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Golden Spikes Spotlight: Brendan McKay

May 3, 2017

Brendan McKay's collegiate debut came in the eighth inning of a Sunday game against Cal State Fullerton in Clearwater, Fla. It was opening weekend of the 2015 season, and Louisville was down 8-6 against the Titans, so the coaching staff decided to give McKay, their prized freshman lefthander, a chance on the mound.

He worked two scoreless innings that day, pitching at 88-92 mph and flashing a power curveball that would become one of his trademarks. Appropriately, his first career strikeout came on an 81 mph curve against Scott Hurst.

Days later, Louisville coach Dan McDonnell sent a text message insisting that the first weekend didn't really showcase just how good his all of his freshmen would be. "Make sure you keep an eye on Brendan McKay," he texted. "Reminds me of Stephen Head…"

Head was one of the most accomplished two-way players of the new century. During his three-year career from 2003-05, Head hit .338 with 37 homers while posting a 2.32 ERA in 213 innings for Ole Miss, where McDonnell served as an assistant at the time.

Three weeks after McKay's collegiate debut, the Cardinals played a two-game midweek road series at Ole Miss, where Head was finishing his degree. By that point, McKay (who didn't hit during his first college weekend) was already entrenched as Louisville's cleanup man, and when closer Zack Burdi was sidelined for a few weeks with an injury, McKay filled in admirably at the back of the bullpen. Two days before the visit to Oxford, McKay had gone 3-for-3 with a walk-off single and worked two scoreless innings of relief in the series finale against Miami. Then, in the Tuesday game against Ole Miss, he struck out two in a scoreless ninth to earn his fourth save.

"I told Stephen before the game that Tuesday, 'This is the closest kid I've had to you,'" McDonnell recalls. "He had to close the game that night, he was like 92-94 with a snap dragon curveball. After the game, Stephen walks up to me and puts his arm around me and says, 'Hey Coach, man, this dude's way better than me. I never threw that hard and I didn't have that breaking ball.'

"But you know what I mean - this is our Stephen Head. When I always talk about greatness, I always talk about a career. Nothing wrong with doing it for one year, that's awesome, but Stephen Head did it for a career. Just like McKay, he was the national freshman of the year and was on Team USA. What he did for three years, he changed the program. By the time he rolled through there, that program was at a different level. McKay is doing the same for us now."

McKay's career isn't quite over yet - he still has two very important months left to add to his legacy - but he's already certain to go down as one of the greatest two-way players of his era, or any era. He was the consensus national Freshman of the Year in 2015, when he settled into the Saturday starter role once Burdi returned and finished 9-3, 1.77 off the mound while hitting .308 at the plate. He stepped up into the Friday starter role as a sophomore, going 12-4, 2.30 with 128 strikeouts in 109.2 innings, and his offensive production climbed - he hit .333 and improved his slugging percentage by 82 points to .513. He was a first-team All-American as a freshman and again as a sophomore, and he surely will be once again as a junior, because he is having his best season yet.

In 10 starts on the mound, McKay is 6-3, 2.15 with 95 strikeouts and 16 walks in 67 innings. That's roughly in line with his career stats heading into the season, although his strikeout rate is up (from 1.2 per nine innings to 1.4) and his walk rate is down (from 0.37 to 0.23 per nine innings). But McKay has taken his offensive game to a different planet. Through 142 at-bats, he is hitting .394/.514/.739 with 13 homers and 42 RBIs. Entering the season, he had hit just 10 career homers in 439 at-bats.

McKay started earning real draft buzz as a hitter last summer for Team USA, for whom he hit .326. But McDonnell had a feeling his offensive game would benefit if he spent more time at first base and less time at DH, where the Cardinals used him a lot last season in order to keep him fresh. McDonnell believed he would thrive by being more engaged throughout the game - but he told McKay he had to earn the job, and prove that he could play at a high level and pitch at a high level despite taking on the extra workload.

"He was phenomenal all fall on the mound, phenomenal all fall at first base, phenomenal all fall at the plate," McDonnell said. "So I told all the scouts this fall, 'He's hitting 15 homers this year.' They said, 'Fifteen?' I said, 'Fifteen. I promise you.'

