ATLANTA - In a fitting end to an extremely hard-fought and tightly-contested series, Monday's finale between the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team and Japan took extra innings to decide with Japan claiming a 4-3 walk-off win in the 11th at SunTrust Park, home of the Atlanta Braves.
The U.S. clinched the series victory on Sunday with a 7-6 win in Macon, Ga. It also won the contests held on July 4 in Durham, N.C., and July 5 in Savannah, Ga. Japan's only other triumph came in the series opener, July 3, in Charlotte, N.C.
Having won the 42nd U.S. vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Series, the red, white, and blue improves its series record to 24-18, including a 21-1 mark in series held in the United States. The Collegiate National Team now holds a 127-106-2 record all-time in games against Japan.
Following Monday's contest, USA Baseball announced the series award winners with Josh Jung (Texas Tech) taking home "Batting Champion" honors, Japan's Wataru Matsumoto claiming "Most Outstanding Pitcher," and Adley Rutschman (Oregon State) being named the "Most Valuable Player."
As proof of the tightly-contested nature of the entire series, the U.S. narrowly outscored Japan, 14-12, in the five-game set with only one game being decided by more than a single run.
Team USA will next head to Havana, Cuba, on Tuesday, when it will open a five-game series at Estadio Latinoamericano which is set to run July 10-14. The first four games are scheduled to start at 7:15 p.m. ET and the series finale will be played at 10 a.m. ET.
In Monday's game, Japan wasted little time getting on the scoreboard, using a two-run double off the bat of Yukiya Ito to grab a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
The U.S. quickly got one of the runs back in the second though when Jung laced a double down the left-field line before coming around to score on a Spencer Torkelson (Arizona State) RBI single.
Team USA then grabbed the lead in the top of the fourth, when the first five batters of the frame all reached on singles. The fourth of those base hits came off the bat of Bryson Stott (UNLV) and brought two runs in to make it a 3-2 game.
Just two innings later, however, a walk and three wild pitches allowed Japan to tie the game back up and that is where the score would remain at the end of the ninth, prompting extra innings and the international tiebreaker rule to be implemented.
Despite having runners on first and second with nobody out, neither team was able to plate a run in the 10th. U.S. rightfielder Dominic Fletcher (Arkansas) made an outstanding play to keep the game alive in the home half of that inning as he caught a flyball and unleashed a laser to the plate where he was able to cut down a runner trying to tag-and-score for the frame's third out.
In the top of the 11th, the red, white, and blue looked primed to take the lead back when Braden Shewmake (Texas A&M) laid down a leadoff bunt and beat it out for an infield single that loaded the bases.
Japanese pitcher Hiromi Ito escaped the jam, however, sandwiching a pair of strikeouts around a foul out to keep the score deadlocked.
In the bottom of the inning, Japan was able to score the winning run when Toshiya Sato laid down a sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position and Takashi Umino followed with a game-winning sacrifice fly to center.
Both Jung and Torkelson finished the game with three hits to lead a 15-hit U.S. attack, while Andrew Vaughn (California) and Bryant Packard (ECU) had two hits apiece.
Continue to follow @USABaseballCNT on Twitter and visit USABaseball.com for the most up-to-date news about the Collegiate National Team.
USA Baseball CNT Manager Paul Mainieri
(On the Japan series)
"Japan was just so impressive all series with the quality of their defense and their pitching. They just never gave in, never gave you a good pitch to hit, and they all had good stuff. We had 15 hits today, but we left a small army on base, a lot of which were in scoring position. You preach clutch hitting to every player that ever plays for you. It is what separates players. When you don't come through with the clutch hits it is hard to win. Our pitching was phenomenal once again and we played good defense, but we just didn't take advantage of our scoring opportunities. I'm proud of the fact that we won the series. It would have been nice to close it out with another win, but it didn't happen so now we just have to turn the page and get ready to head down to Cuba."
(On getting ready for the Cuba series)
"Obviously they are one of the premier baseball-playing countries in the world and we will be playing them in a very unique environment for everybody. We are just going to have to go after them and hopefully we can get a few more clutch hits and come through in our scoring opportunities."
(On the opportunity to play at SunTrust Park)
"It is just amazing. Between Eric Campbell, Jim Hendry, John Schuerholz, and some of the other Braves' people, they really gave us an incredible opportunity. For these players to be able to play in a Major League stadium was just an awesome experience."
