Team USA blanks Japan behind Weathers

Americans looking for fourth consecutive title in WBSC U-18 World Cup

Team USA blanks Japan behind Weathers

The USA Baseball 18U National Team shut out Japan, 4-0, on Saturday in the 2017 World Baseball Softball Confederation Baseball World Cup.

Left-hander Ryan Weathers led the way for the U.S. team, throwing seven innings of scoreless relief in a rain-delayed game at Port Arthur Stadium in Thunder Bay, Canada. Weathers, who entered in the second inning after the game's second rain delay, allowed only one hit and struck out eight.

"Talk about stepping up, wow," said USA manager and former Major Leaguer Andy Stankiewicz. "He was enormous. I don't have the words to describe the job he did. He was a bulldog and just attacked hitters. It was fun to watch."

Triston Casas hit a two-run homer for Team USA off Japan starter Kento Kawabata in the top of the second inning. That turned out to be plenty of offense for Team USA, which held Japan to two hits.

"That kid on the mound was great. He had me on the ropes all night. He just made a mistake on 0-2, and I was able to put a good swing on it," Casas said.

Team USA is the three-time defending World Cup champion. The Americans play Mexico on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. ET.

David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.