"He got off to a good start. Then there was a little lull in the season, and I'm thinking, 'Oh man, I promised these dudes he's hitting 15.' Then he got it going again this week."

That's an understatement. McKay went bonkers at the plate last week, going deep six times in five games. It started with a four-homer, nine-RBI game on Tuesday against Eastern Kentucky. Then, in Sunday's series finale against Toledo, he homered twice more.

"I've never really hit multiple home runs in a game up until that point, since I was 12," McKay said. "When I was 12, we were at Cooperstown, N.Y., at a tournament, and I hit two in the very first game we played, in the first inning. That was the last time I had two in a game."

Around that same time, when McKay was 12 or 13, a kid he played travel ball with showed him a curveball grip. "I don't think he was a pitcher, but he knew the grip for some reason, and he showed it to me," McKay recalled. "From there I tried it, I just tweaked it a little more to throw it with different shapes and speeds. As you get into high school, you kind of start to realize you're throwing it pretty well and it's hard to hit for a lot of guys."

The numbers McKay posted at Blackhawk High School in Western Pennsylvania were just silly - though not so much sillier than the numbers he has put up for Louisville, especially this year. During one stretch, he posted 72.1 consecutive scoreless innings off the mound. He went 8-1, 0.56 with 130 strikeouts as a senior while hitting .429. He was 7-0, 0.13 with 101 strikeouts as a junior, when he hit .440. He was 9-1, 0.69 with 98 strikeouts as a sophomore, when he hit .400. He was a two-time winner of Gatorade Player of the Year award in the state of Pennsylvania.

After that kind of domination, McKay attracted plenty of interest from Division I schools and pro scouts. But he actually committed to Louisville fairly late in the process - the summer before his senior year. Louisville pitching coach Roger Williams told McDonnell he needed to drop everything and make his way up to Darlington, Pa., to visit with McKay's family, because his college decision was imminent. So McDonnell hitched a ride with a pilot who used to work as a manager for the Louisville women's basketball team.

"So I show up to the airport, this was the smallest plane ever. It was his seat, the pilot, I'm the co-pilot, there's no seat behind us. That's it," McDonnell recalls. He and the pilot made plans to meet up after the home visit by 10 p.m. to fly back to Louisville, because a storm was coming, and getting caught in a storm in that little plane was probably a bad idea. But McDonnell turns his phone off when he goes into a home visit, and he got carried away in conversation with Brendan's mother Kim.

"If you put Kim McKay and myself in a room together, the hours fly by," McDonnell said. "We're talking, talking, talking. I'm selling everything … For some reason, the mom said, 'Oh my gosh, it's already 10 o'clock.' So I reach into my bag, I have like 10 missed calls from this dude. All these texts - severe storms are coming, we've gotta leave now."

McDonnell said a hasty goodbye and rushed back to the airport.

"He can't crank the engine. He's cranking the engine, the engine won't start," McDonnell said. "He's on the headset, he's trying to get clearance. The storm is coming, you can see the radar, it's this giant green coming across. I'm sitting there going, 'Holy cow, I'm gonna die, this is it. This is not good.' He finally gets the engine cranked, finally gets clearance, with the understanding that we'e got to do some dodging, we've got to reroute, avoid some of these storms. The two-hour flight became at least two and a half, three hours. We're constantly looking left and right, there's lightning strikes, there's rain. I was so tired, we got back probably 2 in the morning. It's a funny story because of how this kid turned out and what he's done for your program."

The other notable thing about the story is that while McDonnell and Kim McKay were carrying on for hours and causing McDonnell to nearly get himself killed in a thunderstorm, Brendan sat by quietly and "probably said 10 words the whole night," McDonnell recalled. McKay is just a quiet, unassuming guy - but his personality translates perfectly to the baseball field. It's a big reason for his success.

When asked what moment was his personal highlight of this incredible season, McKay doesn't go with the four-homer game or the 15-strikeout performance against Pitt or the eight innings of one-hit ball he threw at Georgia Tech. Instead, he singles out a seven-hour bus ride to Georgia Tech, because he got to spend all that time playing games with teammates and bonding with them even more. Heading into the season, when the coaches asked all the players to write down their personal and team goals, more than one of McKay's top goals were simply to enjoy spending time with his teammates and getting as close with them as possible before going their separate ways. He's not interesting in chasing numbers; that stuff comes naturally. But he really feels happiest when he's joking around and playing games with his friends. He has grown into a vital piece of the clubhouse chemistry.

