USA BASEBALL NEWS

GSA Spotlight: Nick Sandlin

May 17, 2018

"Hey, what have you heard about Nick Sandlin?"

Out of the all the questions I've been asked by scouts throughout the 2018 campaign, this simple question might just lead the way. Before this season, the Southern Miss junior righthander was one of the nation's premier relievers. He tallied identical 2.38 earned-run averages over the last two seasons, and he struck out 80 batters in just 56.2 innings last season.

He was already a prospect, but he was also 5-foot-11, 170 pounds. Not exactly a physical specimen that scouts dream about.

But this season has been different. Sandlin is no longer just a reliever who comes in and slams the door on teams from a funky slot and angle, and with velocity. He's now a starting pitcher. Scratch that, he's now one of the nation's premier starting pitchers, and there's a strong case he's second nationally behind only Auburn righthander Casey Mize, who's likely to be the top overall pick in the MLB draft. That's good company to be in … especially when you're 5-foot-11, 170.

"I don't want to say he'd put up the exact same numbers in a league like the SEC, but I'd bet he'd be pretty close," a National League crosschecker said. "The first time I saw him, I remember walking up to the bullpen and noticing how small he was. He's really small. But then, you go out there and watch him pitch, and you look up in the seventh inning, and the line score is filled with zeroes.

"I think he's a tough kid and he's a grinder," the scout continued. "I think he's really confident and he's a big-time strike-thrower. He doesn't seem to back down from anyone, and he's really tough and throws his stuff all over the zone. It's an extremely uncomfortable at bat for any hitter."

Those uncomfortable at bats are something that USM pitching coach Christian Ostrander got to experience the last two seasons during his time at Louisiana Tech. He remembers Sandlin well, especially after the hard-nosed righthander tossed 4.1 shutout innings out of the bullpen in a USM sweep over the Bulldogs last season.

So, when he took the USM pitching coach job after Mike Federico went to Louisiana-Monroe, he was curious to see what Sandlin was all about - this time, as his coach.

"Being at Tech the last two years, I gotta feel for him from another spectrum - as a closer. I had an opinion of the guy, and I knew that he he wasn't scared of competition, and that he loved attacking hitters," Ostrander said. "I got here over the summer and we built a relationship rather quickly. He's a very mild-mannered dude and he simply does not get sped up at all.

"He's extremely confident in his ability to go out there and pitch well," he continued. "On top of that, he's a very smart young man. He knows what he needs to do to be successful. He knows when to put juice on the ball, and he has tremendous feel and maturity."

Ostrander watched his veteran pitcher put up good numbers in the fall. Then, he watched him chop up hitters throughout the first part of spring workouts. At that point, the Golden Eagles planned to use Sandlin as a reliever, and potentially a guy who could go three or four innings out of the pen on a given night.

The more Ostrander watched Sandlin pitch, the more he thought the righty was destined to be in the weekend rotation.

So, Ostrander approached USM head coach Scott Berry about the possibility. He wanted Sandlin to move to the weekend rotation. A bold move, of course. While Sandlin had experience dominating hitters out of the bullpen, the move to the rotation isn't always easy. And once a pitcher fails at it, it's often tough to regain confidence after moving back to the bullpen.

But the Golden Eagles decided to roll the dice. They had that much confidence in Sandlin.

"You know, you always have that concern that when you make the big step to move someone to the rotation, that it sometimes doesn't work," Ostrander said. "But we built up his pitch counts leading up to the season and felt pretty good about it.

"I just thought we needed a stabilizer on Friday nights, and Nick is obviously that. There were a lot of things involved in moving him to the rotation," he continued. "We had talked to Nick about it in the fall, but he was a good sport - he was never abrasive about having a need to start. I just thought he was more than someone who could throw 75 pitches on a weekend. I thought he could go much deeper than that." Sandlin's first test of the season was a big one, a date with Mississippi State at home. You know, the same MSU that eliminated the Golden Eagles on their home field last June.

