USA BASEBALL NEWS

Eighty-Five USA Baseball Alumni in 2017 MLB Postseason

October 3, 2017

DURHAM, N.C. - Eighty-five Team USA alumni have made the Major League Baseball Postseason with their respective clubs in 2017, USA Baseball announced on Tuesday.

All ten teams that have made the 2017 postseason have at least five alumni on their rosters; seven boast eight or more and four have at least 10 players that have represented the red, white and blue.

The Washington Nationals lead the way with 14 alumni, while the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros rosters all feature 10 alums. The Dodgers are close behind with nine and the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks both have eight.

Of the 85 alumni, 46 are gold medalists, 22 took home silver and eight secured bronze for the stars and stripes, including 12 that won gold at the 2017 World Baseball Classic (WBC) and three from the bronze medal-winning 2008 Olympic team.

In addition, 20 of the players have represented the U.S. on multiple teams with seven-time alum Albert Almora and five-time alum Alex Bregman having competed on the most USA Baseball squads.

The postseason starts Tuesday, October 3, with the American League Wild Card game between the Minnesota Twins and the New York Yankees at 8 p.m. ET.

The complete list of USA Baseball alumni, by Major League Club, who appear on 2017 MLB Postseason rosters is as follows:

Arizona Diamondbacks (8):
Jake Barrett - 2008 18U National Team, 2015 Professional National Team
Daniel Descalso - 2009 Professional National Team
Paul Goldschmidt - 2017 World Baseball Classic Team
David Hernandez - 2013 World Baseball Classic Team
Chris Iannetta - 2009 World Baseball Classic Team
Jeff Mathis - 2005 Professional National Team
A.J. Pollock - 2011 Professional National Team
Robbie Ray - 2009 18U National Team

Boston Red Sox (10):
Matt Barnes - 2010 Collegiate National Team
Jackie Bradley Jr. - 2010 Collegiate National Team
Joe Kelly - 2007 Collegiate National Team
Craig Kimbrel - 2013 World Baseball Classic Team
Deven Marrero - 2011 Collegiate National Team
Dustin Pedroia - 2002 & 2003 Collegiate National Teams, 2009 World Baseball Classic Team
Drew Pomeranz - 2009 Collegiate National Team
David Price - 2005 & 2006 Collegiate National Teams
Blake Swihart - 2010 18U National Team
Sam Travis - 2013 Collegiate National Team

Chicago Cubs (10):
Albert Almora - 2007 & 2008 14U National Teams, 2009 & 2010 16U National Teams, 2010 & 2011 18U National Teams, 2015 Professional National Team
Jake Arrieta - 2006 Collegiate National Team, 2008 Olympic Team
Kris Bryant - 2012 Collegiate National Team
Brian Duensing - 2007 Professional National Team, 2008 Olympic Team
Jon Jay - 2005 Collegiate National Team
Dillon Maples - 2010 18U National Team
Mike Montgomery - 2010 Professional National Team
Addison Russell - 2011 Collegiate National Team
Kyle Schwarber - 2013 Collegiate National Team
Ben Zobrist - 2005 Professional Team, 2013 World Baseball Classic Team

Cleveland Indians (6):
Trevor Bauer - 2009 Collegiate National Team
Francisco Lindor - 2009 16U National Team, 2010 18U National Team
Austin Jackson - 2002 16U National Team
Andrew Miller - 2017 World Baseball Classic Team
Tyler Naquin - 2011 Collegiate National Team
Bradley Zimmer - 2013 Collegiate National Team

Colorado Rockies (8):
Tyler Anderson - 2010 Collegiate National Team
Nolan Arenado - 2017 World Baseball Classic Team
Chad Bettis - 2009 Collegiate National Team
Jonathan Lucroy - 2013 & 2017 World Baseball Classic Teams
Jake McGee - 2017 World Baseball Classic Team
Pat Neshek - 2017 World Baseball Classic Team
Mark Reynolds - 2006 Professional National Team
Tony Wolters - 2008 16U National Team, 2009 & 2010 18U National Teams

Houston Astros (10):
Alex Bregman - 2010 16U National Team, 2011 18U National Team, 2013 & 2014 Collegiate National Teams, 2017 World Baseball Classic Team
Tyler Clippard - 2017 World Baseball Classic Team
Evan Gattis - 2002 16U National Team
Luke Gregerson - 2013 & 2017 World Baseball Classic Teams
Brian McCann - 2009 World Baseball Classic Team
Lance McCullers Jr. - 2010 18U National Team
George Springer - 2010 Collegiate National Team
Max Stassi - 2006 & 2007 16U National Teams, 2008 18U National Team
Justin Verlander - 2003 Collegiate National Team

Los Angeles Dodgers (9):
Walker Buehler - 2014 Collegiate National Team
Yasmani Grandal - 2009 Collegiate National Team
Curtis Granderson - 2009 World Baseball Classic Team
Kyle Farmer - 2012 Collegiate National Team
Logan Forsythe - 2007 Collegiate National Team
Clayton Kershaw - 2005 18U National Team
Corey Seager - 2010 16U National Team
Chase Utley - 2006 World Baseball Classic Team
Alex Verdugo - 2010 14U National Team

Minnesota Twins (5):
Jason Castro - 2009 Professional National Team
Kyle Gibson - 2008 Collegiate National Team
Robbie Grossman - 2007 18U National Team
Joe Mauer - 2000 18U National Team, 2003 Professional National Team, 2013 World Baseball Classic Team
Glen Perkins - 2013 World Baseball Classic Team

New York Yankees (6):
Dellin Betances - 2005 18U National Team
Todd Frazier - 2006 Collegiate National Team, 2010 Professional National Team
Sonny Gray - 2009 & 2010 Collegiate National Teams
Matt Holliday - 1997 18U National Team, 2003 & 2006 Professional National Teams
Erik Kratz - 2010 Professional National Team
David Robertson - 2017 World Baseball Classic Team

Washington Nationals (14):
A.J. Cole - 2007 16U National Team
Sean Doolittle - 2005 & 2006 Collegiate National Team
Gio Gonzalez - 2013 World Baseball Classic Team
Bryce Harper - 2008 16U National Team, 2009 18U National Team
Howie Kendrick - 2005 Professional National Team
Ryan Madson - 2003 Professional National Team
Daniel Murphy - 2017 World Baseball Classic Team
Anthony Rendon - 2010 Collegiate National Team
Tanner Roark - 2017 World Baseball Classic Team
Max Scherzer - 2005 Collegiate National Team
Stephen Strasburg - 2008 Collegiate National Team, 2008 Olympic Team
Trea Turner - 2012 & 2013 Collegiate National Team
Matt Wieters - 2005 Collegiate National Team
Ryan Zimmerman - 2004 Collegiate National Team

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USA Baseball Announces 2018 Tournament of Stars Staff

April 25, 2018

DURHAM, N.C. - USA Baseball announced the coaching staff and task force that will lead 80 of the nation's best 18-and-under players in the 2018 Tournament of Stars presented by Major League Baseball on Wednesday. The staff, which is made up of former professional players, respected collegiate and high school coaches, as well as Major League scouts, will guide and evaluate this year's athlete in the event at the USA Baseball National Training Complex June 18-23 in Cary, North Carolina.

