USA BASEBALL NEWS

18U

MLB and USA Baseball Create "PDP League" to Bolster High School Baseball Pipeline Ahead of 2020 MLB Draft

Expansion of the Existing Prospect Development Pipeline/Will Serve As the Premier Development Experience for 80 Top High School Prospects
November 13, 2018

Durham, N.C. - Major League Baseball and USA Baseball today announced the new "Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) League," a premier development and showcase experience for dozens of high school baseball prospects based in the United States. The PDP League, which will be held from mid-June through early-July at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., is an invitation-based development opportunity for approximately 80 of the top high school baseball players ahead of the 2020 MLB Draft. It will include competitive game play, practice & training sessions with MLB Club representatives serving as on-field coaches, and evaluation using modern technologies tailoring individualized development curriculums for each player. The PDP League will serve as a primary identification opportunity for the USA Baseball 18U National Team, slated to compete in the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup in Busan, South Korea. Additionally, the League will serve as a feeder for a new All-Star Week showcase game for the best high school baseball players, designed in a similar style to the existing SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game.

 "We are thrilled to join USA Baseball in announcing the PDP League, which is the newest initiative in our ongoing commitment to improving the amateur levels of our game and connecting the next generation of stars to Major League Baseball," said Morgan Sword, MLB's Senior Vice President, League Economics & Operations. "The PDP League will provide these players, the majority of whom will be in consideration for the following year's MLB Draft, with the most dynamic, development-focused experience available to high school baseball athletes. Uniquely, the PDP League will also offer players the opportunity to prepare for life beyond baseball by prioritizing leadership and character development as well as personal health and well-being."

"The creation of the PDP League signifies a new, groundbreaking opportunity to cultivate excellence amongst athletes both on and off the field," said Rick Riccobono, USA Baseball's Chief Development Officer. "The development of the next generation of collegiate and professional stars has long been a core mission of USA Baseball, and we are proud to reinforce this commitment with the creation of this innovative program with the support of Major League Baseball and its Clubs. The PDP League will have an immediate and positive impact on the amateur landscape while fostering the continued success of Team USA on the international stage."

LEAGUE FORMAT & PIPELINE TO ADDITIONAL OPPORTUNITIES
The 80 participants of the 2019 PDP League, all of whom will be invited by Major League Baseball, MLB Clubs and USA Baseball, will be broken down into four teams of about 20 players. Most of the on-field activity, including competitive play and training, will take place at the IMG Academy. The teams also will have an opportunity to play at Tropicana Field, the home of the Tampa Bay Rays.

A percentage of the highest performing players from the PDP League will be considered for additional premier opportunities. These include events connected to MLB All-Star Week, such as the new high school showcase game as well as the High School Home Run Derby, an annual national home run hitting contest held at the All-Star host ballpark. Four of the eight participants in the 2017 All-Star High School Home Run Derby were selected in the first round of the 2018 MLB Draft.

USA Baseball also will utilize the PDP League as the primary identification event for the USA Baseball 18U National Team. Approximately 40 players will be invited from the PDP League to attend the 2019 18U National Team Trials, which will be conducted in late August in Los Angeles. From there, the final 20-man national team roster will be selected for team training in Asia, followed by the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in Busan, South Korea in early September. The 2019 18U Team will be managed by long time Clemson University head coach Jack Leggett.

PLAYER HEALTH, WELLNESS & PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT
Providing all participating athletes with an environment that prioritizes their health and well-being is one of the founding principles on which the PDP League was created. The League will focus on monitoring overall workload, ensuring the necessary amount of down time and rest, prioritizing recovery management and support, establishing routines for development, and monitoring heat exposure and hydration.

Personal development will be a focus in classroom settings during the League through a variety of important educational seminars applicable to the participants' potential collegiate and professional baseball careers. Classroom lessons will be led by MLB Club, USA Baseball, and other pertinent guest speakers and will include leadership sessions, diversity & inclusion training, proper use and importance of social media, nutritional tips, and more. Content, curriculum and expertise will be borrowed from existing initiatives, including MLB's Rookie Development Program and USA Baseball's National Team Development Program.

Additionally, the participants will have the opportunity to undergo unique athletic assessments, consisting of performance vision screening, swing and ball flight analysis and precise physical testing. These voluntary assessments have already helped establish an official identification and player assessment pathway to Major League Baseball and all 30 MLB Clubs for elite high school age baseball players. In the last two MLB Drafts (2017 & 2018), 212 players who participated in 2017-2018 PDP events were selected.

ABOUT IMG ACADEMY
IMG Academy is one of the world's largest and most advanced multi-sport training and educational institutions. IMG Academy helps countless youth, adult, collegiate and professional athletes reach their full potential in and out of sport by providing world-class teaching and coaching, tailored programs and professional facilities. Based in Bradenton, Florida, IMG Academy also serves as a training and competition venue for amateur and professional teams, a host site for a variety of events, and a hub for sports performance research and innovation. Its nearly 600-acre campus includes a state-of-the-art baseball stadium, five development fields, indoor & outdoor batting cages and 16 practice mounds. It also houses the Gatorade Sports Science Institute, three dormitories, two 10,000 square foot weight rooms and a fieldhouse with professional locker rooms.

ADDITIONAL USAB & MLB PROGRAMMING

MLB and USA Baseball partner on a variety of different initiatives, including the PLAY BALL initiative (www.PlayBall.org), diversity-focused amateur development camps (Breakthrough Series, DREAM Series & Hank Aaron Invitational), Fun At Bat program (www.FunAtBat.org), girls baseball initiatives (Trailblazer Series, Girls Baseball Breakthrough Series), Pitch Smart (www.PitchSmart.org), Hit and Run Baseball (www.HitandRunBaseball.com), and many more. 

In August, MLB and USA Baseball announced "States Play," a new, annual high school baseball tournament to showcase some of the best rising seniors from states that historically produce a high volume of collegiate and professional players. 

