USA BASEBALL NEWS

GSA Spotlight: Brett Kinneman

March 7, 2018

NC State recruiting coordinator Chris Hart remembers seeing Brett Kinneman terrorize opposing pitching during a tournament in Charlottesville, Va., when he was a high school underclassmen. A week later, Kinneman did the same thing at a tournament in Atlanta, and Hart's mind was made up. The Wolfpack offered Kinneman a scholarship quickly and beat out plenty of other interested schools for his commitment.

Kinneman never really put up gaudy numbers in high school up in York, Pa., hitting .316 as a junior and .278 with three homers as a senior - but Hart knew he was getting a good player. He just didn't know how good. How could anyone know Kinneman would grow into one of college baseball's premier power hitters - and well, premier all-around players, gauging by the season's first three weeks - by the time he was a junior?

"You know how it works, you never really know until they step on campus, but I felt good about him," Hart said. "We gave him a pretty good scholarship and felt really good about him as a player."

As a freshman in the fall of 2015, it took no time at all for Kinneman to work his way into NC State head coach Elliott Avent's good graces.

"When he walked on campus, I told Chris Hart - who recruited him - 'I love that kid.' He's just a throwback to everything the game used to be when we all fell in love with it," Avent said. "I grew up loving Mickey Mantle, and I call him Mickey Mantle because he reminds me of Mickey Mantle. That guy's playing hurt. He banged into the wall his freshman year and dislocated his shoulder that he had dislocated on a swing. He does so many things. He reminds me a little bit of (former Wolfpack baseball/football player) Russell Wilson too - Russell used to play hurt all the time, and nobody would ever know he was hurt because he'd run off the field, and everybody thought he was fine.

"Kinneman's got that same makeup. And it's probably from his parents or grandparents or somebody, who knows where he got it from - he's just got that toughness that makes him a special player. He runs the bases well, he makes great turns. He plays the game like Pete Rose played it. He plays the game like you'd picture maybe Ty Cobb, Stan Musial, Joe DiMaggio, who had great respect for the game, Willie Mays - he'd always make great turns. They didn't play the game according to the score, they played the game the way it's supposed to be played. He reminds me of that since his freshman year."

It's a testament to Kinneman's authentic throwback style that Avent can go on and on about his turns around first base and his toughness and his genuine love for the game, before the coach ever gets around to the fact that Kinneman is hitting .462 and leading the nation in home runs (eight) and total bases (55), ranking second in RBIs (25) and fourth in slugging (1.058). Avent can't help but compare him to Mantle, Rose, Cobb, Musial, DiMaggio and Mays - for his hustle and his intensity and his joy on the diamond.

But OK, it's also nice that Kinneman has hit like those guys over the season's first three weeks.

Kinneman has always had a pretty lefthanded swing, and he has been a productive hitter his entire career at NC State. He posted a .931 OPS with six homers in 135 at-bats as a freshman in 2016, then put up an .874 OPS with 10 homers in 209 at-bats as a sophomore.

Those are rock-solid numbers, but they pale in comparison to Kinneman's 1.575 OPS so far this spring. He already has eight home runs in just 52 at-bats, not to mention three doubles and two triples.

Kinneman tantalized scouts with his bat speed and all-around tools package last summer in the Cape Cod League, but he also struck out an eyebrow-raising 47 times in 121 at-bats, following a sophomore spring in which he whiffed 64 times and drew 29 walks. So he's always seen a lot of pitches, and he's always shown the bat speed to catch up to good fastballs, but he needed to do a better job recognizing spin and picking the right pitches to swing at.

Hart said plate discipline has been a point of emphasis for the whole team this year, but nobody has made more progress in that area than Kinneman, who has seven walks and eight strikeouts, and is excelling at doing damage when he gets his pitch in the zone.

"It's like everybody does through time, their plate discipline becomes better," Avent said. "He's still gonna strike out, so did Mickey Mantle. All the guys who the ball jumps off their bat, they have some swing and miss in them, probably the only one who didn't was Barry Bonds. So he's still got some swing and miss in him, but his plate discipline has become so much better through the last couple years. And I think that's what's starting to make a big difference too."

Obviously Kinneman has been a wrecking ball at the plate, but there's a lot more to his game than just the bat - he's a very good all-around player. The 6-foot, 197-pounder is an above-average runner who can run the 60-yard dash in 6.7 seconds, and he has an above-average arm from left field, where he's become a very good defender.