The coaching staff and task force will assist the 18U National Team staff in identifying athletes to be invited to the USA Baseball 18U National Team Trials. The 2018 Trials will be held immediately following the Tournament of Stars June 25-28.

American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Hall of Famer and former Clemson head coach Jack Leggett has been tapped to lead the 2018 18U National Team as it looks for its fifth consecutive gold medal at the COPABE Pan American "AAA" Championships.

Joining Leggett on the 2018 staff will be Scott Bankhead (North Carolina Baseball Academy), Joe Almaraz (St. Louis Cardinals) and Gregg Ritchie (George Washington).

This year's Tournament of Stars participants will be divided into four teams of 20 players (Brave, Free, Pride, and United), and each team staff will be comprised of a manager, assistant coach and pitching coach.

Atlanta Braves' Special Assistant to Baseball Operations, and 19-year MLB veteran, Fred McGriff, will manage the Free team. Trip Couch will join McGriff as the team's assistant coach, while Robert Woodard will serve as pitching coach.

Royce Clayton, who played on the 18U National Team in 1987 and is currently the head coach at Oaks Christian School (Westlake, Calif.), will take the helm of the Pride team. Mark Ross and Steve Stone will join Clayton on staff.

Former East Carolina University head coach and current New York Yankees scout, Billy Godwin, has been named the manager of the Brave team. Eric DuBose and Chris Carter will serve on the Brave staff as the pitching and assistant coaches, respectively.

Finally, Marc Rardin, who is currently the head coach at Iowa Western Community College (Council Bluffs, Iowa), will guide the United team as the manager. He will be joined by Tyler Kincaid as the pitching coach and former MLB All-Star Tony Womack will round out the staff as the assistant coach.

A four-person task force and two rovers will also assist the national team and Tournament of Stars coaching staffs in overseeing the event. Detroit Tigers scout Taylor Black will lead the task force, with Travis Coleman, Ryan Goll and Matt Williams assisting him. John Hendricks will serve as the pitching rover for the event, while Jeff Kunkel will be the 2018 position rover, assisting the task force and staff with evaluating and identifying players for consideration.

The Tournament of Stars is made up of 80 of the best baseball players in the country that are international age-eligible (Born January 1, 2000 or 2001) for 18U National Team consideration. The event serves as the primary pool of talent from which USA Baseball will select its team to compete in the 2018 COPABE Pan American "AAA" Championships in Panama City, Panama, November 23-December 2. Team USA is the four-time defending champions in the event.

For the most up-to-date information on the 18U National Team, follow @USABaseball18U and @USABaseball on Twitter.

The complete list of Tournament of Stars staff and task force, as well as their bios, is as follows:

Name, Coaching Position:
Taylor Black, Task Force
Chris Carter, Brave Assistant Coach
Royce Clayton, Pride Manager
Travis Coleman, Task Force
Trip Couch, Free Assistant Coach
Eric DuBose, Brave Pitching Coach
Billy Godwin, Brave Manager
Ryan Goll, Task Force
John Hendricks, Pitching Rover
Tyler Kincaid, United Pitching Coach
Jeff Kunkel, Position Rover
Fred McGriff, Free Manager
Scott Meaney, Cross Checker
Marc Rardin, United Manager
Mark Ross, Pride Pitching Coach
Steve Stone, Pride Assistant Coach
Matt Williams, Task Force
Tony Womack, United Assistant Coach
Robert Woodard, Free Pitching Coach

Taylor Black is currently a scout for the Detroit Tigers. Prior to that role, he served as an assistant coach at North Carolina State University. He is returning to the Tournament of Stars task force in 2018 after serving in this role for the 2017 and 2016 tournaments. Before he started coaching, Black played collegiately at the University of Kentucky and professionally in the minor leagues until 2013.

This is Chris Carter's third year as a coach at the Tournament of Stars, as he served in the same role in both 2017 and 2016. He was also a member of the coaching staff for the 2017 18U National Team that won the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup gold medal. In addition, he was an assistant coach for the 17U National Team Development Program (NTDP) in 2016 and 2017. Carter is the athletic director at Woodmont High School in Piedmont, South Carolina, and held the same position at nearby Easley High School from 2009-2013. Carter was a catcher at Clemson University in the 1990s and formerly served as the head baseball coach at Easley and Byrnes high schools from 1998-2008, prior to transitioning into an administrative role.

Royce Clayton will coach at the Tournament of Stars for the second year in a row in 2018 but his first experience with USA Baseball came in 1987 when he played for the 18U National Team. He played for 17 years in the Major Leagues from 1991-2007 after being selected in the first round of the MLB draft by the San Francisco Giants in 1988. He currently serves as the head coach at Oaks Christian School (Westlake, Calif.).

Travis Coleman is currently a scout for the reigning World Series champion Houston Astros. He played collegiate baseball for Auburn University before starting his scouting career in 2014 with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau. Coleman is also the owner of the Pro Elite Academy, a baseball and athlete development company.

Trip Couch returns to the USA Baseball coaching ranks after previously serving as a coach at the Tournament of Stars. He also held an administrion role with the 1999 Collegiate National Team as he was the team's Delegation Head/Business Manager. Currently the director of baseball player development at the University of South Carolina, Couch has spent time coaching at University of Lousiana-Lafayette, University of Houston and University of Texas, as well as serving as a scout for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Most recently, he was an assistant coach at Houston where he helped lead the Cougars to four straight American Athletic Conference championship games and the tournament title in 2017.

