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 "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." is the weekly contributor of the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Spotlight and assists with the Gold Standard Performance of the Week video series. 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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Team USA Opens 12U National Team Training With Victory

Five pitchers combine to hold opposition to five hits
August 21, 2018
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 R H E
USA 2 0 1 3 1 0 0 2 9 9 1
Premier 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 2 5 1
Win: R. Felder Loss: J. Macias Save: None
Boxscore | Play by Play


TOMBALL, Texas - Team USA, behind the arms of five different pitchers, held Premier Baseball of Texas to five hits and they opened their series of 12U National Team training games with a 9-2 win Monday at Premier Baseball of Texas Complex.

Brady Strohm (Winchester, Calif.), Tristan Bristow (San Antonio, Texas) and Ross Felder (Springdale, Ark.) each pitched two innings, while, Christian Hamilton (Lauderhill, Fla.) and Kibru Pam (Pasadena, Calif.) each went an inning to help USA hold Premier to two runs off five hits in eight innings. Team USA did not allow a hit to the final 15 batters faced (covering the game's final five inning). Strohm opened the game on the hill and faced the minimum in his two innings of work. He surrendered two hits in the first inning, but catcher Masato Chilcutt (San Antonio, Texas) was able to nab each on the bases attempting to steal. The five USA pitchers combined for nine strikeouts and faced five batters over the minimum.

USA's offense was also off to a quick start in the game. Kameron Davis (Albany, Ga.) led off the game hitting an infield-single (one of five hit in the game by USA), and he eventually scored the first run off a throwing error committed during a single put in play by Hamilton. USA led 2-0 in the first inning after Kailand Halstead (Aberdeen, Wash.) grounded out to plate Hamilton. The stars and stripes took advantage of pitching miscues to extend their lead, as a pair of walks in the third inning led to Chilcutt scoring and three runs scored in the fourth inning off wild pitches. The trio of runs pushed the USA lead to 6-0 despite one hit in the combined third and fourth innings.

Braelon Richardson and Luke Rives each had a pair of hits for Premier, with Rives' triple in the fourth inning leading to a pair of runs in the inning for their only runs of the game. Bristow shook off the rally with a strikeout and double-play to move the game to the fifth inning with USA leading 6-2. Brock Thompson (Bakersfield, Calif.) added an RBI in the fifth inning and Team USA capped their scoring with a pair of insurance runs in the eighth inning, highlighted by a single through a drawn-in infield by Halstead.

Davis, one of seven USA members to have a hit in the game, led the squad with a 2-for-3 performance at the plate. Halstead led all players with a pair of runs-batted-in. Premier was held to one hit with runners in scoring position (off eight opportunities), while USA had 23 at-bats with runners in scoring position. USA was 6-for-8 getting the leadoff batter aboard.

Team USA concludes their series of training games against Premier Tuesday with a 2:30 p.m. (CT) first pitch at Premier Baseball of Texas Sports Complex. For more information on the 12U National Team, please visit or follow along on Twitter, at @USABaseball12U.

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15U National Team Crowned World Champions

USA defeats host country Panama 7-1 Sunday
August 20, 2018
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
PAN 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 4 3
USA 6 0 0 1 0 0 X 7 3 1
Win: A. Painter Loss: J. Tejada  Save: None
Box Score | Play-by-Play | World Cup Stats | Full Game

CHIRIQUI, PANAMA - Team USA claimed its first 15U World Cup Championship Sunday, downing host country Panama 7-1 in front of a sold-out crowd in the final game of the World Baseball Softball Confederation's U-15 Baseball World Cup at Estadio Kenny Serracin in David.



"This is an unbelievable, indescribable feeling to bring home the gold with this super-talented group," said manager Jason Maxwell. "Sometimes talent doesn't always win, but they all bought into the idea that hard work does. This feeling is something that I'll never forget.

I can't say enough about the hard work our staff put in. Manny Crespo, Troy Gerlach, and Adam Moseley are tremendous people. When I was announced as manager of this team, I felt like I had to put together a good baseball quality staff, but also good men, and that comes first. I am so appreciative of all their time and effort- all the countless hours they put in that people don't see- and everyone got rewarded tonight. I keep saying this, but it really is an indescribable feeling."