"He is an underrated runner, and an underrated defender, and an underrated thrower," Avent said. "He just does every part of the game really well. So he's had a lot of success since he's been here, but it's because he's worked so hard. Coach Hart and I were talking the other day, and he said, 'What round do you think Kinny is?' I said, 'Well, I don't know, but if they see the way he runs the bases every day, if they see the way he plays defense and makes throws to bases every day, then you would appreciate his game a lot more than if you just see him hitting home runs and doubles, the ball just jumps off his bat.' If they can watch everything that kid does, then he's a high-round draft pick, because his makeup is off the charts."

The combination of tools and performance give Kinneman a chance to keep on climbing draft boards - maybe he'll follow in the footsteps of Virginia's Adam Haseley as a well-rounded college oufielder with advanced baseball instincts who plays his way right into the first round. That will depend on whether he can keep performing at a high level against stronger competition once ACC play begins this weekend. But the way he's playing now, it seems like there's nothing he can't do.

"There's nothing missing with that kid, I'm telling you," Avent said. "Plus he's got a great smile. And he wears his hat kind of tilted on the back of his head like Mickey Mantle. And when he hits a home run, I remember Mickey Mantle said this one time - 'When I hit a home run, I figure the pitcher's embarrassed enough so I don't want to add to it by looking at him,' so he ran around the bases with his head down. I always remember that about Mickey Mantle. Kinneman did that, and the first time I saw it, that's when I started calling him Mickey Mantle. He probably thought I was telling him he was as great as Mickey Mantle - he ain't that good. He ain't that good."

Nobody is, except Mike Trout. But Kinneman's first three weeks have been downright Mantle-esque.

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Owens Named Player of the Day, Eskew Pitcher of the Day

June 23, 2018

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla.- William Owens was named the Player of the Day on Friday at the USA Baseball 15U National Team Championships in Florida. The member of the Mets Scout Team was 4-for-4, with two doubles, two runs batted in and a stolen base.

Dylan Eskew of Canes National 15U, was named Pitcher of the Day. Irizarry threw four innings allowing only one hit and had a tournament high seven strikeouts on the day.

Honorable Mentions:
-Robert Moya (Banditos Prospects) 1-4, Grand Slam HR, R, 4 RBI
-Austin Bredlinger Mets Scout Team) 4-4, 2B, RBI
-Brandon Fields (MVP Banditos) 1-2, HR, 2 RBI
- Matt Krtausch (A's Baseball) 7IP, 2H, 5K
-Robert Moya (Banditos Prospects) 1-4, Grand Slam HR, R, 4 RBI

Follow @USABChamps_East on Twitter for up-to-the-minute updates from the USA Baseball National Team Championships in Florida.

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17U Champs

5 STAR National Dobbs Wins in Walk-off Fashion Over Evoshield Florida Canes Prime

June 22, 2018

PAML BEACH COUNTY, Fla.- In the bottom of the seventh inning, 5 STAR National Dobbs earned the walk-off win in Friday's Game of the Day.

With the win, 5 STAR National Dobbs went 2-0 on the day and put themselves in a comfortable spot for the third round of play.

It was a quiet first four innings offensively for both sides until 5 STAR struck in the bottom of the fifth inning. Leon Paulino started the inning with a lead-off walk. A sacrifice bunt moved Paulino into scoring position and a single in the next at-bat by Brian Baughman brought in the innings first run. Another single was produced by Harrison Thiel which advanced Baughman to second and an error by the first basemen plated the second run of the frame, making the score 2-0.

The Canes bounced back to even the score with two runs of their own in the sixth. Nick Gorby led things off with a single before advancing to second on a ground out. One out later, a single by Reece Blanco, who advanced to second on the throw, scored one. The next batter singled up the middle allowing Blanco to score.

A quick fly out gave hope of forcing extra innings for the Canes, however defensive miscues proved to be fatal. After a two-base error by the shortstop, Tiehl scored on a subsequent single by Harrison Long to win the game in walk-off fashion, 3-2.

Tyler Mckenna and Cameron Jones led the offense for 5 STAR with both going 2-for-3 on the day, while for the Canes, Blanco and VonTravius Sands each had a run batted in.

"We didn't expect the game to end that way," said head coach Britt Dobbs . "These are the kinds of games we try to get these top teams prepared for and for the most part we did a really good job."

5 STAR will face Palm Beach Select next to try and withhold their undefeated record at the USA 17U National Team Championships.