"For us as coaches to see how he's grown up, from not making a peep as a freshman to coming out of his shell last year, now he's like a pro, like a big leaguer. He just handles the media requests," McDonnell said. "I just love how he loves his teammates and they love him. Our quote on the practice schedule the other day was, 'Don't forget, this game allows you to be a kid.' He plays this game like a kid. That doesn't mean he doesn't take it serious, but he ain't getting too worked up - his heart rate, his pulse."

Another anecdote to prove the point: Louisville returned to Ole Miss for a weekend series when McKay was a sophomore. The Rebels beat Cards ace Kyle Funkhouser on Friday night, so Louisville needed a big performance from McKay on Saturday. But McKay wasn't exactly keyed up before the game.

"As Rog (Williams) tells the story, it looks like Brendan McKay is gonna fall asleep in the dugout," McDonnell said. "He said, 'You gotta go out to the bullpen and get started.' He kinda yawned and was like, 'OK.' I don't think anybody got past second base (in a three-hit shutout). Rog is shaking his head like, 'You know how many kids are all emotional and ramped up? This kid looks like he he was gonna fall asleep in front of 10,000 people.' That's why he is who he is."

Who he is is the top prospect in college baseball for the 2017 draft. Most scouts still prefer him as a pitcher - it's hard to walk away from a polished lefty who pitches comfortably in the low 90s and has a wipeout power curve and an improved changeup and an unflappable mound presence and an incredible track record of high-level success. But there are other organizations that would take him at the top of the draft as a hitter. "It is close, but if I was picking high I would always take the hitter, unless you feel he is a 1 or 2 starter," one scouting director said. In a quick straw poll of five high-level decision makers in scouting departments for various organizations, three said they would take him as a pitcher, and two like him more as a hitter. Another said he estimated that 20 clubs like him more as a pitcher, and 10 prefer him as a hitter.

McKay, for his part, said he doesn't have a preference to hit or pitch. But in a perfect illustration of his quiet, unassuming confidence, he said he'd love to do both in pro ball - something that is pretty much unheard of. But when McKay talks about it, he's not being audacious. It's just something he thinks he could do.

"I think if you can find a way to do both and be successful, how to handle your arm and the wear and tear of your season, I think it can add a special element to Major League Baseball at some point, if you've got a guy who can hit well or come in in the 13th or 14th inning or something when your pitching staff is getting thin," McKay said. "If we can find a way to do it in the minor leagues and it works out well and it can translate on up, I think it would be a neat thing to do, and would be fun."

If anyone can do it, it's McKay, who is just as productive and perhaps just as talented at the plate as he is on the mound. For years, McDonnell has held up former lefthander Justin Marks and former slugging third baseman Chris Dominguez as the best pitcher and best player to ever play for Louisville - after all, they helped the program get to Omaha for the first time in 2007, and they were standout players for three years.

"So for 10 years I've been saying, the greatest pitcher and hitter in our program were Marks and Dominguez," McDonnell said. "Kind of the running joke this year is one guy's gonna take both accolades. Like, holy cow! Did you see that coming?"

McDonnell saw a lot of success coming for McKay, as that early text message comparing him Stephen Head attests. But what McKay has actually done over three seasons is beyond any optimist's wildest dreams.

D1Baseball.com is the weekly contributor of the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Spotlight and assists with the Gold Standard Performance of the Week video series. D1Baseball.com provides news, analysis and commentary from writers: Aaron Fitt, Kendall Rogers, Mark Etheridge, Eric Sorenson, Shotgun Spratling, Michael Baumann and Dustin McComas.

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WNT

Power Lifts Team USA to 11-5 Victory

Jade Gortarez and Megan Baltzell both homered in win
August 19, 2018
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
St. Thomas Aquinas 4 0 0 0 0 1 0 5 9 2
Team USA 1 2 0 3 0 5 X 11 7 0
Win: M. Cobb Loss: A. Petty Save: None
Box Score | Play-by-play | Cumulative Stats
 

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. - Jade Gortarez (Riverside, Calif.) hit a grand slam and Megan Baltzell (Stafford, Va.) launched a three-run homer as the 2018 Women's National Team defeated the St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders 11-5 at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Saturday night. Team USA improved to 2-0 in training with the win.

