We are joined by USA Baseball National Team Manager Jason Maxwell. Jason led the 2018 15U National Team to the nation's first-ever World Cup championship in the age group.
A former Major Leaguer, Jason played parts of three seasons at the big league level with the Chicago Cubs and Minnesota Twins. After his playing career, Jason became the first head coach at Ensworth High School in Nashville, Tennessee.
USA Baseball (USAB): What emotions were you feeling the first day you had the opportunity to coach at a USA Baseball event?
Jason Maxwell (JM): You know I'll be honest, I didn't know what all I was getting into. The first time was actually in Cary at 2014 Trials with Chan Brown being the manager, and I walk out onto the field and I didn't know how good these players were going to be, I was a little naive. And I walk out onto the field and there is a young Royce Lewis, a young Hunter Greene, a young Jordan Adell, and then you realize these guys are seriously legit here. I knew I was in a different world then when I saw those guys at 15 years old. So that was an experience I'll never forget. That first time you just never know what to expect when you're out there in a USA Baseball uniform. It is really a feeling you can't describe because the players are the best players in the country and you are considered one of the best coaches as well because it all goes hand-in-hand. That first experience put me through the fire. Brooks Webb brought me in and just threw me into the fire and I ran with it.
USAB: So that is what it was like when you first arrived at a USA Baseball event, but what were your emotions like when you first got the call and found out you would be coaching for Team USA?
JM: So, here is a true story. I am in my office at school and the phone is ringing and I see on the caller ID that it is USA Baseball and I didn't answer the phone. I let it keep ringing for a few seconds because I am thinking 'We aren't going to play at USA Baseball. Our team is not good enough to go play in the NHSI' so I didn't answer. I eventually did answer and it was Brooks and he asked me to be a part of (USA Baseball) as a coach. To be invited is one thing, and then to actually be there on the field is a whole other deal.
USAB: You are out on a baseball field around young athletes most days of your life. Does being around the game ever make you wish you were still playing rather than coaching?
JM: My mind yes, my body no. I obviously got a lot of knowledge coming up through my playing days, but all the knowledge I have learned from other coaches, I wish I had all this knowledge as a player. I will tell you this, as much as I miss the mindset of my playing days, I really love coaching. Coaching and teaching and giving back to these kids, that's my passion and that's what I enjoy doing.
USAB: Was there ever a point that was difficult in transitioning from player to coach?
JM: I think I got into coaching so quickly after I finished playing that I never had a chance to really have that reluctancy. It was right into the fire as a coach at Nashville Ensworth because I kind of started that program. But as soon as you start coaching, if you ever have any inkling of thinking you can still play, then as a coach you are not going to be successful. You have to realize it is all about the players at that time and that's what I did. I jumped right into it and dedicated all my time and passion into those players.
USAB: You have accomplished a lot in the game of baseball. As a player and a coach. Where does winning the World Cup in 2018 rank among your personal accomplishments?
JM: Number one. It's number one without a doubt. Winning a championship for USA is number one on my list and I don't thing anything as a player or a coach can ever top that. Getting that gold medal draped around your neck it is something you can never forget. You can win other championships, state championships and whatnot, but winning a gold medal with USA across your chest and the national anthem plaything at the end, that is something you will never forget.
USAB: What made that 2018 World Cup team special? Was there a secret ingredient to that team's success?
JM: I think all great teams start with relationships. The relationships with those players, even though we were only with the majority them for a month, and some we had the previous year at 14U NTDP, you build those relationships and that trust factor over the course of time you do have, and I think those relationships went a long way in building the camaraderie on that team, the trust on that team, and ultimately the success of that team. We all kept in touch and we still do today. Those kids bought into what we were saying and the reason they bought in was those relationships we had built.
USAB: What advice do you have for coaches and players who are trying to continue to get better despite being away from their teams right now?
JM: Learning never stops. As a player, you can get outside, you can use a tee at home, you can throw a ball off a wall, anything. As coaches, we can always learn. For instance, I am already planning my depth chart for the 2021 baseball season. You can always call other coaches and swap ideas and stuff like that. It's a constant learning thing. And the moment you think you have this came conquered, that is when it comes back to bite you. So I am never comfortable, never settled, always thinking about the game and never stop learning. Put your pride and ego aside and continue to go after your passion. And that goes for players and coaches. Don't rest during this time, stay after it.
USAB: Let's end on a fun one: What non-baseball related activity are you doing right now to clear your mind and just try to have some fun while we are all staying at home?
JM: Well everyone that knows me knows my number one right now is The Last Dance. Michael Jordan, The Last Dance is definitely my number one. But number two, we take walks, walking in our neighborhood. You don't realize just how little time you have at home, so just being at home every day with my family that is something. To practice patience a little bit, this is patience because who knows how long we will be doing this. My wife told me last night we are starting Yoga two times a week, so that will be interesting. Just anything to keep us occupied. I do P.E. sessions with my sons. They are Coach Maxwell P.E. sessions so they don't like them much. But we go out and do all kinds of little things like that. And that takes my mind away form everything else. And just being here and having my two boys here and my wife, it is just great to be home. We are here with each other and making the most of our time.
But how funny is it that all the days go by so slow, except Sundays from 8:00 to 10:00 goes by too fast. But I will watch them and then rewatch them. I love Michael Jordan so that's my thing.