Eric DuBose is no stranger to USA Baseball, having played for the 1994 18U National Team and the 1995 and 1996 Collegiate National Teams. DuBose was an All-American at Mississippi State University before being selected with the 21st overall pick in the 1997 MLB draft. He made his Major League debut in 2002 for the Baltimore Orioles and was with the organization until his retirement in 2007. He is currently a pitching coach for the East Coast Sox organization.

Billy Godwin is a former college head coach who led Louisburg College from 1999-2005 and East Carolina University from 2006-2014. He was named Coach of the Year by the North Carolina Baseball Coaches Association in 2002 and 2007, and guided East Carolina to a Conference USA title and NCAA Super Regional appearance in 2009. Godwin played collegiately at Atlantic Christian College, now Barton College, and is currently an area scout for the New York Yankees. 2018 marks Godwin's second time coaching at the Tournament of Stars, having also appeared on the staff in 2016.

Ryan Goll will serve as a member of the 2018 Tournament of Stars Task Force and will be the bullpen catcher at the event. In 2017, he also served on the task force and as a bullpen catcher for the 18U National Team Trials. Goll is currently a student manager at the University of Minnesota.

John Hendricks previously coached in the Tournament of Stars in 2015 and 2016. He is currently a scout for the New York Mets. The Winston-Salem, North Carolina, native, played collegiately at Wake Forest University and was drafted by the New York Mets in the 14th round of the 1999 MLB Draft. Hendricks, who pitched in the Mets organization for two years, is the Demon Deacons' program leader in career innings pitched, career strikeouts and career victories.

Currently in his third year as the pitching coach at Kansas State University, Tyler Kincaid started his coaching career 17 years ago. In that time, he has worked at the high school and collegiate levels. In his first year with the Wildcats, the pitching staff finished the season third in program history for total strikeouts in a single season with 440. He served as an assistant coach at University of San Diego prior to his time with Kansas State and 21 of his pitchers were selected in the MLB draft during his six seasons.

Jeff Kunkel is currently an area scout for the Detroit Tigers, covering the upper Midwest. Prior to his scouting role, Kunkel served as a bullpen catcher for the team and played six seasons (2006-11) in the organization's minor league system. He also played collegiately at the University of Michigan where he earned All-Big Ten Conference honors in 2006 as a senior. That year he hit .335 with 38 runs scored, 15 doubles and 28 RBI, while leading the team to Big Ten regular season and tournament championships. He also served as a coach at the 2017 USA Baseball 17U National Team Development Program (NTDP).

For the second year in a row, five-time All-Star Fred McGriff will coach at the Tournament of Stars. McGriff played 19 seasons in MLB from 1986-2004. He spent five of those seasons with the Atlanta Braves, where he helped the team to a World Series Championship in 1995. He also won three Silver Slugger Awards throughout his time in the big leagues and finished his career with 493 home runs. Following his playing career, he returned to Atlanta where the Braves hired him as a Special Assistant to Baseball Operations in 2015.

Scott Meaney will serve as the cross-checking scout at the 2018 Tournament of Stars. Meaney spent four years on the baseball team at the University of Massachusetts before graduating and joining the staff as the team's pitching coach. He is currently serving as a scout for the Cleveland Indians.

Rardin is in his 14th season as the head coach at Iowa Western Community College (Council Bluffs, Iowa). During his tenure, the IWCC Reivers won two Junior College World Series titles in three years (2010 and 2012). They have tallied 18 post-season titles in 11 seasons under Rardin, which is better than any other Division I junior college program in the U.S. over the last 10 years. Rardin re-joins the Tournament of Stars coaching staff after working at the event in 2014 and 2015.

Currently a scout for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Mark Ross will coach at the Tournament of Stars for the second consecutive year. Ross played in the Major Leagues for six years with the Astros, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Toronto Blue Jays. He finished his professional career with a 3.83 ERA. Prior to his time in MLB, Ross played at Texas A&M and was a member of the 1978 USA Baseball National Team that won a silver medal at the XXIV Baseball World Cup.

Steve Stone returns to the Tournament of Stars coaching ranks in 2018 after coaching in the event in 2017 and 2016. He is in his 19th year as the head baseball coach at Hebron High School in Carrollton, Texas. In total, Stone has 23 years of coaching experience, previously spending time at Rider and Euless Trinity high schools. He is a former standout catcher at Texas Christian University, where he was named team MVP in 1988.

Matt Williams is a scout for the Minnesota Twins. He spent seven years in the minor leagues, playing for the St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Angels and Philadelphia Phillies organizations. He played collegiately at Liberty University before being drafted in the 15th round of the 2011 MLB Draft by the Cardinals.

Tony Womack spent 13 seasons in the Major Leagues after being selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 7th round of the 1991 MLB Draft. In that time, he played for the Pirates, Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees and Cincinnati Reds. He was a member of the Diamondbacks team that won the World Series in 2001 and was an All-Star for the Pirates in 1997. Womack also led the league in stolen bases from 1997-1999 and was the MLB leader in triples in 2000. He finished his career with a .273 average and 363 stolen bases.

Robert Woodard is in his second year as the pitching coach at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) after serving as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Virginia Tech. Prior to joining the Hokies staff in 2013, Woodard coached at UNC, his alma mater, and the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Woodard is the Tar Heels' all-time winningest pitcher with a record of 34-5 and spent three years in the San Diego Padres' farm system after being selected in the 20th round of the 2007 MLB Draft. The Charlotte, North Carolina, native has also coached for the Orleans Cardinals of the Cape Cod League. In 2016, Woodard made his Tournament of Stars debut as a pitching rover at the event and returned to the event in 2017 as a coach. He also served as a coach at the 2016 17U NTDP.

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USA Baseball Announces 2018 18U National Team Staff

March 22, 2018

DURHAM, N.C. - USA Baseball announced the 18U National Team coaching staff on Thursday, highlighted by naming American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Hall of Famer Jack Leggett as manager. Scott Bankhead (North Carolina Baseball Academy) will serve as the team's pitching coach in 2018, while Joe Almaraz (St. Louis Cardinals) and Gregg Ritchie (George Washington) join the staff as assistant coaches.

The 2018 18U National Team will travel to Panama City, Panama looking for its fifth consecutive gold medal at the COPABE Pan American "AAA" Championships. The 18U team has won seven straight international tournament titles dating back to 2011, including winning the last four World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cups in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2017.

