SEOUL, South Korea — Keegan Thompson found himself on the mound with the IBAF Baseball World Championship on the line for the second straight year.
Brought in for the final inning, the Cullman High fireballer induced a fly ball and then struck out the final two batters to put the finishing touches on a 6-2 win over Canada on Saturday.
The victory, which avenged a 1-0 extra-inning defeat to Canada earlier in the tournament, clinched USA Baseball's 18-and-under National Team's first world championship since 1999.
USA's three pitchers in the gold medal game — Ian Clarkin, Ryan Olson and Thompson — gave up only four hits and struck out six in nine innings of work.
The 18U squad went 7-2 overall while in South Korea, taking down Netherlands (17-0), Colombia (11-1), Venezuela (3-2), Australia (6-2), Chinese Taipei (5-1), Japan (10-5) and then Canada in the final contest. Its two losses came to Korea (8-2) and Canada (1-0).
Other than the rematch in the championship, Thompson started on the mound versus Venezuela and was called upon for a late relief appearance in the first bout with Canada.
This is Thompson's second world championship with USA Baseball. The Auburn commit helped lead the 16-and-under National Team to the title last year, pitching a gem in the title tilt that ultimately earned International Performance of the Year honors from USA Baseball.
According to Thompson's Twitter, he will return to school for his first day of class on Tuesday.
‰ The Times' sports editor Rob Ketcham contributed to this report.