USA Baseball Catcher Adley Rutschman
(On winning the Japan series)
"It's big. I think the guys are really happy even though today didn't turn out how we wanted it to. We wanted to end on a high note, but I think the guys are really excited just to have the opportunity to play teams like Japan and Cuba. Just to be able to be in this atmosphere and this ballpark and just get a taste of what it is like is exciting. This team feels very fortunate and now everyone is looking forward to getting on that plane tomorrow and starting a new five-game series against Cuba."
(On the upcoming Cuba series)
"I don't know a whole lot about Cuba but we are all really excited to kind of see the unknown. We know their stadium holds quite a few people and we hope they get a good crowd there. Everyone is just excited to get rid of the uncertainty, see what Cuba has in store for us, and see how that series unfolds. Their style of play is unique and there are certain things that they do which are a lot different than what we have seen from Japan. But they get after, they play hard, and it should be a fun series."
(On being named MVP of the U.S.-Japan series)
"More important are the bonds we are creating as a team here. At the end of the day, this award is just a bat. It is a tremendous honor and I am grateful to have won it, but all of that kind of stuff takes care of itself when you are out here having fun playing the game and enjoying being around your teammates."
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - Major League Baseball and USA Baseball today announced that "Fun At Bat" (www.funatbat.org), the introductory and character building bat-and-ball program designed for use in physical education (P.E.) classes, will now be available to elementary school students throughout Mexico. The free program, which is currently reaching more than one million children in all 50 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico, will be administered in Mexico by the Presidential Office for Baseball Development and Promotion in Mexico (PROBEIS), an initiative commissioned by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to develop and promote baseball in the country, with support from both MLB and USA Baseball.
The Mexico Fun At Bat program will serve more than 1.3 million students throughout the country. Franklin Sports, a long-time MLB and USA Baseball partner, has created custom Fun At Bat Baseball equipment to help activate this program since its inception in 2016.
A joint MLB and USA Baseball youth program, Fun At Bat promotes fun and active lifestyles for children, while also teaching the fundamental skills of bat-and-ball sports. The program, available in both English and Spanish, also includes a literacy component focusing on character development and teaching traits such as leadership, teamwork and responsibility. Fun At Bat is part of the PLAY BALL initiative (www.PlayBall.org) - the sport's largest collective effort to encourage young people to participate in baseball- or softball-related activities, including formal and casual forms of play. Since the initiative's launch in 2015, the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) has reported a 52.8 percent increase in casual baseball participation in the United States.
"Baseball's future in Mexico is a bright one, and this collaborative effort between MLB, USA Baseball and PROBEIS will contribute greatly toward that end," said Tony Reagins, Executive Vice President of Baseball & Softball Development, Major League Baseball. "In line with our larger PLAY BALL initiative, Fun At Bat will give children in Mexico the opportunity to discover the game at its most basic levels, which we believe will be the beginning of a lifelong passion for baseball."
"We are thrilled to have the opportunity to deliver this program to students across Mexico,"said Rick Riccobono, USA Baseball's Chief Development Officer. "Fun At Bat is the fastest growing bat-and-ball program in the world. With its comprehensive curriculum and fun-first approach, it is the ideal way to introduce kids from across the globe to our great game."
"We couldn't be more thrilled about this historic opportunity to formally implement baseball in public grammar schools in Mexico as part of our strategy to develop and promote the sport, as instructed by President Lopez Obrador," said Edgar Gonzalez, Director of PROBEIS. "Teachers are the backbone of our social development and it is exciting to know they are participating in this amazing program designed exclusively for the purpose of teaching fundamental principles to children. Naturally, we are looking forward to implementing additional projects jointly with USA Baseball and Major League Baseball to continue furthering mission."
Adam Franklin, Vice President at Franklin Sports said: "Franklin Sports is proud to be the Official Equipment Partner of the Fun At Bat program. As long time partners of USA Baseball and Major League Baseball, we are committed to the collective goals of growing youth participation and creating young fans of the sport of baseball."
The expansion of Fun At Bat to Mexico is MLB's latest efforts to grow the game among young people throughout the world. In addition to the multiple PLAY BALL events held in various parts of the United States as well as in Mexico, Brazil, and Panama, MLB has had a substantive imprint on the youth & amateur levels of the sport throughout the world. Over the last three years, the MLB CUP, MLB's signature international youth league competition, has served nearly 10,000 kids in Japan, Taiwan and Mexico in tournament play.
Tyler Thornton Earns Spot at USA Baseball National Team Camp
May 21, 2019
MORAGA, Calif. - Freshman Tyler Thornton made the record books on Monday: the right-hander is just the second baseball player in Saint Mary's history to be selected to the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team training camp roster. The last was Von Hayes in 1979.
