GOLDEN SPIKES AWARD NEWS

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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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GSA

GSA Spotlight: Bryson Stott

February 21, 2019

Stan Stolte remembers when Bryson Stott first popped up on UNLV's recruiting radar, midway through his prep career at Las Vegas' Desert Oasis High School. As a talented, lefthanded-hitting shortstop right in UNLV's backyard, Stott was hard to miss.

"We knew he was a good player. Any lefthanded-hitting shortstop, they're hard to find," Stolte said. "But that'd be crazy to think he'd be a he'd be a possible first-day draft pick. No. We don't get those guys, usually."

Stott hit a solid .294/.359/.379 as a freshman, establishing himself as a valuable everyday regular. But nobody quite anticipated the quantum leap he would make as a sophomore, when he hit .365/.442/.556 and led the nation with 30 doubles. He proved to be one of the most difficult outs in college baseball, drawing 32 walks and striking out just 18 times. Suddenly, Stott was a blue-chip prospect, and the starting shortstop for USA Baseball's Collegiate National team.

"He just takes consistently good at-bats every time, every pitch," Stolte said. "He knows the strike zone, he knows pitches he can turn on, he knows how to go the other way. He's just a professional hitter."

Stott held his own with wood bats for Team USA last summer, hitting .262 with one homer and a team-best seven RBIs. But he also stood out to scouts for a couple of highlight-reel defensive plays, showing range to both sides and excellent body control. Whether or not he has enough range to stick at shortstop in pro ball remains to be seen, but his fluid actions, smooth exchange, sure hands and plus arm give him a chance.

He's certainly one of the best all-around shortstops in college baseball, and he provided invaluable stability for Team USA last summer.

"One of our biggest concerns going into the summer was whether or not we had a defensive shortstop that was good enough," said Team USA coach Paul Mainieri at the end of the summer. "The word we'd received on Stott was that he'd be really good offensively and just OK defensively. Within the first couple of days we were there, we started to work with Bryson on his defense. We saw he had the natural tools you needed to be a good shortstop, but maybe some of his reactions were a little off. His approach to the ball wasn't as good as it could be.

"We drilled that into him the first three days he was here. We felt like he needed to make some slight adjustments if he was going to be our everyday shortstop. He played terrific defense for about three weeks, and he made some unbelievable plays in the process. Midway through the Japan series, he started swinging the bat well, too. He looks like the complete package to me. He's going to be an outstanding draft for someone."

Stott came back from his Team USA and Cape Cod League stints brimming with confidence, and Stolte said he worked hard in the weight room to get even stronger. He still has a line-drive swing more tailored for doubles than long balls, but as he continues to add strength to his 6-foot-3, 200-pound frame, his power numbers figure to continue to climb. He hit four homers as a sophomore, and it wouldn't be a surprise if he pushed for double digits as a junior.

"He's gotten stronger, he has more power, much more than he did as a freshman," Stolte said. "If he gets his pitch, he can hit some long-distance home runs, now. He's got some juice."

Stott hit his first homer of the season during opening weekend - but it was an inside-the-parker, as he scorched a ball to center and used his slightly above-average speed to race all the way around the basepaths after Seattle's center fielder made a futile diving attempt. That was part of an outstanding first weekend for Stott, who went 6-for-11 (.545) with two doubles, a triple and five RBIs along with the inside-the-park homer. He also drew five walks and struck out just once. No wonder Stolte likes hitting Stott atop the order.

"He can start the game off with everything: walk, single, double, triple, home run, whatever. They're all in play when he leads off," Stolte said.

"He's so different, but I've coached big leaguers, and he's got big league possibilities for sure. I thought the same last year with Kyle Isbel. So he's got that 'it' factor, I think he's got a good chance. I've never had an athletic shortstop like that. He's that guy, you'll miss him when he's gone, I'm sure."

D1Baseball.com is your online home for college baseball scores, schedules, standings, statistics, analysis, features, podcasts and prospect coverage.
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Pro Team

Team USA to Open WBSC Premier12 in Jalisco, Mexico

February 14, 2019

MEXICO CITY -- The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) announced the locations and groups for the II WBSC Premier12™ on Wednesday at a press conference in Mexico City. The Premier12 is the top international baseball competition in 2019 and will serve as the first qualifying event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The II WBSC Premier12™ will take place from November 2-17. Visit premier12.wbsc.org/2019, the official tournament website, for more information. The website is available in six languages: English, French, Japanese, Korean, Spanish and Traditional Chinese.

Team USA-currently ranked No. 2 in the WBSC World Baseball Rankings-is in Group A of the tournament and will open the Premier12™ in Jalisco, Mexico. Joining Team USA in Group A is host-country Mexico (No. 6), Netherlands (No. 8) and the Dominican Republic (No. 12). All Group A games will be played at Estadio de Beisbol Charros de Jalisco.

The top two teams from each group will advance to the six-team Super Round, which will be hosted by Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) league and games will be played at ZOZO Marine Stadium (Chiba, Japan) and the Tokyo Dome (Tokyo, Japan). The championship game will also be played in the Tokyo Dome.

The top finisher from both the Asia/Oceania territory (excluding Japan) and the Americas territory will automatically qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, joining host-country Japan in the six-team Olympic tournament.