He was marvelous. The righthander struck out nine, didn't walk anyone and allowed just four hits in seven shutout innings.

That was the beginning to what has been an incredible junior season. Sandlin gained a plethora of confidence from that start against the Bulldogs, and was terrific the first couple months of the season. The righty missed a couple of starts in the middle of the season because of arm soreness, but was more dominant than ever in his return starts against Old Dominion and UAB.

In addition to throwing complete game shutouts against both teams, he allowed nine hits, struck out 19 and walked just four batters.

"What he's done this year, sitting close to 80 innings, it's been phenomenal," Ostrander said. "To have the stuff he has - real stuff, it's special. His stuff is always moving somewhere, and to be able to command the zone given that tells you a whole lot. He's not invincible, but it's been fun to watch. It's a lot of fun as a pitching coach to call a pitch and see how he executes it. Typically, he does a tremendous job because he has outstanding feel."

Sandlin, who could go as high as the third or fourth round in the draft, has tallied incredible numbers this season. He has an unblemished 7-0 record with a 1.15 ERA in 78.1 innings, along with 114 strikeouts and just 14 walks. Teams also are hitting Sandlin at a .148 clip.

"There aren't a ton of sidearmers in the big leagues with his stuff," the crosschecker said. "And he consistently does what he does for nine innings. It's impressive. I'm not sure he can start in the big leagues, but I do think a team will put him in the bullpen right away, and I also think he'll move relatively fast through the system."

The stuff has been firmer this spring. For instance, Sandlin sits anywhere from 89-93 and up to 94 and even 95 at times with his fastball. He darts the fastball low and around the zone, not giving hitters a clue where it might be going next. He also shows excellent feel for a slider that ranges 79-86 on the radar gun, while his changeup, sitting at 81-85 mph, has made serious strides.

"The changeup has really evolved for him. It's a real weapon to lefthanded hitters. You see all that stuff, and then you see a guy who's pitching with good control," Ostrander said. "He's proven he can maintain his velocity with the fastball. I mean, he's still up to 92 and such in the ninth inning. He has strength and stamina, and he's maintaining his stuff.

"He has really good depth on his changeup, and it sometimes comes across as a slider, but it's not a slider. It's really been a plus pitch," he said. "He's just found a great routine and he has great feel for things. I think what he's done this season is really going to help his future. He knows what he's capable of doing, and he's going to take that with him the rest of the way."

With the way his season has gone, it's hard to imagine that Sandlin once was somewhat of an unknown to some in the industry.

But now, he's excelling as a starter, and everyone is taking notice.

No more questions need to be asked.

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15U Champs

Sanders and Kemper Named Co-Pitchers of the Day, Hughes Player of the Day

June 17, 2018

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - Bryce Sanders and Bryce Kemper of 5 STAR Snyder, were both named Pitchers of The Day at the USA Baseball 15U National Team Championship for June 16. The pair threw for a combined for a no-hitter and four strikeouts resulting in a 13-0 win over So Cal NTT.

Hughes of 5 STAR National Black was named Player of the Day. He went 2-for-2 on the day with a solo home run and three runs batted in.

Honorable Mentions:
- Kyle Neri (BIC Showcase), 2-3, 3B, 3 RBI, SB
- Logan Forsythe (Elite Squad National) 2-3, 3 RBI, SB
- Brady House, (Team Elite), 3-3, 2 2B, 2 RBI, SB
- Zach Zabarowski, (3D Gold) 2-2, 2 RBI
- Jake Elberry, (Blue Chips US Underclass) 2-2, 3 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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15U Champs

A Strong Offensive Performance Pushes Team Elite American Past Rawlings Stealth FL

June 17, 2018

WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. - The bats were alive today for Team Elite American as they moved past Rawlings Stealth FL 8-3.

Elite totaled eight runs on nine hits with two players gathering multiple-hit games. Nick Kurtz, a former 12U USA Baseball World Champion, went 3-for-4 and smoked one out of the park in the top of the seventh inning to help seal the win.