USA Baseball Modifies On-Field Programming Schedule
All events continue to be subject to cancellation or postponement
May 18, 2020
CARY, N.C. - USA Baseball announced today a modified schedule of events for its 2020 summer season due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Created in adherence to the regulations set forth by the appropriate federal, state and local governments, the updated schedule is tentatively set to begin with the 14U Cup from July 24-26 at the National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina.
All of these events continue to be subject to cancellation or postponement based on the future state of the evolving coronavirus situation. The organization will monitor the guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC), as well as consult its Medical/Safety Advisory Committee in order to evaluate the status of its upcoming tournaments.
All further decisions will be made in as timely a manner as possible with respect to the safety and well-being of all the participating athletes, coaches and fans. If these tournaments run as scheduled, teams and fans will be required to follow a series of return to play guidelines developed by USA Baseball. These guidelines will be shared with all participants within an appropriate timeframe leading up to the event.
"As the national governing body for baseball in the United States, we feel it is in the best interest of the thousands of baseball athletes in our country to postpone our return to the field due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic," said USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO Paul Seiler. "We share in the longing for baseball's return, but we believe it is prudent to continue assessing the situation and finalizing a course of action that prioritizes the overall health and safety of our participants and their families in light of the continued transmission of this disease.
"This schedule was structured in an effort to secure as many opportunities as possible for athletes who hope to one day play for Team USA. We will remain steadfast in our commitment to this charge; however, we will continue to evaluate the situation on a daily basis and monitor the guidelines set forth by the CDC and the USOPC in case additional modifications need to be made."
The following events have been tentatively rescheduled on the 2020 calendar:
• 17U National Team Championships North Carolina (July 27-30)
• 14U and 15U National Team Championships Arizona (July 27-30)
• 16U and 17U National Team Championships Arizona (July 31-August 3)
• 15U National Team Championships North Carolina (August 4-9)
• 10U Futures Invitational (August 6-9)
• 16U National Team Championships North Carolina (August 11-16)
• 11U, 12U, 13U and 14U NTIS Champions Cup (August 19-23)
• 15U and 16U NTIS Champions Cup (August 26-30)
The following events and national team programming have been cancelled:
• 11U Futures Invitational
• 13U/14U Athlete Development Program (ADP)
• 16U/17U National Team Development Program (NTDP)
• National Team Championships Florida
The 14U Cup (July 24-26) and 11U/13U Futures Series Irvine (August 28-30) are set to take place as originally scheduled.
Additionally, USA Baseball continues to work closely with the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) with respect to the international baseball calendar. To date, the WBSC has postponed the Americas Baseball Olympic Qualifier, U-15 Baseball World Cup and the Women's Baseball World Cup until further notice. The U-12 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier has also been postponed but will not take place this year.
"USA Baseball fully supports the WBSC and its decision to indefinitely postpone the events on the baseball calendar in an effort to protect our national team athletes at this time," continued Seiler. "When the time comes for Team USA to return to the field, we will be ready to continue our longstanding tradition of excellence on the international stage."
Corresponding to the status of the international baseball calendar, USA Baseball has cancelled all 12U National Team programming events for 2020, meanwhile any future events planned for the 15U National Team, 18U National Team, Collegiate National Team and Women's National Team this year will be announced as necessary.
The Medical/Safety Advisory Committee has published a free Athlete Preparation Plan that provides a series of at-home exercises aimed to prepare young athletes for their return to the diamond following a prolonged disruption from on-field activity. To access this plan and to read its recommendations for baseball players during the COVID-19 pandemic, click here.
Further information on USA Baseball updates relating to COVID-19 can be found here. For up-to-the-minute updates on the organization and its events, follow @USABaseball on social media.
USA Baseball caught up with the four-time alum on Instagram Live to talk about how he got started in baseball, his new hobbies and more.
May 5, 2020
Pete Crow-Armstrong is a four-time USA Baseball alum and one of a select few athletes who have participated on all of the organization's youth national teams, including 2018 18U National Team teammate Anthony Volpe and Chicago Cubs outfielder Albert Almora.
Crow-Armstrong has won two gold medals with Team USA as a member of the 2017 15U National Team that won gold at the COPABE "AA" Pan American Championships and the 2018 18U National Team that claimed the title at the COPABE "AAA" Pan American Championships. As a member of the 2019 18U National Team, he was named the All-World Center Fielder at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup, where the U.S. earned a silver medal. He has a .365 lifetime batting average with Team USA.
Additionally, he participated in the 2019 USA Baseball National High School Invitational with Harvard-Westlake, which advanced to the championship game for the third time in the school's history.
USA Baseball (USAB): What got you into baseball? Pete Crow-Armstrong (PCA): It was just running around the backyard, probably playing every sport I possibly could and then years after that, I just happened to stick with baseball. We had a good-sized backyard that I was lucky enough to get to tear up and just a bunch of wiffle ball with my buddies and my dad and playing until we couldn't see the ball anymore. So, I think that that probably kind of sparked my love for the game and ultimately when I was probably we, I just stuck with baseball.
USAB: What do you love most about the game of baseball? PCA: [I love that] it doesn't matter how old you are, what level you play, you can kind of just run around and be free. I play the outfield so I love being able to roam that area of the field and control that and be myself. It's another place I can be a little different than who I am off the field and it's a really great outlet. It's a great escape sometimes and I think it's this really strategic game, but it's competitive and crazy at moments too. So, I think there's a ton to just absolutely love about the sport.
