The USA Baseball 18U National Team advanced to the Super Round of the 2017 World Baseball Softball Confederation U-18 Baseball World Cup Tuesday night with an 8-1 win over Cuba as one of two unbeaten teams remaining in the tournament.
The tournament continues through September 10 in Thunder Bay, Canada. Korea is the other undefeated team in the competition.
Cartersville High School senior, Anthony Seigler, was a major source of offensive production for USA with a 2-for-4 performance that included two RBIs, a walk, and two runs scored. It was Seigler’s first start as DH and he hit in the cleanup spot in the order.
Teammate Alek Thomas was 3-for-4 and also had two RBIs as the U.S. scored all eight runs with two outs.
USA trailed 1-0 in the middle of the second inning, but scored eight unanswered runs and USA pitchers limited Cuba to no earned runs and only three hits.
Starting right-hand pitcher Cole Wilcox (7 IP, 1R, 0ER, 2H, 3BB, 5K) from nearby Chickamauga, GA picked up the USA win. Kumar Rocker of Watkinsville, GA (1 IP, 0R, 1H, 1BB, 2K) and J.T. Ginn (1 IP, 0R, 0H, 1BB, 1K) each worked a shutout inning to close out the victory.
USA U-18, now 5-0 in the tournament, also has wins over South Africa, Mexico, Japan, and Netherlands.
Seigler started at catcher and hit in the four-spot Monday in a 5-0 win over South Africa. He had eight putouts and an assist defensively and was 1-for-4 with a triple and one RBI at the plate.
In a 4-0 shutout of Japan last Saturday, Seigler started at catcher, had eight putouts and three assists and was 0-for-2 at the plate with two walks.
In the tournament opener last Friday, USA pounded Netherlands 11-0 with Seigler starting behind the plate and batting fifth in the order. He drew one walk in an 0-for-3 performance. He recorded 15 putouts in the game, all on strikeouts of Netherlands batters.
Through five games, Seigler has started four and is 3-for-13 with a triple, three RBIs, and one run scored. He has drawn four walks with an on-base percentage of .412. Defensively, he has a 1.000 fielding percentage in 35 total chances.
Team USA, who has enjoyed dominant pitching through the first five games of World Cup action, is the three-time defending World Cup champion and is looking to become the second country to win four-straight gold medals in the tournament.
The U.S. pitchings staff has a combined 0.22 ERA over 41 innings tossed by 10 different pitchers. The staff has 59 strikeouts, has allowed only 12 hits, and opponents only have a .094 batting average against them.
Team USA won Group B of the 12-team format with Japan finishing second in the division with a 4-1 mark. Cuba is 3-2, Netherlands 2-3, and both Mexico and Russia are 0-4 heading to Wednesday play.
In Group A, Australia and China Taipei both finished 3-2 in pool play and tied for second place behind undefeated Korea. Canada is 2-2, Italy 1-4, and Nicaragua is 0-4 with Wednesday’s game pending. Canada can force a three-team tie-breaker to be used if the hosts can defeat Nicaragua Wednesday evening. Only the top three teams in each group qualify for the Super Round.
USA has Wednesday off and will learn its opponent for the Super Round following Wednesday’s results. The Super Round continues Thursday through Saturday with the top four teams advancing to the World Cup Bronze Medal and Gold Medal games on Sunday.
The top two teams following the Super Round will play for the gold medal. The third and fourth place teams after the Super Round will play for bronze.