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18U

USA Baseball Names 2019 18U National Team Staff

ABCA Hall of Famer Jack Leggett will return as manager of the 18U National Team in 2019
April 8, 2019

DURHAM, N.C. - USA Baseball announced the 18U National Team coaching staff on Monday, highlighted by the return of American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Hall of Famer Jack Leggett as manager. The 2019 18U National Team will travel to South Korea looking for a record fifth consecutive world title at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup.

Scott Bankhead (North Carolina Baseball Academy) and Gregg Ritchie (George Washington) will also return to the staff as the team's pitching coach and hitting coach, respectively, and Gerald Laird (St. Louis Cardinals) will round out the staff as an assistant coach.

"USA Baseball is thrilled to welcome Jack Leggett back as the manager of the 18U National Team this summer after leading the 2018 18U team to a record-setting performance in the COPABE U-18 Pan-American Championships," said USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO Paul Seiler. "His baseball knowledge and ability to motivate and mentor athletes are remarkable qualities that has led to a career of successes unmatched by many. As this year's team looks to make a run at a feat never before achieved at the youth level in international baseball history, we are confident that we have assembled a strong coaching staff that can lead a group of tremendous young athletes to new heights."

2019 will mark Leggett's second consecutive year as the 18U National Team manager after he led the 2018 18U National Team to a gold medal at the COPABE U-18 Pan-American Championships in Panama. This year also marks the third straight year for Leggett as a USA Baseball coach after working as a coach for the 17U National Team Development Program (NTDP) in 2017 and 2018.

Leggett was the head baseball coach at Clemson University from 1994-2015, where he led the Tigers to 955 victories, 21 NCAA Tournament appearances and six College World Series berths. Every single one of his teams compiled winning overall records in his 22 seasons at Clemson and 34 of his players were All-Americans, 31 were First-Team All-ACC players and 11 were selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

Leggett guided the Tigers to their second and third No. 1 rankings in school history and Clemson was the seventh-winningest program in the nation during his time as head coach. He was a three-time ACC Coach of the Year recipient and was inducted into the ABCA Hall of Fame in 2014. Leggett also served as a head coach for 14 years at Vermont and Western Carolina before moving to Clemson. In total, he has 1,332 career wins and following the conclusion of the 2015 season, he was the fifth-winningest active Division 1 head coach in the country.

Scott Bankhead will once again join Leggett on staff in 2019 as the pitching coach after leading the 2018 18U team pitching staff to a team ERA of 3.13 and 91 strikeouts at the 2018 U-18 Pan-American Championships. Currently the owner of the North Carolina Baseball Academy, Bankhead has previously served as an 18U National Team Trials coach in 2016 and 2017, and was a member of the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Team. He was the 16th overall pick in the 1984 MLB Draft out of the University of North Carolina and he spent ten seasons in the Major Leagues, pitching for the Kansas City Royals, Seattle Mariners, Cincinnati Reds, Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. He finished his professional career with a 4.18 ERA over 901 innings.

Ritchie will enter his third consecutive year as the 18U National Team hitting coach in 2019 and his second under Leggett. Ritchie's offense shined at the U-18 Pan-American Championships in 2018 as the team recorded a .407 batting average with 31 doubles, 5 triples and 15 home runs, and set the USA Baseball record for most runs scored in an international tournament with 131. Additionally, he helped lead the 18U team to an undefeated record and a fourth consecutive WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup title in 2017. Under his direction, the 2017 squad hit .273 and had a .418 slugging percentage, with 16 doubles, five triples and six home runs over nine games. He has also served as a coach at the 2016 and 2018 17U NTDPs and 18U National Team Trials.

He is currently in his seventh season at the helm for George Washington University, where he was named Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year in 2013. That year, Ritchie led the Colonials to their first postseason berth since 2006 and then followed that with back-to-back postseason appearances in 2015 and 2016. He began his coaching career in the Chicago White Sox organization, where he worked at various levels for 10 years, before serving as the hitting coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2011 and 2012.

Laird will make his national team coaching debut in 2019 as an assistant coach for the 18U team; however, it is not his first experience with USA Baseball after he served as an assistant coach for Team Stars at the 2017 17U NTDP. An MLB veteran who played parts of 13 seasons for the Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, St. Louis Cardinals, Atlanta Braves and Arizona Diamondbacks, Laird brings a wealth of baseball experience to the 2019 18U National Team. Laird played collegiately at Cypress College and was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the second round of the 1998 MLB Draft. He also competed for Team USA on the 18U National Team in 1997 and was a part of the 2003 COPABE Olympic Qualifier team.

"Coach Leggett's resume speaks for itself and having the opportunity to work with a coach of his caliber is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said newly-appointed 18U National Team Director Frank Jagoda. "With their experience in international baseball-as well as professional baseball-we have assembled a truly outstanding coaching staff and it is a great opportunity for USA Baseball and the 18U National Team to continue moving this program forward and work towards a fifth-straight world title."

The inaugural Prospect Development Pipeline League, the 2018 17U National Team Identification Series and 2019 17U NTDP, will serve as the identification events for the 2019 18U National Team. The PDP League is an invitation-based development opportunity for approximately 80 of the top high school baseball players ahead of the 2020 MLB Draft and will run from mid-June through early-July at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, to begin the 18U National Team schedule for 2019.

More information about the 2019 18U National Team Trials, Training and the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup will be announced at a later date.

Leading into 2019, the 18U team has won eight straight international tournament titles dating back to 2011, including winning the last four WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cups in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2017. Currently, the U.S. and Cuba are the only two countries to win four-consecutive world championship titles at the U-18 level.

For the most up-to-date information on the 18U National Team, follow @USABaseball18U and @USABaseball on Twitter.

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18U

Howard, Jeter, Jones and Larkin Named Captains of the MLB-USA Baseball PDP League

April 4, 2019

DURHAM, N.C. - Ryan Howard. Derek Jeter. Chipper Jones. Barry Larkin - all names synonymous with greatness, legendary performances and World Series Championships. In the summer of 2019, they will serve as team captains of the 2019 Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) League taking place at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Eighty of the top 2020 MLB Draft eligible high school prospects from around the United States who were invited to participate in the inaugural season of the PDP League will compete on teams named after Howard, Jeter, Jones and Larkin, all of whom are also USA Baseball alumni.

