USA Baseball opened the Super Round of the U-18 Baseball World Cup with an 8-3 win over Canada in front of a raucous crowd Thursday in Thunder Bay, Canada, led by five RBIs from first baseman Triston Casas.
Casas wreaked havoc on Canada pitching all night, starting with a bases-loaded single in the first inning to open the scoring. Considered a top prep talent for the 2018 MLB Draft, Casas finished the night 3-for-4 with a homer, double and walk.
It was a breakout performance for a player who had struggled so far in the tournament, entering Thursday 3-for-18 at the plate with seven strikeouts.
"Throughout the tournament I've just been missing a couple of balls," Casas said, per USA Baseball. "I've been taking good at-bats and finally everything culminated with a good performance. I've been trying to keep a level head, and I knew eventually a couple balls would click and tonight was the night."
Team USA took a 4-1 lead into the seventh inning when Canada launched its closest shot at a comeback, loading the bases with one out. That chance was quickly diffused thanks to a 6-4-3 double play to keep USA on top.
The game saw a sellout crowd of 3,107 at Port Arthur Stadium cheering mostly for the home team.
"We knew coming in that this is their home turf," USA manager Andy Stankiewicz said. "Playing Canada in the nightcap, kind of the highlight game, we knew there was going to be a sellout crowd and there was. But that's exciting, that is what we want."
Both teams notched runs in the eighth inning to bring the final score to 8-3, Team USA's sixth straight win to open the tournament. The team will need to wake up early Friday to preserve that streak, as it is facing South Korea, the tournament's only other undefeated team, at 9 a.m.
Jack Baer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.