CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - An uncharacteristic mistake early in Friday's game against Duke revealed a lot about J.B. Bukauskas.
With a runner at third base and two outs in the second inning, Bukauskas got ahead of dangerous Duke righthanded hitter Jimmy Herron - he said later that he was beating Herron with fastballs, and he should have stuck with it. Instead, he shook off the call from the dugout and threw a changeup, and Herron turned on it for an RBI double down the left-field line. When Bukauskas got back to the dugout between innings, North Carolina coach Mike Fox greeted him.
"I very rarely will say something, but I said something to him. I'm like, 'He's probably their best offensive player. There's a guy in scoring position, you have to make him beat your best stuff.' He got mad at me; he said, 'Yes, sir,' but in one of those (tones)," Fox said. "And then after the game he came up to me and apologized. I said, 'J.B., you don't need to apologize to me. If you weren't upset with that, then I would really be worried about you.' That's the way he is. He cares a lot, I think his teammates love him."
It was clear that Bukauskas didn't have his very best stuff early in that game. Afterward, he said he was having problems with a blister that broke open on his finger, which hindered his feel for his slider - normally one of the most devastating pitches in college baseball. On this day, the 82-86 mph slider showed flashes of its typical filthy late tilt, but its break was inconsistent and he struggled to command it.
So Bukauskas made an adjustment. Rather than leaning on his slider for outs, he pounded the zone with his fastball, which sat at 94-96 mph in the first and then sat mostly at 92-94 over the next six innings, touching 95 repeatedly. And starting in the third, he found his groove, retiring 12 straight Duke batters.
"He's had some outings like that where he just finds a way for three or four innings, just to show the other team that, 'OK, I may not have this pitch or that pitch, but I've got this one.' And he just gives our team a chance," Fox said. "It's as much a boost for our offense as anything else. They're like, 'OK, J.B.'s getting in a groove now, they're probably going to go three or four innings without scoring, so let's do something."
That's what happened Friday night, as UNC overcame an early 2-0 deficit and won 3-2 in 10 innings. A few days later, when the regular season was over, Bukauskas was named ACC Pitcher of the Year after going 8-0, 1.87 with 106 strikeouts and 31 walks in 82 innings. He had some brilliant days this spring, but most impressively, he was amazingly consistent from week to week.
"He's a special competitor. He works so hard on the five, six days between his outings, just very meticulous in his routine, his preparation," UNC pitching coach Robert Woodard said. "That carries over into the game in terms of his competitiveness - he invests so much that when something doesn't go his way or he has a little bit of adversity, he has that extra gear he can kind of take it to. He did a great job (Friday) of making pitch to pitch adjustments, over not waiting for the next inning or having to go to another reliever. He really gathered himself, adjusted and kept competing."
Back in May of 2014 when Bukauskas wrote a letter to every major league club telling them he intended to honor his commitment to UNC rather than entertain draft opportunities, the Tar Heels surely felt they had won the lottery. They must have suspected they were getting a potential future ACC pitcher of the year and an obvious first-round talent.
Fox remembers getting the phone call from Bukauskas three years ago, informing him of the young righthander's intention to attend UNC. As Fox remembers it, the call came in around 1 a.m.
"I wasn't totally surprised, I kind of was, but just the way he told me, just very calm, like, 'Hey Coach, this is J.B., I just wanted to let you know we've written a letter to the teams and I'll be coming to UNC.' Just like that - flat, matter-of-fact. That's him. Like, 'OK J.B. See you soon.'"
That direct, businesslike approach has served Bukauskas well so far in his career. He's one of the more analytical and self-aware pitchers in the country, capable of diagnosing his own strengths and weaknesses, and working to turn his shortcomings into strengths.
Exhibit A is his changeup, which he has been working hard to develop since at least last summer with USA Baseball's Collegiate National Team. The pitch has continued to make progress, as he showed when he used it to strike out Duke slugger Griffin Conine early in Friday's game. But a couple of scouts observed that Bukauskas has a tendency to slow down his delivery and let hitters know the pitch is coming. So it was illuminating to hear Bukauskas bring that up himself later in the night, without being prompted.
"It's getting better," Bukauskas said. "I threw like 15 of them tonight, I was happy with it. Got some good swings and misses, some pop-ups and ground balls, and a couple were hit hard. That's the thing, I slowed my mechanics down a little bit, and that will happen - if you show guys what's gonna come, these guys are good hitters, ACC hitters. So can't do that, but I was happy with where it's going."
He also acknowledged that he has gone to UNC closer Josh Hiatt - who owns one of the best changeups in the country - for changeup advice. Again, Bukauskas showed uncommon self-awareness when he described that consultation with Hiatt.
"The biggest thing for me is everything I want to throw, I want to throw for a swing-and-miss. And I'm learning from him that you don't need to go for a swing-and-miss with a changeup, it's a good quick-out pitch," Bukauskas said. "I learn from everybody, talk to everybody, especially guys that have had that kind of success. They're doing something right."
The other thing he's working on is trying to stay closed in his delivery, instead of flying open and letting hitters get a longer look at the ball. He said that when he stays closed, his fastball has more run and better downward angle, and he can locate it better. He's always been better at locating to his glove side, but he has worked to improve his arm-side command as well.