After a record and accolade-laden regular season campaign, Thornton will head to the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina where he will compete for a spot on the 26-man roster. The camp will consist of four intrasquad exhibition contests and a game against the Coastal Plain League. The final roster will take on Cuba, Chinese Taipei, and Japan over the summer.
Thornton earned the prestigious invitation as he is one of the top freshmen pitchers in the nation. He has amassed a 9-2 record in 12 starts (70.1 innings pitched) and his 2.56 earned run average is the lowest of any starter on the team. He is ranked 11th in the country and first in the West Coast Conference in hits allowed per nine innings (5.37) and his nine wins are tied for the 12th-most in the nation (first in the WCC). Along with teammate Carlos Lomeli (also nine wins), he has collected the most wins by any Gael pitcher since Martin Agosta's nine favorable decision in 2012 (fourth-most since 1968).
Thornton's 10.88 strikeouts per nine are ranked third in the WCC and his WHIP of 0.97 is also third in the conference (28th in the nation). The San Diego native has twice been named the WCC Pitcher of the Week and both times were in a span of three weeks. Furthermore, he went on a streak earlier this season of three starts without allowing an earned run (22.1 innings in total), allowing just six hits during that time while striking out 26 batters.
Thornton and rest of his teammates will head to Stockton this week to compete as the No. 3 seed in the West Coast Conference Tournament.
Lacy Earns USA Baseball Collegiate National Team Invitation
Lacy is 7-4 on the season with a 2.13 ERA, and 115 strikeouts
May 21, 2019
HOOVER, Alabama - Texas A&M sophomore pitcher Asa Lacy was selected to play for the USA Baseball 2019 Collegiate National Team, it was announced Monday.
The USA Baseball Collegiate National Team will participate in three international friendship series in 2019, beginning with the eighth USA vs. Cuba International Friendship Series that will take place July 2-6 in Cary, Charlotte, Durham and Hickory, North Carolina. The U.S. travels to Taiwan and Japan to compete in the 19th USA vs. Chinese Taipei International Friendship Series from July 9-12 and the 43rd USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Series from July 16-21.
The southpaw is 7-4 on the season with a 2.13 ERA, .162 opponent batting average and 115 strikeouts over 76.0 innings in his 13 starts. He is the first Aggie sophomore to record 100 strikeouts in a season since Michael Wacha in 2011. Lacy was named to the Perfect Game Midseason All-America Second Team and was tabbed a Golden Spikes Award semifinalist.
Lacy ranks second in the SEC in strikeouts per nine innings (13.62), third in strikeouts, fourth in hits allowed per nine innings (4.97) and opponent batting average and fifth in ERA. Nationally, he ranks seventh in hits allowed per nine innings, eighth in strikeouts per nine innings and 12 in strikeouts.
The list of recent Aggies to play for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team include John Doxakis (2018), Braden Shewmake (2017 & '18), Ryan Hendrix (2015), Nick Banks (2014 & 2015), A.J. Minter (2014), Daniel Mengden (2013), Tyler Naquin (2011) and Michael Wacha (2011).
USA Baseball Announces Multi-Year Partnership with Diamond Kinetics
Partnership names the Pittsburgh-based company an Official Player Development Partner for USA Baseball
May 21, 2019
DURHAM, N.C. - USA Baseball announced a multi-year partnership with Diamond Kinetics on Tuesday, making the Pittsburgh-based technology company an Official Player Development Partner of the organization.
As part of the partnership, USA Baseball will utilize Diamond Kinetics' SwingTracker bat sensor and PitchTracker smart baseball technologies for its six national teams and three national team development programs, as well as select national team identification events and development programs.
"We are very pleased and excited to partner with Diamond Kinetics to usher in state-of-the-art tools, technology and collaborative content to USA Baseball," said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball's Executive Director and CEO. "It is critical in this new era of baseball evaluation, training and development to have quantifiable, objective information accessible at a moment's notice and Diamond Kinetics will allow USA Baseball to utilize this essential data in its efforts to further develop its athletes."
USA Baseball will introduce this innovative technology to its 2019 programming during the Prospect Development Pipeline and the recently announced Prospect Development Pipeline League. Additionally, the Diamond Kinetics technology will be utilized during evaluation days at the National Team Championships in Arizona and Florida, and the National Team Identification Series Champions Cup at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina.
All USA Baseball national team and national team development program members will have access to the smart, sensor-based technology beginning in 2019 and both organizations will jointly collaborate on custom software tools to further enhance the technology and its impact on total athlete development.
