plate some runs of their own, as two crossed home on a RBI double to centerfield. Ahead 7-2, Rivas collected his second hit of the game and Winterhalder walked with two outs but a pop out in foul territory kept the runners at bay.
The score remained 7-2 in favor of the U.S. through the sixth inning and while Denmark tacked on another run, the U.S. secured the 7-3 victory.
Eurich finished the afternoon with six strikeouts and three runs allowed through seven innings to earn the win for the U.S., while Elsner took the loss for Denmark. Ponce led the team at the plate, going 3-for-4 with three RBI, while Hopkins posted two RBI. With the win, the U.S. move to 1-3 at the WBSC U-18 Men’s Softball World Cup and will play Japan tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. local time.