Team USA upsets Japan in Premier12 tourney

Angels No. 1 prospect Adell leads offense with seventh-inning homer

November 12th, 2019

Team USA upset top-ranked Japan, 4-3, in its second game of the Super Round in the Premier12 tournament on Tuesday night in Tokyo to remain in contention to earn an Olympic berth.

The top finisher in the Super Round group from both the Asia/Oceania territory (Australia, Chinese Taipei or Korea) and the Americas territory (Mexico or the United States) will automatically qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, joining host country Japan in the six-team Olympic tournament. Mexico is 3-0 after defeating Australia, 3-0, on Tuesday, while Team USA is 1-2.

Tanner Houck, the Red Sox's No. 5 prospect, was initially scheduled to start, but instead, he was a late scratch. Mariners prospect Penn Murfee, who had a breakout campaign in the recently concluded Arizona Fall League, started in Houck’s place, going three scoreless innings and starting a carousel of six Team USA pitchers.

Team USA scored the first run of the game on an RBI groundout by Rays two-way prospect Jake Cronenworth (No. 17 on Tampa Bay's Top 30 list) in the second inning, and it did not relinquish that lead. Red Sox No. 2 prospect Bobby Dalbec doubled home fellow Boston prospect C.J. Chatham (No. 9 on the Sox's list) in the top of the third to put the U.S. up, 2-0.

With a 3-2 score in the top of the seventh, Angels No. 1 prospect Jo Adell hit a solo homer to extend Team USA’s lead. That run would prove important, as Japan tacked on a run in the bottom of the eighth to narrow the score to 4-3, but it couldn’t add on. Adell’s blast was his second of the Premier12 and his tournament-best ninth hit. The No. 5 overall prospect is hitting .429 through five games, the fourth-best mark among all players, and he is second in total bases (16).

Phillies top prospect Alec Bohm (No. 34 overall) went 2-for-5 with an RBI double, and he is slashing .286/.318/.571 in the tournament.

Next up, Team USA faces Australia at 10 p.m. ET tonight in Japan. Houck is listed as the starter, and he'll go up against Tim Atherton. Mexico faces Japan at 5 a.m. ET on Wednesday.

The Premier12 teams from the Americas territory that do not qualify for the Olympics via the Premier12 tournament will have another chance to earn a berth during the Americas Qualifier, scheduled for March in Phoenix. In addition to the U.S. and Mexico, those teams include the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Cuba and Canada, all of which were unable to advance out of the opening round of the Premier12.