The Putnam standout starts all 13 games for the U.S. team

by: DAN BROOD - PUTNAM SENIOR TRACE LOEHRTAICHUNG, Taiwan — Putnam senior Trace Loehr played a major role, as the USA Baseball 18U National Team defeated Japan 3-2 in the championship game of the 2013 International Baseball Federation Junior 'AAA'/18U World Cup, played here Sept. 8.

Loehr scored the winning run to gain the U.S. team a second consecutive world title. Before last year a U.S. 18U team had not won a world title since 1999.

Loehr stepped to the plate in the bottom of the seventh of the nine-inning title game and rapped a single, only the fifth hit off of Japanese southpaw Yuki Matsui, who had struck out nine batters to that point in the game.

Japan switched to reliever Taisuke Yamaoka after Loehr's base hit, and Yamaoka's first pitch was wild, allowing Loehr to advance to second.

Loehr then moved to third on a sacrifice by Michael Rivera (Venice, Florida) and scored on a base hit by Keaton McKinney (Ankeny, Iowa), putting the U.S. up 3-1.

The U.S. team went 8-1 in this year's IBAF Junior 'AAA'/18U World Cup Tournament, the only loss by a 1-0 margin in a pool play game with Australia.

In other pool play games, the U.S. defeated Italy 8-0, Korea 2-1, Cuba 6-5 and Colombia 12-6.

The U.S. then advanced to the final with Japan through wins over Venezuela (15-5), Chinese Taipei (7-5) and Japan (10-4).

Loehr played 13 games with the USA Baseball 18U team this summer, starting in all 13. He had 10 hits and scored 12 runs in 48 at bats, and he was a perfect 6-for-6 on stolen base attempts. He was the leader on the U.S. team in stolen bases and walks (7).

Loehr was especially impressive on defense at the world championship tournament, playing error-free ball while making 16 putouts and 37 assists. He started at second base in the IBAF Junior 'AAA'/18U World Cup Tournament, but also played shortstop for the U.S. Team in games this summer.

Loehr was among only six infielders selected to this year's 20-player USA Baseball 18U National Team roster, and he was the only baseball player from Oregon selected to the team.

Loehr, who has committed to playing baseball at Oregon State University after graduating from Putnam next spring, was selected to the elite 18U team at team trials held Aug. 16-21 in Fullerton, Calif.

“I've been told that there haven't been many Oregon players to ever make this team,” Putnam athletic director Daniel Barendse said.

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