PDP League team captains will be on-site at different points throughout the duration of the League to share their career stories with the players in attendance. The PDP League, scheduled for June 13th-July 4th, will provide the participating athletes with an unprecedented experience, including weekly practices and competitive gameplay, individualized instruction from MLB Club representatives serving as on-field coaches, evaluations using modern technologies tailoring individualized development curriculums for each player, as well as off-field leadership, skill-building, and educational seminars. Athletes will also have access to the Gatorade Sports Science Institute, located on the campus of IMG Academy and one of only three such facilities in the world. 

The PDP League will serve as a primary identification opportunity for the USA Baseball 18U National Team, slated to compete in the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup in Busan, South Korea in early September. Additionally, the League will serve as a feeder for a new MLB All-Star High School Prospect Game for the best high school baseball players, taking place in Cleveland as part of MLB's All-Star Week festivities in July.

The daily itinerary, skill-building, and gameplay responsibilities of the PDP League will fall on its Coordinators and Coaching Staffs, which includes former and current players as well as coaches on various levels of the game (Major League, Minor League & Collegiate). The PDP League staff will include:

PDP League Captains
Ryan Howard
-
2005 N.L. Rookie of the Year, 2006 N.L. MVP, 2008 World Series Champion, 3x MLB All-Star; 2000 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team member

Derek Jeter
- CEO & Owner, Miami Marlins
- 5x World Series Champion, 1996 A.L. Rookie of the Year, 2000 World Series MVP, 14x MLB All-Star; 2006 and 2009 Team USA WBC member

Chipper Jones
- Baseball Hall of Famer, 1995 World Series Champion, 1999 N.L. MVP, 8x MLB All-Star; 2006 and 2009 Team USA WBC member

Barry Larkin
- Baseball Hall of Famer, 1990 World Series Champion, 1995 N.L. MVP, 12x MLB All-Star; 1984 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team member and 2009 Team USA WBC Auxiliary Coach

Coordinators
Scott Brosius (Field Coordinator)

- USA Baseball Senior Director, Sport Development
- 3x World Series Champion, 1998 World Series MVP, 1998 MLB All-Star, 11-year MLB veteran, 2013 Division III National Championship Coach; 2-time USA Baseball 18U National Team Manager

Marcel Lachemann (Pitching Coordinator)
- Special Assistant to the GM, Los Angeles Angels
- 3-year MLB veteran, 3-year manager of the California Angels, 11-year MLB assistant coach; 8-time USA Baseball Pitching Coach

Gerald Laird (Catching Coordinator)
- Connecticut Tigers (Single-A, Detroit), Manager
- 2011 World Series Champion, 13-year MLB veteran; 2019 USA Baseball Assistant Coach

Greg Ritchie (Hitting Coordinator)
- George Washington University, Manager
- Selected in the 8th round of the 1986 MLB Draft, 16-year professional coach, 2013 A-10 Coach of the Year; 2-time USA Baseball 18U National Team Assistant Coach

Andy Stankiewicz (Fielding Coordinator)
- Grand Canyon University, Head Coach
- 7-year MLB veteran, 6-year professional manager and assistant coach; 3-time USA Baseball Manager and Assistant Coach

Managers
Joe Brown (SUNY Cortland - Head Baseball Coach)
- 2nd fastest NCAA Division III coach to reach 700 wins (714-185-3, .793 win percentage), the best winning percentage of any active NCAA coach with at least 10 years' experience
- 2015 ABCA and Division III National Coach of the Year, 10x ABCA New York Region Coach of the Year, 6x SUNYAC Coach of the Year, 1988 NCAA Division III Champion as a student-athlete

Geoff Loomis (University of Portland - Head Baseball Coach)
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University of Portland Hall of Famer, 2x NCAA Baseball Championship appearances managing Pacific Lutheran University, selected in the 31st round of the 1992 MLB Draft (OAK)

Casey Powell (Former Head and Assistant Collegiate Baseball Coach)
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Former head coach of Whitman College and assistant at Seattle University and Linfield College, 1996 Northwest Conference Player of the Year

Willie Romay (Former USA Baseball Coach; Amateur Scout - Boston Red Sox)
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7-year MLB amateur scout, 14-year scout with MLB Scouting Bureau, drafted in the 5th round of the 1988 MLB Draft (SEA); 2x USA Baseball Assistant Coach

Pitching Coaches

Garvin Alston (Former MLB Pitching Coach)
-
Former pitching coach in OAK, AZ, and MIN organizations, made MLB debut in 1996 with Colorado Rockies, drafted in the 10th round of the 1992 MLB Draft (COL)

Alan Embree (16-year MLB veteran pitcher)
-
2004 World Series Champion, 16-year MLB career with 10 organizations, amassing 39 wins and 25 saves across almost 900 appearances

Andy Pettitte (18-year MLB veteran pitcher)
-
5x World Series Champion, 3x MLB All-Star, 2001 ALCS MVP, amassed 256 wins over 18 year career, including 19 postseason and 5 World Series wins

Scott Radinski (11-year MLB veteran pitcher)
-
11-year MLB career with 4 organizations, amassing 42 wins and 52 saves across over 550 appearances; 2005 USA Baseball Professional National Team Pitching Coach

Strength and Conditioning Coordinator
Perry Castellano (18-year Professional Strength and Conditioning Coach) 
-
2010 MLB Strength Coach of the Year, 2014 American League All-Star Strength Coach, 12-year MLB Strength Coach and Director for the Minnesota Twins from 2006-2018

The PDP League also will be supported by NCAA and high school baseball coaches as well as current/former MLB alumni and personnel, including the following: Harold Reynolds, analyst for MLB Network (12-year MLB veteran, 3x Gold Glove winner, 2x MLB All Star); Lance Berkman (15-year MLB veteran, 2011 World Series champion, 6x MLB All-Star, 366 career home runs); and LaTroy Hawkins (21-year MLB veteran, over 1,000 MLB appearances including 75 wins and 127 saves). Additional names supporting the event will be announced at a later date. 