"I saw a fastball right away and took it to right field," said Kurtz. "I was the leadoff hitter so I wasn't going to swing at the first pitch. He threw two balls and I knew this one had to be a strike."

Team Elite American is now 3-1 in the tournament and they look forward to competing for a championship trophy here at the USA National Team Championships in Florida.

"We are going to take it one inning at a time from here on out," said head Coach Jon Link. "We are going to win as many games as we can and then hopefully find ourselves in the bracket round and then the championship."

On the defensive side, Team Elite American had no errors, and starter Carson Kelly, who earned the win, tallied four strikeouts on the day.

Rawlings Stealth FL had a productive day at the plate as well with three runs on five hits. They plated two runs in the fourth making the score 4-2 and pushed another run across in the sixth.

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17U Champs
Nat'l Team Champs

Pitching Wins the Day as Zoots Baseball Club Defeats Bartolucci Baseball Club

June 17, 2018

GLENDALE, Ariz.- Behind stellar pitching performances from Joey Soberon and Nick Kresnak, Zoots Baseball Club outlasted Bartolucci Baseball Club, 3-0, at White Sox 5 on Sunday.

Soberon gave up just two hits in the win, walking one and striking out two.

Kresnak earned the six-out save, allowing no hits and two walks to go along with three strikeouts.

Zoots got the scoring started in the bottom of the first due to a flurry of defensive miscues after a Nick Yorke ground ball, eventually scoring Davis Diaz.

Bartolucci would put runners on the bases in the third with a Joshua Roppel single, but Roppel would be caught stealing after a missed bunt attempt. They would again follow suit in the fourth after Wesley Flatt singled, but Flatt was caught stealing just four pitches later.

Both offenses remained quiet until the fifth, when Zoots centerfielder Eddie Park sent a two-RBI single through the infield, scoring Joe Yorke and Tommy Splaine.

Brek Galbreath pitched well in the loss for Bartolucci, giving up just three runs on four hits and two walks in the complete game effort.

Zoots improves to 2-0 with the win, while Bartolucci falls to 1-1. Both teams will be back in action at 1:00 p.m. at the Peoria Sports Complex to complete their preliminary games.

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Nat'l Team Champs

Erwin, Alvarez Named Player, Pitcher of the Day

June 17, 2018

Easton Erwin was named Player of the Day for June 16. Erwin, of Wilson Sandlot 2019, went 4-for-6 on the day, including a 3-for-3 performance against CBA Marucci American. Erwin's four hits included three doubles and four runs batted in.

Julian Alvarez was named Pitcher of the Day. Alvarez, of GBG I. E. 2019, tossed 6.0 innings against San Diego Naturals, striking out 10 and allowing only two earned runs in the 6-2 win.

Honorable Mentions
Matthew Bardowell (GBG I. E. 2020): 4-5, 3B, 4 RBI
Clark Candiotti (Canyon Thunder): 6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER
Justin Flebbe (Gamers Baseball Alaska): 2-5, 2 HR, 5 RBI
Dylan Joyce (Zoots Baseball Club-Black): 3-3, 2 2B, 3 RBI
Jonathan Robinson (Youth Academy 17U): 6.2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 7 K

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15U Champs

Team Elite comes out on top 1-0 over Louisiana Knights

June 17, 2018

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.- A strong pitching performance from Team Elite (Georgia) sealed a 1-0 victory over the Louisiana Knights (Baton Rouge, La.) on Saturday morning at USA Baseball 15U National Team Championships at the FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in Florida.


TeamElite opened the scoring with two outs in the bottom of the first inning thanks to an RBI-triple by Jeffery Waters. Brady House kick-started the offense, doubling down the left field line and later scored on the Waters' triple to take an early 1-0 lead after one inning of play.


That was all the offense the two teams could muster however, as both pitching staffs kept the opposing batters at bay.