Bukauskas isn't a finished product yet, and he knows that better than anyone. But he's still gotten dramatically better year after year, improving from 5-3, 4.09 as a freshman to 7-2, 3.10 as a sophomore to 8-0, 1.87 as a junior. His strikeout rate has gone up, and he's become harder to hit. He's obviously a major reason for No. 2 North Carolina's superb season, and he'll finally get to pitch on the big stage of the NCAA tournament after the Tar Heels missed the postseason each of the last two years. Getting the program back to the elite level it had reached over the past dozen years (when it made six CWS appearances) was a major motivator for the team-oriented Bukauskas - though he was characteristically understated when he looked ahead to the postseason. "Really looking forward to that," he said. "I think we got a good shot."
Bukauskas' combination of competitiveness, intelligence, selflessness and electrifying stuff make him stand out even among the star-studded list of marquee pitchers who have passed through Chapel Hill in the Fox era (from Andrew Miller, Daniel Bard and Woodard himself to Matt Harvey, Adam Warren, Alex White and Kent Emanuel). Fox and Woodard know how lucky they are to have him leading their staff.
"Blessed is an understatement," Woodard said of the opportunity to coach Bukauaskas in his first year as UNC's pitching coach.
"I remind him of that all the time," Fox quipped.
They're going to enjoy the rest of the Bukauskas era, however long their postseason ride lasts.
"Getting to be his pitching coach this year, there's a sense for me that I just really relish every bullpen session, every one of his outings, just because the time here is limited," Woodard said. "So there's definitely a part of me that's definitely just staying in the moment with him, every bullpen session, every one of his outings and just enjoying.
"It carries over to the rest of the staff, and all the other guys see it. They see him perform, they see him prepare, and it trickles down to all of them and makes everybody else better, just by what he does."
"He's special," Fox added. "He's special in a lot of ways."
USA Baseball Develops Coaching Manual for High School Baseball Programs
The manual aims to assist coaches in providing a positive, development-based experience to its student-athletes
October 10, 2018
DURHAM, N.C. -USA Baseball announced on Wednesday the development of its High School Baseball Program Manual. It aims to support the thousands of dedicated high school baseball coaches around the country by providing a positive, development-based experience to its student-athletes.
The manual provides coaches a fundamental framework to build an athlete-focused culture within their programs and is suited for both high schools with longstanding traditions of on-field excellence, as well as for schools and coaches that are building a program from the ground up. Importantly, the manual also provides a clear direction for player growth off the baseball field with respect to personal development and support for its players' participation in multiple sports.
The High School Baseball Program Manual is available to the public at no charge at www.hsbaseballmanual.com and on the USA Baseball Online Education Center, usabaseball.education.
"To the tens of thousands of coaches who support the half a million student-athletes competing at the high school level, thank you. We recognize your selfless commitment to your players, and through works like this manual we aim to support your efforts in enriching your players lives," said Rick Riccobono, USA Baseball's Chief Development Officer. "USA Baseball has never been more committed to the well-being of the high school baseball community. Through this unique resource, coaches old and new will gain insights into how to optimize their high school baseball program. With an athlete-first approach, this manual's teachings will continue to position baseball as an athletic option that supports a comprehensive student-athlete experience within a healthy and positive sporting environment."
This initiative continues USA Baseball's reach into the amateur baseball landscape and specifically reinforces its commitment to the proliferation of prep baseball in the United States. The manual boosts the high school baseball experience and allows for the consistent development for any athlete, regardless of their skill level or the school for which they compete.
Key concepts from the High School Baseball Program Manual include:
- Importance of underscoring academic goals of the athletes and school
- Practice plan directives that enable maximum engagement, movement and physical activity
- Benefits of supporting athlete participation in multiple sports
- Management tools for interpersonal relationships within a baseball program, including conflict resolution techniques
- Keys to building a positive culture that transcends the student-athlete experience
- Best practices concerning a player's health and safety
- Keeping the game of baseball fun
"I think the High School Baseball Program Manual is by far the most comprehensive publication that I have ever seen. The attention to the specific needs of the player from understanding multi-sport athletes to nutrition and rest considerations is spot on. You can sense the intentional compassion in this document. It should be considered mandatory reading for any new baseball coach and a refresher for experienced coaches," said Elliot Hopkins, Director of Sports, Sanctioning and Student Services for the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). "This manual along with the many other USA Baseball programs and resources is indicative of the support and commitment by USA Baseball to the interscholastic game. This is a quality manual that will assist anyone who is interested in maximizing practice time and improving their training sessions.
"We are so appreciative of USA Baseball for this work, but more importantly for a wonderful collaborative partnership for over a decade. We both value young people playing baseball and it is always good to share that excitement and drive with a like-minded organization. We are thrilled that they are our national governing body and represents the United States so proudly in international and domestic competitions."
For more information on the High School Baseball Program Manual, and other similar educational resources produced by USA Baseball, such as the Mobile Coach App, Long-Term Athlete Development Plan (LTAD) and others, visit usabaseball.education. All resources produced by USA Baseball are provided free of charge to the public.
USA Baseball Announces 2018 National Team Identification Series Selections
A total of 68 athletes were selected for 2019 national team programming from the 2018 NTIS
September 10, 2018
DURHAM, N.C. - USA Baseball announced on Wednesday the 68 athletes that were selected from the 2018 National Team Identification Series (NTIS) to participate in 2019 national team programming. The tenth-annual NTIS was held at the National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina, from August 8-26 and for the tenth year in a row, the selection announcement was made through an online show.
Twenty-seven states and 16 regions from across the U.S. are represented by the 68 athletes chosen and fourteen states boast more than one selection.