Amanda Gianelloni (Napoleonville, La.) contributed a 2-for-3 performance with three runs scored, while Michelle Cobb (Wenatchee, Wash.), Kelsie Whitmore (Temecula, Calif.) and Gortarez dominated on the mound. The three right-handers combined to allow just one run on four hits in five innings of relief.

Team USA came up to the plate in the bottom of the first down 4-0 as the St. Thomas Aquinas bats got going early in the top half. But the stars and stripes started to chip away at the deficit right away.

The squad's first run came on a fielder's choice in the bottom of the first and it got within one in the very next inning as Whitmore laced a single to center that brought two across the plate.

Going into the bottom of the fourth down 4-3, Baltzell's bat proved to be the difference. A walk and an error put two on with two outs for the lefty, who launched a three-run dinger over the right-field wall to give the red, white and blue its first lead of the game.

The Raiders tried to claw their way back in the top of the sixth but Team USA limited the damage to just one run before scoring five runs of its own, four of which came off of Gortarez's grand slam to center, for the final score of 11-5.

Marti Sementelli got the start for the U.S. and gave up four runs and five hits while striking out two in two innings of work.

The 2018 Women's National Team Training concludes on Saturday, August 19, with an exhibition game against Canada at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., at 2 p.m. ET.

Continue to follow @USABaseballWNT on Twitter and visit USABaseball.com for the most up-to-date news about the Women's National Team.

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15U

Come-From-Behind Win Propels USA into World Championship

August 18, 2018
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
JAPAN 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 2 1
USA 0 0 0 3 1 4 X 8 7 1
Win: S. Dutton  Loss: S. Kanai  Save: None
Box Score | Play-by-Play | World Cup Stats
 

CHIRIQUI, PANAMA - Team USA propelled itself into the gold medal game of the World Baseball Softball Confederation's U-15 Baseball World Cup Saturday, pulling off a thrilling come-from-behind 8-2 victory over Japan at Estadio Kenny Serracin in David.

Utility man Ryan Spikes (Covington, Ga.) sparked the offense, collecting two doubles and driving in the equalizer and go-ahead run in the fourth inning. Shortstop Cody Schrier (San Clemente, Calif.) blasted his second homer in as many games, while infielder Brady House (Winder, Ga.) drove in three with a double down the left field line.

Reliever Sam Dutton (Rainbow City, Ala.) picked up the victory, tossing three nearly flawless frames, allowing no hits and just one walk while striking out two and facing just one batter over his minimum.

The game started grim for USA, after a leadoff hit-by-pitch and three walks brought home a runner for Japan, and they then added another off a sacrifice fly in the fourth.

Japan clung to the narrow lead until the bottom of that frame, where Schrier smacked his second long ball, and the first hit for USA on the day, in nearly the exact same spot over the left field wall. After House was beaned and infielder Luke Leto (Portage, Mich.) reached on a blooper to right field, Spikes found the perfect gap, sending the ball sailing to the left center fence to bring them both home and hand the Stars and Stripes their first lead of the day at 3-2.

Second baseman Davis Diaz (Pittsburg, Calif.) provided insurance, doubling to right field in the fifth and coming home on a bases-loaded wild pitch.

The squad added cushion in the sixth, when right fielder Ryan Clifford (Raleigh, N.C.) scored via a bases-loaded walk before House cleared them with a double sliced down the left field line to put USA on top 8-2.

USA will likely take on host country Panama in a rematch, slated for a 7:00 pm ET Sunday night showdown under the lights.

 

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WNT

Team USA Kicks Off Training with 6-1 Victory

Five-run fourth leads to dominant opening win
August 18, 2018
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Team USA 1 0 0 5 0 0 0 6 9 0
St. Thomas Aquinas 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 2 0
Win: S. Piagno Loss: E. Robinson Save: None
Box Score | Play-by-play
 

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. - In its first game of training to prepare for the 2018 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Women's Baseball World Cup, the 2018 Women's National Team claimed a dominant 6-1 win over the St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Friday night.

