DURHAM, N.C. - USA Baseball 18U National Team member Triston Casas and manager Andy Stankiewicz were honored by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) at its annual Congress on Sunday when they were named Player of the Year (Baseball) and National Team Coach of the Year (Baseball), respectively. Casas is the first Team USA athlete to win the international Player of the Year award since the then-International Baseball Federation named Zach Collins the Junior Athlete of the Year in 2011.
In addition to the two awards, USA Baseball Executive Director and CEO, Paul Seiler, was elected the 2nd Vice Chairman for the baseball division of the WBSC during its election on Friday.
"We are very pleased that our international partners recognize the achievements of USA Baseball in 2017 with the naming of Triston Casas as their Player of the Year and Andy Stankiewicz as the Manager of the Year," said Mike Gaski, USA Baseball President. "We are also delighted that the WBSC appreciates the importance of having the USA, and in particular Paul Seiler, as a member of the leadership team. Paul's experience and expertise will help the WBSC prepare for baseball's return to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and navigate the difficult qualifying process."
These honors came after USA Baseball had its most successful year in international baseball history after sweeping through its international competition with gold medals at the World Baseball Classic, WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup, COPABE Pan Am "AA" Championships and the WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup; in addition to the Collegiate National Team winning all three of its international friendship series against Chinese Taipei, Cuba and Japan.
Triston Casas was named the MVP of the 2017 WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in Thunder Bay, Canada, after leading Team USA to its fourth consecutive world championship title. A stalwart at first base, his bat did the most damage, collecting tournament-highs with 13 RBIs and three home runs, including a two-run shot in the gold medal game.
Under the guidance of manager Andy Stankiewicz, Team USA finished the competition with an undefeated record (9-0) for the first time since 1989. The U.S. outscored its opponents 61-5 and held a miniscule cumulative team ERA of 0.47 in 77 innings pitched.
"We are honored and excited that both Andy and Triston were recognized for their success this year at the 18U World Cup," said Matt Blood, Director of the 18U National Team. "Coach Stankiewicz has vast experience and knowledge of the game and manages with positive energy and a steady demeanor. He and his staff were able to bring this team together over a short period of time and prepare them for success while in Canada but also in their future careers.
"Triston has been a force in the middle of Team USA's lineup for the past three summers. He prides himself on being patient and consistent across all aspects of his game, which allows him to stay calm and produce in big moments. He was one of the leaders on this year's team and he did it by example both on and off the field."
Overall, Casas was the eighth USA Baseball player to earn international Player of the Year and Stankiewicz is just the fifth Team USA coach to be honored with Coach of the Year award.
USA Baseball International Players of the Year:
Triston Casas, 2017, Player of the Year (WBSC - Baseball)
Zach Collins, 2011, Junior Athlete of the Year (IBAF)
Justin Smoak, 2009 Senior Athlete of the Year (IBAF)
Laura Brenneman, 2004 Woman Player of the Year (IBAF)
Justin Bristow, 2003 Youth Player of the Year (IBAF)
Delmon Young, 2002, IBAF Youth Player of the Year
Jeff Flaig, 2001, Youth Player of the Year (IBAF)
Tony Richie, 1998, Youth Player of the Year (IBAF)
International National Team Coaches of the Year
Andy Stankiewicz, 2017, National Team Coach of the Year (WBSC - Baseball)
Scott Brosius, 2012, Coach of the Year (IBAF)
Frank Cruz, 2004, Coach of the Year (IBAF)
Steve Cohen, 1995, Coach of the Year (IBAF)
Mark Marquess, 1989, Coach of the Year (IBAF)
For more information on the World Baseball Softball Confederation Congress, please visit www.WBSC.org.