Under the direction of USA Baseball task force, the 2018 NTIS featured over 1,200 of the nation's best players competing in 172 games, as well as skill testing and on-field evaluations. Twelve athletes were invited to compete at each of the 2019 12U National Team Trials, the 2019 14U, 16U and 17U National Team Development Programs (NTDP) and the 15U National Team Trials. In addition, eight players from the 17U NTIS were chosen to participate in the 2019 18U National Team selection process.
"Our task force had a difficult job selecting just 68 athletes out of the incredible pool of talent from across the U.S. that participated in this year's NTIS," Senior Director of Baseball Operations, Ashley Bratcher, said. "We are excited about the players chosen from the 2018 event and what they will bring to our 2019 national team programming."
The 2018 USA Baseball National Team Identification Series (NTIS) is the most comprehensive player identification program offered by Team USA. With tryouts in every region of the country, players now have greater access to USA Baseball National Team opportunities than ever before. The program includes six separate age groups - 11U, 13U, 14U, 15U, 15U and 17U.
The 2018 National Team Identification Series selections are as follows:
Name; Position; Hometown
2019 12U National Team Trials Invitees: (from 11U NTIS)
Anthony Del Angel; OF/IF; Rio Rancho, N.M.
Parker Friend; C/RHP; Germantown, Md.
Gavin Hottle; IF/RHP; Irvine, Calif.
Bryant James; IF/RHP; Herndon, Va.
Elijah McNeal; Dublin, Calif.
Luis Mejia; IF/OF; Phoenix, Ariz.
Owen Robinson; LHP/IF; Greensboro, N.C.
C.J. Sampson; RHP/IF; Magnolia, Texas
Kruz Schoolcraft; IF/LHP; Aloha, Ore.
Jayden Stroman; IF/RHP; Medford, N.Y.
Eli Willits; IF/RHP; Fort Cobb, Okla.
Miles Young; IF; Cypress, Texas
2019 14U National Team Development Program invitees: (from 13U NTIS)
Kai Caranto; IF/RHP; Castaic, Calif.
Angel Cepeda; OF/IF; Union City, N.J.
Carson Dean; OF/IF; Frisco, Texas
Ian Duarte; OF/RHP; Santa Clarita, Calif.
Terry Dunsford; IF/RHP; Grand Bay, Ala.
Keondre Fields; OF/RHP; Nesbit, Miss.
Gavin Grahovac; C/IF; Orange, Calif.
Houston Hirschkorn; IF/RHP; Kingsburg, Calif.
Andre Modugno; IF/Upper Saddle River, N.J.
Brandon Olivera; RHP; Hialeah, Fla.
Kellon Parnell; OF/IF; Pascagoula, Miss.
Brooks Wright; UT/RHP; Knoxville, Tenn.
2019 15U National Team Trials invitees: (from 14U NTIS)
Mason Balsis; C; Bristow, Va.
Maxwell Clark; OF; Franklin, Ind.
Tyson Dewall; RHP; Folsom, Calif.
Demitri Diamant; OF/RHP; Las Vegas, Nev.
Termarr Johnson; IF; Atlanta, Ga.
Steven Milam; IF; Las Cruces, N.M.
Louis Rodriguez; RHP; Long Beach, Calif.
Logan Saloman; RHP/IF; Chandler, Ariz.
Christopher Scinta; LHP; Tamarac, Fla.
Tyrus Williams; OF; Oxford, Miss.
Jaxon Willits; IF; Fort Cobb, Okla.
Colton Wombles; C; Salem, Ala.
2019 16U National Team Development Program invitees: (from 15U NTIS)
Jesse Bullard; IF/RHP; Riverside, Calif.
Korbyn Dickerson; OF/RHP; Jeffersonville, Ind.
Jake Geis; RHP; San Jose, Calif.
Rafael Gross; OF/IF; Pearland, Texas
Trevor Haskins; IF; San Jose, Calif.
David Horn; IF/RHP; Murrieta, Calif.
Kyndon Lovell; LHP; Fort Cobb, Okla.
Jaron Nevarez; LHP/IF; San Ramon, Calif.
Xavier Perez; RHP/OF; Corpus Christi, Texas
William Rogers; C/IF; Shoreview, Minn.
Chase Spencer; IF/RHP; Plano, Texas
Austin Young; RHP; Saint Peters, Mo.
2019 17U National Team Development Program invitees: (from 16U NTIS)
Jackson Baumeister; C/RHP; Jacksonville, Fla.
Mark Black; C/OF; Pittsburgh, Pa.
Michael Davinni; IF/RHP; Laguna Niguel, Calif.
Kade Grundy; RHP/OF; Somerset, Ky.
Samuel Hunt; C/IF; Minneapolis, Minn.
Joseph Mack; C/IF; Williamsville, N.Y.
Michael Morales; RHP/IF; Enola, Pa.
Joshua Pearson; OF/IF; West Monroe, La.
Joseph Quick; RHP/IF; Lake Jackson, Texas
Kurtis Reid; IF/RHP; Hamilton, Ohio
Nate Savino; LHP/OF; Sterling, Va.
Tyler Wiederstein; RHP/IF; Greensburg, Pa.
2019 18U National Team selection process invitees: (from 17U NTIS)
Jag Burden; OF/IF; Huntington Beach, Calif.
Colten Keith; IF/RHP; Biloxi, Miss.
Harold Coll; IF; Hyde Park, Mass.
Mac Guscette; C/IF; Nokomis, Fla.
Cayden Wallace; IF; Greenbrier, Ark.
Jonathan Vaughns; IF/RHP; Glendora, Calif.
Alex Urban; OF; Lexington, S.C.
