GOLDEN SPIKES AWARD NEWS

GSA

Golden Spikes Spotlight: Brent Rooker

April 25, 2017

MOBILE, Ala. - There are times when natural talent and hard work align. When they do, the results can be amazing. Like the time your Aunt Eunice made the greatest pecan pie in the county. She even has the ribbon to prove it. Or the time you and your college buddy Jay won 10-straight games of cornhole. Those are the moments we live for.

Sometimes baseball players have moments like Aunt Eunice or Jay did. Brent Rooker had one of those moments. The Mississippi State first baseman entered mid-April hitting .450 with 16 homers and led the SEC in almost every offensive category. He was basically living out the dreams many of us share - waiting for everything to come together and performing at your peak.

The epicenter of the Rooker barrage came in a home series in Starkville against Kentucky.

"Every time Rooker swung the bat, I felt the ball was going to go out," Kentucky coach Nick Mingione said. "Every .. swing … he ... took."

Fortunately for the Wildcats' coach, it only seemed that way. During the first game of the series, Rooker went 0-2 with a walk and a hit by pitch. Then came the second game where all he did was go 4-4 with three homers and six RBIs. After the four hits, three of them turning into souvenirs into the homemade rigs that surround the outfield wall, Mingione just intentionally walked Rooker.

Kentucky walked him even though there were already runners on first and second. Yep, he advanced two runners into scoring position to avoid pitching to Rooker.

"The game plan was not to let him beat us," said Mingione. "It didn't matter what we threw, he hit it out. Finally you get to the point where we are not even going to try to intentionally throw him balls, because they are ending up strikes and going out of the yard.

"So we just finally decided we were going to walk him and make somebody else beat us. I wish it wouldn't have taken three homers to do that. He was going through one of those phases where it didn't matter what anyone was going to throw him. If it was around the strike zone, he was getting barrel and it was going out. I have only seen a few players in that kind of place before."

It is the kind of moment hitters fantasize about but few ever enjoy. For those of us who will never know how that feels, just what is that like?

"There are times at the plate where you walk up there and literally you feel invincible," Rooker told D1baseball.com. "There is no way the guy on the mound is getting you out. It is that kind of confidence that comes with repeated success. Baseball becomes really fun and it slows down a lot.

"It seems easy at the time but as everybody knows, baseball is a really, really hard game," Rooker continued. "For short stints, it can seem easy when you are locked in. At the same time, those kinds of grooves can go away really quickly and the game speeds back up and gets really hard. You just try to stay in that mindset where the game is slow and try to focus for as long as you can."

When a player is going like Rooker was at the time, there just isn't much you can do from the opposing dugout.

"You just put him on." said Mingione. "I was even debating, with the bases loaded, do you put him on? They did that in the big leagues with Barry Bonds. You are just out one run. You go through in your mind, 'what are the chances of him getting a hit?' Well, he is hitting .450. So there is a 45% chance he is getting a hit. He had already hit five home runs that week. He is in place where even his mis-hits were falling in. Yep, just put him on."

Brent Rooker: A Historical Perspective

Through the years, there obviously have been countless great SEC hitters, many of whom went on to star in the big leagues. Few have had the aura that Rooker amassed in his half season in Starkville. Since the bats have changed, Rooker's season is reminiscent of a few other SEC stars. Matt LaPorta at Florida had a similar run. A.J. Reed at Kentucky had the power numbers as well. Andrew Benintendi enjoyed an incredible season at Arkansas. But Rooker is in position to do something none of those greats nor frankly, anyone else has done. He leads the SEC in batting average, home runs, RBIs, and stolen bases. Yep, he could win the conference's Triple Crown - the last SEC player to do so was Rafael Palmeiro in 1984 - and he could one-up him by taking the steals title as well.

"He is having a really special season," said Mississippi State coach Andy Cannizaro. "Each year there are typically one or two guys around the country that are having really incredible years and he is that guy this year. He has worked so hard and has earned everything he is getting. He is a great leader for our team."

Entering Tuesday's game in Pearl against Ole Miss, Rooker has a line of .400/.505/.877 with 16 homers, 58 RBIs, and is 16-20 in steal attempts. He has also slugged 20 doubles and been walked 28 times.

