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Golden Spikes Spotlight: Darren McCaughan

May 9, 2017

LONG BEACH, Calif. -- "Honestly, I don't like Cal Poly one bit."

Darren McCaughan entered Friday night's start with a chip on his shoulder and some fire in his blood. The Long Beach State ace had been roughed up in his last start and he was pitching against a team that had previously overlooked him.

"In high school, they told me that I wasn't good enough to go there," McCaughan said. "They told me I should probably go to juco. Little did they know, I was coming here, so it just kind of fires me up to play them every time."

That motivation and a couple of small mechanical tweaks helped McCaughan produce one of the best starts of his career. He tossed a three-hit shutout and struck out 11 to lead the Dirtbags to a 3-0 win in the opener of an important conference series. He also became just the 10th Dirtbag to reach 20 career wins and the first since Cesar Ramos did so in 2005.

"McCaughan was great. He was fantastic," Long Beach State head coach Troy Buckley said after Friday's start. "Even more fantastic coming off what he did last weekend. That's what I'm proud of."

Against UC Davis a week ago, McCaughan was roughed up for a career-high eight runs in 4.1 innings. With the wind howling, Davis hit a double, a triple and three homers - all to left field. He was leaving the ball up and didn't have a feel for his changeup. The offense picked him up, leading the Dirtbags to a 14-9 win, but McCaughan knew he needed to make some adjustments.

As the conference season had progressed, the coaches had already noticed something different about McCaughan's delivery compared to last season. But McCaughan had been stellar in his first four conference starts this season, going 3-1, 1.35. He had worked into the eighth inning in all four, including back-to-back complete games prior to facing Davis.

With their ace pitching well, the coaches didn't want to make a change just to make a change. There was no need to mess with what was working. Like most pitchers, McCaughan is at his best when he is able to get into a rhythm and isn't contemplating his mechanics.

"When I'm not doing so well, I'm kind of thinking about too much maybe and trying to do too much with my pitches," he said last month.

By comparing film of McCaughan's start at Davis to when he was dominating last season, Buckley and first-year pitching coach Dan Ricabal noticed when McCaughan raised his left leg and began striding toward the plate, the bottom half of that front leg was bending at the knee and getting underneath his rear rather than dangling straight down. When he began to stride forward, the extra bend in his front leg was leading to a shorter stride and a compression of the front leg when landing. That led McCaughan to push the ball up instead of getting his hand on top of the baseball and getting extension forward as he released the ball.

It was a minor adjustment, but it allowed McCaughan to clear his hips and get out in front of the ball by working against a hard front side.

"I didn't even realize that I was doing it. It's not something you think about on the mound, but I think just hammering that in the week in all of my work that I was doing, it just translates over to the mound," McCaughan said.

He was able to command his 84-88 mph fastball with his normal fervor, moving it to both sides of the plate. McCaughan consistently got ahead and forced Cal Poly into defensive counts. He threw 111 pitches with 80 strikes, getting to two strikes on 21 batters, including 10 of the last 11.

"He just spots the ball, has a little bit of sink and mixes. And he competes. He's good," Mustangs head coach Larry Lee said.

After getting ahead, McCaughan worked in a changeup at 80-83 mph and his developing 77-80 slider. He felt both offspeed pitches were much better than his previous start. His sequencing followed a similar path to the game.

McCaughan had to quickly show his mettle against the Mustangs. It's hard to ever say that a game is decided in the first inning, but that's definitely when all the action was Friday night.

"First innings for me are big pitching coach situations," Buckley said. "We have six days to prepare for that first inning. How you're going to pitch it, how you're going to script it. You can do whatever you want to do. The challenge is to handle the adrenaline once the adrenaline injects into that pitcher."

The adrenaline immediately began flowing for McCaughan. One pitch into the game, Cal Poly had a runner in scoring position after the Dirtbags threw away a fairly routine chopper.

"I think it's hard to overcome bad first innings," Buckley said. "We always talk about make the first inning like the ninth inning. If you've got to throw the kitchen sink to put up a zero in the first inning, then you've got to do it."

McCaughan bore down. He got a popup to first base and a grounder to second that moved the runner over. Then McCaughan stranded him there with the first of his 11 strikeouts.

"You know that with McCaughan on the mound, it's going to be a low-scoring game," Lee said. "To put up a run in the first inning and play with a lead, that's a must."

Instead, it was the Long Beach offense able to do that. The Dirtbags scored two runs in the first, added one in the third and relied on their ace to carry them the rest of the way.

"Coming into this week, I knew it was going to be a big week for conference. Knew I had to get the team off on the right foot to start the weekend," McCaughan said. "I think that was kind of my job and I did that."

