Venezuela shuts out defending World Champions Mexico in Final of WBSC U-23 Baseball World Cup; Colombia claims historic bronze medal
HERMOSILLO, Mexico -- Venezuela defeated Mexico, 4-0, Saturday night at Estadio Sonora to capture a U-23 World Championship in the final of the WBSC U-23 Baseball World Cup.
The final game, the first U-23 World Cup with the new seven-inning format, was played in just one hour and forty minutes.
Venezuelan starter Wikelman Ramirez tossed a complete game shutout, allowing just three hits on the night. The 21-year-old right-hander struck out four and baffled Mexico’s hitters all night long.
Venezuelan slugger Jesus Lujano led off the third with a double and scored on a Romer Cuadrano sacrifice fly. Juan Fernandez added his team-leading third home run of the tournament to cap the scoring.
"It is really easy to work with these players," Venezuelan U-23 National Team manager Carlos Garcia said. "They came together, worked hard, stayed focused on our goal. And more than that, they enjoyed playing the game."
"The fact of playing in Mexico put too much pressure on these players," Mexico manager Enrique Reyes said. "It's a fact we didn't play well enough to beat a team like Venezuela."
Led by two home runs from designated hitter Andres Angulo, world No. 15 Colombia defeated No. 11 Cuba, 5-3, in the bronze medal game Saturday afternoon at Estadio Sonora. The victory gave Colombia its first-ever medal in a WBSC World Cup event.
"Colombia's last title on the world stage came in 1947. My grandfather was playing on that team," commented Colombian U-22 National Team manager Jose Mosquera.
Angulo jumpstarted Colombia with a two-run homer to left in the bottom of the first inning, following Jordan Diaz’s one-out single through the left side.
Called upon to earn his third save of the U-23 World Cup, Colombia’s Jhon Peluffo obliged, retiring all five batters he faced.
Gustavo Campero of Colombia was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the WBSC U-23 Baseball World Cup, as the U-23 All-World Team was revealed during the Closing Ceremony. Campero, 24, played catcher and left field. He was the best hitter of the U-23 Baseball World Cup, with a .571 batting average. He also hit a home run and had eight RBI.