Austin Bergner struck out nine and the United States’ 18U national team opened the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in Japan with an 11-1 victory against the Czech Republic in a game shortened by the run rule.
Bergner from Windermere, Fla., allowed three hits and no walks in his six innings before Hunter Greene (Stevenson Ranch, Calif.) pitched a scoreless seventh with three groundouts. The U.S. scored enough runs in the bottom of the seventh to reach the 10-run differential.
“Austin Bergner pitched really well, obviously, and set the tone for the day by throwing strikes all game,” manager Glenn Cecchini said. “Offensively we did a good job of hitting balls on the ground and forced them to make some mistakes but once we got up early we didn’t put them away in the middle innings. We knocked them down but didn’t knock them out. That is something we need to get better at as we move forward in this tournament.”
The Americans scored five runs in the first inning, helped in part by three errors by the Czech Republic, added two in the second and another in the fifth for an 8-0 lead.
Michael Amditis from Boca Raton, Fla.) led the offensive charge with three run-scoring singles.
The U.S. next plays Saturday at 4:30 am ET against Japan.