"Jack brings a wealth of baseball experience to this team and coaching staff, and we are happy to have his passion, history of success and proven ability to motivate and mentor athletes leading the 18U program this year," USA Baseball Executive Director and CEO, Paul Seiler, said. "This entire coaching staff brings together an immensely talented group of coaches and we are confident they can continue to build on the success USA Baseball has had at this age level."

This will mark Leggett's first year as a National Team coach and his second straight year working with USA Baseball after he served as a coach for the 17U National Team Development Program (NTDP) in 2017. Leggett was the head baseball coach at Clemson University from 1994-2015, where he led the Tigers to 955 victories, 21 NCAA Tournament appearances and six College World Series berths. Every single one of his teams compiled winning overall records in his 22 seasons at Clemson and 34 of his players were All-Americans, 31 were First-Team All-ACC players and 11 were selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

Leggett guided the Tigers to their second and third No. 1 rankings in school history and Clemson was the seventh-winningest program in the nation during his time as head coach. He was a three-time ACC Coach of the Year recipient and was inducted into the ABCA Hall of Fame in 2014. Leggett also served as a head coach for 14 years at Vermont and Western Carolina before moving to Clemson. In total, he has 1,332 career wins and following the conclusion of the 2015 season, he was the fifth-winningest active Division 1 head coach in the country.

"Coaching for Team USA is something I have always wanted to do and I am excited to begin working with an exceptional group of athletes who are ready to learn and represent the United States," said Leggett. "I am tremendously proud to head to the Pan American Championships with this team to showcase our brand of baseball to the world."

Scott Bankhead will join Leggett on staff as the 2018 squad's pitching coach. Currently the owner of the North Carolina Baseball Academy, Bankhead is making his national team coaching debut in 2018 but he is no stranger to suiting up for Team USA. He served as an 18U National Team Trials coach in 2016 and 2017, and was a member of the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Team. He was the 16th overall pick in the 1984 MLB Draft out of the University of North Carolina and he spent ten seasons in the Major Leagues, pitching for the Kansas City Royals, Seattle Mariners, Cincinnati Reds, Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. He finished his professional career with a 4.18 ERA over 901 innings.

Currently a scout for the St. Louis Cardinals, Almaraz will make his USA Baseball coaching debut as an assistant in 2018. Prior to his time scouting for the Cardinals, Almaraz coached at the high school, college and professional levels, and ran a baseball academy for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was a high school baseball coach for 12 years and then spent time as a junior college coach before moving to the minor leagues where he coached in the Arizona Diamondbacks, Baltimore Orioles and Cardinals systems. In addition, Almaraz has been a scout for the Cardinals since 2005 and has scouted or helped sign players like Michael Wacha, Matt Carpenter and Kolten Wong. During his time with the organization, the Cardinals have won two World Series titles.

Ritchie will reprise his role as 18U National Team hitting coach for the second consecutive year in 2018. In 2017, he helped lead Team USA to an undefeated record and a fourth consecutive WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup title. Under his direction, the team hit .273 and had a .418 slugging percentage, with 16 doubles, five triples and six home runs over nine games. He also served as a coach at the 2016 17U NTDP and 18U trials. Ritchie is in his sixth season at the helm for George Washington University, where he was named Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year in 2013. That year, he led the Colonials to their first postseason berth since 2006 and then followed that with back-to-back postseason appearances in 2015 and 2016. He began his coaching career in the Chicago White Sox organization, where he worked at various levels for 10 years, before serving as the hitting coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2011 and 2012.

The USA Baseball Tournament of Stars will once again mark the beginning of the 18U National Team schedule in 2018. The event serves as the primary identification event for the team and is made up of 80 of the best baseball players in the country that are international age-eligible (born January 1, 2000 or 2001). The 2018 Tournament of Stars will be held at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina, June 18-23.

More information about the 2018 18U National Team Trials and Training, as well as the COPABE Pan Am Championships, will be announced at a later date.

For the most up-to-date information on the 18U National Team, follow @USABaseball18U and @USABaseball on Twitter.

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USA Baseball Ranked Number One In Latest WBSC Baseball World Rankings

February 22, 2018

DURHAM, N.C. - USA Baseball has reclaimed the top spot in the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Baseball World Rankings as announced today by the WBSC. Following a 2017 season in which Team USA swept its international competitions at the 12U, 15U, 18U, Collegiate and Professional levels, the U.S. is ranked number one for the first time since 2014.

"To be recognized by the WBSC as the preeminent baseball program in the world is a testament to all of the hard work that our athletes, coaches and USA Baseball staff have put in to our national team programs," said Paul Seiler, Executive Director and CEO of USA Baseball. "Our organization has celebrated unprecedented success in the past few years and we will continue to build on those achievements as we reach toward new heights."

The WBSC Baseball World Rankings weigh a country's National Team performance - from U-12 to Professional - in WBSC-sanctioned international competitions over a four-year period.

USA Baseball had its most successful year in 2017, setting a record for most annual Baseball World Ranking points amassed with 2,127. The U.S. swept through its international competition with gold medals at the World Baseball Classic, WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup, COPABE Pan Am U-15 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. It is the first time in international baseball history a federation has won all of its international competitions in a calendar year.

Since 2015, USA Baseball has won five world championships, including being the reigning World Baseball Classic Champion, as well as the reigning world champions at the 12U and 18U age levels. In total, the U.S. has medaled in all 11 international tournaments it has participated in since 2015, winning seven gold medals, three silver medals and one bronze.

Additionally, the Collegiate National Team has won six of eight international friendship series against Chinese Taipei (2-0-1), Cuba (3-0) and Japan (1-1) in that time frame, including winning the 5th Annual USA vs. Cuba International Friendship Series in Cuba - the first-ever series victory on Cuban soil in USA Baseball history.

The USA Baseball Women's National Team - currently ranked number three in the WBSC Women's Baseball World Rankings - has also won two gold medals since 2015, highlighted by an 11-3 victory over Canada in the finals of the 2015 Pan American Games.

To see the full WBSC Baseball World Rankings, visit www.WBSC.org.