In addition to the League Captains/Managers/Coaches/Coordinators, there also will be a number of guest speakers brought in to enhance the personal growth and development of participating athletes, along with providing unparalleled perspective and experience in areas of character, leadership, team-building, and managing success. Two groups of note that will have an opportunity to bring their curriculums to the athletes include Echelon Front and Game On Nation. 

Echelon Front offers unmatched solutions in leadership, strategy, innovation, and team building developed and proven in combat. Founded by former Navy Seals Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, Echelon Front offers unique, personalized services designed to get teams executing at the highest level possible.

One of the most respected firms in communication, leadership, resiliency, and teambuilding training, Game On Nation uses groundbreaking, game-based training techniques to harnesses the power of Mystery, Incentive, Laughter, and Empowerment to create immediate improvement that teams can see, feel, and measure. Game On's innovative curriculum inspires participants to not only CARE about their training goals, but to remember and apply these interactive techniques to continuously improve.

"The experience that the PDP League will offer athletes is unparalleled within our industry," said Morgan Sword, MLB's Senior Vice President, League Economics & Operations. "This coaching staff will help these athletes to prepare themselves for careers in professional baseball. We look forward to seeing them in the big leagues soon." 

"I could not be more excited about this year's inaugural PDP League," said Scott Brosius, USA Baseball's Senior Director of Player Development. "We've taken significant strides toward our goal of creating a program that puts athlete development at the forefront of the amateur baseball landscape. Our players will have the opportunity to learn from some of the finest athletes to have played the game and then apply those lessons alongside the best players in the country on a daily basis. Ultimately, those who graduate this program will be prepared to be leaders in the clubhouse and in life." 

"The creation and implementation of the PDP League is a tremendous step forward for USA Baseball and Major League Baseball in the overall athlete development experience," said Frank Jagoda, USA Baseball's 18U National Team Program Director. "Not only will this league aide in the growth and development of the athletes who will take part in it, but also for game of baseball as well. Each athlete is given a truly invaluable opportunity to learn and compete against the best baseball players in the country while also competing for a spot to represent the United States as a member of the USA Baseball 18U National Team on the international stage."

As a part of the player experience, all athletes will receive a tablet for the duration of the league as the dedicated vehicle for athlete communication, scheduling, daily pushing of data, and personal video review, amongst other functionalities. This platform will create another opportunity to improve player development throughout the league, while reinforcing player accountability and offering opportunities to maximize not only the League experience, but also the athlete's continued growth both on and off of the field. 

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18U

WBSC Awards Hosting Rights of 2021 U-18 Baseball World Cup to USA

The 2021 youth world championship will take place in Sarasota and Bradenton, Florida
March 5, 2019

SARASOTA-BRADENTON, Fla. - The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) today announced it has awarded the hosting rights of the U-18 Baseball World Cup® 2021 to USA Baseball and the cities of Sarasota and Bradenton, Florida. This marks the first time since Cape Cod and Fenway Park hosted the 1995 Junior World Championship that the top youth international baseball event will be held in the United States.

The announcement was made at a joint press conference held at the Powel Crosley Estate in Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida, featuring WBSC president Riccardo Fraccari, USA Baseball President Mike Gaski, USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO Paul Seiler, Pittsburgh Pirates President Frank Coonelly, Orioles-Sarasota Vice President David Rovine and representatives from Visit Sarasota County and the Bradenton Area Sports Commission.

The 30th edition of the U-18 Baseball World Cup will take place in September 2021 and feature the world's best players from 12 countries in the U-18 category (16 to 18 years old). As the host nation, the USA Baseball 18U National Team-the current four-time defending U-18 world champions-will be granted an automatic berth into the global tournament.

All 50 U-18 World Cup games will be played between Ed Smith Stadium and LECOM Park, the Spring Training homes for Major League Baseball's Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates, respectively.

Team USA is the four-time defending U-18 Baseball World Cup champions (2012, 2013, 2015, 2017) and will look to win an unprecedented fifth consecutive world championship at the 2019 U-18 Baseball World Cup that will be held in Gijang, Republic of Korea, from Friday, August 30 to Sunday, September 8, 2019.

"USA Baseball presented an excellent bid, vision and venue plan for one of youth sport's most prestigious world championships, the U-18 Baseball World Cup," said WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari. "The world's best young players and next generation of superstars will have an iconic stage-the same stadiums where top professionals play and train-to perform and showcase their talents to the passionate fans in the stands and those watching across the world. While the sport of baseball has never been as global as it is today, there has never been a more opportune time to bring the U-18 Baseball World Cup back to the U.S., where baseball, together with softball, has furthered its position as the most practiced team sport, with participation numbers increasing over 20% to 25 million over the last five years, in the U.S. alone."

"USA Baseball is honored to be selected to host the U-18 Baseball World Cup and we aim to provide a truly once-in-a-lifetime baseball experience to the athletes and fans who take part in this premier event," said USA Baseball President Mike Gaski. "Our national pastime continues to be a major influence in the culture of the United States and we are proud to partner with the cities of Bradenton and Sarasota, Florida, to welcome the international baseball community to the birthplace of baseball."

Sarasota and Bradenton are located south of Tampa Bay on Florida's Gulf Coast, a region known for award-winning beaches and a long history of arts and culture. The two cities have jointly hosted numerous international youth and amateur sports competitions including the 2017 World Rowing Championships and the 2017-2018 International Triathlon World Cups.

"Visit Sarasota County and the Orioles are pleased to welcome some of the world's top baseball players to our region for the 2021 U-18 Baseball World Cup," said Visit Sarasota County President Virginia Haley. "We look forward to working with USA Baseball and the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau to produce a memorable, world-class experience for all participants."

"We are thrilled to have been awarded the bid to host the World Baseball Softball Confederation U-18 Baseball World Cup in September 2021-one of the top youth championships in all of sports," said Sean Walter, Director of Sports at the Bradenton Area Sports Commission. "Both the Bradenton Area and the Pittsburgh Pirates organization stand ready to provide the ideal setting for the world's best players, who will go on to become future leaders in the sports industry."

