Finally NWAACC USA beat a team other than Canada at the World Baseball Challenge and the picked the right time to do it.
The Americans needed an extra inning to beat the Chinese Taipei National Team on Thursday in front of 425 fans at Citizen Field to earn the bronze medal with a 9-7 win. Chinese Taipei tied the game at 6-6 in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Cory Urquhart, second baseman for the USA, said it's a nice way to cap off his baseball career.
"We're happy to go home with some hardware, too bad it's not the gold, but hey, this is it for me; it was a fun ride," said the 22-year-old. "I'm done with baseball so it was a good way to go out. The medal means a lot, I'm going to hang it on my wall and have it forever."
Urquhart hit what turned out to be the game-winning ball in the top of the 10th inning, an infield ball that was overthrown by the pitcher on the fielder's choice to second base, scoring two runs for Team USA to give them a 9-6 advantage. Urquhart, who will finish his education at Central Washington University in the fall, said he had a hunch the Chinese Taipei pitcher was going to give him a breaking ball and all he wanted to do was keep it in the middle to score a run.
International rules were in play for the extra inning where each team puts runners on first and second base to start the inning.
Urquhart said the extra runs game the team an extra boost of confidence when they went out into the field.
"A three-run lead in baseball is tough to come back from," he said. "It gave us time to relax."
Chinese Taipei beat the USA twice during the week by scores of 9-7 and 8-4. Team USA finished the tournament with a 4-4 record, while Chinese Taipei went 6-3.
The USA trailed 5-1 after three innings but, Urquhart said they knew they could rebound.
"We were hitting a lot of balls hard but right at people," said Urquhart. "We finally got something to fall in there and runners on base and got it done."
It helped to have Austin Woodward on the mound - the best pitcher for Team USA at the WBC. Woodward pitched eight innings, leaving with the game tied 6-6, allowing six runs on seven hits.
"After I realized they like to play a lot of small ball, getting guys on, I kind of had to work my other pitches, off-speed pitches, instead of throwing the fast ball in there," said Woodward. "It took me a couple of innings to figure that out but after we did it I kind of got cruising there."
The no-decision was the second for Woodward, as he also had a strong outing for Team USA in a 3-2 loss to Cuba last Saturday night. Scott Kuzminsky picked up the win for the USA against Chinese Taipei.
Woodward said it was interesting facing teams like Japan and Chinese Taipei with mid-twenty players and Cuba with players in their 30s. The 20-year-old hopes it gives him an edge as he and USA teammate, Jacob Herklotz, attempt to walk-on at Oregon State University, where they're transferring this year after spending last season at a community college.
"They've got a lot of good guys so we're just hoping to make the team," said Woodward.
Last year, Oregon State made it to the NCAA Division 1 College World Series tournament.