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Golden Spikes Spotlight: J.B. Bukauskas

May 24, 2017

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."

 

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CNT

USA Baseball Names Paul Mainieri 2018 Collegiate National Team Manager

October 17, 2017

DURHAM, N.C. - USA Baseball named LSU Head Coach Paul Mainieri the manager for the 2018 Collegiate National Team on Friday. An American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Hall of Famer, Mainieri led LSU to a national championship in 2009 and five NCAA College World Series appearances overall, including a runner-up finish in 2017.

2018 will be Mainieri's second coaching stint for Team USA after serving as an assistant coach on the Collegiate National Team in 2015, and he will be tasked with continuing an exceptional run of success. USA Baseball is coming off its 2017 season where it became the first federation in history to sweep its international competitions, highlighted by a World Baseball Classic title, two World Baseball Softball Confederation Baseball World Championships and three international friendship series victories by the Collegiate National Team over Chinese Taipei, Cuba and Japan.

"USA Baseball is delighted to welcome Paul Mainieri to the USA Baseball coaching ranks in 2018," said Paul Seiler, Executive Director and CEO of USA Baseball. "Paul has done an outstanding job over his thirty-five seasons coaching collegiate baseball and we are excited to have him bring his exceptional resume of success to our Collegiate National Team as we look to build off last season's unprecedented achievements."

Mainieri begins his 12th season at the helm of LSU and has posted a 512-202-3 record (.716) since arriving in Baton Rouge in 1997. He was named the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Coach of the Year in 2009 and 2015, and has led the Tigers to 29 team championships, including an NCAA title, five Super Regional championships, seven NCAA Regional championships, six SEC Tournament titles, four SEC championships and six SEC Western Division crowns.

Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball tabbed Mainieri as the National Coach of the Year in 2009 and he was also honored with national coach of the year honors by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, in addition to being awarded the Skip Bertman trophy, in 2015.

As the head coach at LSU, he has coached 11 First Team All-Americans and 15 players who have played in Major League Baseball. Additionally, he has coached five players who have participated on the Collegiate National Team: Micah Gibbs (2008), Mikie Mahtook (2010), Kevin Gausman (2011), Alex Bregman (2013, 2014) and Alex Lange (2016).

"Words cannot adequately describe how honored and proud I am to have the opportunity to lead the USA Collegiate National Team in the summer of 2018," said Mainieri. "It has been a goal of mine since I went in to coaching thirty-six years ago to one day coach our nation's team and to now have that dream realized is almost overwhelming. When you pull that jersey on over your head and it says 'USA' across the front, your emotions are impossible to describe. We live in the greatest country in the world and I am so proud to be an American, and I also love college baseball. To combine those two things is as good as it gets for me.

"My three mentors throughout my coaching life - Tommy Lasorda, Ron Maestri, and my father, Demie Mainieri - all took their turn in coaching Team USA. And now I get the opportunity to follow in their footsteps. I'm thrilled beyond words to have this wonderful experience."

Mainieri currently sits at No. 4 on the career wins list for active NCAA coaches, No. 10 in all-time NCAA wins and is one of only seven coaches in NCAA baseball history to have won over 1,300 games and a national championship. He has led the Tigers to the nation's highest win total over the last 10 seasons with 484 victories.

The remaining Collegiate National Team staff and schedule will be announced at a later time 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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USA Baseball Focuses on Childhood Health and Development

October 16, 2017

Childhood obesity is an epidemic. With more than 12,550,000 American children and adolescents that are obese, it has more than tripled in the last 40 years. Due in part to this trend, 1 in 3 children that were born in the year 2000 will develop Type 2 diabetes at some point in their lifetime. For the first time in two centuries, the current generation of children in the United States may have shorter life expectancies than their parents.

But this epidemic is also preventable. Communities, health professionals, organizations, and families can work together to create opportunities for kids to eat healthier and get more active. That is why USA Baseball joined forces with The Congressional Task Force on Childhood Obesity for their Childhood Obesity Prevention Awareness Expo on October 13. The Task Force is challenged with creating a healthy start in life for children, from infancy through early childhood; empowering parents and caregivers to make healthy choices for their families; serving healthier food in schools; ensuring access to healthy, affordable food; and increasing opportunities for physical activity.

Along with three other sports (soccer, wheelchair basketball, and lacrosse), USA Baseball participated in the Expo as an activity station where attendees received a hands-on learning experience with USA Baseball's newest childhood enrichment initiative, Fun at Bat. Expo attendees included members of Congress and their respective staffs.

Fun At Bat is a bat and ball, entry-level program for kids with an emphasis on character development, functional movement, active play and fun. The initiative stems from meticulous research on introductory youth sport programs and is supported by Major League Baseball (MLB), SHAPE America, Franklin Sports and industry professionals. The curriculum for the program was created in partnership by USA Baseball and SHAPE America to help students meet and exceed the National Physical Education Standards. The program focuses on physical literacy through age appropriate games and activities, as well as character development through USA Baseball Championship Principles. The Championship Principles are a collection of eight positive character traits that are taught to the children throughout the Fun at Bat lessons. Children also receive the Fun at Bat book, which provides a story for each Championship Principle.