World Baseball Softball Confederation Baseball World Rankings (1-12):
1. USA
2. Japan
3. Korea
4. Cuba
5. Mexico
6. Chinese Taipei
7. Canada
8. Australia
9. Netherlands
10. Puerto Rico
11. Venezuela
12. Dominican Republic

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2017 USA Baseball Award Winners Announced

December 12, 2017

18U National Team member Triston Casas named Richard W. "Dick" Case Award Winner

DURHAM, N.C. - USA Baseball announced the recipients of its annual organizational awards on Tuesday, recognizing the top athletes, coaches and performances from the 2017 USA Baseball national teams. 18U National Team member Triston Casas was named the Richard W. "Dick" Case Award winner, given annually to USA Baseball's top player in honor of the organization's founding Executive Director and CEO. Casas is the third 18U National Team member to earn athlete of the year honors.

USA Baseball honored the World Baseball Classic Team with three awards in 2017, including the Team of the Year award after winning its first-ever gold medal in the event. Manager Jim Leyland was named the Rod Dedeaux Coach of the Year and World Baseball Classic MVP Marcus Stroman earned the International Performance of the Year award following his outstanding performance in the championship game in March.

Stroman shares the International Performance of the Year award with 12U National Team member Josh Atomancyzyk, whose performance against Japan in the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-12 Baseball World Cup kept Team USA in medal contention en route to its third consecutive Baseball World Cup title. This is the first time in USA Baseball's history two individual performances were recognized with this award.

"We are delighted to recognize these outstanding performances that led USA Baseball to new heights in 2017," said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball's Executive Director/CEO. "Our on-field performances are certainly paramount to our organization's success but in addition to that, each one of these athletes represented the United States in an exceptional manner as a global ambassador for the game of baseball and our country on the international stage. We are truly proud to recognize these individuals and teams with our annual awards."

In partnership with the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), USA Baseball also named David Sharp (12U National Team) and Bill Burniston (Collegiate National Team) the Developmental and Volunteer Coach of the Year award recipients, respectively.

USA Baseball had its most successful year in 2017 after sweeping through its international competition with gold medals at the World Baseball Classic, WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup, COPABE Pan Am U-15 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. It is the first time in international baseball history a federation has won all of its international competitions in a calendar year.

Three-time USA Baseball alumnus Triston Casas (American Heritage High School, Pembroke Pines, Fla.) was awarded the Richard W. "Dick" Case Award following his performance with the 18U National Team at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in Thunder Bay, Canada. Casas was named the tournament MVP 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. The WBSC also named Casas its Baseball Player of the Year at its annual congress in Gaborone, Batswana in October.

Casas has now won three gold medals in his young career with Team USA. In addition to winning the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in 2017, he also won a gold medal with the 2015 15U National Team and the 2016 18U National Team in the COPABE Pan Am Championships. He was also a member of the 2016 17U National Team Development Program.

The World Baseball Classic Team was named USA Baseball's Team of the Year after winning its first-ever title when it defeated Puerto Rico, 8-0, in the gold medal game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Pitcher Marcus Stroman (Toronto Blue Jays) was named the MVP of the tournament and Eric Hosmer (Kansas City Royals) and Christian Yelich (Miami Marlins) joined him on the All-Tournament Team. The team finished the tournament with a 7-2 overall record and its success led to earning the USOC Team of the Month award for March, as well as its manager, Jim Leyland, being named the USA Baseball Rod Dedeaux Coach of the Year.

"The managerial expertise Jim brought to our World Baseball Classic team was impressive to watch," said Seiler. "Our nation has such high expectations for success in our sport, and Jim led an incredible group of players and staff to our first gold medal in this event. We're incredibly proud to call him an alumnus of USA Baseball and honor him with this award."

Leyland will be honored at the Golden Spikes Award and Rod Dedeaux Foundation Award Dinner, which will be held June 28 at the Jonathan Club in downtown Los Angeles.

USA Baseball honored two athletes with the International Performance of the Year award: World Baseball Classic MVP Marcus Stroman and 12U National Team member Josh Atomancyzyk (Franklin, Texas). Stroman earned his MVP award with a shutdown performance over previously unbeaten Puerto Rico in the gold medal game of the 2017 WBC. In the final, Stroman pitched 6.1 innings of one-hit baseball and struck out three, silencing a Puerto Rican offense that was averaging nearly eight runs a game. His outstanding performance paved the way for a dominant 8-0 victory and the 2017 World Baseball Classic title. He was later named the Male Athlete of the Month for March by the USOC.

With a spot in the gold medal game of the WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup on the line, Atomancyzyk took the mound for the red, white and blue against Japan and was masterful; tossing 5.1 innings, allowing one earned run on four hits, while striking out a game-high seven batters in the victory. In addition to his pitching prowess, Atomancyzyk went 2-for-3 with two runs scored, two home runs and five RBIs in the 6-1 victory.

12U National Team Manager David Sharp (Huntsville High School; Huntsville, Ala.) was named the Developmental Coach of the Year after leading the 12U team to its third consecutive WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup title. Sharp led his team to an 8-1 record, defeating host-country Chinese Taipei, 7-2, in the gold medal game in front of a sellout crowd of 11,000. Under his guidance, the team outscored its opponents 107-43 and finished the tournament hitting .423 with 40 extra-base hits.

Bill Burniston was named the USA Baseball Volunteer Coach of the Year after serving as the performance specialist for the Collegiate National Team. Burniston provided unparalleled service to the athletes by offering creative and engaging training sessions that not only allowed the national team to prepare and excel on the field, but also promoted and protected their overall long-term health.

"Bill has been an invaluable addition to our Collegiate National Team family for years," said Seiler. "He is a world-class professional in his field and his engaging demeanor leads to positive and fulfilling relationships with the athletes that last long after their time with USA Baseball."

USA Baseball's Richard W. "Dick" Case Player of the Year and Team of the Year honorees serve as the organization's nominees in their respective categories with the USOC, who honors one Sportsman and Team of the Year annually based on nominations from its National Governing Bodies.

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USA Baseball Reveals 2018 Tournament of Stars Dates

November 3, 2017

DURHAM, N.C. - The 2018 USA Baseball Tournament of Stars will take place from June 18-23, at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina, the organization revealed on Thursday.

Players will arrive on Sunday, June 17 and participate in a newly added team practice on Monday, June 18. The teams will then play games June 19-21, take part in an evaluation day on Friday, June 22, followed by the gold and bronze medal games on Saturday, June 23. All the athletes will depart on Sunday, June 24.

The bronze and gold games will once again be streamed live on MLB.com and USABaseball.com.

The Tournament of Stars is made up of 80 of the best baseball players in the country that are international age-eligible (Born January 1, 2000 or 2001) for 18U National Team consideration. The event serves as the primary pool of talent from which USA Baseball will select its team to compete in the 2018 COPABE Pan Am 'AAA' Championships.