Stacy Piagno (St. Augustine, Fla.) got the start for the stars and stripes and went two strong innings to set the tone for the game, giving up just one hit and no runs.

Team USA struck first to back up Piagno's start when Brittany Gomez (New Braunfels, Texas) laced a leadoff single up the middle and then crossed the plate on a Kelsie Whitmore (Temecula, Calif.) RBI knock to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning.

But the big blow came in the top of the fourth when Team USA put up five runs to take firm control of the contest. The inning started with a hit-by-pitch and a Megan Baltzell (Stafford, Va.) double to put two runners in scoring position with no outs for Michelle Cobb (Wenatchee, Wash.) who got the scoring started with a RBI base hit.

The red, white and blue followed that with another RBI single, a two-RBI double and a RBI groundout for the 6-0 advantage.

That score would hold until the final inning as the U.S. pitching staff dominated throughout the game. Piagno, Sam Cobb (Garland, Texas), Meggie Meidlinger (Sterling, Va.) and Laura Collins (Hollywood, Fla.) combined to allow just one hit and no earned runs in the game.

The Raiders' lone run came on a passed ball in the bottom of the seventh before Collins closed it out to secure the 6-1 victory for Team USA.

Nine players on the U.S. squad collected hits in the game. Jade Gortarez (Riverside, Calif.) led the team with two RBIs, while Whitmore, Michelle Cobb and Anna Kimbrell (Fort Mill, S.C.) all finished 1-for-2 with a RBI and a run scored in the win.

The 2018 Women's National Team Training continues on Saturday, August 18, with a second game against the St. Thomas Aquinas Raiders at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., at 6:30 p.m. ET.

Continue to follow @USABaseballWNT on Twitter and visit USABaseball.com for the most up-to-date news about the Women's National Team.

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15U

Hartle Hurls USA To 10-0 Shutout Over Cuba

August 17, 2018
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
USA 1 0 5 0 2 0 2 10 10 0
CUBA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1
Win: J. Hartle  Loss: J. Lorenzo Save: None
Box Score | Play-by-Play | World Cup Stats
 

CHIRIQUI, PANAMA- Team USA made it one step closer to medal contention, picking up its fourth shutout of the tournament by downing Chitre-pool top seed Cuba 10-0 Friday in the World Baseball Softball Confederation's U-15 Baseball World Cup, held at Estadio Kenny Serracin in David.

Infielder Cody Schrier (San Clemente, Calif.) led the charge for the red, white, and blue, posting a triple and a homer and scoring three times. First baseman Brady House (Winder, Ga.) continued his dominance, turning in a 3-for-4 day with two runs and two RBI. Starting pitcher Josh Hartle (King, N.C.) held the Cuban offense that entered Super Round play with the top amongst the field, to just two hits through five innings, striking out three. Hartle also tripled, driving in three. Second baseman Davis Diaz (Pittsburg, Calif.) also scored twice while centerfielder Tyree Reed (Vallejo, Calif.) recorded two hits.

Relievers Sam Dutton (Rainbow City, Ala.) and TR Williams (Shenandoah, Va.) each worked a scoreless/hitless inning from the bullpen.

Schrier started things right away for USA, taking the second pitch of his at bat and blasting a long ball over the left field wall.

Cuba threatened with a pair of base runners in two separate frames, but the Stars and Stripes put up a five-spot in the third to add some cushion. Reed doubled to left center and after moving over on an infield single from Diaz, scored on a wild pitch.

Schrier walked and moved to third on an infield to third on single up the middle from House that scored Diaz, and after infielder Luke Leto (Portage, Mich.) reached on a fielder's choice turned error, all three came home courtesy of a massive in-the-gap triple from Hartle in right center.

USA added insurance in the fifth, again courtesy of Schrier, who tripled home Diaz who was hit-by-pitch. House then dropped a ball into shallow center to bring home Schrier.

The squad finalized the victory in the final frame, after a sacrifice fly from utility man Ryan Spikes (Covington, Ga.) brought in infielder Justin Colon, who laced a pinch-hit single through the left side to lead off the inning. A bases loaded walk to catcher Charlie Saum (Ventura, Calif.) brought home House, who singled again, for the final run.