The batting average dropped 50 points in seven days. He was batting .450 a week earlier but in the last seven games went just 4-for-26. He hasn't homered since April 14 at South Carolina.

Everyone has those dips. But when you are hitting .450, any mini-slump affects your batting average more than most. Rooker has played 42 games and has 14 regular season scheduled games remaining. With 1-to-6 games in the SEC Tournament, 2-to-5 games in Regionals, a potential for 3 in the Supers and up to 7 in Omaha, he could have as many as 35 games left. While that may make batting over .400 more difficult, it could really aid his chase toward the Triple Crown.

Regardless of whether his run at the triple crown is successful, he is already having a historic season.

Last year, Florida's Pete Alonso and Ole Miss' J.B. Woodman led the SEC in homers with 14. Rooker has already eclipsed that mark with 16.

Jake Mangum, Rooker's teammate at State, hit .408 last season and was the first SEC player to hit over .400 since Raph Rhymes of LSU hit .431 in 2012.

In 2015, Benintendi hit 20 homers and hit .376 to lead the SEC in both categories. He was sixth in RBIs with 57.

In 2014, Kentucky's A.J. Reed slugged 23 homers and drove in a league-best 73 runs. He was tied for fifth in batting at .336.

The last SEC Triple Crown winner was Rafael Palmeiro who hit 29 homers, drove in 94 runs and hit for a .415 average. That was in 1984, 33 years ago.

"We are not talking about some random league," said Mingione. "There is a reason why this hasn't been done since Palmeiro. The SEC has 68 big leaguers right now. There are a lot of really good players who have played in this league and they have not done that."

None of those guys did everything Rooker is doing this season. The question now is can he pull out of his mini-slump and sustain the early season pace through the remainder of the year?

"That is the thing about this league is that it never stops," said Cannizaro. "The arms, they just keep coming and coming and he just continues to have success. He will continue to because he is a great hitter. He is very smart. He makes pitch to pitch adjustments at the plate. He is going to be a great hitter for a long time."

"He is the most dangerous guy," said South Alabama coach Mark Calvi whose team faced Rooker three times this season (Rooker went 3-10 with a double, homer, and 3 RBIs). "Rooker, there are not a lot of weaknesses there. He is a good runner. He hits for average and he hits for power. He can go out to all fields. He does everything that you want him to do and then some. No one has figured out how to get him out. When you think about it, he's getting hits 45 percent of the time. That is unbelievable. As the season goes on, you are thinking, no one can sustain that. You keep waiting to see if the well runs dry. That kid is no fluke. I don't know if there is a better one in the game."

How Rooker Got Here

This rise to stardom has not come quickly for Rooker. The 6-foot-4, 220 pound redshirt junior out of Germantown, Tenn., was a three-sport star in high school. He split his time between various sports - he was a football quarterback as well as a basketball player. He entered Mississippi State not quite ready for SEC pitching, especially those nasty breaking balls. Mingione, who was on the staff at MSU as an assistant for Rooker's first three years in Starkville, felt the redshirt year was just what a 19 year old Rooker needed.

Think about that for a minute … the SEC's top hitter was someone who not only didn't come in as a heralded professional prospect, he was an unpolished talent that used a redshirt season to help develop. He waited his turn and used not only the redshirt year but also his first year on the field to improve without that many in-game reps. It says a lot about his makeup.

"This guy is an unbelievable human being," Mingione said. "When you talk about having your priorities in order, this guy has got it. He is selfless. He is into the team. He is intellectual. I cannot tell you enough great things about him. He is the package. I was around him every day for three years. In three years I never saw him give one swing away. This guy is in love with hitting. He has watched every video. He has watched every drill.

"I always thought he could hit but I didn't know what position he would play," Mingione added.

"He is a really special player, a special hitter," said Cannizaro. "He is really bright and processes information so well at the plate. He is an absolute winner that I love coaching every single day."

After the redshirt season in 2014, in 2015 Rooker played in 34 of the team's 54 games with 18 starts as designated hitter and two in left field. He hit .257 in just 74 at bats with a pair of homers. Last season, despite playing with an ankle injury, Rooker appeared in 58 games, starting 53 as an outfielder and designated hitter. He hit .324 with 11 homers and 54 RBI and was playing well late in the year as the Bulldogs won the SEC regular season and won a regional. Minnesota took him in the 38th round last June.