Team USA won a silver medal in the inaugural WBSC Premier12™ in 2015, finishing with a 7-3 overall record.

Group A (Estadio de Beisbol Charros de Jalisco, Mexico)
United States (No. 2)
Mexico (No. 6)
Netherlands (No. 8)
Dominican Republic (No. 12)

Group B (Taichung Intercontinental Stadium, Taiwan)
Japan (No. 1)
Chinese Taipei (No. 4)
Venezuela (No. 9)
Puerto Rico (No. 11)

Group C (Gocheok Sky Dome, Korea)
Korea (No. 3)
Cuba (No. 5)
Australia (No. 7)
Canada (No. 10)

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16U NTDP
17U NTDP
18U

Frank Jagoda Named 18U National Team Director

Jagoda will oversee day-to-day operations for the 18U National Team and two national team development programs
February 11, 2019

DURHAM, N.C. - USA Baseball named Frank Jagoda the Director of the 18U National Team on Tuesday. In this role, Jagoda will oversee the day-to-day operations of the 18U National Team program, as well as the 16U and 17U National Team Development Programs, and will also work closely with the recently announced Prospect Development Pipeline League.

He returns to USA Baseball after serving as an assistant coach for the 2017 15U National Team that won a gold medal at the COPABE Pan-Am "AA" Championships, and as a task force member for numerous national teams and national team identification events over the last five years.

"We are thrilled to welcome Frank Jagoda to the organization in a full-time capacity as the 18U National Team Director," USA Baseball's Executive Director/CEO, Paul Seiler, said. "Frank has been a part of the USA Baseball family as a coach and task force member since 2014 and we are confident his experience and coaching philosophies will translate perfectly to this role as we continue to build upon the incredible achievements of our national teams, national team development programs and our athletes."

Jagoda brings over ten years of collegiate and professional baseball coaching experience to his new role with the 18U National Team. He most recently served as the Pitching Coach for Rehabilitation for the Minnesota Twins, where he oversaw all of the on-field rehabilitation for the club and served as the pitching coach for the Gulf Coast League Twins in Fort Meyers, Florida.

Prior to his tenure with the Twins, he was the head coach at Patrick Henry Community College (Martinsville, Va.) from 2016-2017, where he led the Patriots to a 79-38 overall record, guided the program to its first-ever regular season Region X championship and was named the 2016 Region X Coach of the Year. Jagoda was also a graduate assistant and assistant coach at Canisius College from 2012-2014 and helped lead the Golden Griffins to its first-ever NCAA Regional berth in 2013, before leading Wingate University to a spot in the NCAA Division II Southeast Region Championship as its pitching coach and recruiting coordinator in 2015.

Jagoda is immediately tasked with leading Team USA at the 2019 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup in South Korea. The U.S. is looking to win an unprecedented fifth consecutive world title after taking home gold in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2017. The 18U National Team program has won eight consecutive gold medals on the international stage dating back to 2011.

For more information on the 18U National Team, please visit USABaseball.com or follow along on Twitter at @USABaseball18U.

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USA Baseball Issues Statement Following the Passing of Frank Robinson

Hall of Fame outfielder and 2003 Professional National Team manager was 83
February 7, 2019

DURHAM, N.C. - USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO Paul Seiler released the following statement mourning the passing of Hall of Famer and Professional National Team Manager Frank Robinson.

He passed away on Thursday, February 7 in Southern California at the age of 83.

"Frank's legacy and impact across every facet of our sport is indisputable. USA Baseball is fortunate and honored to call him an alumnus of our organization, and we join the rest of the baseball world in mourning the passing of this legendary athlete, coach and person. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Robinson family during this time."

Robinson made his Major League debut in 1956 for the Cincinnati Reds, kickstarting what would become a legendary 21-year playing career. After earning Rookie of the Year honors in his first season, he went on to be named an All-Star 14 times, won the Triple Crown in 1966, won two World Series titles with the Baltimore Orioles, earned All-Star Game and World Series MVP honors, and is presently the only player to win the MVP award in both the American and National leagues.

Following his playing career, Robinson became the first African-American manager in Major League Baseball history when the Cleveland Indians hired him in 1975. He led the Baltimore Orioles, Indians, Montreal Expos, San Francisco Giants and Washington Nationals to a cumulative 1065-1176 record over his 16 seasons as a manager and was honored as the AL Manager of the Year in 1989 while with the Orioles. Robinson also served as the manager for the USA Baseball Professional National Team in 2003. 

Robinson was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. 

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GSA

2019 Golden Spikes Award Preseason Watch List Announced

The 2019 Golden Spikes Award will be presented on Friday, June 14
February 7, 2019

DURHAM, N.C. - USA Baseball announced its 55-player preseason Golden Spikes Award watch list on Thursday, beginning the process of identifying the top amateur baseball player in the country for the 2019 season. The 42nd Golden Spikes Award will be presented in partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation on June 14.

The preseason watch list features 55 of the nation's top amateur players, from high school and college baseball. The Golden Spikes Award Advisory Board will maintain a rolling list of players, allowing athletes to play themselves into consideration for the award throughout the season.

Headlining the 2019 watch list is the reigning Golden Spikes Award winner, Andrew Vaughn (California). Vaughn joins Jim Abbott, Mark Kotsay and Kip Bouknight as the only Golden Spikes Award recipients who returned to school after winning the award.