USA Baseball has created several other initiatives that raise awareness and provide solutions around the current state of childhood health. Among those initiatives is the Long-Term Athlete Development Plan (LTAD). The LTAD, created with support from MLB, is a multi-stage developmental pathway for an individual's life-long experience within the sport of baseball in the United States. Through developmentally appropriate programs for all ages, the LTAD aims to increase participation, aid in performance, and enhance enjoyment across the sport of baseball at all levels. The LTAD is a culmination of evidence-based information and provides structure around physical literacy, physical development, injury prevention, psychosocial well-being, specialization, periodization and competition.

While Fun at Bat and the LTAD are centered on athlete development, USA Baseball believes that coach, parent, and umpire education is equally as important in creating a positive experience within the game. With that focus in mind, the USA Baseball Online Education Center was created to provide free educational resources to all constituents of the game, specifically coaches, parents and umpires. The Online Education Center hosts online courses, the Sport Development Blog, and the LTAD, and provides access to the USA Baseball Mobile Coach app and the Amateur Resource Center. The online courses, free to all users, are hosted by some of the most esteemed professionals within the game and can be completed in less than 30 minutes. Courses focus on various topics within the game, such as creating a positive and successful environment, coaching your own child, skill development, and keeping perspective. In addition to the courses, the Sport Development Blog also provides resources on team development, skill development, and coaching philosophy, among other topics.

With the goal to enrich the game of baseball for all participants, USA Baseball continues to provide resources and programs for athletes of all ages, as well as coaches, parents, and umpires within the game. USA Baseball is committed to Our Pastimes Future and helping children lead healthy lives both on and off the diamond.

For more information on USA Baseball's current Sport Development initiatives, please visit the Sport Development homepage.

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Thirty-Five Alumni to Compete in 2017 MLB ALCS and NLCS

October 13, 2017

DURHAM, N.C. - Following the conclusion of the 2017 Major League Baseball American League and National League Division Series, 35 USA Baseball alumni have advanced to the two League Championship Series.

All four of the teams feature at least six alumni on their rosters, with the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros leading the way with 10 apiece. The Los Angeles Dodgers are close behind with nine former Team USA players, while the New York Yankees boast six.

Ten of the alumni participated on multiple teams for the stars and stripes. Albert Almora, who has appeared on seven teams, and Alex Bregman, who has played for Team USA five times, headline the list of multiple-time alums.

The ALCS starts Friday, October 13, at 8 p.m. ET and the NLCS will get underway Saturday, October 14, at 8 p.m. ET.

The full list of alumni in the 2017 MLB NLCS and ALCS is as follows:

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

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

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

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USA Baseball Mourns the Passing of Dr. Creighton J. Hale

October 10, 2017

Durham, N.C. - USA Baseball Executive Director, Paul Seiler, released the following statement in response to the passing of Dr. Creighton Hale:

"Dr. Hale was a visionary in every sense of the word. Baseball and all sports within the amateur landscape owe him a debt of gratitude for his dedication and years of service. USA Baseball joins in the mourning of this tremendous loss and honoring of his legacy and memory."

 

The following release was issued by Little League International:

South Williamsport, Pa. (October 8, 2017) - Little League® International is deeply saddened to announce the passing of Dr. Creighton J. Hale, a titan of the youth sports industry, accomplished safety innovator, and former President and CEO of Little League International. Dr. Hale (1924-2017), served as Little League President from 1973 to 1994, and was appointed Chief Executive Officer in 1983.

Dr. Hale, 93, joined Little League as the Director of Research in 1955. His research efforts led to innovations that changed the way the game of baseball was played, and his vision helped make Little League a fabric of neighborhoods and communities around the world. He was the second full-time President in the history of the organization, succeeding Peter J. McGovern. From 1994 to 2001, Dr. Hale served as special advisor to current Little League President and CEO, Stephen D. Keener. He announced his retirement from the Little League International Board of Directors in 2014, after 60 years with the organization.

"Little League would not be what it is today without the unequaled leadership of Dr. Hale," said Mr. Keener. "Through his 60-year tenure with Little League, his legacy is arguably one of the most important in the history of sports. Personally, I could not have asked for a more dedicated mentor and kind, thoughtful friend, and I will miss him deeply. We are forever grateful for Dr. Hale's lasting impact on our program, and for his leadership and counsel over these many years. During this difficult time, our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Beverly, as well as his children, family, and many friends."