Team USA is the four-time defending Pan Am champion and will look to add a fifth consecutive gold medal in 2018. The program's last gold came at the 2016 event, as Team USA claimed the title with a 6-1 victory over Cuba in the gold medal game.

The 2016 squad featured four players that were selected in the first round of the 2017 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, including Royce Lewis, who was selected first overall by the Minnesota Twins, and Hunter Greene, who was taken second overall by the Cincinnati Reds.

More information on the international event schedule for the 2018 18U National Team will be released at a later date on USABaseball.com.

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18U

Casas and Stankiewicz Honored, Seiler Elected Vice Chairman at WBSC Congress

October 16, 2017

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.

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18U

Team USA Claims Fourth Consecutive WBSC Baseball World Cup Title

September 10, 2017
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
KOR 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 5
USA 0 0 3 4 1 0 0 0 X 8 12 0
Win: M. Liberatore Loss: Y. Kim Save: None
Box Score | Play-by-Play | World Cup Stats
 

THUNDER BAY, Canada - The USA Baseball 18U National Team completed a dominant stay at the 2017 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup with an equally dominant performance, rolling past Korea, 8-0, at Port Arthur Stadium on Sunday.

Team USA finishes the competition with a perfect 9-0 record, joining the 1989 squad (7-0) as the only two USA Baseball 18U National Teams to go undefeated in World Cup play.

The United States has now won four consecutive 18U world championships, including the 2012 and 2013 IBAF 'AAA' World Cups in Seoul, South Korea and Taichung, Taiwan, respectively, and the 2015 edition in Osaka, Japan. The only other country to have previously accomplished that feat is Cuba which did so from 1984-87 when the tournament was held annually.

The U.S. 18U squad also won the 2011, 2014 and 2016 COPABE Pan American Championships in Cartagena, Colombia, La Paz, Mexico, and Monterrey, Mexico, respectively, giving it international tournament titles in seven consecutive years.

This year's championship avenges the last time the USA Baseball 18U National Team was held off the podium in an international competition as it did not medal at the 2010 WBSC World Cup, which was also held in Thunder Bay.

The World Cup title is the ninth overall for Team USA which also brought back gold medals in 1982, 1988, 1989, 1995, 1999, 2012, 2013, and 2015.

Sunday's victory marked the 16th consecutive win for Team USA in WBSC U-18 World Cup action, including the final seven contests of the 2015 version of the event, held in Osaka, Japan.

As it did the entire tournament, the U.S. pitching staff set the tone, starting with Matthew Liberatore (Peoria, Ariz.). The 6-5 righthander pitched six sparkling innings, holding Korea to just four hits while walking two and striking out one to earn the win.

Cole Wilcox (Chickamauga, Ga.), Mason Denaburg (Merritt Island, Fla.), and JT Ginn (Brandon, Miss.) added one scoreless inning each out of the bullpen to complete Team USA's sixth shutout of the tournament.

In nine World Cup games, the U.S. pitching staff yielded only five runs - four earned - for a team ERA of 0.47. In 77.0 innings of play, 10 pitchers combined to strike out 101 batters and held opposing hitters to a .135 batting average.

After two scoreless innings to open Sunday's contest, the Team USA offense exploded for three runs in the third, four in the fourth, and one more in the fifth.

Tournament MVP Triston Casas (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) had the big blow with a mammoth two-out, two-run home run. He also had an RBI double as he notched three RBIs in the contest, giving him a team-high 13 for the tournament.

In addition to Casas' award, five fellow team members also earned honors from the WBSC. Brandon Dieter (Covina, Calif.) took home the award for the best ERA in the competition (0.00), while Ethan Hankins (Cumming, Ga.), Brice Turang (Corona, Calif.), Mike Siani (Glenside, Pa.), and Alek Thomas (Chicago, Ill.) were tabbed to the All-World Team.

Continue to follow @USABaseball18U on Twitter and visit USABaseball.com for the most up-to-date news about the 18U National Team.

QUOTES

USA Baseball 18U National Team Director Matt Blood

(On winning the World Cup)

"The whole process has been very fulfilling. This is a great group of guys, players, coaches, and staff. Everything from the beginning to the end went very well. We could not be happier with the way we played and the way we handed ourselves. I'm very proud of this group."

(On the dominance of this year's team)

"It would be hard to find a team better than this one, at least statistically. Especially on the mound with what these pitchers did. They pounded the strike zone, they barely gave up any hits, and when they did they were singles. They took it personally that they were not going to give in at all. In doing so, it gave our team and our offense some breathing room and a chance to get comfortable knowing that our pitchers were going to keep us in the game. We didn't have to press offensively. It was a lot of fun to watch this group. To go undefeated through training and the tournament is something that is really hard to do."

(On USA Baseball sweeping the international competitions)

"It has been a good year for USA Baseball. It started with the World Baseball Classic and continued with our other programs, 12U, 15U, and now 18U. We are trying to get USA Baseball back to the No. 1 ranked organization in the world. Hopefully we are getting closer to that."

(On how to improve after this)

"We can continue to look at our processes and how we identify and develop players and try to continue to improve the continuity amongst our players and our coaches. We can help them improve and improve the game of baseball, in general. That is one of our goals, as well. We want to win gold medals but we also want to help develop our elite talent so that the game of baseball continues to thrive all the way up to the Major League level. That is what we will continue to do. We always want to get better."

USA Baseball 18U National Team Manager Andy Stankiewicz

(On winning the World Cup)

"It is never easy. We played like maybe it was, but it is not. Think about all of the time and effort that it has taken to put this team together. Think about what (18U National Team Director) Matt Blood has done, the whole USA organization, to bring these 20 young men together, for them to come together as a team, and to stay on course. I am so proud of all of them and the coaching staff. Coach Mosiello was unbelievable running our offense. Coach Ritchie getting hitters locked in. Ricky Meinhold did an unbelievable job with our hitters. And Coach Carter, our first base coach, with his enthusiasm and passion for these young men. We just came together and it is fun to see the fruits of labor come together like it did this week to win a gold medal."

(On the team playing its most complete game in the final)

"No doubt that was our most complete game. We pitched well from the very beginning and we knew this pitching staff was going to be nails, and they were. It was fun to watch our offense progressively get better and better, day-by-day, and then put together the performance we saw today in the gold-medal game against a good team. Korea is, obviously, a good team or they wouldn't have been in the final. I enjoyed watching our offense stay the course, get better, and save the best performance for last."