In addition to Vaughn, four 2018 Golden Spikes Award semifinalists are also featured on the preseason watch list in Kyle Brnovich (Elon), Josh Jung (Texas Tech), Kevin Strohschein (Tennessee Tech) and Spencer Torkelson (Arizona State), and five additional athletes have been named to the preseason watch list previously. Jake Mangum (Mississippi State) has been named to the preseason watch list for the third consecutive year and is joined by Zack Hess (LSU), Shea Langeliers (Baylor), Drew Mendoza (Florida State) and Matt Wallner (Southern Miss), who have been recognized for the second straight year.

"We are pleased to announce the fifty-five athletes who have been selected to the Preseason Watch List for the forty-second annual Golden Spikes Award," said Paul Seiler, Executive Director/CEO of USA Baseball. "The athletes who make up this year's initial watch list span multiple schools and divisions of amateur baseball and, for the first time since 2001, includes the reigning Golden Spikes Award winner. The 2019 season looks to be highly competitive and we are anxious for the first pitches of the year to get underway."

Five athletes will look to join Alex Fernandez (1990) and Bryce Harper (2010) as a Golden Spikes Award winner who claimed their respective trophies as a non-NCAA Division I athlete. Cameron Coursey (Georgia Gwinnett) and Dan Valerio (Southeastern) represent the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) on the preseason list, while Kolton Ingram (Columbus State) and Russell Lamovec (Mercyhurst) represent NCAA Division II. Bobby Witt Jr. (Colleyville High School) is the only amateur high school baseball player recognized by the advisory board on the watch list.

Eighteen different collegiate athletic conferences are represented on the preseason watch list in 2019. The Southeastern Conference leads the way with 13 representatives, while the Pac-12 Conference boasts 10 selections, the Atlantic Coast Conference claims nine and the Big 12 Conference has five. The American Athletic Conference, Colonial Athletic Association and Conference USA are the only other conferences with multiple athletes on the list. 

The University of Arkansas leads all schools on the preseason watch list with three selections, while Auburn, Baylor, Elon, Florida, Florida State, NC State, Oregon State, Stanford and UCLA each boast a pair of athletes represented as well. In total, 44 different schools are represented on the 2019 preseason watch list.

Last year, Cal's Vaughn took home the prestigious award, joining a group of recent winners that include Brendan McKay (2017), Kyle Lewis (2016), Andrew Benintendi (2015), A.J. Reed (2014), Kris Bryant (2013), Mike Zunino (2012), Trevor Bauer (2011), Bryce Harper (2010), Stephen Strasburg (2009), Buster Posey (2008), and David Price (2007).

Amateur baseball fans will be able to vote for their favorite players at GoldenSpikesAward.com again in 2019, starting on May 15 with the naming of the Golden Spikes Award semifinalists. The list of semifinalists will also be sent to a voting body consisting of baseball media members, select professional baseball personnel, current USA Baseball staff and 40 previous winners of the award, representing a group of more than 200 voters.

USA Baseball will announce the finalists on May 29 and fan voting will open at GoldenSpikesAward.com concurrently and will remain open through June 10.

The winner of the 42nd Golden Spikes Award will be named on Friday, June 14.

USA Baseball has partnered with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation to host the Golden Spikes Award since 2013. The Foundation was formed to honor legendary USC and USA Baseball Olympic team coach, Rod Dedeaux, and supports youth baseball and softball programs in underserved communities throughout Southern California.

The 2019 Golden Spikes Award timeline:

  • April 10: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award midseason watch list announced
  • May 15: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalists announced, voting begins
  • May 26: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalists voting ends
  • May 29: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award finalists announced, voting begins
  • June 10: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award finalists voting ends
  • June 14: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award trophy presentation

 

A complete list of the 55-player USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award watch list is as follows:
 