"We are very excited at the opportunity to partner with such an esteemed, respected and influential organization as USA Baseball," said Diamond Kinetics CEO C.J. Handron. "Together, we can fully modernize how players are scouted and evaluated with Diamond Kinetic's wide array of smart, capable technologies. We are excited to tap USA Baseball's expertise to develop and distribute high-quality instructional and educational content through our apps and digital channels."
Furthermore, USA Baseball and Diamond Kinetics will work together to produce free educational and instructional content that will be accessible via Diamond Kinetics' mobile apps and throughout all of USA Baseball's online education platforms, including the Mobile Coach App and SportDev.org.
ELON, N.C. - It's the kind of stat you'd expect to see from a finesse pitcher: just six walks in 82.2 innings, spanning 13 starts. But Elon's George Kirby is no thumber - he's one of the premier power arms in college baseball.
Kirby also has 105 strikeouts and has held batters to a .203 average this season, while going8-1, 2.07 for the Colonial Athletic Association regular-season champion Phoenix. Kirby ranks fifth nationally with a 0.83 WHIP, and he leads all of Division I with a ridiculous 17.5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
"It's quite a floor, ain't it?" said Elon pitching coach Sean McGrath. "He's the best of both worlds. He's a command guy, kind of what you see from a mid-major Friday or Saturday guy who's a mid-to-upper-80s guy, and he's doing it at 95. And beyond that, he's doing it probably better than most ever do it."
The combination of plus fastball velocity, an ideal pitcher's frame at 6-foot-4, 201 pounds, and elite strike-throwing ability gives Kirby perhaps a better combination of a high floor and a high ceiling than any other pitcher in the 2019 draft class. In his final regular-season start Sunday against UNC Wilmington, Kirby came out of the chute sitting at 96 mph with his fastball and bumped 97. He pitched comfortably at 94-95 and touched 96 repeatedly over the first four innings, and he didn't throw a fastball below 93 mph in his five excellent innings of work, before Elon pulled him at the 79-pitch mark to get him a little extra rest heading into the conference tournament and hopefully the NCAA tournament. It was typical Kirby dominance: he allowed just one unearned run on two hits while striking out nine - and walking none, as usual.
For most college pitchers, learning to pound the strike zone is paramount. Kirby, however, has had to learn to expand the zone more often.
"He's really taken to being able to leave the zone, because the beginning portion of this year, he was so much in the zone that he was putting guys in swing mode," McGrath said. "Then he learned, 'OK, I can pitch a couple balls off or I can pitch a couple balls up, and they're probably still gonna offer.' And he commands it well enough that even if you do it 1-0 and 2-1, you're not afraid you're gonna go walk them, and it gets called more because he has the reputation."
Kirby showed good control as a sophomore too, going 10-3, 2.89 with a 96-27 K-BB mark in 90.1 innings. But he's gotten better across the board as a junior.
"One thing I've done a lot better this year is be able to command and limit the walks, which has helped me a lot. I expect to do this well every time I go out," Kirby said. "I think just the work I do during the week, trying to hone in my mechanics, I think that's helped me a lot. The pitch calling helps me a lot to expand, so I just try to hit those spots, keep it out of the zone. I didn't really change anything mechanically, I just tried to add more flow in my delivery. I changed the way I step back, I'm a little quicker to the plate now, which has helped me in the flow of the game, staying consistent. … It kind of just clicked."
Kirby took an important step forward last summer in the Cape Cod League, where he posted a 1.20 ERA in 11 relief appearances for Harwich. He said he enjoyed the closer role last summer, and he gained confidence from facing the best hitters in college baseball day-in and day-out. He also worked hard to improve his changeup and slider in the summer and throughout the fall.
Kirby's calling card remains that electric fastball, which served as the putaway pitch on eight of his nine strikeouts against UNCW. But he has refined his secondary stuff to the point that he now feels comfortable mixing with four quality pitches. His 85-86 mph straight changeup has been his best secondary pitch for most of his collegiate career, and he threw it with good arm speed against the Seahawks, helping him get ahead of hitters early in counts. He also excels at throwing his 78-80 mph curveball as a backdoor strike against lefties. It's not a hammer, but he has developed it to the point that he can get occasional swing-and-misses with it, as he did Sunday against Riley Zayicek, who struck out on the pitch.
"He's been able to go ahead and leave that thing short and believable, more often than he was last year," McGrath said. "Last year it was almost, how do you mix early to finish with fastball? Now we can give any assortment of pitches early in the AB and finish them whichever way we see fit late in the AB."
