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Lamorinda Alumni Joe DeMers pitches Team USA to the gold medal game!

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Former Lamorinda Cougar Joe DeMers pitches Team USA to the gold medal game versus Japan. Nice work Joe!!! Here is the game summary from Team USA:

18U: USA tops Chinese Taipei, 7-5; punch golden ticket
Team USA clinches a spot in Sunday’s gold-medal game against Japan

TAICHUNG, Taiwan – The 2013 18U National Team clinched its spot in the 2013 IBAF ‘AAA’/18U World Cup gold-medal game with a 7-5 victory over host-nation Chinese Taipei on Friday night in Taichung, Taiwan. Team USA will play Japan for the coveted neckwear on Sunday at 6:30 a.m. ET (6:30 p.m. local) at Intercontinental Stadium.

“This feeling is amazing,” said Rob Cooper, the 18U National Team manager. “To play for a gold medal is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I’m just proud these players get a chance to do it.

“Playing in front of the hometown team tonight was the best part,” Cooper said. “Before the game I told the players they needed to understand what they got to do: play a big game against the hometown team with their fans, in their stadium. That’s a great international baseball environment and our guys embraced it.”

Cole Tucker (Phoenix, Ariz.) delivered the first big shot of the night, knocking a bases loaded two-RBI single to right to score Keaton McKinney (Ankeny, Iowa) and Jakson Reetz (Hickman, Neb.) who had both singled earlier in the second inning.

Justus Sheffield (Tullahoma, Tenn.) took the ball for Team USA, never quite finding his rhythm in a five and a third inning outing. The lefty spread out eight hits, allowing five runs — four earned — while striking out two and walking three.

Chinese Taipei delivered its own big hit in the top of the third. With two on, Chia-Jung Liang doubled to deep left center to score two and give the host-nation a 3-2 lead. A walk and a close play at first on a ground ball loaded the bases with two outs, but Sheffield was able to induce a ground ball to minimize the damage.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Scott Hurst (Glendora, Calif.) led off with a single and Reetz was hit by a pitch moments later. After J.J. Schwarz (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.), sacrificed the pair over, Bryson Brigman (San Jose, Calif.) and Tucker both hit sharp ground balls, but weren’t able to push the run across and the score remained 3-2 in favor of the hosts.

In the top of the fifth, a two-out double followed up by a single from De-Rong Yin pushed the Chinese Taipei lead to 4-2. An inning later a sacrifice fly plated another run to push the lead to three.

Sheffield was relieved by Joe DeMers (Martinez, Calif.) in the sixth inning. The righty delivered two and two-thirds innings of shutout baseball, walking one and striking out one to earn the win.

“What Joe DeMers did tonight was awesome,” explained Cooper. “He kept us in the game. I remember seeing him in 2012 at the 17U National Team Development Program, and I saw how competitive he was then. He showed that tonight.”

After being held off the board for four consecutive innings by Chinese Taipei starter Tzu-Wei Lin, Trace Loehr (Milwaukie, Ore.) worked a two-out walk, before Michael Rivera (Venice, Fla.) made it hurt, crushing a two-run home run to left field to cut the lead to 5-4.

In the top of the eighth, DeMers found himself in a jam. With runners on second and third with no outs, DeMers coaxed a fly ball to center off the bat of Li Lin. Hurst hauled it in and the threat of his arm held the runner at third. After an intentional walk, Tru-Hao Chen ripped a ball to right that Reetz grabbed and fired home, again holding the runner at third. A sharp ground ball to Brigman at third ended the inning scoreless for Chinese Taipei.

Ridding the momentum of the defense, Hurst ripped a lead-off triple to start the eighth inning for the U.S. lineup. Reetz followed suit, lacing a double into the right center gap to score Hurst and tie the game, 5-5. After a failed sacrifice bunt attempt by McKinney, Brigman knocked a two-strike pitch into left field for an RBI-triple. One pitch later, Tucker hit a sacrifice fly to score Brigman and make it 7-5.

Luis Ortiz (Sanger, Calif.) came on to retire the final three Chinese Taipei batters in a 1-2-3 ninth inning to earn his third save in red, white and blue.

“As far as momentum goes, I’m not sure what that does,” Cooper remarked. “But knowing what these guys have in them, grinding it out, it’s going to be great finish.”

Team USA will meet Japan on Saturday at 6:00 a.m. ET (6:00 p.m. local) in the final game of World Cup second round play. The winner of the Saturday match up will be the home team when the two countries clash in Sunday night’s championship game.

For tournament information, including full schedules and results, please visit IBAF.org.

For updates on the USA Baseball 18U National Team, visit USABaseball.com or follow @USABaseball18U on Twitter.

About USA Baseball
USA Baseball is the national governing body for the sport of baseball in the United States and is a member of the United States Olympic Committee and the International Baseball Federation.  The organization selects and trains the World Baseball Classic, World Cup and Pan Am teams (and all other USA Baseball Professional Teams); the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team; the USA Baseball 18U, 15U and 12U National Teams; and the USA Baseball Women’s National Team, all of which participate in various international competitions each year.  USA Baseball also presents the Golden Spikes Award annually to the top amateur baseball player in the country.  For more information, please visit USABaseball.com.