USA Baseball's youth national team averaged 14 runs a game during its seven wins at the IBAF World Youth Championship, but Cuba silenced that explosive offense in a 5-0 win in the gold medal game in Monterrey, Mexico.
The loss ended Team USA's quest for a fourth straight gold at the world championships and was its fifth defeat in its last six games against Cuba.
Freddy Alvarez held Team USA to four hits in a complete-game effort. He struck out nine batters and walked three. Alvarez also added a single at the plate and earned an RBI when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
Team USA's Robert Stock (Agoura Hills High, Westlake Village, Calif.) matched Alvarez' zeroes for the first three innings before allowing three runs (two earned) in the fourth. He still struck out eight batters to bring his tournament total to 27 (in 14 innings), establishing a Team USA record. A three-and-a-half hour rain delay ended Stock's gold-medal game outing after that inning.
Right fielder Freddie Freeman (El Modena High, Villa Park, Calif.) led the U.S. with two hits in three at-bats. He batted .548-3-16 with seven doubles in the event, leading or tying for the team lead in each category. Shortstop Christian Rodriguez (Taylorsville High, Salt Lake City) ranked second with a .517 average, while left fielder Brett Krill (Aliso Niguel High, Laguna Nigel, Calif.) tied for the team lead with three homers and tied for second with 11 RBIs.
Freeman hit two home runs and drove in six runs in a 15-2 win against Japan in the event's semifinal. Stock started and pitched the first three innings of that contest, leaving with the score 12-1.
Righthander Blake Beavan (Irving, Texas, High) started the quarterfinal game against Taiwan after winning twice during Team USA's undefeated run through pool play. The Americans won 12-1 in seven innings when catcher Franco Valdes (Pace High, Miami) hit a two-run homer to invoke the mercy rule.
Beaven earned the win, improving to a team-best 3-0, 1.10 at the event. He struck out 22 batters in 16 innings without issuing a walk and threw a two-hit shutout with 12 strikeouts against Japan to open round-robin play. Stock struck out 15 batters in seven innings against the Netherlands during pool play.