USAB: You mentioned starting out playing baseball at a very young age but at what age do you think you started to come around confidence-wise and figured out, not only do I love this game, but I might be pretty good at it? PCA: I would say probably 11 or 12 [years old]. I play Little League all my life, I never really played much club ball or anything like that, so hearing about all these club teams was kind of crazy at that age and [hearing about] all these really good players at that age. But once I hit 11 or 12, I started playing with guys a little bit older than me - some of whom are my best friends now - and then I was lucky enough to make the 12U National Team. I think that was probably the moment where I was like, 'okay, I can hang with the rest of the people in the country.'
USAB: You are one of a very small number of athletes to play on all of the USA Baseball youth national teams - along with players like Albert Almora and Anthony Volpe. What has USA Baseball meant to you throughout your playing career so far? PCA: I think I can speak on behalf of pretty much everybody that's played for a program like this: you get to experience things that you probably never imagine that you'd be able to experience at 12, 15, 18 [years old] and even some in college. I think that being introduced to new ways of life in different countries and new styles of play and a bunch of new guys from around the country that - like I said earlier, some of whom are my best friends now - I think that there's a lot to be thankful for. Just being able to play with them a handful of times, I've met so many great players, so many great people, and I've gotten to experience so many crazy things that I never imagined I would when I was younger just only being a high schooler.
And obviously, being able to say that I played for each level and being able to say that Albert Almora and [Anthony Volpe] did it too is an honor. Those are two great players. I was lucky enough to play with Anthony a couple summers ago and he's one of the best people to be around; he's a great guy. So yeah, USA Baseball means a lot and, heck, if I get to find myself playing with them again someday, that's be the best.
USAB: If I asked you to pick a favorite memory from each Team USA experience, do you think you could do that? You were on the 12U National Team in 2014, the 15U National Team in 2017 and the 18U National Team each of the past two years. Do you have a favorite memory from each? PCA: I think 12U would probably have to be trials; it was a whole new kind of format, and I'd never experienced anything like that before. I ended up rooming with Carson Tucker, who's one of my best friends now, so I think actually 12U as a whole, I'd say. Just the people I met, I still keep in touch with probably more than half that team and that was six years ago at this point, so I'd say the whole thing and meeting new people [was my favorite part] from 12U.
From 15U, I think it was honestly the gold medal game. We didn't come out on top necessarily - we got named co-champions - and that was humbling because you kind of go in there expecting to win every time. You're surrounded by absolutely amazing baseball players on your team and you kind of expect to go in there and kick butt so I think that was humbling. That was good for me to experience something like that - it wasn't defeat because we still played our tails off but it wasn't success either.
Then 18U, [in 2018] we won gold in Panama so that's my favorite experience of them all. That was a great team and I was super lucky to play with guys older than me and I got to learn from them. And then, similar to 15U, I think that this past year's 18U team we battled from the start, before we even got to playing, flying in Rawley Hector and Drew Bowser a little late. Those guys came and they brought it and we couldn't have asked for better teammates and performances from them too. But I think the adversity that we faced this past fall - again, similar to 15U - it was humbling and it really kind of makes you well-versed in how to handle obstacles like that. So I would say that as a whole too.
USAB: With Team USA, having gone through it so many times, you've gotten to do a lot of traveling - there was Panama, Taiwan, Korea, Colombia. What have those different experiences been like for you? PCA: Country to country, each one was different. I went to each place not really knowing what to expect. One thing you kind of know is that you have to be prepared to have everybody rooting against you. So, there's going to be that and there are going to be different obstacles you have to jump over, whether that's different kind of weather than you're used to, different playing conditions, whatever it may be, so you have to go in there prepared that you're not going to be really rooted for. But each place that I went to was beautiful. We have some downtime so we get to see different parts of the country and Colombia was especially cool. We got to go see some old towns they had there that were kind of transformed into touristy attractions. In Korea, again it was beautiful, the backdrops behind the fields were great and I think the fans were especially cool to play in front of there and also in Panama. Being able to play against the host country, everybody comes out and it's a crazy atmosphere. So, I think that each country I went to was different but a lot of the challenges you face and the things you experience are kind of the same from place to place.
USAB: Was there one place that stood out as far as just a travel destination? Baseball aside, can you pick a favorite? PCA: If we're talking travel destination, I would say Korea or Colombia. In Korea, there's a lot I'd love to explore there if I wasn't going for a baseball trip and Colombia, we only got to see a little glimpse of what else the country was about besides baseball. So, I'd like to go deeper there and explore the country there too. Either of those, I'd be perfectly happy traveling to.
USAB: What are you doing right now to stay sharp and stay in shape as best you can while we're all holed in right now? PCA: My routine hasn't really changed, I think I just have a little more time on my hands. I'm working out every day, hitting every day; I'm lucky enough to be able to go to a family friend's backyard and sneak in there and use their cage, they've been nice enough to let [me and my dad] do that. It's nice because I haven't done anything baseball-related with [my dad] since I was probably nine or ten so it's cool to get that little chance. And then, I have Zoom classes for school, we're kind of winding down and we've got finals coming up, but yeah, I think the only difference is I just have a little more time on my hands when school gets out and when I finish working out and doing my baseball stuff.