The biggest difference from last year is the development of Kirby's slider, an 82-85 mph offering that flashes solid-average. That's become an important weapon for him, as he has learned to throw it harder, with more intent, as he put it.
"We tried to add a slider last spring and it never really took shape. Some days he'd have it and would be able to throw a couple, and other days it just wouldn't be there," McGrath said. "And then this fall, a little bit this summer when he was up in the Cape, he was able to go ahead and fiddle around with grips and fiddle around with thoughts of what exactly he's looking to do with the slider, if he were to add one. Man, he's hammered away at it in bullpens and game plan, and it's taken shape. But he went from fastball-changeup with a show-me breaking ball, to now he can put people away with four different pitches."
Kirby and fellow junior righthander Kyle Brnovich form one of the best one-two pitching duos in college baseball, giving Elon a chance to beat any team in America in a weekend series. They have two very different styles - Brnovich pitches heavily off his devastating slider, one of the best in the country, while Kirby lives off that fastball - but they complement each other well. They also have a healthy competitive relationship; last year Kirby pitched on Friday and Brnovich went 8-2, 1.71 with 147 strikeouts in 105 innings as the Saturday starter. This year, Brnovich is 6-3, 3.81 on Fridays, and Kirby has been utterly dominant on Saturdays.
"We definitely push each other, but I'd say it's more individual, honestly," Kirby said. "We both have different styles of pitching, and we both worked on that during the week all the time, bullpens and everything. But we definitely do push each other a little bit, because Friday-Saturday, either of us could really have the Friday spot. So we're both competing with each other, and it's good to be competitive when you're good friends."
Kirby places great value in being a model teammate and helping Elon's young arms improve. He's soft-spoken and even-keeled, and he isn't afraid to offer teammates some insights.
"He's a guy's guy. Teammates love him. They know not to bother him too much on game day, but you won't to be able to tell, 'Oh, that's George Kirby.' He doesn't want to look any different than any of these other 33, 34 guys," McGrath said. "He's just one of the boys. The guys take to him. The other thing he's been really, really good at is he's been a great leader, whether it be allowing young guys to watch his bullpens and allowing them to take something from him, or he'll sit down with guys and talk about how he thinks about using his lower half, or his thoughts on certain pitches, where to execute, how to execute. He's done as much developing as I have with those freshman and sophomore arms, in terms of getting in touch with them and making sure in his catch play that he's a good example for others. He's diligent, and I think he's helped some buy-in, and other guys carry themselves pretty similarly."
"I'm just trying to share all the information I can give them," Kirby added. "A lot of times we struggle just hitting the zone, so I'll spot some things that guys are doing down there that I think have worked for me. I think having McGrath down there, we're both on the same page, so if I have something to say he'll let me say it, and he usually agrees with it. I think just giving my advice has helped them get a little more confidence on the mound, and I think it's shown. The past couple weeks the younger guys have gone out and done pretty well."
After going 19-5 in CAA play to run away with the regular-season title, Elon is now focused on winning the automatic bid that goes to the conference tournament champion, and getting the program back to regionals for the first time since 2013. With Kirby and Brnovich leading the way, and talented sophomore Jared Wetherbee rounding out the rotation with flame-thrower Ty Adcock anchoring the back of the bullpen, the Phoenix have the pitching firepower to make some serious noise in the postseason. And Elon's progression over the last three years has been very gratifying for Kirby, as you might imagine.
"Came here freshman year, we didn't do very well. Last year we got bumped out in the semis. So I'm just glad we're making progress every year," Kirby said. "We have a special group of guys, our pitching staff's really good, gave our guys a chance to win every time out there. You see we just dominated the CAA this year, so it was pretty fun to watch."
Kirby is awfully fun to watch, too.
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Mitchell Invited to USA Baseball Collegiate National Team
May 15, 2019
LOS ANGELES - UCLA sophomore outfielder Garrett Mitchell has been invited to play with the United States Collegiate National Team this summer, it was announced on Wednesday by USA Baseball.
Mitchell, who was in the midst of a breakout sophomore season, joins a rich history of Bruins to have suited up for the Collegiate National Team. He is set to become the 18th UCLA player to don the red, white, and blue, following in the footsteps of established MLB stars such as Gerrit Cole, Trevor Bauer, Brandon Crawford, and Troy Glaus.
The Orange, Calif. native is poised to be UCLA's first position player on the Collegiate National Team since Steve Rodriguez in 2010. Current Bruin second baseman Chase Strumpf was selected to the team in the summer of 2018, but did not participate due to injury.
