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U-18 Men’s National Team drops final pool play game at WBSC U-18 Men’s World Cup

Feb. 25, 2020, 11:55 p.m. (ET)

Palmerston North, New Zealand – In their fifth and final game of pool play at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Men’s Softball World Cup, the USA Softball U-18 Men’s National Team (MNT) fell 10-0 (four innings) to Japan at Colquhoun Park. William Ponce (Olathe, Kan.) and Eli Rivas (Whittier, Calif.) accounted for the sole two hits of the game for the U.S. squad.
 
Giving the Red, White and Blue a promising start, Rivas led off the game with a single to right field. Three consecutive outs followed his at-bat to end the half inning, while Japan’s offense quickly scored three runs on a triple, two singles and a walk.
 
A strikeout and pair of groundouts kept the U.S. offense off the bags, while the defense responded with a 1-2-3 inning themselves in the second inning.
 
Fans saw the U-18 MNT go down in order and Japan put up four runs in the third inning for a 7-0 ballgame. A leadoff walk would score after stealing second and crossing home on a U.S. error. A sac fly and inside-the-park home run soon gave Japan the seven-run advantage. 
 
The U.S. squad put themselves in scoring position in the top of the fourth inning when Ian Winterhalder (Murray, Utah) led off with a walk and advanced to third after a double from Ponce. Unfortunately, back-to-back strikeouts and a groundout ended the U.S. threat. Meanwhile, Japan plated two after an RBI triple with no outs and despite Josh Eurich (Sebewaing, Mich.) entering the circle and replacing Chase Thomson (Herriman, Utah), a walk put runners on the corners before a single locked up the run-rule victory for Japan.
 
Thomson took the loss after allowing six earned runs on eight hits through three innings of work. Ponce and Rivas each went 1-for-2 in the game. The U.S. finishes pool play at the WBSC U-18 Men’s Softball World Cup with a 1-4 record and will move onto the Placement Round.