USA needed just three hits to secure the victory, taking advantage of three Panamanian errors. First baseman Brady House (Winder, Ga.), right fielder Ryan Clifford (Raleigh, N.C.), and center fielder Tyree Reed (Vallejo, Calif.) recorded the hits.

Starting pitcher Andrew Painter (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) was solid through five and a third frames, striking out five.

The Stars and Stripes ignited early, taking advantage of back-to-back walks to Diaz and Schrier to lead off the frame, and then House pushed a ball through the right side to bring Diaz home. After Luke Leto was hit-by-pitch to load the bases, two straight Panamanian misplays cleared the bases, giving USA a 4-0 start. Hartle then came home on another single through the right side, this one courtesy of Clifford, and left fielder Ryan Spikes (Covington, Ga.), who reached on a fielder's choice, crossed home on a fielder's choice from catcher Charlie Saum (Ventura, Calif.).

Panama broke the shutout in the fourth, scoring after a leadoff double and groundout. USA quickly put the lead back to six, after right fielder Tyree Reed (Vallejo, Calif.) doubled to the right center gap, stole third, and came home on a fielder's choice from House.

Panama continued to threaten, leaving runners on in each of the final three frames.

Several USA players took home additional hardware, including shortstop Cody Schrier (San Clemente, Calif.), who was named the World Cup Most Valuable Player and also took home the award for most runs and the batting title.

Cody Schrier (San Clemente, Calif.) (Tournament MVP) (Batting Title) (Most Runs Scored)
Sam Dutton (Rainbow City, Ala.) (Lowest ERA)
Brady House (Winder, Ga.) (Most RBI)

All-World Team
Andrew Painter (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) (Starting Pitcher)
Brady House (Winder, Ga.) (First Base)
Luke Leto (Portage, Mich.) (Third Base)
Ryan Spikes (Covington, Ga.) (Outfield)

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Team USA Walks Off Against Canada in Training Finale

The U.S. heads to Viera, Fla., looking for its third World Cup gold medal
August 19, 2018
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Canada 0 0 0 0 2 6 0 8 10 2
Team USA 0 0 0 5 0 0 4 9 5 0
Win: S. Cobb Loss: A. Schroder Save: None
Box Score | Play-by-play | Cumulative Stats

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. - Jade Gortarez (Riverside, Calif.) drove in the game-winning runs in the seventh inning as the Women's National Team earned the walkoff victory over Canada in the team's final tune-up on Sunday evening at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Gortarez finished the game 1-for-2 with three RBI and a run scored and hit .600 in training, with two doubles and a home run throughout the three contests.

The game started as a pitcher's duel as neither team could get much going in the first three innings. Brittany Schutte (Gainesville, Fla.) started in Team USA's training finale and put in two strong innings of work, giving up just one hit and one walk, while fanning two. Canada also got a strong start on the mound from Anna-Sophie Lavallee, who gave up just one hit of her own in three innings.

With the game still scoreless in the bottom of the fourth inning, the U.S. bats finally broke through. A leadoff walk to Gortarez followed by a Malaika Underwood (San Diego, Calif.) single set the stage for AJ Hamilton (Tallahassee, Fla.) who laced a double to center field to score the first run of the game.

Bases-loaded walks to Michelle Cobb (Wenatchee, Wash.) and Anna Kimbrell (Fort Mill, S.C.) plated two more runs before a fielder's choice and a Canada error made it 5-0 in favor of the red, white and blue.

Canada answered immediately though, scoring two runs in the top of the fifth to get within three and putting together a six-run top of the sixth to take the 8-5 lead.

Samantha Cobb (Garland, Texas) made her second lights out relief appearance for Team USA when she got the call in the seventh, issuing just one walk in the inning. The right-hander didn't give up a hit or a run and issued just three walks while striking out two in her three innings of work.

In the bottom half of the inning with the score still 8-5 and down to its last three outs, Team USA went to work. Kelsie Whitmore (Temecula, Calif.) drew a leadoff walk to get the momentum rolling before three more walks brought in a run and got the U.S. within two.

Then Gortarez came up clutch once again for the stars and stripes with the bases still loaded. The shortstop cleared the bases with a double down the right field line to give Team USA the walkoff 9-8 victory.