Cameron Brown; RHP/IF; Flower Mound, Texas
AGUASCALIENTES, Mexico - Team USA scored seven runs over the first three innings and the quick offensive start led to a 10-2 victory over Mexico to claim gold and win the 2018 COPABE U-12 Pan American Championships with a perfect 9-0 record. It marks the first time the USA has won the tournament after finishing runner-up in 2014 and 2016.
"I can't say enough about our guys," said a joyful USA 12U National Team head coach Todd Fine. "From start to finish, we continued to build everyday. We ran the table and went 9-0. These kids have given everything we have asked of them. It is a special group and they have a medal to show for it."
USA scored at least one run in the first inning of each game of the tournament and Sunday was no different. Leadoff batter Kameron Davis (Albany, Ga.) was hit by a pitch in the bottom of the first inning and eventually scored on an error for a 1-0 USA lead.
The stars and stripes were able to void out the overflow crowd of thousands at CECADI Stadium with a four-run second inning. With the bases loaded, Christian Hamilton (Lauderhill, Fla.) hit a ball booted by the third baseman, resulting in Julius Pfau (Tampa, Fla.) and Brock Thompson (Bakersfield, Calif.) scoring. Masato Chilcutt (San Antonio, Texas) followed with an RBI-single up the middle, and Hamilton completed the four-run inning by scoring on a wild pitch to take a 6-0 lead.
Dean Moss (Hillsborough, Calif.) struck out to leadoff the third inning, but was able to reach on a dropped third strike. Paul Dominguez (Anaheim, Calif.) made Mexico pay for the mistake, hitting a monstrous two-run home run well beyond the center field fence and into the parking lot. Dominguez's fifth home run of the tournament not only provided USA an 8-0 lead, but it also was USA's 38th home run of the tournament to set a USA single-tournament record.
The offense was clicking for USA, but so was Kibru Pam (Pasadena, Calif.) on the mound. The starting pitcher faced one batter over the minimum through his first four innings. He allowed two hits over the span and both were infield singles. He faced trouble in the fifth inning, allowing a runner to score from third base on a bases loaded ground out, but he prevented any further damage with a strikeout for the third out while two runners were in scoring position.
USA matched the Mexico run in the bottom of the fifth inning with a Thompson two-out infield single to score Kailand Halstead (Aberdeen, Wash.). They added insurance in the bottom of the sixth inning with a high arching two-run home run from Hamilton for his fourth home run of the tournament. The blast extended the USA lead to 10-1.
Hamilton, who moved from center field to the mound to start the sixth inning, allowed one hit over the final two innings of work. Mexico's Ricardo Orozco led off the seventh inning with a single and eventually scored on a passed ball. Hamilton was able to force Fernando Rubio into a double play to end the game and the on-field celebration began for the U.S.
Chilcutt (2-for-4), Davis (2-for-3), Moss (2-for-4) and Thompson (2-for-3) each had a multi-hit game for the U.S. Hamilton led the squad with a three-RBI performance. On the mound, Pam (1-0) claimed the victory with one run allowed off three hits and struck out four batters. Salvador Villegas was straddled with the loss for Mexico, allowing seven runs (six earned) off five hits in 3.1 innings.
The win moved USA to 5-2 all-time against Mexico, and they are 1-1 against them in U-12 Pan American championship games. USA went 9-0 in the tournament and their 10-2 win over Mexico was their smallest margin of victory. Their success in the tournament qualified them for the 2019 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-12 Baseball World Cup in Taiwan. The USA Baseball 12U National Team, winning their first gold at the U-12 Pan American Championships, are a three-time defending world champion at the WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup.
Inside the Numbers
4 - Four members of the U.S. received all-tournament awards and honors. Kibru Pam (MVP), Kailand Halstead (Batting Champion), Dean Moss (RBI Champion, First Baseman) and Brock Thompson (Second Baseman) each received recognition at the conclusion of Sunday's game.
127-7 - The U.S. outscored their opponents 127-7 and they outhit them 122-20. USA's pitching staff pitched two no-hitters and four one-hitters in the tournament. Their prior single-tournament record for runs allowed was 81 (2015) and hits was 87 (2015).
41 - USA combined for 41 runs in the first inning (they did not allow a run in the first inning) during the tournament.
39 - The U.S. hit 39 home runs in the tournament which topped their prior single-tournament high of 37 from the 2016 tournament.
32 - In 38 innings of at-bats, USA scored at least 1 run in 32 of the innings.
12 - Twelve different USA players hit a home run in this season's tournament. Kailand Halstead led the team with six.
.557 - USA hit .557 in the tournament (single-tournament record). Dean Moss led the team hitting .727 (16-for-22).
.579 - The U.S. hit .579 (70/121) with runners on base. They held their opponents to 0-for-22 in the same category through the first five games of the tournament (opponents finished 6-for-62, .097). USA went 53-for-87, .609 with runners in scoring position.
AGUASCALIENTES, Mexico - If there were any questions if Team USA is eager and ready to get to Sunday's gold medal game of the COPABE U-12 Pan American Championship, they were answered Saturday at CECADI Stadium. The U.S. used a nine-run first inning and Brady Strohm (Winchester, Calif.) pitched USA's second consecutive one-hitter (fourth of the tournament) to shutout Nicaragua 15-0 in a game shortened to three innings to close out Super Round play.