The successful staging of the 2017 U-18 Baseball World Cup in Thunder Bay, Canada, helped the Thunder Bay International Airport break its all-time monthly passenger record for the month of August, while generating a CAD 6.3 million economic impact on the city, as well as multi- millions in brand exposure for sponsors and commercial partners.

The U-18 Baseball World Cups, along with its continental qualifiers, have consistently featured players who have gone on to become some of the biggest names in the sport, such as Japan's Yu Darvish and Shohei Ohtani; Korea's Shin-soo Choo; Cuba's Yasiel Puig and Aroldis Chapman; and the United States' Clayton Kershaw, Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Buster Posey.

For more information on the 2021 U-18 Baseball World Cup, visit SarasotaBradenton2021.com, or follow @SARBRAD2021 on Instagram and Twitter. Ticket information will be available in early 2020.

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16U NTDP
17U NTDP
18U

Frank Jagoda Named 18U National Team Director

Jagoda will oversee day-to-day operations for the 18U National Team and two national team development programs
February 11, 2019

DURHAM, N.C. - USA Baseball named Frank Jagoda the Director of the 18U National Team on Tuesday. In this role, Jagoda will oversee the day-to-day operations of the 18U National Team program, as well as the 16U and 17U National Team Development Programs, and will also work closely with the recently announced Prospect Development Pipeline League.

He returns to USA Baseball after serving as an assistant coach for the 2017 15U National Team that won a gold medal at the COPABE Pan-Am "AA" Championships, and as a task force member for numerous national teams and national team identification events over the last five years.

"We are thrilled to welcome Frank Jagoda to the organization in a full-time capacity as the 18U National Team Director," USA Baseball's Executive Director/CEO, Paul Seiler, said. "Frank has been a part of the USA Baseball family as a coach and task force member since 2014 and we are confident his experience and coaching philosophies will translate perfectly to this role as we continue to build upon the incredible achievements of our national teams, national team development programs and our athletes."

Jagoda brings over ten years of collegiate and professional baseball coaching experience to his new role with the 18U National Team. He most recently served as the Pitching Coach for Rehabilitation for the Minnesota Twins, where he oversaw all of the on-field rehabilitation for the club and served as the pitching coach for the Gulf Coast League Twins in Fort Meyers, Florida.

Prior to his tenure with the Twins, he was the head coach at Patrick Henry Community College (Martinsville, Va.) from 2016-2017, where he led the Patriots to a 79-38 overall record, guided the program to its first-ever regular season Region X championship and was named the 2016 Region X Coach of the Year. Jagoda was also a graduate assistant and assistant coach at Canisius College from 2012-2014 and helped lead the Golden Griffins to its first-ever NCAA Regional berth in 2013, before leading Wingate University to a spot in the NCAA Division II Southeast Region Championship as its pitching coach and recruiting coordinator in 2015.

Jagoda is immediately tasked with leading Team USA at the 2019 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup in South Korea. The U.S. is looking to win an unprecedented fifth consecutive world title after taking home gold in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2017. The 18U National Team program has won eight consecutive gold medals on the international stage dating back to 2011.

For more information on the 18U National Team, please visit USABaseball.com or follow along on Twitter at @USABaseball18U.

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14U NTDP
15U
WNT
18U
CNT

2018 USA Baseball Award Winners Announced

Collegiate National Team member Adley Rutschman named Richard W. "Dick" Case Award winner
January 11, 2019

DURHAM, N.C. - USA Baseball announced the recipients of its annual organizational awards on Friday, recognizing the top athletes, coaches and performances from the 2018 USA Baseball national teams. Collegiate National Team member Adley Rutschman (Sherwood, Ore.) was named the Richard W. "Dick" Case Award winner, becoming the 12th Collegiate National Team member to earn athlete of the year honors. The award is given annually to USA Baseball's top player in honor of the organization's founding Executive Director and CEO.

Collegiate National Team manager Paul Mainieri earned the program's second award of the year when he was named the Rod Dedeaux Coach of the Year. USA Baseball also recognized the 15U National Team with two awards in 2018, including Team of the Year and naming Manager Jason Maxwell the Developmental Coach of the Year after the team won its first-ever world championship at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-15 Baseball World Cup.

18U National Team member Bobby Witt Jr. (Colleyville, Texas) was honored with the International Performance of the Year Award for his strong showing in the COPABE U-18 Pan-American Championships gold medal game, while Women's National Team member Megan Baltzell (Stafford, Va.) took home the Sportswoman of the Year Award following an exceptional performance in the 2018 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Women's Baseball World Cup.

Lastly, Karsten Whitson was named the Volunteer Coach of the Year after serving as a pitching coach at the 2018 14U National Team Development Program.

"We are excited to celebrate the people and performances that made 2018 another outstanding year for USA Baseball," USA Baseball Executive Director and CEO Paul Seiler said. "It is an honor to be represented by coaches, athletes and staff that are such exceptional global ambassadors for our country and the game of baseball on the international stage. We are extremely proud to recognize their 2018 accomplishments with these awards."

USA Baseball continued its incredible success against international competition in 2018, finishing the year with gold medals at the COPABE U-12 Pan-American Championships, WBSC U-15 Baseball World Cup and the COPABE U-18 Pan-American Championships. After winning the WBSC U-15 World Cup, Team USA is now the defending world champions for all three youth age levels. The Collegiate National Team also built on its 2017 success when it once again won all three of its international friendship series against Chinese Taipei, Japan and Cuba in 2018

Rutschman was awarded the Richard W. "Dick" Case Award following a strong summer showing for the Collegiate National Team. He joined Team USA after winning the 2018 NCAA College World Series with Oregon State and was immediately a leader both on and off the field. He paced the team in batting average (.355), slugging percentage (.516) and on-base percentage (.432), and also finished the summer leading the squad in doubles with five in nine games.

In addition, Rutschman personified the off-field qualities that the Richard W. "Dick" Case Award honors. The catcher was the quintessential teammate and an undisputed leader in the clubhouse while also exemplifying sportsmanship and love of the game throughout the summer.