The USA Baseball Collegiate National Team will participate in series of four intrasquad exhibition games and a game against the Coastal Plain League Select before announcing a 26-man roster prior to the 8th USA vs. Cuba International Friendship Series that will take place July 2-6 in Cary, Charlotte, Durham and Hickory, North Carolina.
Team USA's 26-man roster will then travel to Taiwan for the 19th USA vs. Chinese Taipei International Friendship Series after which USA Baseball will announce a final 24-man roster to compete in the 43rd USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Series from July 16-21 in Japan.
As of May 15, Mitchell is slashing .353/.425/.544 for the Bruins with 24 extra-base hits and 29 RBIs. UCLA's leadoff hitter, he's stolen a team-high 15 bases in 19 tries. He ranks in the top-10 in the Pac-12 in a bevy of statistics, including batting average (eighth), runs (46, 10th), hits (72, fourth), doubles (14, seventh), triples (five, second), stolen bases (fourth), and total bases (111, ninth). Mitchell has also been a lock-down defender in right field - his primary position - and center field, earning a national ABCA Gold Glove nomination.
Keep up-to-date on all things UCLA Baseball by following the team Twitter account at @UCLABaseball. Fans can follow the Collegiate National Team on Twitter at @USCBaseballCNT.
DURHAM, N.C. - USA Baseball named the 25 semifinalists for its Golden Spikes Award on Wednesday. Presented in partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation, the 42nd Golden Spikes Award winner will be announced on June 14 at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.
The list of semifinalists spans 20 different colleges and universities, one high school and nine NCAA conferences. The list also features three athletes who were also a semifinalist in 2018 with Josh Jung (Texas Tech), Spencer Torkelson (Arizona State) and 2018 Golden Spikes Award winner Andrew Vaughn (California). Since 2007, 29 athletes have been named a semifinalist more than once in their careers, including past Golden Spikes Award winners Stephen Strasburg (2009), Trevor Bauer (2011), Mike Zunino (2012), Kris Bryant (2013), Brendan McKay (2017) and Vaughn (2018).
"The twenty-five student-athletes honored as Golden Spikes Award semifinalists this year highlight the depth of elite amateur baseball talent in the United States," said USA Baseball Executive Director and CEO Paul Seiler. "Each and every one of these athletes have excelled on the field this season and we are honored to continue our partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation to recognize their contributions to their teams and schools."
Joining Sun Devils teammate Torkelson as a 2019 semifinalist is Hunter Bishop (IF; Arizona State), meanwhile Mississippi State, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt join Arizona State as the only schools with multiple semifinalists with the selections of Jake Mangum (Mississippi State), Ethan Small (Mississippi State), John Doxakis (Texas A&M), Asa Lacy (Texas A&M), JJ Bleday (Vanderbilt) and Austin Martin (Vanderbilt), respectively.
Jackson Rutledge (San Jacinto College) and Bobby Witt Jr. (Colleyville-Heritage High School) have also been named a Golden Spikes semifinalist in 2019. Since USA Baseball introduced semifinalists to the voting process in 2007, Rutledge is the fourth semifinalist from the junior college ranks while Witt is the first-ever high school student athlete to earn this honor. To this date, Alex Fernandez (1990) and Bryce Harper (2010) are the only non-NCAA Division I athletes to win the Golden Spikes Award.
Last year, Cal's Vaughn took home the prestigious award, joining a group of recent winners that include Brendan McKay (2017), Kyle Lewis (2016), Andrew Benintendi (2015), A.J. Reed (2014), Kris Bryant (2013), Mike Zunino (2012), Trevor Bauer (2011), Bryce Harper (2010), Stephen Strasburg (2009), Buster Posey (2008), and David Price (2007).
Beginning with the announcement of semifinalists, a ballot will be sent to the Golden Spikes Award voting body consisting of national baseball media, select professional baseball personnel, previous Golden Spikes Award winners and select USA Baseball staff, totaling a group of over 200 voters. From Wednesday, May 15 through Sunday, May 26, each voting member will select three athletes from the Golden Spikes Award ballot of semifinalists and fan voting will simultaneously be open on GoldenSpikesAward.com. Selections made by the voting body will carry a 95% weight of each athlete's total, while fan votes will account for the remaining 5%.
The finalists will then be announced on Wednesday, May 29. Beginning that same day through Monday, June 10, the voting body and fans will be able to cast their final vote for the Golden Spikes Award winner.
The winner of the 42nd Golden Spikes Award will be named on Friday, June 14.