With the conclusion of training, the U.S. will next travel to Viera, Fla., for the 2018 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Women's Baseball World Cup.

Team USA will square off against Puerto Rico in its opening game on August 22 at 7 p.m. ET at the USSSA Space Coast Complex.

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

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Southern California Crowned 15U Champions Cup Gold Medal Winners, Defeat South Texas 3-1

Backed by a stellar pitching performance by David Horn, Southern California narrowly defeats South Texas to claim Gold at the 15U NTIS Champions Cup
August 19, 2018
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Southern California 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 3 7 0
South Texas 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 6 1
Win: David Horn Loss: Sai Campos Save: None
Box Score | Play-by-Play | Full Game | Highlights

Cary, N.C. - Southern California was crowned the 2018 15U National Team Identification Series Champions Cup gold medal winners after defeating South Texas 3-1 at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina.

Southern California got on the board early Sunday morning. After a single and a walk in the top of the first inning, Rocco DiFrancesco doubled to drive in both runs and give Southern California the early 2-0 advantage.

South Texas would put a run of their own on the board shortly after. In the bottom of the second inning, Derick Ramirez singled to left field to drive in a run and cut the Southern California lead in half. 

That would be the lone run for South Texas as Southern California starting pitcher David Horn turned in a stellar performance. Horn allowed six hits, two walks, and one run while striking out four over seven frames of work. 

Southern California would add an insurance run to their lead in the top of the fifth inning when Zach Peters singled in David Horn for the third Southern California run of the ballgame.

Down 3-1, South Texas threatened in the bottom of the seventh with a runner on, but a running catch by left fielder Tyler Prystajko ended the ballgame.

The victory by Southern California sets them up in second place in the race for the Champions Cup after Southeast took home the gold for the 13U and 15U divisions already. The 11U and 17U divisions will play next weekend, August 24-26.

For more information about the Championship game and the 2018 NTIS, visit the USA Baseball team page or follow along on Twitter @USABaseballNTIS.


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Southeast Claims Gold at the 16U NTIS Champions Cup

Backed by starting pitcher Bryce Fisher and a powerful offense, Southeast took down Midwest for the Gold.
August 19, 2018
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Midwest 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 2
Southeast 2 1 0 5 0 0 x 8 8 0
Win: Bryce Fisher Loss: Jacob Misiorowski Save: None
Box Score | Play-by-Play | Full Game | Highlights

Cary, N.C. - Southeast claimed the gold at the 2018 16U National Team Identification Series Champions Cup, shutting out Midwest by a score of 8-0 at Coleman Field in Cary, North Carolina.



Southeast wasted no time getting on the board. After loading the bases in the first inning, Midwest starting pitcher Jacob Misiorowski walked in two runs. In the bottom of the second inning, Misiorowski loaded the bases again and, after a hit batsman, Southeast was quickly out to a 3-0 lead.


Meanwhile, Southeast pitcher Bryce Fisher had no issue getting outs. Fisher turned in a gem of a performance in which he allowed just four hits, no walks, and struck out four on his way to a complete game shutout. He need just 82 pitches and was credited with the win for his performance.


The Southeast offense would continue to add runs in the middle innings, chasing Midwest starting pitcher Jacob Misiorowski out of the ballgame after 3.1 innings of work. Midwest would hand the ball over to two relievers in the ballgame, Reese Ratchford and Payton Tolle, in an effort to slow down the scorching Southeast offense, but to no avail.


Supported largely by the middle of the lineup, Southeast would go on to score eight runs in total on eight hits and nine walks. Leadoff man Alex Phillips and three-hole hitter Logan Sims combined to go 4-8 with three runs scored in the ballgame.


The victory by Southeast gives them the advantage in the race for the Champions Cup after Southeast also took home the gold for the 13U division in last week's matchup against Southern California.


For more information about the Championship game and the 2018 NTIS, visit the USA Baseball NTIS webpage or follow along on Twitter @USABaseballNTIS

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Power Lifts Team USA to 11-5 Victory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Come-From-Behind Win Propels USA into World Championship

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Team USA Kicks Off Training with 6-1 Victory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hartle Hurls USA To 10-0 Shutout Over Cuba

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Leto Leads USA to First Super Round Win

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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