Mainieri was named the Rod Dedeaux Coach of the Year after leading the Collegiate National Team to series wins over Chinese Taipei, Japan and Cuba for the second year in a row. Under his guidance, Team USA started its summer undefeated against international competition with a five-game sweep of Chinese Taipei and finished with a 11-3 record. The series win against Cuba marked its fourth in a row in the annual series and was just the second time in Collegiate National Team history that Team USA has claimed a series win on Cuban soil.

USA Baseball's Team of the Year award was given to the 15U National Team after it won its first-ever world championship with a 7-1 gold medal-game victory over Panama at the 2018 WBSC U-15 Baseball World Cup. The team finished the tournament with an 8-1 record, a .323 batting average, 69 RBI, 17 doubles, five triples and three home runs while outscoring opponents 88-13 en route to the gold medal. In addition, the pitching staff tallied a collective team ERA of 1.24 over 58.0 innings and four players were named to the WBSC U-15 Baseball World Cup All-World Team. Maxwell's tutelage, leadership and guidance of the squad as this year's manager led to him being named the 2018 Developmental Coach of the Year.

"Jason Maxwell has been an asset to USA Baseball for many years and he brought an impressive amount of leadership and expertise to the 2018 15U National Team," Seiler said. "His ability to develop and guide these young players to new heights was evident and the team's journey to the program's first world championship was impressive to watch. We couldn't be happier to honor him and this year's team with these awards."

Witt Jr. earned the 2018 International Performance of the Year Award after hitting for a natural cycle in the COPABE U-18 Pan-American Championships gold medal game. The Colleyville, Texas, native hit a single in the second, an RBI-double in the third, a lead-off triple in the fourth and completed the cycle with a two-run home run in the fifth to lead the red, white and blue's offense in the 17-2 defeat of Panama. Following the game, Witt Jr. was named the tournament MVP and also picked up the best slugger and highest batting average awards after hitting .576 with three doubles, three triples, three home runs and 18 RBI in nine games.

Two-time Women's National Team alum Baltzell was named Sportswoman of the Year after hitting a team-high .500 in the 2018 WBSC Women's Baseball World Cup and leading the tournament in home runs with two. The lefty now owns the WBSC Women's Baseball World Cup home run record after hitting one in the 2016 World Cup and two in 2018. In addition to being named to the All-World Team following the event's conclusion, Baltzell also won two individual awards for her stellar 2018 performance, taking home the hardware for most home runs (2) and most RBI (10).

Lastly, Karsten Whitson, who won a gold medal as a player on the 2009 18U National Team, was named the 2018 Volunteer Coach of the Year after serving as a pitching coach for the 14U National Team Development Program's Stars team. The pitching staff thrived under Whitson, combining for 16 strikeouts in the three-game series. Six of those pitchers were invited to the 15U National Team Trials and one - Karson Bowen - was named to the 2018 15U National Team.

The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) annually honors one Sportsman, Sportswoman and Team of the Year based on nominations from its National Governing Bodies, as well as Developmental and Volunteer Coach of the Year awards. USA Baseball's award winners serve as the organization's nominees in their respective categories with the USOC.

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18U

Team USA Captures Gold, Defeats Panama 17-2

December 3, 2018
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Panama 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 2 3 3
Team USA 0 1 9 2 2 3 0 0 X 17 191 1
Win: J. Leiter Loss: J. Callabero  
Box Score | Play-by-Play | Cumulative Stats

CHITRE, Panama - Bobby Witt Jr. (Colleyville, Texas) hit for the cycle and Jack Leiter (Summit, N.J.) was masterful on the mound as Team USA (9-0) defeated Panama 17-2 in the gold medal game of the 2018 COPABE U-18 Pan-American Championship on Sunday at Rico Cedeno Stadium.

The victory marked the fifth consecutive COPABE U-18 Pan-American championship for the stars and stripes and is the eighth-straight gold medal for the USA Baseball 18U National Team in international competitions dating back to 2011.

The U.S. also clinched its spot in the 2019 World Baseball Softball Confederation U-18 Baseball World Cup. Team USA is the four-time defending world champion.

Starting pitcher Leiter set the tone in the gold medal game from the very first pitch for the red, white and blue, striking out five of the first six batters he faced in the first two innings. Leiter (2-0) dominated on the mound, earning the victory and striking out nine batters in his four innings of work.

Offensively, Witt Jr. was the catalyst for the U.S. He kick-started the offense in the bottom of the second inning, collecting a single to centerfield and later scored the first run of the game on two Panama throwing errors.

The stars and stripes blew the game wide open in the third, scoring nine runs on nine hits to give the team a commanding 10-0 lead. Anthony Volpe (Watchung, N.J.) knocked in C.J. Abrams (Alpharetta, Ga.) with an RBI-single for first run of the frame and Riley Greene (Oviedo, Fla.) followed with one of his own in the very next at-bat, extending the lead to three and forcing a Panama pitching change.

Witt Jr. then roped an RBI-double to center to score Volpe from third base and Tyler Callihan (Neptune Beach, Fla.) and C.J. Abrams (Alpharetta, Ga.) both hit RBI-singles to put the U.S. ahead 7-0. Corbin Carroll (Seattle, Wash.) then delivered the big blow in the inning, hitting a two-out, three-run homer to right-centerfield to give Team USA a 10-run advantage.

The stars and stripes scored another two runs in the fourth and fifth innings. Witt Jr. once again got the offense started, leading off the fourth with a triple to left field, and later scored on a groundout by Callihan. Yohandy Morales (Miami, Fla.) then followed with his second home run of the tournament. Witt Jr. completed the cycle in the bottom of the fifth inning with a two-RBI home run to left field, giving the U.S. a 14-0 lead after five.

Team USA scored its last three runs of the game in the bottom of the sixth thanks to a two-RBI double by Pete Crow-Armstrong (Sherman Oaks, Calif.) and Carroll's fourth RBI of the day on a groundout to the first baseman for a 17-1 lead.