USA Baseball has partnered with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation to host the Golden Spikes Award since 2013. The Foundation was formed to honor legendary University of Southern California and USA Baseball Olympic team coach, Rod Dedeaux, and supports youth baseball and softball programs in underserved communities throughout Southern California.
A complete list of the 25 Golden Spikes Award semifinalists is as follows:
Spencer Torkelson Named to USA Baseball Collegiate National Team for Second Time
Torkelson is the first player from Arizona State to be named to the Collegiate National Team twice
May 14, 2019
PHOENIX - For the second consecutive season, Sun Devil Baseball's Spencer Torkelson will shed the Maroon and Gold this summer in favor of the Red, White and Blue as the sophomore infielder has been selected to represent the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team and will join the 2019 edition of Team USA in three international friendly series this summer.
Torkelson is the first Sun Devil to become a two-time selection for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team since Ryan Burr was selected in 2013 and 2014. Torkelson, Burr and Dustin Pedroia represent the only Sun Devils in program history to represent their country on more than one occasion.
Torkelson joins an illustrious list of Sun Devils to represent their country over the years, including Floyd Bannister (1975), Bob Horner (1976), Kevin Romine (1981), Oddibe McDowell (1984), Dustin Pedroia (2002 and 2003) and current MLB players Mike Leake (2008), Deven Marrero (2011) and Trevor Williams (2012).
In total, 36 Sun Devils have been selected a total 40 times to represent the United States with Torkelson's addition this summer. Only USC (70) and Stanford (51) have more all-time selections than ASU among all teams in the NCAA.
After an All-American caliber freshman season, Torkelson has followed that with an equally impressive sophomore campaign for the Sun Devils. Torkelson has 19 home runs this season, second in the Pac-12 and ninth in the country. He has at least one home run in each of the last nine weekend series that the Sun Devils have played - including every single series of Pac-12 play.
After posting 25 homers as a freshman, Torkelson now has 44 in his career at ASU - tied for sixth in program history despite only being a sophomore and just 12 shy of the Sun Devil school record of 56 held by Bob Horner. He is one home run away from joining Horner as the only other player in ASU history to have 20 or more home runs in consecutive seasons.
With another big fly, Torkelson would also join former Missouri State First-Round Draft Pick Jake Burger as the only player in the BBCOR era of batting standards to log multiple seasons with 20 or more home runs.
Torkelson enters this weekend ranked in the Top-10 in nearly every major offensive category, including average (10th/.351), slugging percentage (4th/.688), RBIs (3rd/57), runs (4th/58), doubles (10th/13), total bases (2nd/143), walks (8th/36) and hits (3rd/73) in addition to his spot among the home run leaders. He sits in the Top-30 nationally in home runs, run, RBIs, slugging and total bases.
Defensively, Torkelson has made huge strides and helped turn 12 more double plays than any other player in the Pac-12 (51). He has just two errors on the year despite being in the Pac-12 in defensive chances (404) and one of those came while he was playing out of position in right field for one inning in a game earlier this season. Among Pac-12 players with 350 or more chances, Torkelson's two errors are third behind Stanford's Andrew Daschbach and Oregon's Gabe Matthews (1).
2019 TEAM USA BASEBALL
The USA Baseball Collegiate National Team will participate in three international friendship series in 2019, beginning with the 8th USA vs. Cuba International Friendship Series that will take place July 2-6 in Cary, Charlotte, Durham and Hickory, North Carolina. The U.S. will then travel to Taiwan and Japan to compete in the 19th USA vs. Chinese Taipei International Friendship Series from July 9-12 and the 43rd USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Series from July 16-21. For more information on USA Baseball and the Collegiate National Team, follow @USABaseball on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter; and @USABaseballCNT on Twitter.
For OF Corbin Carroll (Lakeside School, WA), the high school season is over. Lakeside was eliminated in the playoffs Monday, but on Tuesday, Carroll lifted weights and hit. A season is over and chapter closed, but much is still to come for the UCLA recruit. So the work doesn't stop.
"I'm just thinking what got me to this position," Carroll said. "I don't think anything is changing right now. I'm just trying to work as hard as I can."
That hard work has made him one of the top high school players in the country, one who will likely hear his name called early in the first round of the 2019 MLB Draft, less than a month away. It would put a stamp on the last 11 months, an impressive run in which Carroll traveled the United States to play in different showcases and tournaments, as well as to Panama where he helped Team USA's 18U National Team win a gold medal in the 2018 Pan Am Championship. As part of the squad's offensive dominance, Carroll hit .500 with three home runs, 15 RBIs and nine stolen bases in eight games. An important time for many rising seniors, the summer and fall seasons served as a proving ground for Carroll.