"At the end of the year, it started clicking for him and he got some pro interest," Mingione said. "We basically had a conversation with him that went something like this, 'Brent if you come back to Mississippi State next year, you are going to be the SEC Player of the Year'. I told him that. You can ask him."

So we did.

Rooker confirmed that is exactly how it went down. "It meant a lot to me coming from a guy that had been around the league for as long as he has," Rooker explained. "He has seen a lot of players come through the SEC and knowing that he thought I could have that type of season was pretty special."

Why was Mingione so confident Rooker would take the next step into stardom?

"Here's why, he got hurt at the beginning of the year when he hurt his ankle," Mingione said. "Ankles can be slow to heal, especially with how he hits and how involved his lower half is. It just took him a while. So by the time he got healthy and got the other at bats, you could see it happening for him. It was a no-brainer he would break out.

"This guy is wired different," Mingione said. "The way he handles success. The way he handles failure. The way his brain handles pitching. The guy is an animal in the weight room. He loves to compete. He is not afraid."

But he hadn't reached his potential yet. This year he is healthy. But what does Rooker feel made the difference between a good season in 2016 and whatever superlative you want to slap on 2017?

"I think it just another year of experience of seeing SEC arms every day," said Rooker. "This past summer going to the Cape (Cod League) and seeing high caliber arms each day; learning to adjust to that. Learning how to combat what pitchers are are trying to do to me. There have been some physical changes to my swing in the off season that I worked really hard on."

So what kind of physical changes did he implement? Because just about everyone south of AAA wants to try the same thing.

"I made myself move more efficiently to make myself square balls up more consistently," Rooker said. "I added some adjustability into my swing. Just the combination of experience and hours and hours of work trying to perfect my skills."

His work has paid off in a big way.

"He is a different animal this year," said Cannizaro. "He is using the field. He is not chasing outside of the strike zone. He is recognizing spin. He has turned himself into a complete hitter."

He's Not Just A Hitter

For all of the talk about Rooker's offense, it is easy to overlook that the speedy, big armed once-outfielder is now a first baseman. He has grown into the role and even made a sparkling game-saving defensive play in bottom of the ninth at Ole Miss to end the game and give MSU the sweep.

Rooker played some first base in high school, but since he arrived at MSU, had been an outfielder for three seasons and it appeared he would remain there this spring. Then he got a text.

"We were playing Columbia on a Monday morning at 11 because we had had a game rained out," said Rooker. "Coach Cannizaro texted me at 6:30 AM and said, 'hey, can you play first base?"

"I said, 'I will try'. I played it that morning and then I have been over there every day since."

"Originally, it happened out of necessity," said Cannizaro. "We have had so many injuries and so many things happen to force us to play with a limited roster this year. We needed somebody to play first base and Brent had taken ground balls over there earlier in the year. He won the job that day and has continued to get better and better at it. The thing about Brent is he is such a coachable kid and he continues to improve because he works at it. He pays attention to details. He wants to be a good first baseman. Everybody is talking about all the stuff he is doing offensively and rightfully so, but he really has played a nice first base for us all year."

Rooker's team is now 28-14 and 13-5 in conference play. The Bulldogs continue to find creative ways to win games. They are coming off a weekend sweep of Alabama where they trailed in all three games and won each by a single run. They won the prior SEC series at South Carolina and Ole Miss along with home series against Kentucky and Tennessee. They haven't dropped an SEC series since Arkansas. They close at home versus Auburn, at Texas A&M and Georgia, and at home against LSU.

"We are playing really well," Rooker said prior to the series against Alabama. "The past few weekends we have played really well against some really good teams. I think we are surprising a lot of people with how well we are doing. We have a lot of young guys stepping up, a lot of inexperienced guys doing what we what needed them to do. They are maturing and we are building as a team and playing well."

"We are having a lot of success as a team," Cannizaro added. "We are playing with a lot of confidence. Our pitching staff has been outstanding. Coach (Gary) Henderson has done a phenomenal job navigating the bullpen with a limited staff. We are just playing at a high level."

No one is playing at a higher level than the Bulldogs' first baseman. His numbers may be surprising to some but for others, it is the natural destination for his combination of talent and work ethic.