In the bottom of the first inning, USA sent 13 batters to the plate, with the first 11 batters reaching base safely. Dean Moss (Hillsborough, Calif.) added to his team-leading RBI totals with a two-run single, and three batters later, Brock Thompson (Bakersfield, Calif.) crushed a grand slam for the team's third slam and Thompson's fourth homer of the tournament. Kameron Davis (Albany, Ga.) and Michael Torres (Miami, Fla.) closed out the scoring in the frame with RBI-singles.
Moss hit a single to lead off the second inning and eventually scored on a wild pitch. The run was USA's lone run of the inning and they took a 10-0 lead into the third inning. Nicaragua was unable to record an out in the third inning, as five batters stepped into the batter's box and three hit home runs for USA. Torres and pinch hitter Gavin Garguilo (Coral Springs, Fla.) led off the third inning with back-to-back home runs, and Paul Dominguez (Anaheim, Calif.) ended the game with a three-run home run to activate the run-rule (15-run lead after three innings).
On the mound, Strohm allowed one hit in his three-inning complete game victory, which improved him to 2-0 in the tournament. Nicaragua's Erick Gomez had their lone hit of the game with a two-out single in the top of the second inning. Jose Cano suffered the loss for Nicaragua. He went 0.1 innings and allowed six runs off five hits.
USA produced 16 hits from a combined 11 different players. Dominguez, one of four U.S. players with at least two hits, led the team with a 3-for-3 performance at the dish. He and Thompson co-led the squad with four runs-batted-in.
USA improved their all-time mark to 4-2 against Nicaragua, with a 2-2 mark in games played in COPABE competition. The U.S. is now 8-0 overall in this season's tournament and they completed the Super Round with a 3-0 mark. Sunday, USA will go for their first ever gold medal in the tournament's history. The U.S. will face Mexico, who clinched their berth to the championship game Saturday with a win over Cuba. First pitch is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. (CT) at CECADI Stadium in Aguascalientes.
Inside the Numbers
117-5 - The U.S. has outscored their opponents 117-5 and they have outhit them 112-16. USA's pitching staff has pitched two no-hitters and four one-hitters in the tournament.
40 - USA has combined for 40 runs in the first inning (have not allowed a run), and they are averaging five runs per game in the first inning.
37 - The U.S. has hit 37 home runs in the tournament through eight games. The total matches their single-tournament high from the 2016 tournament. The 37 home runs in 2016 was at a pace of 4.1 per game (averaging 4.6 per game this tournament).
27 - In 32 innings of at-bats, USA has scored at least 1 run in 27 of the innings.
12 - Twelve different USA players have hit a home run in this season's tournament. Kailand Halstead leads the team with six.
.586 - USA is batting .586 in the tournament. Christian Hamilton leads the team hitting .800 (12-for-15).
.590 - The U.S. is hitting .590 (62/105) with runners on base. They held their opponents to 0-for-22 in the same category through the first five games of the tournament (opponents now 6-for-54, .111). USA is 48-for-75, .640 with runners in scoring position.
AGUASCALIENTES, Mexico - Team USA's Paul Dominguez (Anaheim, Calif.) and Gavin Gargiulo (Coral Springs, Fla.) combined to hold Mexico to one hit, while Dean Moss (Hillsborough, Calif.) went 3-for-3 with two home runs and six RBI, and the U.S. defeated Mexico 11-0 Friday in the Super Round at CECADI Stadium. Both teams entered the game 6-0 and USA's victory clinched a spot in Sunday's COPABE U-12 Pan American Championship gold medal game.
Dominguez, making his first start on the hill since pitching a no-hitter against Panama on August 26, went 3.2 innings and a single up the middle by Darey Flores to lead off the second inning was the only hit for Mexico. Dominguez, who struck out four batters, walked five batters, but he recovered to hold Mexico 0-for-11 with runners on base (they finished the game 0-for-12). Garguilo pitched the final 1.1 innings and retired all four batters he faced (two by strikeouts). Dominguez was credited with the win and improves to 2-0 in the tourney. The one-hit pitching performance marks the team's third one-hitter of the tournament for USA.
Kameron Davis (Albany, Ga.) opened the bottom of the first inning the same way he has the prior two games and that was with a leadoff home run. His fourth homer of the tournament jump-started a five-run inning for the U.S. The first six USA batters reached base safely and the inning's scoring was capped by a grand slam home run from Moss. The slam was USA's second of the tournament.
USA added to the 5-0 lead in the second inning. Masato Chilcutt (San Antonio, Texas) dumped a single into right field to plate Julius Pfau (Tampa, Fla.) before Kailand Halstead (Aberdeen, Wash.) blasted a three-run home run. Halstead's team-leading sixth home run of the tournament provided USA a 9-0 lead.
Halstead was hit by a pitch in the fourth inning and Moss followed with his second home run of the game to push USA's lead to 11-0. The game ended after the top of the fifth inning with USA leading by more than 10 runs after five innings.
USA finished the game with seven hits, which is their lowest mark in the tournament, but five were for extra bases (four home runs). Moss was responsible for three of the extra base hits, as two home runs and a double made up his 3-for-3 performance at the plate. His six runs-batted-in was the most by a USA member this season (he leads the team with 17 RBI in the tournament).
USA improved their all-time mark to 4-2 all-time against Mexico, with a 2-2 mark in games played in COPABE competition. It was the USA's first win over Mexico on their soil since July 14, 2014 (USA had lost the prior two).
The U.S. is now 7-0 overall in this season's tournament and their 2-0 Super Round record has them a berth into the gold medal game Sunday. Cuba and Mexico face each other Saturday and the winner will clinch the berth to play USA.