Panama scratched another run across the plate in the top of the ninth inning for the final score of 17-2. Collectively, the U.S. pitching staff struck out 14 batters on the day and surrendered just three hits and one earned run.

The U.S. squad was dominant offensively throughout the tournament, outscoring its opponents 131-27 in nine games. The 131 runs scored is the most an 18U National Team has ever scored in an international tournament.

Witt Jr. was named the tournament MVP and he also picked up the best slugger and highest batting average awards after hitting .576 with three doubles, three triples, three home runs and 18 RBI in nine games. In addition to Witt Jr.'s honors, six members of the stars and stripes brought home extra hardware. Carroll received the honor for most stolen bases, Greene received awards for the most RBI and home runs, while Volpe earned the award for most runs scored.

Abrams (CF), Callihan (1B), Drew Romo (The Woodlands, Texas) (C) and Volpe (2B) also earned spots on the all-tournament team.

Continue to follow @USABaseball18U on Twitter and visit USABaseball.com for the most up-to-date news about the 18U National Team.

QUOTES
USA Baseball 18U National Team Manager Jack Leggett
(On winning the U-18 Pan-American Championship)
"I'm really proud of the way we played. We did all of the things we needed to do to win. We pitched extremely well and had timely hits. We really swung the bats as well as I have ever seen. We played great defense and ran the bases extremely aggressively. I'm just proud to be their coach and we showed what USA Baseball is all about. We were head and shoulders above the others. Proud of how we finished out the tournament."

USA Baseball 18U National Team Director Matt Blood
(On winning the U-18 Pan-American Championship)
"I'm really proud of this team and what we accomplished this year. We overcame some hurdles to get where we are, but the guys played really hard and played the game the right way. We scored a lot of runs and they made a pretty strong statement this year. I am proud of what they accomplished."

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18U

Team USA Concludes Super Round With Win

December 1, 2018
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Nicaragua  0 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 3 9 1
Team USA 2 0 4 2 1 0 2 1 X 12 10 0
Win: B. Malone Loss: H. Carrasco 
Box Score | Play-by-play

CHITRE, Panama - Team USA used six home runs to power past Nicaragua 12-3 as the squad wrapped up Super Round play at the COPABE U-18 Pan-American Championships on Saturday at Rico Cedeno Stadium in Chitre, Panama.

With the win, the team improved to 8-0 overall in the tournament and 5-0 in Super Round play.

Team USA got off to a fast start as Riley Greene (Oviedo, Fla.) hit a two-RBI home run in the first inning to give the U.S. a 2-0 lead.

Nicaragua answered in the top of the third to cut the lead to one before the stars and stripes busted the game wide open in the bottom half. With runners on second and third, Corbin Carroll (Seattle, Wash.) hit the team's second homer of the game. Two batters later, Greene knocked his second dinger of the day to extend the lead to 6-1.

In the fourth, Dylan Crews (Longwood, Fla.) joined the action with a two-RBI homer of his own to give Team USA an 8-1 lead. Another solo shot, this time by Bobby Witt Jr. (Colleyville, Texas), gave the team its fifth home run of the day and a 9-1 advantage.

Nicaragua added its second run in the sixth inning before Tyler Callihan (Neptune Beach, Fla.) hit Team USA's sixth homer of the afternoon in the bottom of the seventh.

After Nicaragua plated a run in the eighth inning, Carroll hit an RBI-triple down the right field line for the final score of 12-3.

Starting pitcher Brennan Malone (Matthews, N.C.) earned his second win of the tournament after hurling three innings and punching out three. Jared Kelley (Refugio, Texas) pitched four innings in relief, striking out two before Sammy Faltine (Richmond, Texas) came in to close the game.

Up next, the United States (8-0; 5-0) will take on the host country, Panama (7-1; 4-1), in the gold medal game of the COPABE U-18 Pan-American Championships on Sunday, December 2. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. ET at Rico Cedeno Stadium in Chitre, Panama.

Continue to follow @USABaseball18U on Twitter and visit USABaseball.com for the most up-to-date news about the 18U National Team.

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18U

Team USA Clinches Place In Gold Medal Game With Win

November 30, 2018
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Venezuela 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 5 0
Team USA 3 2 1 1 5 0 X 12 14 1
Win: R. Cornelio Loss: A. Hernandez 
Box Score | Play-by-play

CHITRE, Panama - Starting pitcher Riley Cornelio's (Monument, Colo.) solid outing on the mound pushed Team USA past Venezuela 12-1 in game three of the Super Round at the COPABE U-18 Pan-American Championships on Friday at Rico Cedeno Stadium in Chitre, Panama. The stars and stripes are now 4-0 in Super Round play.

With the win, the U.S. clinched a spot in Sunday's gold medal game and qualified for the 2019 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup.

Venezuela got on the board first early in the game, scoring its lone run in the top of the first. Cornelio settled in after that though, pitching five shutout innings while only allowing three hits.

Venezuela's lead didn't last long as Team USA answered with three runs of its own in the bottom half of the first. RBI singles by Anthony Volpe (Watchung, N.J.), Riley Greene (Oviedo, Fla.) and Tyler Callihan (Neptune Beach, Fla.) gave the U.S. a 3-1 lead that it never relinquished.

Two more runs came across for Team USA in the second inning when Yohandy Morales (Miami, Fla.) scored on a groundout and Volpe singled through the right side to score Pete Crow-Armstrong (Sherman Oaks, Calif.). The stars and stripes added another a run in the third inning after an RBI single from Drew Romo (The Woodlands, Texas) to extend the lead to 6-1.

In the fourth frame, Greene recorded his second RBI of the day with a single that scored Carroll to give the U.S. a 7-1 advantage. The stars and stripes then plated five runs in the fifth when Volpe notched his third and fourth RBI with a single and Witt Jr. roped a two-RBI triple before Callihan plated Witt for the final score of 12-1.

Volpe led the way offensively with four RBI and three hits. Cornelio (2-0) earned the win for his efforts on the mound while allowing just five hits and striking out three. Max Rajcic (Fullerton, Calif.) entered the game in relief in the top of the seventh and final inning to close out the game, striking out one batter.