USA will return to action again at 3:00 p.m. ET Saturday, taking on Chitre-pool second seed Japan.

 

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15U

Leto Leads USA to First Super Round Win

Team USA downs Dominican Republic 13-9
August 16, 2018
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
DR 3 0 1 0 2 0 1 7 9 2
USA 0 1 5 3 4 0 X 13 9 3
Win: C. Little  Loss: A. Luna Save: None
Box Score | Play-by-Play | World Cup Stats
 

CHIRIQUI, PANAMA - Led by utility player Luke Leto (Portage, Mich.), Team USA was victorious in its first game of Super Round play of the World Baseball Softball Confederation's U-15 Baseball World Cup, held at Estadio Kenny Serracin in David.

Leto was a perfect 3-for-3, scoring four times and driving in two. Shortstop Cody Schrier (San Clemente, Calif.) added three runs, and second baseman Davis Diaz (Pittsburg, Calif.) registered two hits with a pair of runs.

The Dominican jumped on USA early, taking advantage of back-to-back misplays to score three runs. The stars and stripes cut the lead in the bottom of the second, after Leto led off with an infield single to the shortstop and came around to score on a sacrifice fly from catcher Charlie Saum (Ventura, Calif.).

DR took the run back in the third using a pair of hits, before USA exploded with five runs in the third to take control of the contest.

After a walk to Schrier, a double from infielder Brady House (Winder, Ga.) moved him to third. A free pass to Leto loaded the bases, and then a second straight walk, this one to designated hitter Josh Hartle (King, N.C.), cut the deficit to two. House and Leto both came home courtesy of a laser to left field from utility man Ryan Spikes (Covington, Ga.) and tied the contest. The good guys then took the lead on a long single to right field from right fielder Ryan Clifford (Raleigh, N.C.) that brought home both Hartle and Spikes and put USA up 6-4.

The squad added cushion the following frame, plating three runs courtesy of a Diaz (Pittsburg, Calif.) single, took second on a throwing error, and moved to third on a balk. He scored, again courtesy of House, and then a double from Leto brought home Schrier, who walked, and Leto later scored on a wild pitch.

DR kept things interesting, using a pair of walks and singles combatted with a double to bring home two runs and cut the lead to 9-6, before a bases-loaded strikeout from reliever Gage Ziehl (Penfield, N.Y.) put out the threat.

USA added some cushion, as centerfielder Tyree Reed (Vallejo, Calif.), who walked, came home on a Diaz double, Diaz scored on a wild pitch, Schrier on Leto's triple, and Leto on a passed ball.

Dominican threatened again, scoring in the seventh and leaving two men on before Leto came in to close out the victory.

USA returns to action at 3:00 p.m. ET Friday, taking on Chitre-pool top seed Cuba.

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15U

USA Advances to Supers with 8-0 Win Wednesday

August 15, 2018
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
BRAZIL  0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 1
USA 4 0 1 0 0 3 X 8 11 2
Win: A. Painter Loss: M. Ribiero  Save: None
Box Score | Play-by-Play | World Cup Stats
 

CHIRIQUI, PANAMA - Team USA advanced to the Super Round of the World Baseball Softball Confederation's U-15 Baseball World Cup after defeating Brazil 8-0 Wednesday, in a continuation from Monday's rainout at Estadio Kenny Serracin.

Tuesday night's hero Brady House (Winder, Ga.) had another big day, going 3-for-3 with two runs and two RBI. Shortstop Cody Schrier (San Clemente, Calif.) scored three times with a pair of hits and three stolen bases. Outfielder Ryan Clifford (Raleigh, N.C.) recorded two hits and designated hitter Luke Leto (Portage, Mich.) also drove in two.

Starter Andrew Painter (Pompano Beach, Fla.) was strong, striking out eight in 4.1 innings while surrendering just one walk.

USA came out ignited, plating four runs in the first inning Monday. After back-to-back hit-by-pitches to Schrier and House, each advanced on a passed ball. A groundout down to second from Leto brought Schrier home and got USA on the board. House then scored on a single that dropped into left field from first baseman Josh Hartle (King, N.C.), and a single up the middle from Clifford scored both Tommy DiLandri (Las Vegas) (who boarded after also being beaned) and Hartle to give the stars and stripes some cushion.