USA has one more Super Round contest before Sunday's championship. They face Nicaragua Saturday at 9 a.m. (CT) at CECADI Stadium in Aguascalientes.
Inside the Numbers
102-5 - The U.S. has outscored their opponents 102-5 and they have outhit them 96-15. USA's pitching staff has pitched two no-hitters and three one-hitters in the tournament.
33 - The U.S. has hit 33 home runs in the tournament through seven games. The single-tournament high for the U.S. is 37 from the 2016 tournament. The 37 home runs in 2016 was at a pace of 4.1 per game (averaging 4.7 per game this tournament).
24 - In 29 innings of at-bats, USA has scored at least 1 run in 24 of the innings.
12 - Twelve different USA players have hit a home run in this season's tournament. Kailand Halstead leads the team with six.
.568 - USA is batting .568 in the tournament. Christian Hamilton leads the team hitting .786 (11-for-14).
.584 - The U.S. is hitting .584 (52/89) with runners on base. They held their opponents to 0-for-22 in the same category through the first five games of the tournament (opponents now 5-for-49, .102). USA is 40-for-64, .625 with runners in scoring position.
VIERA, FLA. - The USA Baseball Women's National Team ended its run at the 2018 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Women's Baseball World Cup with a heartbreaking 8-5 loss to Canada in the bronze medal game on Friday at the USSSA Space Coast Complex in Viera, Florida.
Despite getting out to an early lead and then forcing extra innings with a late rally, the U.S. couldn't hang on as Canada's bats caught fire in the tenth.
The U.S. took charge in the first inning as it put two runs on the board courtesy of a Michelle Cobb (Wenatchee, Wash.) single and a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch. That lead would hold until the fifth as the pitching locked in on both sides.
Team USA's Brittany Schutte (Gainesville, Fla.) put together a strong start, giving up just four hits in five innings and striking out two. All of the runs Schutte allowed came on one hit as Daphnee Gelinas hit a three-run home run in the top of fifth to give Canada a 3-2 lead.
A rally, sparked by a leadoff single from Jade Gortarez (Riverside, Calif.) and a sacrifice bunt by Amanda Gianelloni (Napoleonville, La.), got the momentum rolling back in the U.S.'s direction in the seventh inning. Malaika Underwood (San Diego, Calif.) came to the plate and the veteran came through once again, roping a double to left-center that tied the game at 3-3 and forced extra baseball.
Stacy Piagno (St. Augustine, Fla.) came took over on the mound in the seventh inning and shut Canada down in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings. But Team USA couldn't cash in on bases loaded situations in the eighth or ninth innings either, sending the contest to the tenth where Canada took control.
The U.S. had its work cut out for it in the bottom of the tenth after Canada put up five runs in the top half for a commanding 8-3 lead. The stars and stripes loaded the bases once again and an AJ Hamilton (Tallahassee, Fla.) single brought in two to cut the deficit to just three but a double play ended the inning and gave Canada the final 8-5 win.
Following the conclusion of the event on Friday night, it was announced by the WBSC that two U.S. players were named to the WBSC Women's Baseball World Cup All-World Team. Megan Baltzell (Stafford, Va.) was named the All-World Designated Hitter, while Meggie Meidlinger (Sterling, Va.) was named the All-World Relief Pitcher. In five appearances in the 2018 event, Meidlinger tallied a 0.00 ERA, while allowing just three hits and striking out three.
Baltzell hit a team-high .500 and also led the tournament in home runs with two. The lefty now owns the WBSC Women's Baseball World Cup home run record after hitting one in the 2016 World Cup and two this year. In addition to being named to the All-World Team, Baltzell won two individual awards for her stellar performance in the event. She took home the hardware for most home runs (2) and most RBI (10).
Team USA finished the World Cup 6-3 with a 1.98 team ERA and a collective .288 average.
VIERA, FLA. - The USA Baseball Women's National Team finished off Super Round play in the 2018 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Women's Baseball World Cup with an 8-1 defeat of Dominican Republic at the USSSA Space Coast Complex in Viera, Florida, on Thursday night.
Having already secured a spot in the World Cup bronze medal game with Canada's loss to Chinese Taipei earlier in the day, the U.S. still came out swinging.
The Dominican Republic opened the scoring with a run in the top of the first but that was all the team would get in the contest as three U.S. pitchers combined for six subsequent innings.
Kelsie Whitmore (Temecula, Calif.) got her second start of the World Cup on Thursday and set the tone early on the mound for Team USA. She allowed just three hits, one walk and no earned runs in four solid innings before handing the ball to Laura Collins (Hollywood, Fla.) and Emily Tsujikawa (Redmond, Wash.) to finish off the win. Neither relief pitcher gave up a hit in the final three innings.
On the offensive side, the red, white and blue responded to the Dominican Republic's run in the top of the first with a six-run bottom half to put the game away early. The inning was highlighted by clutch hitting as all six runs came with two outs.
Megan Baltzell (Stafford, Va.), Michelle Cobb (Wenatchee, Wash.), Kylee Lahners (Laguna Hills, Calif.) and Anna Kimbrell (Fort Mill, S.C.) collected hits and the squad also took advantage of walks and hit-by-pitches to take a 6-1 lead to the second inning.
Team USA added to its lead with one run each in the third and fifth innings for the final score of 8-1 to claim the win. Baltzell finished the contest 2-for-4 with a run scored and Kimbrell went 1-for-2 with two RBI and a run scored.