The United States (7-0; 4-0) will wrap up the Super Round of the COPABE U-18 Pan-American Championships against Nicaragua (4-3; 1-2) on Saturday, December 1. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. ET at Rico Cedeno Stadium in Chitre, Panama.

Continue to follow @USABaseball18U on Twitter and visit USABaseball.com for the most up-to-date news about the 18U National Team.

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18U

Team USA Improves to 3-0 in Super Round

November 30, 2018
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 9 4
Team USA 2 4 0 0 0 4 0 1 X 11 13 0
Win: A. Short Loss: C. O'Halloran 
Box Score | Play-by-play

CHITRE, Panama - Starting pitcher Avery Short (Indianapolis, Ind.) opened the game with six shutout innings as Team USA bested Canada 11-2 to continue Super Round play in the COPABE U-18 Pan-American Championships on Thursday at Rico Cedeno Stadium in Chitre, Panama.

With the win, the stars and stripes improved to 3-0 in the Super Round and are the lone remaining undefeated team in the tournament.

Team USA jumped out to a hot start, scoring two runs in the first inning. With the bases loaded in the bottom of the frame, Riley Greene (Oviedo, Fla.) reached base on a fielder's choice that scored C.J. Abrams (Alpharetta, Ga.) for the first run of the contest. Corbin Carroll (Seattle, Wash.) then scored on a throwing error by Canada to give the red, white and blue a 2-0 lead.

The bats stayed hot for the U.S. in the second inning as Anthony Volpe (Watchung, N.J.) hit a two-RBI single up the middle to push the lead to 4-0. Greene then hit a double down the right-field line to score Volpe, before Bobby Witt Jr. (Colleyville, Texas) hit an RBI single through the middle to extend the lead to 6-0.

The score would stay the same until the bottom of the sixth inning when Team USA added four more runs for a 10-0 advantage. With men on second and third, Pete Crow-Armstrong (Sherman Oaks, Calif.) singled to center field to clear the bases. In the next at-bat, Drew Romo (The Woodlands, Texas) capped the scoring with a two-run homer to right-center field.

With six scoreless innings of work under his belt, Short stepped on the mound in the seventh, where he pitched one out, before giving up two runs to cut the lead to 10-2. Timmy Manning (Pompano Beach, Fla.) completed the final two outs of the inning before Tyler Callihan (Neptune Beach, Fla.) closed the game with three scoreless innings of relief.

Team USA added its final run of the game in the bottom of the eighth when Crow-Armstrong scored on a wild pitch to make the final score 11-2.

Witt Jr. led the team offensively with four hits in five plate appearances on the day. A trio of players scored three runs to pace the squad, while Greene led the team with three RBI. Short (2-0) earned the win on the mound, striking out four batters on the day.

The United States (6-0; 3-0) will continue the Super Round of the COPABE U-18 Pan-American Championships against Venezuela (3-1; 1-2) on Friday, November 20. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. ET at Rico Cedeno Stadium in Chitre, Panama.  

Continue to follow @USABaseball18U on Twitter and visit USABaseball.com for the most up-to-date news about the 18U National Team.

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18U

Team USA Wins Thriller Over Panama

November 29, 2018
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Panama  0 4 0 1 0 0 3 0 0 8 11 3
Team USA 2 0 3 3 1 0 0 0 X 9 13 0
Win: R. Hawks Loss: F. Dominguez 
Box Score | Play-by-play

CHITRE, Panama - After facing its first deficit of the tournament, Team USA rallied to drop the host country Panama, 9-8 to open Super Round play of the COPABE U-18 Pan-American Championships on Wednesday at Rico Cedeno Stadium in Chitre, Panama.

Riley Greene (Oviedo, Fla.) opened the scoring when he singled through the right side as Corbin Carroll (Seattle, Wash.) crossed the plate to give Team USA a 1-0 lead. Anthony Volpe (Watchung, N.J.) then added a run after an error by Panama as the stars and stripes jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first.

The lead did not last long, however, as Panama plated four in the top of the second, prompting the U.S. to go to Ryan Hawks (Bowling Green, Kent.) out of the bullpen. With a runner at first and still no outs in the inning, Hawks forced a double play and a grounder to end the inning.

With Team USA facing its first deficit of the tournament, it scored three runs in the bottom of the third to regain the lead 5-4. Bobby Witt Jr. (Colleyville, Texas) drove in the first run of the inning with an RBI-double to right field. In the next at-bat, Tyler Callihan (Neptune Beach, Fla.) reached on an error as Witt Jr. scored to even the game. Drew Romo (The Woodlands, Texas) followed with an RBI-single to right field to retake the lead. 

After Panama scored a run in the fourth to tie the game, Team USA added three runs in the home half of the inning to regain its advantage. Greene continued his hot streak with an RBI-double to the right side to plate Carroll. With the bases loaded, the stars and stripes scored two more runs on a hit by pitch and a walk to take the lead, 8-5.

The red, white and blue added its final run of the game when Carroll hit a no-doubt home run in the bottom of the fifth to extend the lead to 9-5. 

In the seventh, Panama trimmed the lead to 9-8 and forced a U.S. pitching change. Jacob Meador (Burleson, Texas) came into the game to relieve Hawks and was stellar in his three innings of relief, earning the save while striking out four. With the Panamanian crowd buzzing in the top of the ninth as the game-tying runner at the plate, Meador sat Panama down in order to end the game.

For his efforts, Hawks (1-0) earned the win on the mound, striking out two batters in five innings pitched. All nine batters earned a hit in the contest for Team USA, while four players led the team with two apiece. Carroll paced the team with three runs scored on the day. 

The United States (5-0) will continue the Super Round of the COPABE U-18 Pan-American Championships against Canada (4-1) on Thursday, November 29. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. ET at Rico Cedeno Stadium in Chitre, Panama.  

Continue to follow @USABaseball18U on Twitter and visit USABaseball.com for the most up-to-date news about the 18U National Team.

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