Team Elite's starting pitcher Carter Bailey tossed four innings before Riley Stanford and closer Ryan Spikes combined to throw three innings of hitless relief. Collectively, the staff struck out three batters on the day. Bailey earned the win while Spikes was credited with the save.


"When you give up one run in one day that's pretty good," said Team Elite Head Coach Brooke Richards after his pitchers surrendered just one total run in their two games on Saturday. 'We threw a lot of strikes and we limited the walks. When you do that and have a good defense behind you, it comes in your favor. Those guys established the strike zone early and did a great job."


The Louisiana Knights' offense was led by Baylor Cobb and Brant Smith who each had one hit in the game. The Knights pitchers, Timothy Williams and Kros Sivley, surrendered five hits on the day and tallied nine strikeouts. Williams was tagged with the loss.

 

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17U Champs
Nat'l Team Champs

TB SoCal Wins in Walk-Off Thriller Over IPB Trinity to Cap Day 1 of the 17U National Team Championships

June 17, 2018

Cody Schrier blasted a three-run inside-the-park walk-off home run to secure the 8-7 victory for TB SoCal over IPB Trinity on Saturday during Session 4 of the USA Baseball 17U National Team Championships in Arizona.

Both starters were solid in the contest, allowing no hits until TB SoCal's Jack Wong booked the first of the contest in the bottom of the fourth. That got the runs rolling, as Wong would later score on a Tank Espalin ground ball. TB SoCal would plate another, taking a 2-0 lead into the fifth.

IPB Trinity would immediately answer with two runs of their own on a pair of triples from Ryan Dominguez and Vicente Rodriguez. However, TB SoCal quickly regained the lead in the bottom half with a Caden Szuba triple and a Zachary Rodriguez RBI double.

TB SoCal's scoring would be stymied until the seventh, while IPB Trinity plated five more runs to give themselves a nice cushion.

Entering the bottom of the seventh with a four-run lead, IPB Trinity managed two quick outs before TB SoCal kick-started their offense. A walk followed by three singles brought Schrier to the plate to play the hero.

IPB Trinity starter Ryan Dominguez went 4.0 innings, allowing two unearned runs on one hit and two walks.

Starter Joseph Romero provided 3.0 innings of no-hit ball for TB SoCal. Nick Crystal receives the win, tossing the final frame and allowing one earned run.

TB SoCal improves to 1-1 for the tournament, while IPB Trinity falls to 0-2. Both teams continue pool play tomorrow afternoon.

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Bradford Selected to USA Baseball National Team

June 15, 2018

WACO, Texas - Baylor baseball sophomore left-handed pitcher Cody Bradford has been selected for the 2018 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team roster, joining Baylor teammate Shea Langeliers.

Bradford is the ninth player in program history named to the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team. He joins Pat Combs (1988), Jason Jennings (1997-98), Bryan Loeb (1998), Jon Topolski (1998), Zane Carlson (2000), Michael Griffin (2003), Kendal Volz (2008) and Langeliers (2018).

Bradford will participate in a game against the Coastal Plain League Select and a series against Chinese Taipei, and he'll be competing for a spot on the final 24-man roster that will play a series against Cuba and Japan.

An Aledo, Texas, native, Bradford became the first Baylor player to be named Big 12 Pitcher of the Year. He also picked up Collegiate Baseball All-America third team honors, was named 2018 Big 12 Championship Co-Most Outstanding Player after helping the Bears win the first Big 12 Championship tournament title in program history, and he was selected to the CoSIDA Academic All-District team.

Bradford finished his sophomore season 7-6 with a 2.51 ERA and two complete game shutouts in 14 starts. He led the Bears with 87 strikeouts in a team-high 96.2 innings and limited opposing hitters to a .240 batting average.

Bradford was even better in Big 12 Conference play, posting a 4-3 record with a 1.88 ERA and two complete games. He struck out 49 batters in 52.2 innings over seven starts, averaging more than 7.1 innings per start. His 1.88 ERA broke the Baylor record for best ERA by a starting pitcher in a Big 12 season, which was previously held by Josh Turley with a 1.92 mark in 2012.