Name, Position, Class, School, Conference
Kevin Abel, RHP, So., Oregon State, Pac-12 Conference
Patrick Bailey, C, So., NC State, Atlantic Coast Conference
J.J. Bleday, OF, Jr., Vanderbilt, Southeastern Conference
Cody Bradford, LHP, Jr., Baylor, Big 12 Conference
Kyle Brnovich, RHP, Jr., Elon, Colonial Athletic Association
Tanner Burns, RHP, So., Auburn, Southeastern Conference
Michael Busch, IF, Jr., North Carolina, Atlantic Coast Conference
Matt Canterino, RHP, Jr., Rice, Conference USA
Cameron Coursey, IF, So., Georgia Gwinnett, Association of Independent Institutions
Matt Cronin, LHP, Jr., Arkansas, Southeastern Conference
Wil Dalton, OF, Jr., Florida, Southeastern Conference
Logan Davidson, IF, Jr., Clemson, Atlantic Coast Conference
John Doxakis, LHP, Jr., Texas A&M, Southeastern Conference
Tyler Dyson, RHP, Jr., Florida, Southeastern Conference
Tristin English, RHP/IF, Jr., Georgia Tech, Atlantic Coast Conference
Mason Feole, LHP, Jr., Connecticut, American Athletic Conference
Zack Hess, RHP, Jr., LSU, Southeastern Conference
Will Holland, IF, Jr., Auburn, Southeastern Conference
Kolton Ingram, LHP, Sr., Columbus State, Peach Belt Conference
Josh Jung, IF, Jr., Texas Tech, Big 12 Conference
George Kirby, RHP, Jr., Elon, Colonial Athletic Association
Heston Kjerstad, OF, So., Arkansas, Southeastern Conference
Russell Lamovec, RHP, Sr., Mercyhurst, Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference
Shea Langeliers, C, Jr., Baylor, Big 12 Conference
Jack Little, RHP, Jr., Stanford, Pac-12 Conference
Nick Lodolo, LHP, Jr., TCU, Big 12 Conference
Jake Mangum, OF, Sr., Mississippi State, Southeastern Conference
Alek Manoah, RHP, Jr., West Virginia, Big 12 Conference
Casey Martin, IF, So., Arkansas, Southeastern Conference
Drew Mendoza, IF, Jr., Florida State, Atlantic Coast Conference
Max Meyer, RHP, So., Minnesota, Big 10 Conference
Kameron Misner, OF, Jr., Missouri, Southeastern Conference
Sean Mooney, RHP, Jr., St. John's, Big East Conference
Bryant Packard, OF, Jr., East Carolina, American Athletic Conference
Andre Pallante, RHP, Jr., UC Irvine, Big West Conference
Drew Parrish, LHP, Jr., Florida State, Atlantic Coast Conference
Nick Quintana, IF, Jr., Arizona, Pac-12 Conference
Adley Rutschman, C, Jr., Oregon State, Pac-12 Conference
Mitchell Senger, LHP, Jr., Stetson, ASUN Conference
Noah Song, RHP, Sr., Navy, Patriot League
Graeme Stinson, LHP, Jr., Duke, Atlantic Coast Conference
Bryson Stott, IF, Jr., UNLV, Mountain West Conference
Kyle Stowers, OF, Jr., Stanford, Pac-12 Conference
Kevin Strohschein, OF, Sr., Tennessee Tech, Ohio Valley Conference
Chase Strumpf, IF, Jr., UCLA, Pac-12 Conference
Zack Thompson, LHP, Jr., Kentucky, Southeastern Conference
Michael Toglia, IF, Jr., UCLA, Pac-12 Conference
Spencer Torkelson, IF, So., Arizona State, Pac-12 Conference
Dan Valerio, UT, Sr., Southeastern, The Sun Conference
Andrew Vaughn, IF, Jr., California, Pac-12 Conference
Matt Wallner, OF, Jr., Southern Miss, Conference USA
Will Wilson, IF, Jr., NC State, Atlantic Coast Conference
Bobby Witt Jr., SS/RHP, Sr., Colleyville High School, District 8-5A
Logan Wyatt, IF, Jr., Louisville, Atlantic Coast Conference
Kenyon Yovan, RHP, Jr., Oregon, Pac-12 Conference

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NHSI

USA Baseball Unveils 2019 National High School Invitational Field

The eighth annual NHSI will take place April 3-6 in Cary, North Carolina
January 29, 2019

DURHAM, N.C. - USA Baseball announced on Tuesday the 16 teams that will compete in the 2019 National High School Invitational (NHSI) presented by the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance and the Town of Cary. The eighth annual event will take place from April 3-6 at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina, and select games will be streamed live on USABaseball.com, MLB.com and Facebook Live.

Northwest Guilford High School (Kernersville, N.C.) will serve as the host team in this year's tournament. Led by Head Coach Sonny Gann, the Vikings finished the 2018 season as the Metro 4A Baseball Conference champions and advanced to the second round of the NCHSAA AAAA state playoffs.

"USA Baseball is honored to once again shine the spotlight on high school baseball with the eighth annual National High School Invitational," said USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO Paul Seiler. "This event continues to draw elite high school baseball programs, as well as some of the top talent from across the United States, for a truly one-of-a-kind high school baseball experience. We look forward to welcoming these sixteen programs to the National Training Complex in Cary in April."

Highlighting the 2019 field is the two-time defending champions Orange Lutheran High School (Orange, Calif.). The Lancers, who defeated Green Hope High School (Cary, N.C.) in the 2018 championship game to win their second consecutive NHSI title, will compete in the NHSI for the fifth time in its history (2012, 2014, 2017, 2018). Orange Lutheran has won its last nine consecutive games at the NHSI dating back to 2014 and holds an 11-4 all-time record at the event.

Also returning to the NHSI in 2019 are past participants Harvard-Westlake School (Studio City, Calif.) and 2016 NHSI Champions Huntington Beach High School (Huntington Beach, Calif.).

In total, 10 states are represented in the 2019 NHSI field, led by California with four teams. Joining Harvard-Westlake High School, Huntington Beach High School and Orange Lutheran High School out of the state of California is La Mirada High School (La Mirada, Calif.), who is making its first appearance in the event. Florida is also well-represented in 2019 with three schools participating in the event in Hagerty High School (Oviedo, Fla.), IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) and Monsignor Pace High School (Miami Gardens, Fla.), meanwhile two schools hail from the state of Georgia in Blessed Trinity Catholic High School (Roswell, Ga.) and South Forsyth High School (Cumming, Ga.).