(On tournament MVP Triston Casas)

"He is so steady. He is unflappable. His personality is great for a baseball player because he doesn't get too high, he doesn't get too low. He just goes to the plate with intent and focus every time. It was great to see what he did today with that big homer and putting great at-bats together to just get us moving. Then he is a great defender. People see how big he is and I don't think they realize how good he is. When you spend time with him and watch him, he can really play defense. He deserved to win the MVP and we are all excited for him."

(On the team's defense)

"Our defense was unbelievable. We pitched so well that we knew if we didn't give any freebies we would be in a pretty good spot. Brice Turang made some incredible plays on defense. He is so athletic and moves so well to the ball. (Mike) Siani made some great diving plays and then our catchers (Anthony) Seigler and (Will) Banfield were dynamite. They did a great job of calling games and getting strikes on borderline pitches. Our defense was terrific."

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18U

Dieter Fires Gem as Team USA Blanks Australia, 9-0

September 9, 2017
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
AUS 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 3
USA 1 0 5 0 1 0 0 2 X 9 12 0
Win: B. Dieter Loss: D. Johannsen Save: None
Box Score | Play-by-Play | World Cup Stats
 

THUNDER BAY, Canada - Brandon Dieter (Covina, Calif.) gave the USA Baseball 18U National Team eight shutout innings on the mound as it closed the Super Round at the 2017 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup with its fifth shutout of the tournament, a 9-0 blanking of Australia at Port Arthur Stadium on Saturday.

 

The victory marked the 15th consecutive win for Team USA in WBSC U-18 World Cup action, including the final seven contests of the 2015 version of the event, held in Osaka, Japan.

 

The three-time defending World Cup champions, the U.S. remains the only undefeated team in this year's tournament with an 8-0 record and will play as the home team in Sunday's gold-medal game at 5 p.m. ET. Team USA's opponent will be determined later on Saturday afternoon following games between Japan-Korea and Canada-Cuba.

 

Dieter faced just three batters over the minimum, did not allow a baserunner past first base, and struck out eight over eight innings of three-hit ball to earn the win. Joseph Menefee (Richmond, Texas) then pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to close out the contest.

 

Saturday's game marked the second in this year's World Cup in which the U.S. pitching staff did not allow a runner past first and the fourth in which a runner did not advance past second.

 

The red, white, and blue will carry a combined 0.53 ERA into Sunday's gold-medal game with opposing batters hitting just .136. Team USA's five shutouts equal the total for the other 11 teams in the tournament combined.

 

Offensively, the U.S. was terrific with two outs once again, recording seven two-out hits and scoring all but two of its runs with two outs on the scoreboard.

 

Five different players notched multi-hit contests, while Alek Thomas (Chicago, Ill.) and Nolan Gorman (Glendale, Ariz.) drove in a pair of runs each. Team USA also added five stolen bases against Australia, including two from Gorman, to increase its tournament-leading total to 23 in just eight games.

 

The U.S. wasted little time getting started on Saturday with Mike Siani (Glenside, Pa.) and Carter Young (Selah, Wash.) opening the home half of the first with back-to-back doubles for the game's first run.

 

Thomas and Gorman's big knocks both came in the third which ended up being a five-run inning to break the game open for Team USA. A Will Banfield (Lawrenceville, Ga.) run-scoring single in the fifth and RBIs by Jarred Kelenic (Waukesha, Wis.) and Triston Casas (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) in the eighth accounted for the game's final tally.

 

Team USA is the three-time defending World Cup champion and is looking to become the second country to win four consecutive gold medals in the tournament.

 

Continue to follow @USABaseball18U on Twitter and visit USABaseball.com for the most up-to-date news about the 18U National Team.

 

QUOTES

USA Baseball 18U National Team Manager Andy Stankiewicz

(On Saturday's win over Australia)

"It all started with Brandon Dieter. He's just a machine. He commands his fastball so well in-and-out, has a beautiful changeup, and a nice breaking ball. He took control of the game from the get-go. He let up that leadoff hit then he picked the guy off and that set the tone and got the momentum back on our side. A great job by him, first and foremost. Our mission is to win every game we play. We are encouraged by what we have done so far, but we all know the big one is tomorrow. Hopefully this was a nice tune-up, the guys feel good about their at-bats, and we can take that into tomorrow."

 

(On available pitching for the gold-medal game)

"We feel like we are in a good spot going in to the gold-medal game. We have a lot of arms down there and it will be all hands on deck. They have to be ready to roll. It was a big game by (Brandon) Dieter, obviously, and I loved the job that (Joseph) Menefee did. He came in and got strike one right away. He'll be ready to go tomorrow, if needed, too."

 

(On the team's two-out offense)

"The guys are understanding that just because we have two outs the inning isn't over. If we get that next guy on, our ability to run and hit in motion allows us really put pressure on the defense. Coach Mosiello has done a great job of keeping our guys in motion and creating that pressure. That is the way we have to do it. We can't give away any at-bats."

 

(On the team's mindset going in to tomorrow)

"We just need to play our game. Sometimes in big moments like we will have tomorrow guys try to be something they are not. We just need to be who we are, understand our roles, and come out tomorrow as a team and get after it."

 

Starting Pitcher Brandon Dieter

(On his goal on the mound today)

"My number one goal today was to be efficient. The coaches wanted me to go as many innings as I could so being efficient was the key. Throwing a lot of strikes, getting ahead early, and getting a lot of first-pitch outs was huge today."

 

(On playing for the gold medal tomorrow)

"This is what we came here to do, to win this game tomorrow. To be able to give some rest to the rest of our pitchers and allow everyone to be on deck tomorrow was my goal today. I achieved that and it is all hands on deck tomorrow because we are going out to win a gold medal."

 

(On the 18U national team playing for a fourth consecutive gold medal)

"We all know it, it is in the back of our heads. We want to keep that streak going, no one wants to break that streak. But, like the coaches have been saying, we have been playing one pitch at a time, one game at a time, and taking it step-by-step. I think that is what is making us successful so far."

 

Infielder Nolan Gorman

(On having two hits versus Australia)

"I was just trying to anything I could for the team by putting the ball in play, which I haven't been doing. It's starting to come around though and it felt good to barrel up a couple of balls."

