THUNDER BAY – Marcus Littlewood (Saint George, Utah) smacked a two-out two-RBI double in the ninth inning to lift USA Baseball 18U National Team over Korea 4-2 at Baseball Central Saturday. USA improves to 6-1 in 2010 IBAF World Junior “AAA” (18U) Baseball Championships with the victory.
John Simms (The Woodlands, Tex.) pitched seven strong innings, allowing two runs, both unearned, on just two hits with six strikeouts. John Hochstatter (Danville, Calif.) earned the win after pitching the eighth frame in relief. Dillon Maples (West End, N.C.) earns the save retiring Korea in the ninth.
“I am proud of the way our kids came back today and competed,” said assistant coach Butch Chaffin. “We battled and continue to play hard. It was a great win for us.”
Littlewood led USA offensively with three hits and three RBI. Lance McCullers (Tampa, Fla.) notched two hits and scored a pair of runs. Albert Almora (Hialeah, Fla.) added a RBI single to round out the U.S. attack.
Team USA jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead in the first. Littlewood belted a RBI triple down the left field line to score Francisco Lindor (Clermont, Fla.) and put the U.S. in front early.
Simms was efficient in the early going, tossing a perfect slate through the first 3 2/3 frames. The Woodlands, Tex., product labored in the fourth, but wriggled out of the inning unscathed with a timely pick off.
The U.S. added their second run of the day in the top of the seventh frame. McCullers scorched a single up the middle and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Almora then parachuted a single into shallow center field to extend the USA lead to 2-0.
Hochstatter entered to pitch in the eighth, inheriting a pair of base runners with no outs. Korea knotted the score at two scoring on one U.S. error and a designed caught stealing play. With runners on first and third, Il Hor lured the USA defense into a pickle at first allowing Jin Jeong to score before being tagged out and tying the game at two.
Littlewood delivered a two-out two RBI double off the left field wall to push the U.S. back in front 4-2 in the top of the ninth. The Saint George, Utah product earned his third hit of the day in what proved to be the game winner.
Maples tossed a quick bottom of the inning to seal the 4-2 victory and the save.
The U.S. will finish the 2010 World Championships Sunday at 9:30 a.m. against the Netherlands from Baseball Central. The winner will earn the fifth place finish at the Worlds, while the loser will claim the sixth position.
The 2010 IBAF World Junior “AAA” (18U) Baseball Championship hosts national teams from Australia, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Korea, Netherlands, Panama, Venezuela and the United States. Teams began qualifying games on July 23 and the tournament will culminate in the gold medal game on August 1 at Port Arthur Stadium in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. Visit the website at www.worldbaseball2010.com. For tickets, please call toll free at 1-877-422-3201.
Four U.S. players post 10 or more hits in the 2010 World Championships –Michael Lorenzen (Anaheim, Calif.) posts 13, Lindor registers 13, Littlewood owns 12 and Swihart notches 12 . . . The seven inning outing by Simms is the longest the right-hander has turned in this summer . . . Littlewood extended his hit streak to a team-best 10 games Saturday . . . USA is outscoring their opponents 60-14 in seven games of the 2010 World Championships.