"I learned that I can go out there and compete with whoever I want to compete with," he said. "The biggest thing for me was confidence. Going into that summer, not really playing at that level before, and then coming out of that summer feeling like I can hang with anyone. That was huge for me and pretty cool to see, given that I didn't really have those expectations going in per se."
Carroll's confidence, and talent, extends off the field as well. He was just selected to the all-league academic team and hasn't received a B since he was a sophomore. That's a noteworthy accomplishment in itself, but Lakeside is an academically rigorous institution and boasts an impressive alumni list that includes the co-founders of Microsoft-Bill Gates and Paul Allen.
"The community there is really incredible and supportive," Carroll said. "One of the coolest things about being at such a rigorous academic school is you're constantly challenged. I'm constantly challenged in the classroom, which is really cool, competing in those different ways."
Carroll has a bright future in baseball, no matter which direction his path takes next month. However, if a Plan B were to become necessary, science seems to be his calling. His declared major for UCLA is physiological sciences and he's currently taking sports medicine and physiology courses. That same drive that elicits success on the field, helps off it too. Being a senior and baseball being his likely career, it would be easy for Carroll to hit cruise control.
"(I'm) not making excuses for myself from the baseball front," he said. "(I'm) going in with the mindset that I'm just another student here and I need to get my business done. That's really paid off for me. I was named to the all-league academic team. Seeing that hard work pay off has been rewarding for me."
Rewarding and a testament to the work he's put in since freshman year. As much as he's proven as a player, he's also done so as a student.
"I definitely wasn't this caliber of a student going into the school freshman year," Carroll said. "School was definitely a lot tougher for me then. I didn't have some of the study habits that I do now. I just think that's a testament to the work I've put in, as well as the school.
"Freshman year, I was mostly a B student. And then I haven't had a B since sophomore year. From the work perspective, what that looked like, was those two hours a night not really making excuses and saying I've done enough. Just pushing through that extra hour and finding ways to get my stuff done. If I have a 45-minute free period and I've got work to get done, I have the self control now where I say, 'I'm not gonna goof off with my friends. I'm gonna go get some work done.'"
The work is only beginning for Carroll, but you can bet he'll find his way on Lakeside's notable alumni list.
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Patrick Bailey Named to USA Baseball Collegiate National Team
Bailey returns to Team USA for second consecutive summer
May 9, 2019
DURHAM, N.C. - NC State's Patrick Bailey been named to the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team (CNT) roster, announced on Thursday by the organization.
"It's an honor to represent the United States," said Bailey. "I'm excited for the valuable experience I'm going to gain, as well as the opportunity to play with the best players in the country and compete against the best players in the world."
This is Bailey's second selection, as the sophomore from Greensboro, N.C., earned an invitation last year to the USA Baseball CNT training camp. 2019 marks the third consecutive year that an NC State player has been named to the team.
"I'm excited for Patrick to have the honor to represent the United States. He joins a great list of NC State players that have had the privilege to wear the red, white and blue," said Wolfpack baseball head coach Elliott Avent.
"It's a great opportunity for him to improve as a player, challenge himself as an individual, and help USA Baseball grow our game on a worldwide scale."
Avent was a member of the Collegiate National Team coaching staff in 2004 and won a gold medal at the World University Games in Chinese Taipei. He additionally was a part of Team USA in 2015.
Below is the full list of NC State players to make Team USA since 1984: 2019: Patrick Bailey 2018: Patrick Bailey, Will Wilson 2017: Will Wilson 2013: Trea Turner, Carlos Rodon 2012: Trea Turner, Carlos Rodon 2007: Eric Surkamp 2006: Andrew Brackman 2004: Joey Devine 1997: Tom Sergio 1993: Andy Barkett, Pat Clougherty, Terry Harvey
Bailey, who was recently named to USA Baseball's Golden Spikes Award Midseason Watch List, has started in 48 games this year behind the plate. He currently owns a .309 clip with 58 hits, a team-leading 16 doubles and nine homers.
Last season he was tabbed ACC Freshman of the Year with Second Team All-ACC and ACC All-Freshman Team honors, as well as a Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American.
The USA Baseball Collegiate National Team will participate in three international friendship series in 2019, beginning with the 8th USA vs. Cuba International Friendship Series that will take place July 2-6 in Cary, Charlotte, Durham and Hickory, North Carolina. The U.S. will then travel to Taiwan and Japan to compete in the 19th USA vs. Chinese Taipei International Friendship Series from July 9-12 and the 43rd USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Series from July 16-21.