 

(On the team's offensive mindset)

"We are seeing it really well right now which is good going into the gold-medal game. If we can just carry that into tomorrow, we should be alright. The goal has always been to win every game and not let down against anybody. We are happy to get this win today but we have one more before we can celebrate anything."

 

(On the experience of playing for Team USA)

"It is special. There really aren't any words for it yet. Maybe after I get home and have some time to let it sink it, but there are no words to describe it right now. It is just so special."

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18U

U.S. Clinches Spot in Gold-Medal Game with 2-0 Win Over Korea

September 8, 2017
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 2 8 0
KOR 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 2
Win: R. Weathers Loss: B. Gwak Save: JT Ginn
Box Score | Play-by-Play | World Cup Stats

THUNDER BAY, Canada - Ethan Hankins (Cumming, Ga.) and two relievers combined to strike out 19 batters as the USA Baseball 18U National Team clinched a spot in the gold-medal game at the 2017 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup with a 2-0 shutout of Korea at Port Arthur Stadium on Friday.

The shutout was the fourth of the tournament for Team USA, the three-time defending World Cup champions, and leaves the U.S. as the only unbeaten team remaining in Thunder Bay with a record of 7-0. The loss was Korea's first of the competition.

Team USA has one game remaining in the Super Round as it is scheduled to take on Australia at 9 a.m. ET on Saturday. The gold-medal game will be played at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday at Port Arthur Stadium.

Hankins was dominant from the start on Friday, striking out the side in the first inning and never looking back. He would accomplish that feat a total of four times on the morning, finishing with 14 punchouts over six superb innings in which he yielded just two singles, a walk, and a hit batter.

Ryan Weathers (Loretto, Tenn.) came in out of the bullpen and picked up right where Hankins left off, fanning four batters of his own in 2.2 scoreless frames before JT Ginn (Brandon, Miss.) entered the game to strike out the final batter and end the contest.

Combined, the three pitchers did not allow a baserunner past second base, marking the third time in the tournament the U.S. has done so, and struck out 19 batters.

Great pitching and stellar defense by both clubs kept the scoreboard blank for most of the game until an error and a passed ball by Korea opened the door for the U.S. to push a run across in the eighth.

The U.S. would tack on an insurance run in the top of the ninth with Brice Turang (Corona, Calif.) following a Nolan Gorman (Glendale, Ariz.) double with a base hit back up the middle to make it a 2-0 game.

Korea would threaten in the game's final frame, putting two on with two out but Ginn needed just four pitches to strike out the only batter he faced to seal the victory, earn the save, and send the U.S. to Sunday's gold-medal game.

Although he would be saddled with the tough-luck loss, Korea starting pitcher Been Gwak was outstanding on the mound as well. He struck out nine batters of his own while allowing just two runs - only one earned - on five hits over 8.1 innings.

Team USA is the three-time defending World Cup champion and is looking to become the second country to win four-straight gold medals in the tournament.

Continue to follow @USABaseball18U on Twitter and visit USABaseball.com for the most up-to-date news about the 18U National Team.

QUOTES
USA Baseball 18U National Team Manager Andy Stankiewicz
(On earning a spot in the gold-medal game)
"That is what you play for and why we are here. That was the goal, obviously, to get to the gold-medal game. I'm proud of our guys for the way they have gone about it. That is back-to-back battles, which is great. This is what you need to have. In order to be a championship team, you have to be able to rise up in those moments. I'm very proud of how we have responded, both last night and tonight."

(On Ethan Hankins)
"He just attacks the zone. Sometimes he is a little emotional, he is young and wears his emotions on his sleeve. I think as he matures, he will be able to settle down in those big moments, but in terms of just his arm and his stuff, it is just fantastic. He did a great job of just pounding that zone. Sometimes he got squeezed a little bit but he responded well and kept making pitches when he had to."

(On Korea starting pitcher Been Gwak)
"Their guy pitched a great game, there is just no getting around it. He mixed his pitches well and he threw a nice changeup to our lefties who had a hard time seeing it. He hid it well and it came out clean like a fastball so we were out in front a lot. Then once in a while he would drop a breaking ball in on a lefty, which is just good pitching. It's a higher division of pitching to be able to do that. That is what we expected. We knew coming in that this was their guy and he pitched a great game. It was a really great ball game from a purist standpoint."

(On the team's resiliency)
"This morning we had 6:30 breakfast, 7:00 bus, and we were out taking BP when it was 37 degrees outside. They didn't care. They just said, 'Let's go, we have a job to do.' From that standpoint, that is maturity to be able to rise above the elements and focus on the task at hand over everything else."

Outfielder Mike Siani
(On earning a spot in the gold-medal game)
"It has been a battle. The competition has been great but we came together today for a tough game. Good pitching, but we battled, and the pitching was even better on our side. It is a great feeling. Kind of what we expected but we had to fight to get here and, obviously, we are excited."

(On Korea)
"The pitcher we saw, even though we haven't seen a lot of right-handed pitchers this tournament, he was good. A lot of off-speed and he was spotting up. He was tough to hit. As the game went on we worked better at-bats, worked deeper counts, and the hits came. We had eight of them which is enough, and the two runs we kind of scrapped across. Just putting the ball in play was the most important part. We didn't have as many strikeouts today which definitely helped us out."

(On playing in the gold-medal game on Sunday)
"That is the best feeling ever. We are ready to go. Obviously we have one tomorrow against Australia, and that is important too, but everybody is pumped for Sunday. The four returning guys on this team, we have to let everybody know how it is going to be, talk to the guys, and get everybody together. We are really looking forward to it."

Starting Pitcher Ethan Hankins
(On Korea)
"Korea is a really good team. We were both undefeated coming into the game so I knew they would be very disciplined hitters and that is exactly what they showed out there. I expected them to go after some high fastballs or, at least, fastballs around the zone but they were so patient. They waited for their pitch every single time until it got to two strikes and then I was able to work a little bit."

(On what it will be like to wear the USA jersey while playing for a gold medal)
"It is awesome but, at the same time, all part of the plan we have going. It is going to be a feeling that I can't really describe. It is already a blessing to be able to go out in a game like this and wear the USA across your chest. To have the opportunity to do it in a gold-medal game is not something I can even put into words."

(On the team's resiliency to come back after an emotional game last night)
"We are all here for the same goal. We all want the gold medal just as bad as everyone else. We knew that this was a big morning to get us there so we came out ready to play."

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