Rounding out the 2019 field are schools from Arizona, Illinois, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey and Tennessee, who are all making their debut at the NHSI: Corona del Sol (Tempe, Ariz.), Marist High School (Chicago, Ill.), Christian Brothers College High School (St. Louis, Mo.), Desert Oasis High School (Las Vegas, Nev.), Delbarton School (Morristown, N.J.), and Hendersonville High School (Hendersonville, Tenn.).

"The National High School Invitational is the gold-standard event in high school baseball," said Scott Dupree, Executive Director of the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance. "There is no better national showcase of premier teams and elite players at the high school level, and USA Baseball has done a fantastic job of creating and cultivating this event, both in terms of generating excitement and its economic impact. The Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance is proud to be on board as a host partner."

The National Training Complex (NTC), in partnership with the Town of Cary, has been the official home of USA Baseball since 2007, and the NHSI since its inception in 2012. The NTC has had numerous Major League Baseball players venture through its gates, including Chris Archer, Cody Bellinger, Kris Bryant, Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg. The Town of Cary received the National Gold Medal Grand Plaque Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management in 2016. The award honors U.S. communities that demonstrate excellence in parks and recreation through long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, program development, professional development and agency recognition.

There has been no shortage of premium talent to take the field at the NHSI in the eight years following its launch. Major Leaguers Cody Bellinger, Joey Gallo, Austin Meadows, and Jack Flaherty are just a few of the more notable professional athletes who have played in the event, with more recent standouts including USA Baseball 18U National Team alumni and MLB first-round draft selections Triston Casas, Matthew Liberatore, Brice Turang, and others.

The complete list of 2019 NHSI participants is as follows:

High School; City, State
Blessed Trinity Catholic High School; Roswell, Ga.
Christian Brothers College High School; St. Louis, Mo.
Corona del Sol High School; Tempe, Ariz.
Delbarton School; Morristown, N.J.
Desert Oasis High School; Las Vegas, Nev.
Hagerty High School; Oviedo, Fla.
Harvard-Westlake School; Studio City, Calif.
Hendersonville High School; Hendersonville, Tenn.
Huntington Beach High School; Huntington Beach, Calif.
IMG Academy; Bradenton, Fla.
La Mirada High School; La Mirada, Calif.
Marist High School; Chicago, Ill.
Monsignor Pace High School; Miami Gardens, Fla.
Northwest Guilford High School; Kernersville, N.C.
Orange Lutheran High School; Orange, Calif.
South Forsyth High School; Cumming, Ga.

The NHSI is a single-elimination championship tournament, with each participating team guaranteed to play four games. The 2019 championship game will be played under the lights on Coleman Field for the first-time ever with the first pitch scheduled for Saturday, April 6, at 6 p.m.

USA Baseball will host its first-ever NHSI Championship Festival beginning at 4:30 p.m. at the National Training Complex. Prior to the first pitch of the title-game, family-friendly activities-including a baseball skills competition, games and music-will be available for fans on the front lawn, in addition to a food truck rodeo featuring six of the Triangle's most popular vendors.

For more information on the USA Baseball National High School Invitational, visit USABaseball.com or follow @USABaseball and @USABEvents on Twitter.

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MLB, USA Baseball Recognize Pitch Smart Compliant Organizations

Twenty-eight organizations identified as "Full Compliant" for the 2019 season
January 24, 2019

DURHAM, N.C. - Major League Baseball and USA Baseball recognized on Thursday the amateur and youth organizations that have fully adopted the Pitch Smart Compliance Program's guidelines and principles for the 2019 season. The updated compliance program includes the addition of four national organizations to the Full Compliance level, bringing the total to 28 fully compliant national and regional organizations, an increase of nearly twelve percent from 2018.

Pitch Smart is a joint initiative between Major League Baseball and USA Baseball that provides safe pitching practices and guidelines to help reduce the risk of arm injuries in amateur players. The program includes a growing number of resources on its home site at PitchSmart.org. It is further supported by a free online educational course available at USA Baseball's Sport Development website at SportDev.org that is hosted by Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz.

"Major League Baseball remains committed to the Pitch Smart program as the health and safety of amateur players is paramount to the future of our sport," said Chris Marinak, Executive Vice President, Strategy, Technology & Innovation, Major League Baseball. "We are thrilled by the expanded influence of the program and commend the organizations who have implemented Pitch Smart guidelines into their rule books and prioritized the longevity of their amateur players."

Full Pitch Smart compliance represents the highest level of commitment to the program and is defined by the incorporation of Pitch Smart guidelines pertaining to pitch counts and rest periods across all competitions, as well as supporting Pitch Smart educational efforts across all platforms.

The Coastal Plain League, Dixie Youth Baseball, IMG Academy, and Wilson Premier Baseball join the lineup of fully compliant Pitch Smart organizations for 2019. The returning fully compliant national organizations from 2018 include: American Amateur Baseball Congress, American Legion Baseball, Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League, Baseball Factory, Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League, California Collegiate League, Cape Cod Baseball League, Dixie Boys Baseball Inc., East Coast Pro Showcase, Florida Collegiate Summer League, Great Lakes Summer Collegiate Baseball League, Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League, Little League Baseball®, National Amateur Baseball Federation, National Youth Baseball Championships, New England Collegiate Baseball League, New York Collegiate Baseball League, Perfect Game, PONY Baseball, Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI), Southern Collegiate Baseball League, Sunbelt Baseball League, USA Baseball, and Valley Baseball League.

