American shortstop Brice Turang made several impressive off-balance throws throughout the game; catcher Anthony Seigler threw out a runner attempting to steal second base to complete a strike-’em-out, throw-’em-out double play in the fifth inning; third baseman Nolan Gorman made a quick, accurate throw to the plate to prevent a run from scoring in the second inning; and Alek Thomas threw out Canadian outfielder Denzel Clarke at the plate to end the second inning.

As a team we take a lot of pride in our defense and we pitch to our pitchers to throw strikes and let us work because we feel we’re really good with the gloves,” Casas said. “And we try to help our pitchers stay efficient and stay confident by just letting them pound the zone and work. It’s a really good vibe that we have going on defense right now.”

Stankiewicz agreed with the sentiment, and while Casas’ effort offensively was the most obvious reason for Team USA’s sixth straight win in Thunder Bay, the difference was the defense.

“(The Canadians) are good,” Stankiewicz told USA Baseball. “They are competitive at the plate, they know how to handle the bat, and their young starter did a great job. He had some command issues but once he settled in he did a nice job of mixing his pitches and the guy who came in out of the bullpen did a great job as well.

“They are good up-and-down the lineup. They put the ball in play, they put pressure on you, and make you play defense. The difference tonight was the three double plays we turned. They are tough and a competitive ball club. We had to make plays and fortunately we made the plays we needed to.”

Team USA will have a quick turnaround as it prepares for what is likely its biggest challenge yet of the tournament: a matchup with Korea, the only other team in the tournament yet to lose a game, and the top team from Group A.

That game starts at 9 a.m. ET Friday, with Georgia righthander Ethan Hankins getting the start for Team USA.