He became the first player in program history to post back-to-back complete game shutouts when he accomplished the feat by throwing a one-hitter in a 6-0 shutout of TCU on April 20 and shutting down Kansas State 18-0 on April 27. Bradford was also recognized as Big 12 Pitcher of the Week three times in 2018, becoming the first BU pitcher to pick up three conference weekly awards in a season since Mark McCormick in 2005.

The USA Baseball Collegiate National Team will participate in three international friendship series in 2018, beginning with the 18th USA vs. Chinese Taipei International Friendship Series that will be held in North Carolina from June 28 through July 2. The U.S. will then compete in the 42nd USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Series from July 3-9 in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina and the seventh-annual USA vs. Cuba International Friendship Series in Cuba from July 13-18.

Seven Collegiate National Team games will be streamed live on USABaseball.com, as well as Facebook Live and YouTube. For more information on USA Baseball and the Collegiate National Team, follow @USABaseball on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter; and @USABaseballCNT on Twitter.

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Canterino to Pitch for USA Baseball

June 15, 2018

DURHAM, N.C. - Rice's Matt Canterino has been named to the initial USA Baseball 2018 Collegiate National Team roster, with a chance to represent the Owls and his country in the squad's international tour later this summer.

USA Baseball's Collegiate National Team is scheduled to play three international series in 2018, beginning with the 18th USA vs. Chinese Taipei Friendship Series in North Carolina from June 28-July 2. Team USA will then announce a final 24-man roster to compete in the 42nd United States vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Series from July 3-9 in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina; and the 7th Annual USA vs. Cuba International Friendship Series in Cuba from July 13-18.

Canterino posted a 7-5 record and a 3.06 ERA this season while holding opposing hitters to a composite .188 batting average. The Owls' 'Friday night ace' led the team, and tied for 22nd in the nation, with 116 strikeouts in 94.0 innings of work. Originally from Southlake, Texas, Canterino was also 48th in the country with 11.11 strikeouts-per-9.0 innings on the way to first team All-Conference USA , but his success on the field is only part of the story. He was also named to C-USA All-Academic Team for maintaining 3.99 grade point average.

Former Rice All-America and major league draft pick Glenn Otto pitched for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team in the summer of 2016. Canterino and Otto were teammates on the Owl squad that made a historic international tour of Cuba in November of 2016.

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Doxakis Earns USA Baseball Collegiate National Team Invite

June 14, 2018

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Texas A&M sophomore pitcher John Doxakis earned an invitation to the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team Training Camp to compete for a roster spot on the nation's premier summer collegiate team.

This summer, Doxakis joins Aggie teammate Braden Shewmake, who earned his second Team USA invite in March.

The USA Baseball Collegiate National Team participates in three international friendship series in 2018, beginning with the 18th USA vs. Chinese Taipei International Friendship Series, in North Carolina from June 28 - July 2. The U.S. then announce a final 24-man roster to compete in the 42nd USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Series from July 3-9 in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina; and the 7th Annual USA vs. Cuba International Friendship Series in Cuba from July 13-18.

The southpaw ended the season with an 8-5 record along with a 2.70 ERA, .212 opponent batting average and 92 strikeouts over 93.1 innings.

Doxakis blossomed into an ace down the stretch, including outdueling No. 1 Draft Pick Casey Mize in the SEC Tournament and earning a victory in the Aggies' NCAA Regional win against Indiana. In his last three starts, he was 2-1 with a 0.95 ERA, .134 opponent batting average and 28 strikeouts in 19.0 innings.

The list of recent Aggies to play for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team include Shewmake, Nick Banks, Ryan Hendrix, Daniel Mengden, A.J. Minter, Tyler Naquin and Michael Wacha. Shewmake is the first to play on the team in back-to-back summers since Banks in 2014 and 2015.