In addition to the Full Compliant organizations, Major League Baseball and USA Baseball also recognize organizations that are Select Compliant and Educational Supporters. Select Compliance of the Pitch Smart program is defined by the implementation of Pitch Smart guidelines pertaining to pitch counts and rest periods across select competitions, supporting Pitch Smart educational efforts across all platforms, and a plan to progress towards the adoption of all standards of full compliance in coming years.

The final level of Pitch Smart compliance, Educational Supporters, includes organizations that agree with the philosophies of the Pitch Smart program, support Pitch Smart educational efforts across all platforms, and will work towards select and full program compliance upon organizational review.

The Select Compliant Pitch Smart organizations for 2019 include: Babe Ruth League, Game Day USA, NCTB Baseball, and Prep Baseball Report.

The Educational Supporters of Pitch Smart for 2019 include: Amateur Athletic Union Baseball, National Federation of State High School Associations and Ripken Baseball.

"Since its inception, Pitch Smart compliance has grown to be the expected policy for pitch count rules throughout the amateur game," said Rick Riccobono, USA Baseball's Chief Development Officer. "USA Baseball is proud to proliferate and support the Pitch Smart program, as well as other educational and health and safety programs, as part of our comprehensive governance of the sport."

In addition to the national and regional organizations listed, 92 state and local organizations have been recognized as Full Compliant, Select Compliant or Educational Supporter organizations for 2019. USA Baseball will continue to collaborate with all organizations on their Pitch Smart progress throughout the 2019 season.

For a complete list of all full compliant organizations, select compliant organizations and educational supporters, as well as more information about Pitch Smart and an application for inclusion in the compliance program, visit PitchSmart.org.

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12U

USA Baseball Announces 2019 12U National Team Staff

Five-time national team coach Todd Fine will reprise role as manager in 2019
January 16, 2019

DURHAM, N.C. - USA Baseball announced the 2019 12U National Team staff on Thursday, including the return of Todd Fine as the manager for the second year in a row. The rest of the 2018 staff will also return to the program in 2019 with Jason Sekany as the team's pitching coach and RJ Farrell and Marc Wiese once again serving as assistant coaches.

After leading the 2018 12U National Team to its first-ever COPABE U-12 Pan-American Championships gold medal, the staff will look to guide this year's team to the program's fourth-consecutive world championship title at the 2019 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-12 Baseball World Cup.

"We are honored to welcome back Todd and the rest of last year's staff to lead the 2019 12U National Team," USA Baseball Executive Director and CEO Paul Seiler said. "This is an extremely talented group of coaches and, after leading the team to its first-ever COPABE U-12 Pan-American Championships gold medal last year, we are excited to see what new heights these coaches will take our 12U National Team to in 2019."

Last year's team went undefeated under Fine's guidance, outscoring its opponents 127-7 and winning all nine of its games by a 13-run average margin of victory en route to the gold medal.

In addition to managing the 2018 squad, Fine also served as the 12U National Team pitching coach from 2014-2017. The program claimed two world championships and two silver medals while the pitching staffs held a cumulative ERA of 3.21 and an overall record of 30-5.

Fine has also coached at the USA Baseball Tournament of Stars and the 18U National Team Trials in his time with the organization. He is the founder and CEO of Top Tier Baseball based out of Chicago, Illinois. Under his guidance, Top Tier Baseball has had over 500 college baseball players, 63 Major League Baseball draft selections and nine MLB alums.

"It is a great honor to be the first back-to-back 12U manager," Fine said. "Anytime you are the three-time defending champions, having beaten the host country the last two times; there will be a huge target on our backs. The crowd intensity of 11,000 host fans chanting the entire game, the media coverage and the moment itself does not get bigger for an 11 or 12-year-old kid."

Sekany returns to the 12U National Team coaching staff in 2018 where he will serve as the team's pitching coach for the second year in a row. He was an assistant coach for the inaugural 2013 and 2015 12U National Teams that won a gold medal at the IBAF U-12 Baseball World Cups and has served on the task force at the USA Baseball National Team Identification Series (NTIS) and Tournament of Stars. A second-round selection by the Boston Red Sox in the 1996 MLB Amateur Draft, Sekany is the founder and lead pitching instructor at The Pitching Center in Pleasanton, California, and a varsity coach at Granada High School (Livermore, Calif.). In addition to his responsibilities at The Pitching Center and Granada High School, he is also the Northwest regional director for the NTIS.

2019 marks Farrell's third consecutive year serving as an assistant coach for the 12U National Team. He is in his seventh year as the head coach at Rancho Cucamonga High School (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) where 23 of his players have gone on to play collegiate baseball. Prior to coaching at Rancho Cucamonga High School, he was an associate head coach and recruiting coordinator at Patten University (Oakland, Calif.) from 2006-2008. He has worked with USA Baseball at the 11U NTIS, 12U National Open and the USA Baseball Futures Invitational, and also served as a 12U National Team Trials coach in 2016.