The U.S. will play Canada for the 2018 WBSC Women's Baseball World Cup bronze medal at 1 p.m. ET on Friday, August 31, at the USSSA Space Coast Complex in Viera, Fla. This will be the second game in the 2018 tournament between the two teams as they matched up against each other in the Super Round on Wednesday. Team USA came out on top in that game with a 5-1 win. Friday's bronze medal game will be streamed live on the WBSC YouTube channel.
Continue to follow @USABaseballWNT on Twitter for the most up-to-date news about the Women's National Team.
AGUASCALIENTES, Mexico - Team USA blasted six home runs, with three hit in the first inning and two by Christian Hamilton (Lauderhill, Fla.), to help defeat Venezuela 15-4 in their opening Super Round game of the 2018 COPABE U-12 Pan American Championships at Guel Jimenez Baseball Park.
Before the U.S. could get to the bottom of the first, to swing the bats, they had to withstand a quick jab thrown by Venezuela in the top half of the inning. USA, entering the game with five hits allowed in five tournament games combined, surrendered two hits on the opening two pitches of the game. Starting pitcher Ross Felder (Springdale, Ark.) settled down and retired the next three batters in order, including a strikeout with two runners in scoring position to keep Valenzuela off the scoreboard.
Kameron Davis (Albany, Ga.), who hit a home run on the first pitch he saw to lead off the bottom of the first inning Wednesday (against Brazil), did the same thing Thursday with a line drive home run over the right field fence for his third home run of the tournament. Hamilton followed Davis with a homer to complete back-to-back solo shots for a 2-0 U.S. lead. The first five U.S. batters reached base on hits and it led to a seven-run inning capped by a two-run home run from Brock Thompson (Bakersfield, Calif.) for his third home run in the tournament.
Venezuela cut into the USA lead and ended their streak of 16 consecutive shutout innings in the second inning with a two-out three-run home run hit by David Guzman to cut the USA lead to 7-3. The U.S. matched the three runs in the bottom of the second inning. Hamilton started a three-run second inning with another solo home run for his second homer of the game and third of the tournament.
The 10-3 U.S. lead was cut into in the fourth inning with a solo home run by Venezuela's Kevin Ereu. They followed with a pair of hits, which led to Talin Gardini (San Diego, Calif.) relieving Felder. Gardini was able prevent any further damage and was able to record the third out with the bases loaded, which was the first bases loaded at-bit by a U.S. opponent in the tourney.
USA used their offense to finish off the game in the sixth inning. Before an out could be recorded, Masato Chilcutt (San Antonio, Texas) drove in Hamilton and Dean Moss (Hillsborough, Calif.), the fourth batter of the inning, hit a three-run home run to end the game due to a 10-run lead after five innings.
Hamilton completed the game 4-for-4 with two home runs and two runs-batted-in. He was one of six U.S. players with a multi-hit game and he is the second U.S. member this tournament to have a four-hit performance. Chilcutt finished with three hits (3-for-4) and Moss' walk-off provided him with a team-high three runs-batted-in.
Felder was credited with the win (2-0), as he went 3.1 innings and allowed four runs off seven hits. Gardini went 2.2 shutout innings in relief, allowing two hits and striking out three batters.
Venezuela, who fell to 4-2 in the tournament, used three pitchers in the first inning (starter Jose Nava, who did not record an out, was tacked with the loss), and settled with Jenderson Suarez for 4.1 innings of work. Suarez allowed six runs off eight hits. Guzman led them at the plate, going 2-for-4 with three RBI.
USA moved their all-time mark to 4-1 all-time against Venezuela, with a 3-0 mark in games played in COPABE competition. The U.S. is now 6-0 overall in this season's tournament and 1-0 in Super Round play . They continue the three-game Super Round series in Aguascalientes Friday facing host Mexico (6-0) with a 12 p.m. (CT) first pitch at CECADI Stadium. The game will pit the two tournament heavyweights, as each team won their group and each are 6-0 in the tournament.
Inside the Numbers
91-5 - The U.S. has outscored their opponents 91-5 and they have outhit them 89-14. USA's pitching staff has pitched two no-hitters and two one-hitters in the tournament.
17.3 - USA has produced at least 10 hits in all six games of the tournament and is averaging 17.3 hits over their last three games.
29 - The U.S. has hit 29 home runs in the tournament through six games. The single-tournament high for the U.S. is 37 from the 2016 tournament. The 37 home runs in 2016 was at a pace of 4.8 per game (averaging 4.6 per game this tournament).
21 - In 25 innings of at-bats, USA has scored at least 1 run in 21 of the innings.
12 - Twelve different USA players have hit a home run in this season's tournament. Kailand Halstead and Masato Chilcutt co-lead the team with five each.
.589 - USA is batting .589 in the tournament. Hamilton leads the team hitting .833 (10-for-12).
.615 - The U.S. is hitting .615 (48/78) with runners on base. They held their opponents to 0-for-22 in the same category through the first five games of the tournament. USA is 37-for-57, .649 with runners in scoring position after going 7-for-8 in the category against Venezuela.
VIERA, FLA. - The USA Baseball Women's National Team picked up a crucial 5-1 victory over Canada to keep its gold medal hopes alive in the 2018 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Women's Baseball World Cup on Wednesday night at the USSSA Space Coast Complex in Viera, Florida.
Seven players collected hits in the contest while Megan Baltzell (Stafford, Va.) and Anna Kimbrell (Fort Mill, S.C.) both had multi-hit games for the red, white and blue. Marti Sementelli (Newton, Mass.) dominated on the mound, giving up just three hits and one run in six stellar innings of work.