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17U Champs
Nat'l Team Champs

San Diego Show Staves Off Comeback Attempt by CBA Marucci National, Wins Gold, 10-8

June 22, 2018
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Show 9 0 0 0 0 1 0 10 8 2
CBA 2 3 0 2 1 0 0 8 7 0
Win: Tibbett Loss: Widener Save: Acker

PEORIA, Ariz.- Completing an undefeated run in the 2018 17U National Team Championships, San Diego Show topped CBA Marucci National, 10-8, to take home Gold at Peoria Stadium on Friday.

Kickstarted by a huge nine-run first, the Show bullpen proved to be the difference-maker, holding the CBA bats at bay for six innings after Show starter Ricky Tibbett was bounced.

"We just kept changing pitching to find the guy that got in the groove," the Show Head Coach Brian Cain said. "Our pitching depth was a big strength for this team."

The offense got going right away, with CBA starter Jacob Widener walking the bases loaded before Garrett Frechette singled to give his team the early advantage. The inning would continue with little relief for Widener, as Show piled on three more runs.

Jordan Thompson doubled to drive in two after Mike Campagna was hit by a pitch, forcing home a run and ending Widener's day early.

Zach Martinez would enter for CBA, but Show refused to slow down, adding five more runs before taking the field on defense. Alonzo Richardson and Taylor Johnson would add to the hit column, helping show to the early nine-run advantage.

CBA answered in the bottom half of the first with two runs of their own, beginning what would be a steady comeback to make things interesting.

After loading the bases in the second, Spencer Williams would be hit by a pitch, followed by a Javy Espinosa walk to bring home a pair. Cody Freeman would bring in another on a fielder's choice to close the gap to four.

Both teams would go quietly in the third, and after Show went scoreless in the top half of the fourth, CBA added two more on a Cameron Repetti single, shrinking the Show lead to just two.

Williams would make noise for CBA again in the fifth, providing an RBI-double to bring the deficit to one.

In the top of the sixth, Chad Abel would triple to deep right field before eventually scoring on a passed ball, adding some insurance for Show.

"I was looking first pitch, saw it in my wheelhouse, and I squared it up pretty well," Abel said. "When the dugout's not hitting very well, I try to get it going."

CBA would put runners on in both the sixth and seventh, but great efforts by both Griffen Zamora and Charles Acker would lock in the championship for Show.

Earning the win for Show was Tibbett, allowing just one run in the first inning. He gave up one hit and walked two.

Acker put out the fire in the seventh, earning the save. He allowed no his and no walks in an inning of work, striking out one.

San Diego Show will have a pair of teams competing in this week's 15U National Team Championships in Arizona, where they will look to follow suit with their 17U counterpart.

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USA Baseball Mourns the Loss of Jack Stallings

June 22, 2018

DURHAM, N.C. - USA Baseball mourns the loss of three-time national team coach Jack Stallings, who passed away on Tuesday at the age of 87. He was the hitting coach for Team USA at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games and also played for the United States in the first-ever Pan American Games in 1951.

Stallings played an integral part in the creation of USA Baseball in the 1970s, along with Ron Fraser (Miami), Rod Dedeaux (USC), Dutch Fehring (Stanford) and Hal Smeltzly (Florida Southern), who passed away earlier this week. During this time, he served as a coach for the 1970 and 1973 national teams. Stallings was also an administrator for the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games, where Team USA won a gold medal, and the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games.

"Coach Stallings was not only one of the founding fathers of USA Baseball, but he was perhaps the greatest ambassador for international baseball," said USA Baseball President Mike Gaski. "Jack traveled throughout the world giving baseball clinics to coaches and players in Asia, Australia, Europe and Latin America, and over the years invited and hosted many of these same baseball people to his university to train and to study the game.

"Jack was a dear friend to so many because, as the consummate teacher, he never hesitated to share his knowledge or his time. One of the all-time winningest coaches in college baseball, Jack will be remembered not only for how many games he won, but for the impact that he had on the lives of so many players and coaches both here in the United States and throughout the world."

Stallings was the head baseball coach at Wake Forest for nine years, Florida State for six years and Georgia Southern for 24 years before retiring in 1999. He led Florida State to a second place finish at the 1970 College World Series He currently ranks 28th in college baseball coaches' all-time wins list with 1,259.