USAB: So, nothing new to the regimen that's been added because of the circumstances that you like and might keep doing going forward? PCA: No, I think right now it just kind of prepares you for a time when, years down the road, if you're in the big leagues where you may have a ton of downtime before a game. It's cool to see how you can kind of conserve energy and be prepared for the nine innings that night or that afternoon or whatever. Also, this is a good time for everybody to pick up a new hobby or something that they can take with them, so I started trying to play the guitar. I read a lot, so I've been reading a little more than usual and then [watching] a bunch of movies. But I just think as tough as it is right now, it could come out as a blessing in disguise for a lot of us.
USAB: How is learning the guitar going? PCA: It's good, I'm starting to get some calluses on these parts of my fingers. There are still a couple of chords I can't get down but if you kind of have the C, B, G chords, you can kind of just fiddle around.
USAB: Who are your top five favorite baseball players of all time? PCA: So, when I looked at this question, I had a hard time trying to rank them, but my number one if kind of a runaway. Griffey is my number one. The fun that he had on the field and just the sheer athleticism that he played with when was in his prime and even younger is special and once in a lifetime - so him for sure. I'm also a huge Javy Baez fan. We're a Cubs household so when he got brought up I thought he was awesome. He just plays with so much energy, so that's one thing that I really liked about him. I like a lot of young guys right now but I was always a Ricky Henderson fan, the way he ran and also, just absolutely powerful. I like Juan Soto a lot right now - a new face for MLB who can bring that flare that we see a lot of young guys having right now. And then, he's probably going to make fun of me but Cole Tucker and Jack Flaherty. I think there are just a lot of young guys who are going to make this game even better than it already is and [Tucker and Flaherty] are just great people on and off the field and I look up to them a lot. So, I'd say those are my top five right now. It changes a lot with new guys coming around or I learn about an older player that I like but I think for me it's a more than just baseball, so those five right now would be guys I like to talk about.
USAB: I get the younger guys, the current players, but how did you learn about guys like Ken Griffey Jr. and Ricky Henderson? What first exposed you to those guys? PCA: My dad and then YouTube and me just liking baseball and wanting to dive deeper when I was younger and coming up. I mean, I don't think you have to be a baseball player to know who Griffey is, he's kind of the iconic swing man, or whatever you want to call him. So, I immediately gravitated towards his aura and how he played. I think it's pretty infectious and I think I try to take some stuff from his game for sure. But Ricky Henderson, I think just watching TV, being on YouTube, you kind of stumble upon these people and I've liked those two for a while now.
USAB: How much are you looking forward to the MLB draft in June? What would it mean to you to hear your named called relatively early on in that? PCA: It would be great. It would definitely be a dream come true but I think once anybody gets drafted, it's kind of just a checkpoint. So, I'm really looking forward to that if the opportunity presents itself and I'm taking it day by day. I also am committed to Vanderbilt, so I have a great home in them. Coach Corbin, Coach Baxter, Coach Brown and Coach Macias, they're all absolutely amazing people and great families and I love Vanderbilt for more than just baseball. So, I'm super fortunate to be in the position I am and I think that there is really no stream going into this, it's just a 'whatever happens, happens' mentality for me and I'm going to be happy either way.
USA Baseball Announces 2020 15U National Team Coaching Staff
Former national team assistant coach Jared Halpert named 2020 15U National Team Manager
February 25, 2020
DURHAM, N.C. -- USA Baseball announced on Tuesday the coaching staff for the 15U National Team that will compete in the 2020 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-15 Baseball World Cup in Mexico. Jared Halpert will take the reins as manager in 2020 with Steve Butler, Adam Moseley and Jeff Sherman joining him on the staff as assistant coaches.
Halpert will serve as a national team manager for the first time in 2020 after making his national team debut as an assistant coach with the 2019 15U National Team that won gold at the WBSC U-15 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier. Formerly a coach at the 2018 15U National Team Trials and 14U National Team Development Program (NTDP), he also served on the USA Baseball task force at the National Team Championships and the National Team Identification Series (NTIS).
He is currently in his fifth season at the helm of the Harvard-Westlake School (Studio City, Calif.) baseball program, where, in 2019, he led the Wolverines to the finals of both the California Interscholastic Federation California Southern Section Championship and the USA Baseball National High School Invitational. Halpert will once again lead his Harvard-Westlake squad for a chance at a national championship as a participant in the 2020 NHSI. Prior to his time at as the head coach at Harvard-Westlake, he served four years as an assistant coach for the Wolverines after working as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, Fresno State.
"We are excited to have Jared Halpert take over as manager of our 15U National Team while the team prepares to head to Mexico for the world championships," said Ashley Bratcher, USA Baseball's Senior Director of Baseball Operations. "Jared and this collection of experienced coaches have long contributed to our national team programs and now we are excited to see what they can accomplish with this team. After winning our first-ever U-15 Baseball World Cup in 2018, we are confident that Jared and his incredible staff will be eager and able to defend that title."
Butler will join Halpert's staff as an assistant coach this summer. This marks Butler's first national team assignment, but he is a veteran of USA Baseball since 2015, coaching at the 14U NTDP and 15U Trials, in addition to multiple events including the National Team Championships and the NTIS. He currently resides in Eagan, Minnesota, where he has been the head coach of the Eagan High School Wildcats since 2018.