The squad continued to pressure Wednesday, scoring again in the fourth. After Schrier singled to left field, he swiped two bags and came home on a single to right center from House. USA then added three in the sixth, with second baseman Davis Diaz (Pittsburg, Calif.) coming home, again courtesy of Brady House and back-to-back sacrifice flies from Leto and DiLandri.

The Stars and Stripes will face Cuba, Japan, and Dominican Republic, who all advanced from the Chitre pool, in crossover games beginning Thursday in David.

 

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15U

House Plays Hero in 4-1 Victory Over Panama

August 15, 2018
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
USA 1 2 0 0 1 0 0 4 5 0
PAN 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 2 1
Win: C. Lansville Loss: P. Munoz Save: B. House
Box Score | Play-by-Play | World Cup Stats
 

CHIRIQUI, PANAMA - Team USA moved back into the win column Tuesday night, taking down host country Panama 4-1 in the opening round of the World Baseball Softball Confederation's U-15 Baseball World Cup at Estadio Kenny Seracin in David.

Infielder Brady House (Winder, Ga.) delivered a dynamic performance, blasting the squad's first round tripper of the tournament and earning a save with the final out in the seventh. House registered two hits, while shortstop Cody Schrier (San Clemente, Calif.) drove in two.

Starter Cale Lansville (Denver, Colo.) was dominant through five and a third, allowing just two hits while striking out two facing just one batter over his minimum. Reliever Gage Ziehl (Penfield, N.Y.) also fanned two across 1.1 innings of work.

The stars and stripes took an early lead thanks to House's first-pitch moonshot that bounced on the roof of the parking garage behind left field. In the second, after a walk to right fielder Ryan Clifford (Raleigh, N.C.) and a hit-by-pitch to center fielder Tyree Reed (Vallejo, Calif.) put two on, Schrier ripped the ball to right center, bringing them both home and adding cushion for USA.

Panama broke the potential shutout in the fourth, picking up their first hit of the contest with a leadoff single and then scoring on a double to center field.

They threatened again in the seventh after back-to-back walks after three straight walks loaded the bases with two outs before House induced a grounder down to third base to get the fielder's choice force out and save the contest.

USA returns to action at 10:00 a.m. ET for the resumption of their contest with Brazil. Play will resume exactly as it was left Monday, with two runners on and 4-0 lead for USA in the first.

 

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Bragging Rights up for Grabs in the Inaugural "States Play" Tournament

August 14, 2018

New High School Baseball Event Will Feature Competition Between The Best Rising Senior Players from Texas Against Those from California 

Three-Game Rivalry Series at Globe Life Park in Arlington,
From August 24
th through 26th, is Free to the Public and Will Stream LIVE on MLB.com 

Development-Focused Experience Also Includes Former Major Leaguers Serving as Team Coaches and Training Sessions at the Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy 

Major League Baseball and USA Baseball today announced a new high school baseball tournament to showcase some of the best rising seniors from Texas and California, two states that historically produce a high volume of collegiate and professional players. "States Play," which will be co-hosted by the Texas Rangers, will center on a three-game series at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas, from Friday, August 24th through Sunday, August 26th. All three games of the inter-state rivalry tournament will stream LIVE on MLB.com, and access to Globe Life will be free for the public. MLB Network's Daron Sutton will call play-by-play while former MLB All- Star pitcher Tom "Flash" Gordon will provide analysis. MLB.com's Dani Wexelman will provide on-air reporting. 

The schedule of games is as follows (all times Central):
Friday, August 24
th: 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, August 25
th: 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, August 26
th: 11:00 a.m. 

Each team will consist of rosters of players living in various parts of each state. The vast majority of the high school players have already committed to some of the best collegiate baseball programs in the country. Players were selected by MLB and USA Baseball, with several being chosen after participation in other joint MLB/USA Baseball development-focused events, such as the Tournament of the Stars, Breakthrough Series, Elite Development Invitational, the DREAM Series, and the Prospect Development Pipeline. **States Play rosters can be found in the separate attachment. All names are subject to change.** 

Former Major League players with personal or professional histories in Texas or California will serve as coaches for each team. These coaches include Jerry Manuel, Homer Bush, Royce Clayton, Ken Hill, Gerald Laird, Darren Oliver and Andy Stankiewicz. Additionally, players will participate in morning training sessions at the Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy located in West Dallas. Workouts will be held on Friday (August 24th) and Saturday (August 25th) from 9:00 a.m. to Noon (CT) at the Academy. 