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17U Champs
Nat'l Team Champs

Rios, Thornton Named Player and Pitcher of the Day for June 21

June 22, 2018

PHOENIX- Elias Rios of CBA Marucci National was named Player of the Day for June 21 after two great offensive performances to help his team to Friday's Gold Medal Game. Rios went 5-for-6 on the day, collecting two RBI on a triple and a double. He also scored two runs.

Tyler Thornton of San Diego Show was named Pitcher of the Day. Thornton helped his team advance to Friday's Gold Medal Game, starting the Semifinal matchup against Storm Elite. He threw 6.0 innings, allowing no runs on three hits and two walks, striking out 10 along the way.

Honorable Mentions
-Bryan Ballestros (Trosky Baseball): 4.0 IP (CG), 0 H, 5 K
-Thomas Dukart (Gunderson Baseball): 6-7, 2 2B, 2 RBI, R
-Joey Estes (Storm Elite): 5.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 8 K, 2-5, HR
-James Gomez (GBG I. E. 2019): 2-2, 2B, HR, 5 RBI
-Cooper Vasquez (California Warriors 17U Elite): 7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 9 K, 1-3, 2B, RBI, R

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17U Champs

Gorby and Marcantonio both named Pitcher of the Day, Morales Player of the Day

June 22, 2018

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla.- Nick Gorby and Louie Marcantonio of Evoshield Florida Canes threw a combined no-hitter to name them both Pitchers of the Day at the USA Baseball 17U National Team Championships in Florida on June 21. The two combined for nine total strikeouts on the day and Gorby tossed three innings while Marcantonio pitched two and two thirds.

Yoyo Morales of MVP Banditos was named the Player of the Day. Morales was 3-for-3 on the day with a triple and four runs batted in.

Follow @USABChamps_East on Twitter for up-to-the-minute updates from the USA Baseball National Team Championships in Florida.

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17U Champs
Nat'l Team Champs

CBA Marucci National Heads to Gold Medal Game, Tops Gunderson Baseball

June 21, 2018

GLENDALE, Ariz.- CBA Marucci National put on an offensive clinic to advance to the Gold Medal Game, capturing victory in just five innings over Gunderson Baseball, 14-4, on Thursday at Dodgers 4 at Camelback Ranch.

Cameron Repetti, Elias Rios and Spencer Williams had two RBI apiece, highlighted by Rios' three-hit performance that included a triple.

CBA scored five runs in the first, with three thanks to some defensive mishaps by Gunderson. Gabe Briones doubled and Rios singled to drive in the next two, putting their team up early.

Gunderson would answer in the home half with a Noah Stecher RBI-double. After CBA added three more in the second to make it 7-1, Gunderson would load the bases. A run would come in on a fielder's choice, and then Thomas Dukart would double to right field to bring home two more, closing the deficient to 7-4.

Errors by the defense would allow CBA to open it back up in the third, with the first coming on a Cole Urman bunt, allowing Rios to score. Williams would then double to drive in his two runs and extend the lead, 10-4.

Rios' triple and an Urman single scored three more in the fourth, and Jake Skipworth would blast an RBI-double in the fifth to add the tenth and final run to the lead, forcing the run rule after Gunderson would go quietly in the bottom of the fifth.

CBA starter Christopher Gilmartin earned the win, pitching 4.0 innings and allowing four runs. He struck out seven and walked four.

Dutch Landis threw an inning in relief, striking out three Gunderson batters and allowing just one hit.

CBA Marucci National will meet San Diego Show in Friday's Gold Medal matchup at the Peoria Sports Complex, with first pitch slated for 10:00 a.m.

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17U Champs
Nat'l Team Champs

San Diego Show Shuts Out Storm Elite, Advances to Gold Medal Game

June 21, 2018

GLENDALE, Ariz.- After a dominating all-around performance, San Diego Show earned themselves a spot in Friday's Gold Medal Game, defeating Storm Elite, 7-0, at Dodgers 5 at Camelback Ranch on Thursday.

Starting pitcher Tyler Thornton threw 6.0 scoreless innings, allowing only three hits and two walks while striking out 10 batters. Kyle Casper had a team-high two hits, including a double, RBI and run scored.

The scoring started early, as Angelo Peraza doubled and scored on a Casper RBI-single. A hit and a pair of errors allowed three more runs to cross, putting Show up by four early.

Garrett Frechette tripled in the second to drive in two more, followed by a Mike Campanga ground ball that would plate the seventh and final run of the game.

Storm Elite would make things interesting in the sixth, loading the bases with two away. However, an Anthony Ramirez line out would end the threat.