Moseley, the pitching coach for the 2018 World Cup-champion team, will return in the same position for the 2020 squad. The Alabama native's USA Baseball coaching experience also includes stints at the 2017 14U NTDP and 15U Trials. Moseley is currently the head coach at Hoover High School (Hoover, Ala.), where he led the Buccaneers to an Alabama State Baseball Championship in 2017. Before taking the head coaching position at Hoover following the 2014 season, Moseley led his former high school, Grissom High School (Huntsville, Ala.), to the state quarterfinals in four of his final five seasons. Moseley has coached high school baseball for 13 seasons and has compiled an overall record of 390-218.
Sherman also earns his first national team coaching assignment as an assistant coach under Halpert. The Texas native is the current head coach of Marcus High School in his hometown of Flower Mound, Texas. Sherman has also coached at multiple USA Baseball events, including the National Team Championships and NTIS. In his playing days, Sherman was a two-time NAIA All-American at Missouri Baptist University.
The 15U National Team will be selected through a two-phase trial that will begin in August in Southern California. Phase 1 will feature 80 players identified from the 2019 13U Athlete Development Program (ADP), 2019 14U NTDP, 2019 13U and 14U NTIS, the 2020 National Team Championships and the 2020 13U/14U ADP. Thirty-four of those athletes will then be invited to Phase 2 before 20 players will be named to the final roster on August 7. The 2020 15U National Team will then train in Southern California from August 8-11 before competing in the 2020 WBSC U-15 Baseball World Cup from August 14-23 in Mexico.
Team USA will return to the WBSC U-15 Baseball World Cup as defending champions after winning the country's first-ever U-15 Baseball World Cup title in 2018.
18U National Team member Robert Hassell named Richard W. "Dick" Case Award winner
December 17, 2019
DURHAM, N.C. - USA Baseball announced the recipients of its annual organizational awards on Tuesday, recognizing the top athletes, coaches and performances from its 2019 USA Baseball national teams. 18U National Team member Robert Hassell was named the Richard W. "Dick" Case Award winner, becoming the fourth 18U team alumnus 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.
Women's National Team Manager Veronica Alvarez was named the Rod Dedeaux Coach of the Year, becoming the first woman to earn the award in USA Baseball's history. The organization also recognized the Women's National Team as its Team of the Year and infielder Alex Hugo was named the Sportswoman of the Year after she earned MVP honors at the COPABE Women's Pan-American Championships.
Alec Burleson's late-game heroics against Japan in Game 2 of the 43rd USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Series garnered the International Performance of the Year honors, meanwhile Collegiate National Team Bullpen Coach Xan Barksdale was named the organization's first-ever Service Provider of the Year.
Rounding out the USA Baseball 2019 award winners is 15U National Team Manager Troy Cameron, who was named the Developmental Coach of the Year, as well as Volunteer Coach of the Year Andy Pettitte and the inaugural Coach Educator of the Year Darren Fenster.
"USA Baseball is pleased to recognize these outstanding individuals and their successes from our 2019 national teams," said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball's Executive Director/CEO. "Not only did each and every award winner excel in the field of play or as a coach, they all served as outstanding ambassadors on behalf of the United States. It was an honor to have them represent our organization and the game of baseball with class on the international stage."
USA Baseball finished the year winning gold medals at the COPABE Women's Pan-American Championships and the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-15 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier. The Collegiate National Team also won two of its three international friendship series against Chinese Taipei, Cuba and Japan in 2019.
The complete list of the 2019 USA Baseball organizational award winners is as follows:
Richard W. "Dick" Case Award: Robert Hassell, 18U National Team Rod Dedeaux Coach of the Year: Veronica Alvarez, Women's National Team Team of the Year: Women's National Team Sportswoman of the Year: Alex Hugo, Women's National Team International Performance of the Year: Alec Burleson, Collegiate National Team Service Provider of the Year: Xan Barksdale, Collegiate National Team Developmental Coach of the Year: Troy Cameron, 15U National Team Volunteer Coach of the Year: Andy Pettitte, Prospect Development Pipeline League Coach Educator of the Year: Darren Fenster, Sport Development Blog
Hassell was awarded the Richard W. "Dick" Case Award following a summer where he was named to the All-World Team at the 2019 WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in South Korea. He led the 18U National Team in 10 offensive categories in 2019, including batting average (.514), hits (18), doubles (5), home runs (2), RBIs (14), total bases (31), slugging percentage (.886) and on-base percentage (.548), among others. Hassell was a mainstay in the U.S. lineup, starting all nine games of the World Cup in the outfield, and helped lead the red, white and blue to a silver medal. He was also recognized by the WBSC as its International Baseball Player of the Year.
Just the second female manager in USA Baseball history, Alvarez became the first woman to be named the Rod Dedeaux Coach of the Year. Under her leadership, the Women's National Team finished the COPABE Women's Pan-American Championships with a perfect 7-0 record and a gold medal. The U.S. outscored its opponents 124-20 in the tournament, held a cumulative .500 batting average and hit a record 11 home runs. Their dominating performance also earned the Women's National Team the USA Baseball Team of the Year award.
Two-time Women's National Team alum Hugo was named the 2019 Sportswoman of the Year. She earned tournament MVP honors at the COPABE Women's Pan-American Championships after leading Team USA in six offensive categories en route to a gold medal. In the tournament, she hit .652 (15-for-23) with five doubles and four home runs, tallied 18 RBIs, scored 20 runs, stole six bases, and amassed an astounding 1.391 slugging percentage in seven games.