After making his national team coaching debut with the 12U National Team in 2018, Wiese returns to the staff for a second year. Previously, he served on coaching staffs at the 2016 and 2017 12U National Team Trials, and the 2015 17U National Team Development Program. He is the current head coach at Puyallup High School (Puyallup, Wash.) and has led the Vikings to 11 straight South Puget Sound League titles and two state championships (2014, 2017). Wiese, who was drafted in the 1987 MLB First Year Player Draft by the New York Mets, also led Puyallup High School to the 2015 USA Baseball National High School Invitational, finishing with a 3-1 record and outscoring its opponents 20-6.

"This is a testament to the strength of last year's staff and the continuity of a common goal," Fine said. "Having the comfort level with these coaches is as good as it gets. Being on the same wavelength and knowing what to expect from one another is something that doesn't happen overnight. I am extremely excited to continue what we started last year as we look toward bringing home the program's fourth world championship title in a row."

The 12U athlete identification process began with the 2018 11U NTIS and will continue with the 2019 11U Futures Invitational June 20-23 at Middle Creek Park in Cary, North Carolina, as well as the new 12U NTIS.

Held in various locations throughout the country, the 12U NTIS will offer athletes across the U.S. the opportunity to become involved with Team USA, while providing instruction, evaluation and fun. Players from the 12U NTIS will be recommended to USA Baseball officials and, from those recommendations, USA Baseball will invite 128 players to participate in the 12U National Open, which will take place July 13-15 in Santa Clarita, California.

The 12U National Team Trials will be held immediately after the 12U National Open from June 16-18, followed by training July 19-22 before the team travels to Tainan, Taiwan for the 2019 WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup that will take place July 26-August 4.

For more information on the 12U National Team, follow along on Twitter @USABaseball and @USABaseball12U.

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14U NTDP
15U
WNT
18U
CNT

2018 USA Baseball Award Winners Announced

Collegiate National Team member Adley Rutschman named Richard W. "Dick" Case Award winner
January 11, 2019

DURHAM, N.C. - USA Baseball announced the recipients of its annual organizational awards on Friday, recognizing the top athletes, coaches and performances from the 2018 USA Baseball national teams. Collegiate National Team member Adley Rutschman (Sherwood, Ore.) was named the Richard W. "Dick" Case Award winner, becoming the 12th Collegiate National Team member to earn athlete of the year honors. The award is given annually to USA Baseball's top player in honor of the organization's founding Executive Director and CEO.

Collegiate National Team manager Paul Mainieri earned the program's second award of the year when he was named the Rod Dedeaux Coach of the Year. USA Baseball also recognized the 15U National Team with two awards in 2018, including Team of the Year and naming Manager Jason Maxwell the Developmental Coach of the Year after the team won its first-ever world championship at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-15 Baseball World Cup.

18U National Team member Bobby Witt Jr. (Colleyville, Texas) was honored with the International Performance of the Year Award for his strong showing in the COPABE U-18 Pan-American Championships gold medal game, while Women's National Team member Megan Baltzell (Stafford, Va.) took home the Sportswoman of the Year Award following an exceptional performance in the 2018 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Women's Baseball World Cup.

Lastly, Karsten Whitson was named the Volunteer Coach of the Year after serving as a pitching coach at the 2018 14U National Team Development Program.

"We are excited to celebrate the people and performances that made 2018 another outstanding year for USA Baseball," USA Baseball Executive Director and CEO Paul Seiler said. "It is an honor to be represented by coaches, athletes and staff that are such exceptional global ambassadors for our country and the game of baseball on the international stage. We are extremely proud to recognize their 2018 accomplishments with these awards."

USA Baseball continued its incredible success against international competition in 2018, finishing the year with gold medals at the COPABE U-12 Pan-American Championships, WBSC U-15 Baseball World Cup and the COPABE U-18 Pan-American Championships. After winning the WBSC U-15 World Cup, Team USA is now the defending world champions for all three youth age levels. The Collegiate National Team also built on its 2017 success when it once again won all three of its international friendship series against Chinese Taipei, Japan and Cuba in 2018

Rutschman was awarded the Richard W. "Dick" Case Award following a strong summer showing for the Collegiate National Team. He joined Team USA after winning the 2018 NCAA College World Series with Oregon State and was immediately a leader both on and off the field. He paced the team in batting average (.355), slugging percentage (.516) and on-base percentage (.432), and also finished the summer leading the squad in doubles with five in nine games.

In addition, Rutschman personified the off-field qualities that the Richard W. "Dick" Case Award honors. The catcher was the quintessential teammate and an undisputed leader in the clubhouse while also exemplifying sportsmanship and love of the game throughout the summer.

Mainieri was named the Rod Dedeaux Coach of the Year after leading the Collegiate National Team to series wins over Chinese Taipei, Japan and Cuba for the second year in a row. Under his guidance, Team USA started its summer undefeated against international competition with a five-game sweep of Chinese Taipei and finished with a 11-3 record. The series win against Cuba marked its fourth in a row in the annual series and was just the second time in Collegiate National Team history that Team USA has claimed a series win on Cuban soil.

USA Baseball's Team of the Year award was given to the 15U National Team after it won its first-ever world championship with a 7-1 gold medal-game victory over Panama at the 2018 WBSC U-15 Baseball World Cup. The team finished the tournament with an 8-1 record, a .323 batting average, 69 RBI, 17 doubles, five triples and three home runs while outscoring opponents 88-13 en route to the gold medal. In addition, the pitching staff tallied a collective team ERA of 1.24 over 58.0 innings and four players were named to the WBSC U-15 Baseball World Cup All-World Team. Maxwell's tutelage, leadership and guidance of the squad as this year's manager led to him being named the 2018 Developmental Coach of the Year.