Suffering the loss for Storm Elite was Jacob Manzella, allowing seven runs (five earned) on just four hits. Nicholas Romanowski pitched well in relief, allowing no runs and just one hit while striking out four and walking none.

San Diego Show will go for gold tomorrow at the Peoria Sports Complex against CBA Marucci National. First pitch is scheduled for 10:00 a.m.

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TOS
18U

Starting Pitching Rules on Day Four

June 21, 2018
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Free 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 0
Brave 0 0 0 0 1 5 0 0 X 6 10 0
Win: H. Barco Loss: B. Walker Save: None
Box Score
 
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
United 0 0 0 1 1 0 4 0 2 8 12 0
Pride 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 2 7 2
Win: K. Davis Loss: R. Cornelio Save: None
Box Score
 

CARY, N.C. - Pitching was the name of the game on the fourth day of the 2018 Tournament of Stars at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina.

All four teams got strong starts on the mound but United's Kale Davis (Oklahoma City, Okla.) and Brave's Davis Rokose (Johns Creek, Ga.) ruled the day as they led their teams to victory.

Davis went five strong innings without allowing a run or walk to pace United's 8-2 win over Pride, allowing just two hits and striking out six. In Brave's 6-0 defeat of Free, Rokose gave up only three hits and one walk in four innings of work.

With wins on Thursday, both Brave and United have secured spots in the 2018 Tournament of Stars gold medal game on Saturday, June 23.

BRAVE 6, FREE 0

In the day's first game, Brave clinched its place in the gold medal game by shutting out Free, 6-0, behind Davis' stellar outing.

Free's Jack Leiter (Summit, N.J.) also put together a strong start on the bump to hold off Brave's offense in the first half of the game. He allowed just three hits and no walks, while striking out four in the first four innings.

Brave finally broke through in the bottom of the fifth. With two on and two out, Corbin Carroll (Seattle, Wash.) came up with his first clutch hit of the day to drive in one and give Brave a 1-0 lead. But the team's big blow came in the sixth.

Andre Tarver (Ringgold, Ga.) got a leadoff double to get things started for the squad and it ran away with the momentum, piling on five runs to take a commanding 6-0 lead. Sammy Siani (Glenside, Pa.), Logan Tanner (Lucedale, Miss.), Carroll and Anthony Volpe (Watchung, N.J.) all collected hits in the inning, while Masyn Winn (Kingwood, Texas), Carter Young (Selah, Wash.), Carroll and Volpe tallied RBI.

From the mound, Hunter Barco (Jacksonville, Fla.) and Mac Horvath (Rochester, Minn.) backed up that strong offensive output to close it out and secure the win. Barco tossed four innings, giving up just four hits and one walk, while Horvath pitched a perfect ninth inning.

Nasim Nunez (Lawrenceville, Ga.), who racked up three hits in the game, carried the offense for Free in the game.

UNITED 8, PRIDE 2

United claimed a 8-2 win over Pride in the second game of Thursday's doubleheader with its own strong pitching and explosive late offense.

Davis's dominating performance on the mound set the pace for the game early on but United's offense couldn't break through against Pride starter Josh Hahn (Huntington Beach, Calif.), who tossed three strong innings of his own without giving up a run.

United found its groove in the fourth though. The squad put one run on the board in the top of the fourth before scoring in three of the next five innings to put the game out of reach.

The biggest dent came in the top of the seventh when United scored four runs to take a commanding 6-0 lead.

Dilan Rosario-Otero (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) led off the inning with a quick single up the middle before he came around to score from first on a Kurtis Bryne (Chesterfield, Mo.) double to right-center. Three more singles and a wild pitch did the rest of the damage in the inning.

Pride worked to put a rally together in the final three innings, scoring once in both the seventh and eighth on a Kyren Paris (Oakley, Calif.) single and a Michael Carpentier (Highland, Calif.) sacrifice fly, respectively. But that was all they would manage as United added two more runs in the ninth to put the game away.

Pete Crow-Armstrong (Sherman Oaks, Calif.) had a day at the plate for United in the win, finishing 3-for-5 with two runs scored and a double, while Paris led Pride's offense, going 2-for-4 with a RBI.

The 2018 Tournament of Stars continues on Friday with an evaluation day at the National Training Complex, followed on Saturday by the third-place game at 9:30 a.m. ET and the gold-medal game at 12:30 p.m. ET on Coleman Field.

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