Monday, September 02, 2013

18U BWC: Australia upsets USA in nail-biter

Australia defeats defending champion by a score of 1-0 in a pitcher-heavy matchup at Intercontinental Stadium

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INTERCONTINENTAL STADIUM. Australia has delivered the first big upset at the XXVI 18U Baseball World Cup. One day after defeating Colombia, the team from Down Under stunned the United States on Monday afternoon at Intercontinental Stadium in Taichung with a 1-0 victory. Samuel Kennelly scored the lone run of the day in the second. Otherwise Lewis Thorpe and two relievers kept the US bats in check.

It was a pitcher’s duel throughout the entire nine innings. Lewis Thorpe, who was signed by the Minnesota Twins last year, and has played for Australia in the 16U Baseball World Cup in Mexico, dominated with eight strikeouts through 5 2/3 innings. The left-hander allowed just five hits and also hit a batter.

Afterwards Lachlan Madden and Shaun Wright closed it out with no-hit, no-walk ball, pitching around three more hit batters. Especially Wright kept calm, hitting the first batter in the ninth, who then was able to advance up to third base in the frame. However he struck out Cole Tucker to end the game.

One run made the difference. Samuel Kennelly took the first offering from Keaton McKinney in the second through the middle for a single. He stole second and raced home on a one-out single - once again splitting second base and shortstop - by Connor MacDonald. 

McKinney (4.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 4 SO) and relievers Marvin Gorgas and Luis Ortiz didn’t disappoint either. But in the end one run decided the outcome, handing McKinney a tough loss.

Both teams will be busy on Tuesday. Australia tries to defend its clean slate against Italy in the morning at Dou-Liou and against Korea at Taichung City Stadium in the evening. The United States will play Korea in the morning before clashing with longtime rival Cuba in the evening.

All information about the XXVI 18U Baseball World Cup can be found at www.18UBaseballWorldCup.org. Do you want to see Baseball-Softball at the Olympic Games? Like PlayBall2020 on Facebook or follow on Twitter.