Buckley was more impressed with the way McCaughan took the coaches' advice, deployed a plan of attack to address the issues during a strong week of practice and then bounced back to perform in the opener of a series between two teams that sat atop the Big West standings entering the weekend.

"You got punched in the mouth and knocked to the mat," Buckley said. "It's a TKO-type of thing. Even though we won [last week], he had to get back to work because he did have to make a few little tweaks. Nothing crazy, but it showed up. That's really exciting when you can take those things and implement them and then see some results. That's like the best, best ever."

When McCaughan was invited to join USA Baseball's Collegiate National Team in the summer, he knew his opportunities were going to be limited with the number of quality power arms on the roster. Ultimately, his three innings over four appearances were the fewest by anyone that made the final travel roster. He didn't allow a run in his first three outings, earning a save over Chinese Taipei and getting out of a bases-loaded, no-out situation in the team's final exhibition game before traveling overseas. He blew a save giving up two runs in his final appearance, a 3-1 loss to Cuba.

But the experience was still worth it for the 6-foot-1, 200-pound righthander. He got to wear the red, white and blue. He got to travel to see different countries and cultures. And he got to learn from some of the best pitchers in college baseball.

McCaughan picked the brains of pitchers like North Carolina's J.B. Bukauskas, Florida's Alex Faedo and Vanderbilt's Kyle Wright, who combined to allow five earned runs in 54 innings last summer and should all hear their names in the first 15-20 picks in this summer's draft.

"You can learn a ton by how you watch a guy go about things," Buckley said. "Grips, what the process is, what the intentions are. A lot of different things."

For McCaughan, the focus was improving his breaking ball.

"I learned how everyone threw their sliders. Just kind of watching everyone throw and seeing how they would do it," McCaughan said. "It was mainly I wasn't getting out in front with it and that's kind of what I was seeing everyone do with it. The more they would get out in front with it, the better it would break down."

McCaughan's ERA (6-2, 2.97) hasn't been as good as last season (10-1, 2.03) as he's given up a couple more home runs already this year than he did in 2016, but his peripheral numbers are just as good, if not better. Opponents are hitting just .188 against him after batting .193 last year. His walk rate has slightly declined from 1.30 base on balls per nine innings to 1.02 and his strikeout rate is up from 6.8 to 8.2.

He leads the Big West allowing just 6.1 hits per game and is tied for the conference lead with four complete games. Two of those have been shutouts. Two of his other starts have been team shutouts. The Dirtbags lead the nation with nine shutouts. Nearly half have occurred when McCaughan starts.

That is partly due to his 8.00 strikeout-to-walk ratio, which is top 10 in the nation. His walk rate is No. 15 in the country and he has college baseball's third-best WHIP. He is allowing 0.80 walks and hits each inning.

McCaughan credits his improvement to the development of the slider.

"I think I really improved my slider this year, which has been allowing me to put more guys away and just not running up my pitch counts as much," McCaughan said. "With Rico [Ricabal] coming in, he's helped me out a lot with it. Now I've got my fastball going, I've got my slider going, so it's been pretty good."

In one seventh-inning sequence on Friday, McCaughan got Cal Poly middle of the lineup bat Nick Meyer waving at a slider that finished more than a foot off the plate. He buzzed Meyer up and in with an 0-2 pitch and then threw the slider, starting it in the strike zone and letting it break into the lefthanders batting box. Meyer had no chance.

"What makes it better is that you have to respect the fastball and the command of the fastball," Buckley said. "That's where I think when he goes well, that's what he does and especially against righthanded hitters, it frees up the breaking ball to not have to be as wipeout-ish."

His fastball isn't overpowering but constantly throbbing the mitt. He can also throw his changeup in any count. With the breaking ball improving into a putout pitch, honestly, hitters don't like facing Darren McCaughan one bit.

 

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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 USABaseball.com or follow along on Twitter, at @USABaseball12U.

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15U

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.

AWARDS
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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WNT

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 USABaseball.com for the most up-to-date news about the Women's National Team.

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NTIS

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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NTIS

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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WNT

Power Lifts Team USA to 11-5 Victory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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15U

Come-From-Behind Win Propels USA into World Championship

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

Team USA Kicks Off Training with 6-1 Victory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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15U

Hartle Hurls USA To 10-0 Shutout Over Cuba

August 17, 2018
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
USA 1 0 5 0 2 0 2 10 10 0
CUBA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1
Win: J. Hartle  Loss: J. Lorenzo Save: None
Box Score | Play-by-Play | World Cup Stats | 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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15U

Leto Leads USA to First Super Round Win

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