BARRANQUILLA, Colombia -- The USA Baseball 15U National Team won the gold medal at the COPABE Pan American Championships with a 6-1 victory over Cuba on Sunday afternoon. Team USA finished the tournament a perfect 8-0.
"The guys did a tremendous job, and I'm really proud of them," manager Tom Meusborn said. "Mason Thompson did a great job, and Vaughn had the huge hit to get us going. It was a great team effort and our guys did an outstanding job representing their country today. There's no better feeling than winning the gold medal."
Team USA fell behind in the second inning of the game when Cuba jumped out to a 1-0 lead on an RBI groundout.
Scoreless through the first three innings, the Red, White and Blue threatened Cuba in the bottom of the fourth inning when Isaak Gutierrez (Cypress, Calif.) and Ben Ramirez (Chula Vista, Calif.) reached base with sharp singles. Andrew Vaughn (Santa Rosa, Calif.) then stepped up to the plate and delivered the biggest blow of the game, a three-run home run to left field to put the Eagles on top 3-1.
"As soon as I hit it I knew it was gone," Vaughn said. "I can't even describe how good this feels right now."
After Cuba made a pitching change, Mason Thompson (Round Rock, Texas) kept the inning rolling with an RBI triple to right-center field, and Chase Strumpf (Ladera Ranch, Calif.) added a run on an RBI single to make it a 5-1 U.S. lead.
An RBI single from Sam Ferri (Norridge, Ill.) increased the U.S. lead to 6-1 in the bottom of the fifth.
Thompson started on the mound for the U.S. and turned in a masterful performance to lead the team to the gold medal. The 6-foot-6 right hander allowed one run on three hits with six strikeouts in six innings pitched to earn the win for the Red, White and Blue.
"I just wanted to do my part to help this team win a gold medal," Thompson said. "This is an unbelievable feeling, and I'm so proud to bring this championship back to the United States."
Logan Pouelsen (Huntington Beach, Calif.) pitched the final inning for Team USA and struck out the side to seal the 6-1 gold-medal victory for the U.S.