After last season's College World Series run, Shewmake played 17 games for Team USA, hitting .209 (9-for-43) with five runs, two doubles, one triple, six RBI and two stolen bases.

In 2015, Banks and Hendrix represented Texas A&M on the USA College National Team. That year, Banks batted .386 with three doubles, one home run and 11 RBI in 17 games and Hendrix combined on the first-ever no-hitter of the Cuban National Team. In 2014, Banks batted .241 with two doubles, two home runs and 13 RBI and Minter pitched 12.1 innings without allowing an earned run. In 2013, Mengden posted a 1-0 record with a 1.35 ERA and 11 strikeouts in 13.1 innings. In 2011, Naquin batted .321 in 12 games, logging four doubles, one triple, two home runs and 10 RBI and Wacha went 1-0 with a 0.79 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 11.1 innings.

Seven Collegiate National Team games will be streamed live on USABaseball.com, as well as Facebook Live and YouTube. For more information on USA Baseball and the Collegiate National Team, follow @USABaseball on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter; and @USABaseballCNT on Twitter.

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WNT

Stripes Claim Trials Series Win

June 14, 2018
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Stars 2 0 1 3 1 0 0 7 11 0
Stripes 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 8 3
Win: L. Collins Loss: I. Borders Save: A. Lansdell
Box Score | Stars Cume | Stripes Cume
 

CARY, N.C. - Behind strong performances from Malaika Underwood (San Diego, Calif.) and AJ Hamilton (Tallahassee, Fla.), the Stripes clinched the Women's National Team Trials series with a 7-4 victory over the Stars at the USA Baseball National Training Complex on Thursday.

Underwood went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, while Hamilton went 2-for-3 with a double and a RBI in the win for the Stripes.

Both teams got out to a quick start in game three, each pushing runs across in the first inning. Underwood, who went 2-for-4 with two runs scored in the game, and Hamilton, who finished 2-for-3 with a double and a RBI, got the scoring started for the Stripes when Hamilton doubled in Underwood.

But the Stars answered immediately to tie it up and a take a lead of their own in the bottom half. The squad strung together a single, a double and a walk to load the bases for Anna Kimbrell who delivered a 2-RBI knock to make it a 2-2 game. A double from Brittany Schutte and a Kylee Lahners RBI groundout plated two more to give the Stars an early 4-2 lead.

The Stripes cut the deficit to one in the third inning before striking the big blow in the fourth when they scored three more. A Stars error allowed the first Stripes run of the inning to score and Ashton Lansdell followed with a 2-RBI single up the middle that gave the team a 6-4 advantage. The team would then add one more in the fifth for the final 7-4 score.

Despite their fast start, the Stars couldn't get anything going after the first inning against the Stripes pitching staff. Laura Collins, Thea Hanscom, Meggie Meidlinger and Ashton Lansdell combined to allow just three hits and one walk through the final five innings.

Shelby Estocado and Kelsie Whitmore's two hits apiece along with Kimbrell's two RBI led the way offensively for the Stars.

With the conclusion of trials, the final 20-woman roster for the 2018 Women's National Team will be announced on Monday, June 18.

"My years with the Women's National Team have given me the opportunity to watch the progression and growth of this program, and the talent pool we had over the past week has been the best I have seen," 2018 Women's National Team Manager, Matt Weagle, said.

"This year's selection has been very difficult; however, the talent shown over the course of the past week shows that we are in a great position to win gold now and going forward. The future of the Women's National Team is bright."

The final team will reconvene on August 16 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for training before competing in the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Women's Baseball World Cup from August 22-31. The event, which is being hosted at the USSSA Space Coast Complex in Viera, Fla., is being held in the U.S. for the first time in 2018.

Team USA is a two-time world champion, having claimed gold in 2004 and 2006, and has also won two silver (2012, 2014) and two bronze medals (2008, 2010) in the event.

Continue to follow @USABaseballWNT on Twitter and visit USABaseball.com for the most up-to-date news about the Women's National Team, including the announcement of the final roster.

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