After going down 1-0 in the first inning, the U.S. quickly got its offense rolling for the immediate answer. A leadoff double from Kylee Lahners (Laguna Hills, Calif.) and a two-out hit-by-pitch brought Jade Gortarez (Riverside, Calif.) to the plate with runners on the corners. The shortstop did not disappoint, launching the first pitch she saw 329 feet over the left field wall to give Team USA a 3-1 advantage that it would not relinquish.
The stars and stripes added to their lead in the next inning as Baltzell brought out her own power. The right fielder crushed a 360-foot home run - her second dinger of the tournament - to center field to make it 4-1 in favor of the U.S. Baltzell went 3-for-4 on Wednesday and is now hitting .550 with two long balls, four doubles and 10 RBI in the tournament.
Michelle Cobb (Wenatchee, Wash.) followed the leadoff bomb with a single before a Kimbrell double put two runners in scoring position for Alex Hugo (Olathe, Kan.), who reached on an error that scored Cobb. The two-run inning gave Team USA a 5-1 lead that would prove to be the final score on the night as the pitching staff took care of business from there.
After allowing the run in the first, Sementelli locked in. She sat down seven consecutive batters following a leadoff walk in the third and a quick three up, three down sixth inning set the stage for Meggie Meidlinger (Sterling, Va.).
Meidlinger made her fourth appearance of the World Cup when she took the mound to close it out in the seventh. She gave up one hit - her first of the event - but a fielder's choice and a double play erased the threat and finished off the victory for the U.S.
Team USA's final game of the World Cup Super Round will be at 6 p.m. ET on Thursday, August 29, against the Dominican Republic at the USSSA Space Coast Complex in Viera, Fla. The game will be streamed live on the WBSC YouTube channel.
Continue to follow @USABaseballWNT on Twitter for the most up-to-date news about the Women's National Team.
AGUASCALIENTES, Mexico - In the process of scoring 15 runs off 18 hits, Team USA's Tristan Bristow (San Antonio, Texas) and Gavin Gargiulo (Coral Springs, Fla.) combined to no-hit Brazil in a 15-0 victory at Ferrocarilero Park. The no-hitter is USA's second of the tournament and they have allowed two hits over their last four games to complete group play with a 5-0 record at the 2018 COPABE U-12 Pan American Championships.
Bristow started on the mound and went the first two innings before handing the ball over to Gargiulo for the third inning. Brazil was held to three base runners in the game, with two reaching on walks and one reaching on a dropped third strike. USA faced two batters over the minimum. Bristow was credited with the victory (1-0).
The game ended in the third inning due to USA leading by 15 runs through three innings of play. Their offense was geared up on the very first pitch of the bottom of the first inning. Kameron Davis (Albany, Ga.) hit the first pitch over the right field fence for a quick 1-0 lead. Davis' home run, his second of the tournament, was the first of six runs in the inning for the U.S. Kailand Halstead (Aberdeen, Wash.) plated a pair of runs with a single to left field before Kibru Pam (Pasadena, Calif.), Travis Friend (Whittier, Calif.) and Julius Pfau (Tampa, Fla.) each contributed an RBI to complete the scoring in the first inning.
Christian Hamilton (Lauderhill, Fla.) duplicated Davis' first inning feat in the second inning, hitting the first pitch of the bottom of the second inning over the fence. His home run was the first of the tournament and it provided the U.S. their first of two runs in the second inning. Their second run was registered on a Pam RBI-Single through the right side for an 8-0 lead.
USA sent 11 batters to the plate in the third inning and 10 reached base safely. Pfau and Hamilton each had doubles before Halstead blasted a three-run home run to center field to highlight a seven-run inning. Pfau completed a 2-for-2 performance in the inning alone with a bases-loaded chopper that resulted in the 15th run of the game to halt the game.
All nine batters in the starting lineup produced at least one hit for USA, with seven players producing at least two hits. Hamilton and Pfau each went 3-for-3 at the plate to lead USA in hits. Halstead led the team with five runs-batted-in. USA was 13-for-19 in at-bats with runners on base and 10-for-15 with runners in scoring position. They faced five different Brazil pitchers, and four of the five pitchers did not go more than 0.1 innings.
USA moved their all-time mark to 4-0 all-time against Brazil, with three of the games played in COPABE competition. The U.S. also completed their Group B play with a 5-0 record, finishing atop the group standings (Brazil finished 1-4). They begin the Super Round (three games) in Aguascalientes Thursday facing Venezuela (4-1) with a 12 p.m. (CT) first pitch at Guel Jimenez Park.
Inside the Numbers
76-1 - The U.S. has outscored their opponents 76-1 and they have outhit them 72-5. USA's pitching staff has pitched two no-hitters and two one-hitters in the tournament.
23 - USA has hit 23 home runs in the tournament through five games. The single-tournament high for the U.S. is 37 from the 2016 tournament. The 37 home runs in 2016 was at a pace of 4.1 per game (averaging 4.6 per game this tournament).
17 - In 19 innings of at-bats, USA has scored at least 1 run in 17 of the innings.
12 - With Christian Hamilton's home run Wednesday, 12 different USA players have hit a home run in this season's tournament.
.585 - USA is batting .585 in the tournament. Julius Pfau leads the team hitting .875 (7-for-8)
.631 - USA is hitting .631 (41/65) with runners on base, while holding their opponents to 0-for-22 in the same category. Opponents have been limited to eight at-bats with runners in scoring position (USA is 30-for-49, .612 in the category).