"Jason Maxwell has been an asset to USA Baseball for many years and he brought an impressive amount of leadership and expertise to the 2018 15U National Team," Seiler said. "His ability to develop and guide these young players to new heights was evident and the team's journey to the program's first world championship was impressive to watch. We couldn't be happier to honor him and this year's team with these awards."

Witt Jr. earned the 2018 International Performance of the Year Award after hitting for a natural cycle in the COPABE U-18 Pan-American Championships gold medal game. The Colleyville, Texas, native hit a single in the second, an RBI-double in the third, a lead-off triple in the fourth and completed the cycle with a two-run home run in the fifth to lead the red, white and blue's offense in the 17-2 defeat of Panama. Following the game, Witt Jr. was named the tournament MVP and also picked up the best slugger and highest batting average awards after hitting .576 with three doubles, three triples, three home runs and 18 RBI in nine games.

Two-time Women's National Team alum Baltzell was named Sportswoman of the Year after hitting a team-high .500 in the 2018 WBSC Women's Baseball World Cup and leading the tournament in home runs with two. The lefty now owns the WBSC Women's Baseball World Cup home run record after hitting one in the 2016 World Cup and two in 2018. In addition to being named to the All-World Team following the event's conclusion, Baltzell also won two individual awards for her stellar 2018 performance, taking home the hardware for most home runs (2) and most RBI (10).

Lastly, Karsten Whitson, who won a gold medal as a player on the 2009 18U National Team, was named the 2018 Volunteer Coach of the Year after serving as a pitching coach for the 14U National Team Development Program's Stars team. The pitching staff thrived under Whitson, combining for 16 strikeouts in the three-game series. Six of those pitchers were invited to the 15U National Team Trials and one - Karson Bowen - was named to the 2018 15U National Team.

The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) annually honors one Sportsman, Sportswoman and Team of the Year based on nominations from its National Governing Bodies, as well as Developmental and Volunteer Coach of the Year awards. USA Baseball's award winners serve as the organization's nominees in their respective categories with the USOC.

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Scott Brosius Named Senior Director of Player Development

A three-time World Series champion, Brosius will lead the development of on-field player programming for national teams
January 3, 2019

DURHAM, N.C. - USA Baseball announced the hiring of Scott Brosius as its Senior Director of Player Development on Thursday. A three-time World Series champion and former World Series MVP with the New York Yankees, he will serve as the organizational lead in the development of on-field programming for its six national teams and three national team development programs, as well as producing curriculum related to player development that will be available as part of USA Baseball's educational resources.

Brosius will also serve as the Field Coordinator at the Prospect Development Pipeline League, the new premier development and showcase experience for high school draft prospects announced by Major League Baseball and USA Baseball in November.

"The creation of this new position within the organization marks a significant step in USA Baseball's commitment to player development," said Rick Riccobono, USA Baseball's Chief Development Officer. "We could not be more excited to be welcoming Scott back to the USA Baseball family. His resume of sustained success at the highest levels of our game will be impactful to our athletes and coaches alike. From the newly created PDP League to working with our national teams, Scott will be central in preparing our players for the next steps in their careers."

"I am extremely excited to join USA Baseball. The two years I spent as coach of the 18U team were unforgettable, and the opportunity to join the organization in this role was something I couldn't pass up," said Brosius. "Along with the amazing honor of representing our country, our players will be provided with the most advanced training and technology available to aid in their development. Beyond our goal of winning gold medals, we want to equip our players to be great collegians and professionals both on and off the field."

Brosius was most recently an assistant coach and the third base coach for the Seattle Mariners in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Prior to his tenure coaching at the Major League level, he spent one season as the hitting coach for the Tacoma Rainiers, the AAA-affiliate of the Mariners, and 15 years coaching at his alma mater, Linfield College (McMinnville, Ore.). He joined the Wildcats' coaching staff as an assistant coach in 2002 and was later named head coach in 2008. In his eight years at the helm of the program, he led Linfield to the 2013 NCAA Division III National Championship and held a 270-96 overall record.

Brosius was twice named the manager of the USA Baseball 18U National Team, where he managed Team USA to gold medals in 2011 and 2012, a world championship title and a combined 16-2 overall record. He was recognized as the 2011 and 2012 USA Baseball Rod Dedeaux Coach of the Year, presented annually to the coach who expects excellence out of their players and strives for them to better themselves on and off the field. Brosius joins Davey Johnson (2005, 2006, 2007) as one of only two former national team managers to earn multiple Coach of the Year honors from USA Baseball.

Drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 1987 Amateur Draft, Brosius spent 11 years in the Major Leagues with the A's and the New York Yankees. He was named an All-Star after his first season in the Bronx in 1998 and earned a Gold Glove (3B) in 1999. Brosius was a part of three consecutive World Series championship teams with the Yankees from 1998-2000 and earned MVP honors in the 1998 World Series where he hit .471 with six RBIs and two home runs.

For more information on USA Baseball, visit USABaseball.com and follow along on Twitter @USABaseball.

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