ECU's Burleson earned the 2019 International Performance of the Year award after hitting his first-career walk-off home run in the 43rd USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Series. With the score tied at 2-2 in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 2 in Imabari City, Japan, Burleson lifted a 2-0 fastball over the right field fence to give the visiting U.S. a 3-2 walk-off win. His home run was the first one hit of the series and the victory tied the best-of-five-game series at one apiece for the red, white and blue.
The Collegiate National Team's Barksdale was a vital part of the team in 2019 after serving as a bullpen catcher and coach for the national team, and his efforts were rewarded with the first-ever USA Baseball Service Provider of the Year award. Barksdale provided unparalleled service to the athletes by offering creative and engaging training, bullpen and catching sessions that not only allowed the national team to prepare and excel on the field, but also promoted and protected their overall long-term athletic development.
Cameron earned the Developmental Coach of the Year award in 2019 after he led Team USA to its fourth consecutive U-15 Baseball World Cup Qualifier gold medal for the red, white and blue (2013, 2015, 2017, 2019), and the third straight international title for the 15U National Team. The U.S. finished the tournament with an 8-1 record and outscored its opponents 66-33 under his leadership.
Five-time World Series champion and three-time MLB All-Star Pettitte was named the 2019 Volunteer Coach of the Year by USA Baseball after working on the coaching staff for the inaugural joint MLB and USA Baseball Prospect Development Pipeline League. Every day, he used his experience to help players create comprehensive processes for their pitching routines and schedules, and assisted in developing pitch philosophies while fine-tuning pitcher deliveries and mechanics. Pettitte also incorporated advanced, progressive methods to the participants that resulted in significant developmental growth in an abbreviated timeframe.
Lastly, Fenster was named the first Coach Educator of the Year in USA Baseball history due to his continued contribution to the USA Baseball Sport Development department. While simultaneously serving as the Minor League Outfield and Baserunning Coordinator for the Boston Red Sox, Fenster draws upon his professional baseball career as a player and coach to provide unique and insightful educational content for the for the Sport Development Blog. Titled FUNdamental Skills Friday, his contributions assist coaches, parents and leagues in developing young players and improving their experience within the game of baseball.
The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) annually honors one Sportsman, Sportswoman and Team of the Year based on nominations from its national governing bodies, as well as Olympic, 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.
WBSC Names Hassell and Schrier International Players of the Year
The awards were announced at the III World Baseball Softball Confederation Congress
December 3, 2019
SAKAI CITY, Japan - USA Baseball alumni Robert Hassell (2019) and Cody Schrier (2018) were named the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) International Baseball Players of the Year at the III WBSC Congress on November 22 in Sakai City, Japan.
The award recognizes the top baseball performer from all WBSC-sanctioned events in a given calendar year. The WBSC presents its individual awards every two years at its biennial Congress.
"It is a tremendous honor to have two of our national team athletes recognized by the World Baseball Softball Confederation for their individual performances while with USA Baseball," said USA Baseball Executive Director and CEO Paul Seiler. "To earn the title of international baseball player of the year is a once-in-a-lifetime achievement and it speaks volumes to the hard work and dedication they have committed to the game of baseball in their young careers. We congratulate them on this extraordinary accomplishment and are proud to call them alumni of our organization."
Hassell was named to the All-World Team following the 2019 WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in South Korea and earned the award for most RBIs during the event. He led the 18U National Team in 10 offensive categories in 2019, including batting average (.514), hits (18), doubles (5), home runs (2), RBIs (14), total bases (31), slugging percentage (.886) and on-base percentage (.548), among others. Hassell was a mainstay in the U.S. lineup, starting all nine games of the World Cup in the outfield, and helped lead the red, white and blue to a silver medal.
Schrier was named the MVP of the WBSC U-15 Baseball World Cup in 2018 after leading Team USA to its first U-15 baseball world championship in program history. He finished the tournament earning two additional individual awards on top of his MVP honors, including the batting title and the award for most runs scored in the tournament. Schrier started all nine games at shortstop for the stars and stripes and finished with a .476 batting average and 17 runs scored. He also led the team with two home runs and four stolen bases.
Members of Team USA have now been awarded the last three International Baseball Player of the Year awards with Triston Casas (2017), Schrier and Hassell.
For more information on USA Baseball and its national team programs, visit USABaseball.com or follow @USABaseball on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico - The USA Baseball 15U National Team scored two runs in the third inning and picked up a key insurance run in the seventh to win gold at the 2019 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-15 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier with a 3-1 victory over Panama at Unidad Deportivo Riviera Maya in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Louis Rodriguez (Long Beach, Calif.) was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player.
The U.S. finished the tournament with an 8-1 record and outscored its opponents 66-33. The win marks the fourth consecutive U-15 Baseball World Cup Qualifier gold medal for the red, white and blue (2013, 2015, 2017, 2019), and the third straight international title after the 15U National Team won its first-ever world championship at the 2018 WBSC U-15 Baseball World Cup.