Prior to joining Little League, Dr. Hale was an Associate Professor of Physiology at Springfield (Mass.) College. He earned degrees from Colgate University, Springfield College, and New York University. Originally from Hardy, Neb., Dr. Hale's research and innovations in the games of baseball and softball led to the development of the double ear-flap batter's helmet, catcher's helmet, chest protector with throat guard, and the non-wood baseball bat. As Little League President and CEO, he oversaw vast expansion of the Little League program domestically and abroad, the inclusion of girls in the Little League program, the creation of Little League Softball® and the Little League Challenger Division®, and provided millions of children the opportunity to play baseball and softball.

"My father and I had the greatest admiration for Dr. Creighton Hale and we both served as Trustees on the Little League Foundation Board," said Peter O'Malley, former longtime Los Angeles Dodgers owner and President. "Dr. Hale was a pioneer and his vision to innovate equipment for safety was internationally recognized. His passion for growing inner-city baseball was instrumental in giving more children an opportunity to enjoy playing our national pastime. Our thoughts are with Mrs. Hale and their family." In addition to his advances in safety equipment for baseball and softball, Dr. Hale served as chairman of the military committee that oversaw the development of the Kevlar helmet, as well as the lightweight bullet-proof vest. Through his accomplishments, Dr. Hale received countless honors both locally in the Williamsport community, and nationally, from USA Baseball, the White House, the American College of Sports Medicine, and more. Under Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon, Dr. Hale served on the President's Council for Youth Fitness.

"Dr. Hale was an inspiration; he was the consummate gentleman and a leader in his field of science, youth sports and Little League in particular," said Davie Jane Gilmour, Ph.D., Little League International Board of Directors Chairman. "My life is more rich for the time we spent together laughing, thinking and looking to the future."

He was a Charter Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, and a Presidential Appointee to the White House Conference for a Drug-Free America. Dr. Hale was the published author of nearly 30 research articles.

Dr. Hale is survived by his wife, Beverly and his children, Tad (Jenny) Hale and Kathy Dumanis. Also surviving Dr. Hale are 10 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. He is predeceased by his son, Timothy, and parents, Russell and Anita.

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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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Sport Dev

USA Baseball Releases Long Term Athlete Development Plan

September 20, 2017

DURHAM, N.C. - USA Baseball announced on Wednesday the release of its Long Term Athlete Development Plan (LTAD) for the sport of baseball in the United States. Supported by Major League Baseball (MLB), the LTAD provides a multi-stage developmental pathway for an individual's lifelong experience within the sport, with the ultimate goals of increasing participation, aiding in performance and enhancing enjoyment across the sport of baseball.

The LTAD plan is a culmination of evidence-based information from a contributing group of leading sport scientists, along with input from an interdisciplinary leadership group consisting of experts from the medical safety industry, MLB league and club executives, and an advisory group inclusive of leaders from across the amateur baseball landscape.

"USA Baseball conducted a multi-faceted audit of the amateur marketplace in 2014 and identified several challenges facing the amateur game, most notably the lack of coaching education, lack of structured guidance throughout a player's childhood and adolescence, and the increasing costs of participation," said Rick Riccobono, USA Baseball's Chief Development Office. "Additional challenges included early single sport specialization, year-round play, and the disproportionate ratio between development and competition. This data served as a launching pad for the LTAD process."

The LTAD aims to offer solutions for the entire baseball community, namely:

• Enhancing all participants' experience within the sport
• Promoting age-appropriate physical literacy and psychosocial development
• Underscoring best practices for player health and safety, including postponement of single sport specialization
• Encouraging age-appropriate skill development progression
• Prolonging individual engagement through improved infrastructure
• Promoting life-long engagement through mentoring and recreational play

The LTAD recognizes the need to involve all amateurs in the developmental pathway and is made up of a seven-stage framework that builds upon itself. An athlete can enter into the pathway at any point through his or her progression. Each stage in the LTAD is categorized by a chronological age group; however, the LTAD emphasizes the need to assess each individual athlete's skill sets in order to determine his or her pathway needs. The parameters of the stages set forth in the LTAD are meant as general guidelines rather than categorical constraints, and may vary depending on the individual athlete's physical and emotional maturation.

This framework also allows for athletes to begin an "Advanced Track" within the "Develop" Stage for 14- to 16-year-olds. Advanced athletes are those who show a high level of aptitude in the sport at their given age. The "Advanced Track" is a pathway of development that allows for athletes to direct more time and energy to training and competition for their high-level progress in the game.

"On behalf of the working group, we feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to collaborate with leaders from all across amateur baseball, in order to provide the scientific content to this important project," said Joseph Myers, Ph.D., ATC, Director of Baseball Performance Science for the Tampa Bay Rays and the LTAD Group Working Chair. "This collaboration resulted in a program that provides players, coaches, parents, and fans with a positive, fulfilling experience where talents can be maximized, healthy levels of fitness can be achieved, and ultimately the sport of baseball can be enjoyed for their entire lifetime."

The LTAD can be found at USABLTAD.com, or by accessing the USA Baseball Online Education Center at USABaseball.Education.

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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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