JUNIOR NATIONAL TEAM TO MEET UNDEFEATED HOST CUBA AT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Team USA seeks to unseat two-time defending
world champions in quarterfinal matchup Sept. 24
Sept. 23, 2006
SANCTI SPIRITUS, CUBA -- Boasting a three-game tournament winning streak, the USA Baseball Junior National Team will meet host Cuba at 2 p.m. (Eastern time) Sept. 24 in the quarterfinals of the International Baseball Federation "AAA" World Junior Championships at J.A. Huelga Stadium.
After a day off from competition on Sept. 23, Team USA (3-2) will look to end the host country's reign as the two-time defending champion in the event. Cuba, the lone remaining undefeated team through five games in the tournament, captured both the 2002 and 2004 world titles. Meanwhile, the Americans are looking to improve on their fourth-place finish at the 2004 world championships played in Taipei, Taiwan.
While the JNT's 3-2 record matched that of fellow pool play members Mexico and Chinese Taipei, Team USA finished fourth in its pool based on the tournament's tie-breaking criteria. Both of the Americans' losses came against Mexico and Chinese Taipei. Ironically, the JNT handed pool play winner Canada its only loss in the tournament (a 2-1 Team USA win on Sept. 20).
The Americans' quarterfinal opponent wasn't decided until the outcome of the Sept. 22 matchup between Mexico and Chinese Taipei. Mexico's 5-3 victory in 13 innings gave it the No. 2 seed in Pool B while Chinese Taipei finished third and Team USA followed in fourth. As the No. 4 seed from its pool, the JNT was paired against the top seed from Pool A, which was Cuba with its 5-0 tourney mark.
The USA Baseball Junior National Team is a perennial power on the international baseball scene. Only once in the 21-year history of the IBAF World Junior Championships, has the United States failed to capture a medal. During this time, the JNT has earned five gold medals, nine silver medals and six bronze medals.
Pool Play Standings (through games of Sept. 22)
Sept. 22 Pool Play Results
|Pool A:|| ||Pool B:|
|Korea||3-2|| ||Chinese Taipei||3-3|
|South Africa||0-5|| ||Spain||0-5|
def. Spain, 11-1 (7 innings)
Canada def. Italy, 10-0 (8 innings)
Cuba def. South Africa, 13-1 (7 innings)
Korea def. Netherlands, 9-1
Mexico def. Chinese Taipei, 5-3 (13 innings)
Panama def. Australia, 3-0
Sept. 24 - Opening Round of Medal Play (All times Eastern)
Mexico vs. Netherlands, 10 a.m.
Chinese Taipei vs. Korea, 10 a.m.
Canada vs. Panama, 2 p.m.
Cuba vs. USA, 2 p.m.
Sept. 24 - Opening Round of Consolation Play
Italy vs. South Africa, 2 p.m.
Australia vs. Spain, 2 p.m.