Termarr Johnson (Atlanta, Ga.) led the team at the plate, going 2-for-4 and playing a role in all three U.S. runs, crossing the plate once and tallying two RBIs. He was joined by Joe Brown (Petaluma, Calif.), Karson Bowen (Anaheim Hills, Calif.), and Ben Reiland (Irvine, Calif.), who all collected hits in the game.
Rodriguez started on the bump for the red, white and blue and put together four scoreless frames in his five innings of work, allowing just one run and tossing four strikeouts to earn the win and tournament MVP honors. Ethan McElvain (Thompson's Station, Tenn.) and Duke Ekstrom (San Diego, Calif.) both came on in relief and combined for four strikeouts with Ekstrom recording the save after tossing a perfect seventh inning.
Johnson, Bowen, Steven Milam (Las Cruces, N.M.) and Kai Caranto (Santa Clarita, Calif.) were also named to the all-tournament team at outfield, catcher, second base and outfield, respectively.
• Johnson put the U.S. on the board with an RBI-double to left that scored Milam and followed by stealing home to put the U.S. up 2-0 in the top of the third inning.
• A Panama RBI-single in the bottom of the fifth inning cut Team USA's lead in half, 2-1.
• Reiland hit a lead-off triple in the top of the seventh inning and scored on a Johnson RBI-single to extend the lead 3-1 for the stars and stripes.
• Ekstrom tossed two strikeouts and Milam completed a 4-3 putout in the bottom of the seventh to solidify the 3-1, gold medal victory for Team USA.
• Termarr Johnson led the team at the plate, going 2-for-4 with one run scored and two RBIs.
• Louis Rodriguez picked up with win, striking out four in five scoreless innings. Duke Ekstrom was credited with the save.
• The U.S. has qualified for the 2020 WBSC U-15 Baseball World Cup and will be joined by Panama, Dominican Republic, Cuba and Venezuela representing the Americas region.
• Louis Rodriguez was named tournament MVP, after throwing 10 strikeouts across 10.2 innings pitched in tournament action and earning the gold medal win.
• Termarr Johnson, Karson Bowen, Steven Milam and Kai Caranto were all named to the all-tournament team at outfield, catcher, second base and outfield, respectively.
• This marked the fourth consecutive gold medal at the WBSC U-15 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier after winning the tournament in 2013, 2015 and 2017.
• The USA Baseball 15U National Team has won three straight international tournaments, including its first world championship in 2018 at the WBSC U-15 Baseball World Cup.
Stay tuned to @USABaseball15U on Twitter, @usabaseball on Instagram and visit USABaseball.com for the most up-to-date news about the 15U National Team.
PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico - The 15U National Team secured its spot in the 2019 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-15 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier gold medal game with a 6-5 comeback victory over Cuba on Saturday at Unidad Deportivo Riviera Maya in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Team USA will play Panama for the gold medal on Sunday, September 22 at approximately 11 a.m. CT.
Aidan Miller (Trinity, Fla.) finished 2-for-2 on the day, hitting the game-winning RBI-single in the sixth inning to lead Team USA's offense in its win over Cuba. Karson Bowen (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) finished the day going 1-for-2 with three RBIs after he kickstarted the U.S. rally with a bases clearing triple in the fifth inning. Termarr Johnson (Atlanta, Ga.) later picked up his lone RBI on the day with a single to score the tying run. Joe Brown (Petaluma, Calif.), Mikey Romero (Menifee, Calif.), Dylan Lina (Carson, Calif.), Nolan Schubart (Durand, Mich.) and Steven Milam (Las Cruces, N.M.) also collected hits on the day.
Logan Saloman (Chandler, Ariz.) got the start for Team USA on the mound and allowed five runs (four earned) on eight hits through 4.1 innings in a no decision. Brandon Olivera (Hialeah, Fla.) came on in relief and earned the win, pitching 1.2 strong innings of hitless baseball, striking out two. The loss was tagged to Cuba's Danell Molina.
• Cuba jumped out to an early lead in the contest after three singles made it 2-0 in the top of the first.
• he Cubans added to their lead when they scored three runs on three hits and an error in the top of the second to make it a 5-0 ballgame.
• After four scoreless innings, the bats got going for Team USA as a walk, a fielder's choice and two singles loaded the bases for Bowen, who then sent a three-RBI triple to centerfield to bring the score to 5-3.
• A Milam RBI-double pulled the U.S within one and Johnson's RBI-single tied the game at 5-5 the bottom of the fifth inning.
• Miller stepped to the plate in the bottom of the sixth with runners in scoring position and knocked an RBI-single into right field to score the game-winning run for the score of 6-5.
• The game was called after the sixth inning due to darkness.
• Team USA improved to 7-1 in the WBSC U-15 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier and finished Super Round play with a 4-1 record, earning a spot in the gold medal game on Sunday.
• The win clinched Team USA's berth to the 2020 WBSC U-15 Baseball World Cup.
• Karson Bowen led the stars and stripes offensively during Super Round action, batting .429 (6-for-14) with one double, one triple, one home run and eight RBIs.
• Brandon Olivera collected the win over Cuba after pitching 1.2 innings of hitless baseball and striking out two batters.
The 15U National Team will face Panama in the gold medal game of the 2019 WBSC U-15 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier on Sunday, September 22 at approximately 11 a.m. CT on Field One at Unidad Deportivo Riviera Maya in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
Stay tuned to @USABaseball15U on Twitter, @usabaseball on Instagram and visit USABaseball.com for the most up-to-date news about the 15U National Team.
PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico - Despite tallying seven runs, the 2019 15U National Team suffered its first loss of the 2019 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-15 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier to Panama, 9-7, in game two of Super Round action on Friday at Unidad Deportivo Riviera Maya in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
Karson Bowen (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) led Team USA with two hits while hitting his first home run of the tournament in the second inning and collecting two RBIs. Also, four addition members of the stars and stripes collected hits in the contest. Panama's offense recorded 10 hits and three walks to claim the victory.
Brandon Barriera (Coconut Creek, Fla.) got the start for the U.S. and suffered the loss after giving up nine runs (six earned) on 10 hits with four punchouts in 4.1 innings of work. Panama's Pedro Munoz, who allowed one run on four hits and struck out two, was awarded the win.
• Mikey Romero (Menifee, Calif.) doubled down the left field line and Joe Brown brought him home with an RBI-single to give the U.S. an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning.
• Panama took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first with an RBI-triple and a passed ball.
• Bowen hit his first home run of the tournament in the top of the second to tie the game at 2-2.
• Panama responded in the bottom frame and retook the lead, 3-2, on a Team USA error.
• The U.S. tied the game at three in the third thanks to a bases loaded walk by Kai Caranto (Santa Clarita, Calif.).
• With the bases loaded, Schubart laced a bases-clearing double to right field to give the U.S. a 6-3 lead in the top of the third inning.
• Bowen's RBI-single extended the U.S. lead to four as Team USA led 7-3 after the top half of the third inning.
• Panama scored one run in the bottom of the third and fourth innings, took the lead with an RBI-single and triple in the bottom of the fifth and sealed the 9-7 victory in the same inning with a sac-bunt.
• The U.S. moves to 3-1 in the Super Round and 6-1 overall at the 2019 WBSC U-15 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier.
• The loss snapped the 15U National Team's six-game win streak in tournament action.
• Joe Brown (2-for-4, RBI), Nolan Schubart (2-for-4, 3 RBIs) and Karson Bowen (2-for-3, HR, 2 RBIs) accounted for six of Team USA's eight hits on the day.
• Brandon Barriera (1-1) was tagged with the loss when he surrendered nine runs (six earned) on 10 hits while striking out four batters in 4.1 innings of work.
The 15U National Team completes Super Round action at the WBSC U-15 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier against Cuba on Saturday at 2 p.m. CT on Field One at Unidad Deportivo Riviera Maya in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. If Team USA wins on Saturday, it will earn a spot in the gold medal game on Sunday.
Stay tuned to @USABaseball15U on Twitter, @usabaseball on Instagram and visit USABaseball.com for the most up-to-date news about the 15U National Team.
PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico - The 15U National Team earned its first super round win at the 2019 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-15 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier in walk-off fashion with a 7-6, seventh inning comeback victory over Venezuela on Thursday at Unidad Deportivo Riviera Maya in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
Trailing 4-6 heading into the final frame, Team USA remained discipline at the plate and used a hit by pitch, a single, and a trio of walks to achieve the comeback. A bases-loaded walk to Bowen scored the winning run for the stars and stripes.
Joe Brown (Petaluma, Calif.) finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored to lead Team USA's offense in its win over Venezuela. Dylan Lina (Carson, Calif.), Aidan Miller (Trinity, Fla.), Karson Bowen (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) and Steven Milam (Las Cruces, N.M.) also collected hits in the game.
Duke Ekstrom (San Diego, Calif.) got the start for Team USA on the mound and allowed three runs (two earned) on three hits while tossing three strikeouts in three innings of work. Spencer Butt (Davie, Fla.) came on in relief in the fourth inning and gave up three runs (one earned) on four hits before Ethan McElvain (Thompson's Station, Tenn.) took over in the seventh inning to toss one punchout and earn the win. The loss was attributed to Daniel Gold after he allowed the winning run to score on a walk.
• Venezuela jumped out to an early lead in the contest after a two-out RBI-double made it 1-0 in the top of the first inning.
• Team USA scored three runs in the bottom frame courtesy of a Venezuela error, a Lina RBI-single and a passed ball, giving the U.S. a 3-1 advantage.
• An RBI-double and single in the second and third innings, respectively, tied the game at 3-3 for Venezuela.
• In the bottom of the third, Miller sent an RBI-double to left that score Brown and the U.S. retook the lead, 4-3.
• Venezuela earned its first lead of the game in the fourth inning with a pair of fielder's choices and an RBI-ground out to put the team up 6-4.
• Trailing by two runs, the U.S. loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh and mounted a comeback as three bases-loaded walks allowed the red, white and blue to walk-off the game with a 7-6 victory.
• Team USA improved to 6-0 overall in the tournament and currently holds a 3-0 record in super round action.
• McElvain (1-0) earned the win in his second appearance at the WBSC U-15 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier, striking out one in his lone inning of work.
The USA Baseball 15U National Team will continue super round action as the No. 1 seed out of Group A at the 2019 COPABE U-15 Pan-American Championships on Friday, September 20 against Group B No. 1-seed Panama at 2 p.m. CT on Field One at Unidad Deportivo Riviera Maya in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
Stay tuned to @USABaseball15U on Twitter, @usabaseball on Instagram and visit USABaseball.com for the most up-to-date news about the 15U National Team.