Additionally, the participants will have the opportunity to undergo unique Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) assessments, consisting of performance vision screening, swing analysis and precise physical testing. These voluntary assessments are supported on-site by USA Baseball, which have helped establish an official identification and player assessment pathway to all 30 MLB Clubs for elite high school age baseball players in advance of the annual MLB Draft. These assessments include the following: Athletic Assessment, Sport Vision Screening, Swing Analysis and Ball Flight Analysis. Resulting data from the assessments will be compiled into an individualized report for each player, and will be used as a tool in the development and optimization of each individual player. 

"We believe that States Play will be a fun display of the natural rivalry between these two baseball powerhouse states," said Tony Reagins, Executive Vice President of Baseball & Softball Development, Major League Baseball. "Ballplayers from Texas and California have a lot of hometown pride, and we are looking forward to seeing that emotion play out in Globe Life Park. Many of these players are already committed to outstanding collegiate programs, but we think that the instruction and time they spend with the former Major Leaguers serving as coaches will prove to be invaluable to their future development and success." 

"We are excited to launch the States Play program with representation from two of our nation's most talent- rich baseball states," said Rick Riccobono, USA Baseball's Chief Development Officer. "The creation of this event signifies our continued commitment to increasing our engagement in amateur programming. Together with MLB, we have never had more touchpoints to aspiring athletes within our game." 

"The Texas Rangers are honored to host the first ever States Play Tournament at Globe Life Park in Arlington," said Rangers President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Jon Daniels. "Texas and California traditionally produce some of the best high school players in the country, and it will be a great opportunity for our fans to watch some very competitive baseball. It will also give these young players the chance to experience playing in a Major League ballpark." 

2018 States Play Roster

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15U

USA-Brazil Postponed to Wednesday

August 13, 2018

CHIRIQUI, PANAMA -- Team USA's contest with Brazil was halted in the first inning Monday afternoon at Estadio Kenny Seracin due to inclement weather. The contest was the fourth of the opening round of the World Baseball Softball Confederation's U-15 World Cup for USA.

The stars and stripes currently lead 4-0 with two men on and two outs in the bottom of the first, and play will resume with that very situation on Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. ET. USA currently sits at 2-1 in the World Cup, and will face undefeated Panama on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. ET.

For updates and schedule changes, follow the @USABaseball15U Twitter account.

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15U

15U National Team Suffers 2-1 Setback Sunday

August 12, 2018
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
USA 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 6 2
CHINESE TAIPEI 0 0 0 0 1 1 X 2 7 2
Win: S. Peng Loss: J. Hartle Save: None
Box Score | Play-by-Play | World Cup Stats
 

CHIRIQUI, PANAMA - Team USA (2-1) suffered its first setback of the World Baseball Softball Confederation's U-15 Baseball World Cup, dropping a tight 2-1 affair to Chinese Taipei (3-0) Sunday at Estadio Kenny Seracin in the province of David, Panama.

The stars and stripes were held to just six hits, with shortstop Cody Schrier (San Clemente, Calif.) as the only multi-hit performer of the day. Infielder Luke Leto (Portage, Mich.) plated the then-tying run.

The contest was a pitcher's duel through four and a half frames, until Taipei broke the blank, using a leadoff double, a wild pitch, and a right side single.

The lead was short lived, as USA tied things up the following inning. Leto led off with a perfectly placed bunt down the third base line, stole second, and moved to third on another bunt, this one by outfielder Tommy DiLandri (Las Vegas). Leto plated the equalizer on a sacrifice fly from right fielder Ryan Clifford (Raleigh, N.C.), and USA continued to threaten, leaving two men on in the frame.

Chinese Taipei wasted no time responding, taking advantage of a bases-loaded walk to plate the eventual game winner in the sixth.

USA returns to action Monday, taking on Brazil at 3:00 p.m. ET.

 

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