"It all goes back to the way he is wired," said Mingione. "It was so obvious to me that this guy was going to be great. He had the tools and he was going to work his way into it. It was just a matter of time."

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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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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NTIS

USA Baseball Announces Modifications to National Team Identification Series

The National Team Identification Series will now feature six regions
December 12, 2018

USA Baseball National Team Identification Series Homepage

DURHAM, N.C. - USA Baseball announced modifications to its National Team Identification Series (NTIS) on Wednesday. Beginning in 2019, the NTIS will operate under a new infrastructure that features six total regions spanning the United States and the introduction of a 12-and-under age group to the program. Subsequently, the 17-and-under age group has been removed from the NTIS.

The NTIS continues to be the most comprehensive national team identification program offered by USA Baseball. Launched in 2009, the program was created to provide all athletes from across the United States an opportunity to compete for a spot on a USA Baseball national team.

Player identification in the NTIS begins at the local level, where athletes attend camps and tryouts in their designated region. Every region will name 32 athletes from each of the 11U, 12U and 13U age groups, and 36 athletes from each of the 14U, 15U and 16U age groups, to two All-Region teams that will participate in the NTIS Champions Cup at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina.

The culminating event will feature 12 teams per age group and athletes will participate in workouts and a championship-style tournament while being evaluated by national team coaches and scouts. Following the Champions Cup, USA Baseball will invite a minimum of 72 athletes to national team and National Team Development Program (NTDP) events in the subsequent calendar year.

"As participation in youth baseball continues to rise, it is our duty to adapt and modernize USA Baseball initiatives to fit the ever-changing youth baseball landscape," said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball's Executive Director and CEO. "Our National Team Identification Series continues to be our most inclusive athlete identification process and we are confident these modifications will continue to serve USA Baseball, its national teams and athletes with an unrivaled standard of excellence."

Formerly comprised of 16 regions, the NTIS will now utilize a six-region system for the initial player identification process. The six regions consist of the Midwest, Northeast, Northwest, South, Southeast and Southwest.

All six NTIS regions will be managed and operated by a USA Baseball-appointed Regional Director. Each Regional Director is responsible for the planning and execution of the player identification process for their assigned region(s), and will ultimately name the All-Region teams that will move on to the NTIS Champions Cup. The USA Baseball regional directors for 2019 are Rich Janor (Midwest), Andy Rojo (South, Southwest), Jeff Schaefer (Northeast, Southeast) and Jason Sekany (Northwest).

"USA Baseball Regional Directors play a vital role in the overall success of the National Team Identification Series and USA Baseball national teams," said Ashley Bratcher, Senior Director of Baseball Operations. "These individuals are responsible for finding the very best athletes from every corner of the country to represent Team USA in international competitions around the world. USA Baseball can attribute a great deal of its recent international successes to the contributions of our regional directors."

The 12-and-under age group will debut in the NTIS program in 2019 and will serve as an identification event for the present year's USA Baseball 12U National Team, in addition to being a once-in-a-lifetime development and scouting exposure opportunity for athletes at this age level. USA Baseball regional directors will select 15 12U internationally-age-eligible athletes from each region to compete in the USA Baseball National Open in California, where the 12U National Team coaching staff will invite a minimum of 15 athletes to participate in national team trials.

"We are excited to introduce the twelve-and-under age group to our National Team Identification Series program this year," continued Bratcher. "The twelve-and-under age group is afforded a truly unique experience as they are the only age group in the entire National Team Identification Series program that are eligible for an immediate national team opportunity in the current calendar year."

Lastly, the 17-and-under age group has been eliminated from the NTIS program going forward. For information on the identification process for the 18U National Team, please visit USABaseball.com.

The 2019 NTIS identification process will begin at various times across all six regions after the new year. Information on regional camps and tryouts, as well as contact information for the regional directors, can be found at USABaseballNTIS.com.

Athletes selected to their All-Region team will participate in the 2019 NTIS Champions Cup at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina, from August 7-25. The age group pairing and dates are as follows:

11U and 13U NTIS Champions Cup: August 7-11
12U and 14U NTIS Champions Cup: August 14-18
15U and 16U NTIS Champions Cup: August 21-25

For more information on the USA Baseball NTIS, open region camps and tryouts, and the most up-to-date news and information about the NTIS, follow @USABaseballNTIS on Twitter.

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