USA BASEBALL NEWS

NTIS

Northwest Stars, Southwest Stars Secure Spots in 11U NTIS Champions Cup Gold Medal Game

The two teams combined to outscore their opponents 20-8 in the semis
August 10, 2019

CARY, N.C. - Entering Saturday, the Northwest Stars, Southwest Stars, Northwest Stripes and Southwest Stripes remained in the hunt for the 11U NTIS Champions Cup gold medal. At the end of the day, only two remained.

Northwest Stars put forth a complete team effort as seven different hitters contributed RBI hits, beginning the day by with a convincing 8-2 victory over Southwest Stripes to clinch the first spot in the 11U NTIS Champions Cup gold medal game.

Royce Pennington hit a double to right-center in the top of the first to drive in Chase Groves and give Northwest Stars the early 1-0 lead. Carlo Castaneda followed that up by hitting a double down the left field line later in the inning to bring in a pair, giving the Northwest Stars an early lead that they would not relinquish.

Seddrick Henderson III got the start on the mound and was masterful before turning it over to Kael Phillips to close out the game for the Northwest Stars, who tossed three scoreless innings to clinch a spot in the finals.

"I felt really good today. I threw three innings and did not give up any runs, struck out three guys, and also got a hit to help us win. I am excited and looking forward to playing in the championship game tomorrow," said Phillips.

The Northwest Stars will play in the 11U Champions Cup gold medal game at 11 a.m. tomorrow, where they will face the Southwest Stars who also turned in a powerful offensive showing in their semifinal victory over Northwest Stripes.

The Southwest Stars had no issues scoring in the contest as nine members of their starting lineup had a hit in the semifinal game. The offense was supported by starting pitcher, Andruw Giles, who set the tone for the game on the mound.

Giles, who returns to the Champions Cup for the second time, will play for gold once again after winning a title with the Southwest region in 2018. In the semifinal matchup, Giles threw four innings, allowing just two runs (one earned) while striking out a pair to get the victory. 

"Andruw [Giles] has been pretty good. He was with us last summer as a younger player and helped us win the gold medal last year. It helps us because he has some experience and he has been able to handle the overall experience here since day one," said Southwest and South NTIS Regional Director Andy Rojo. "Since the beginning, [the Southwest Stars] have been playing really good fundamental baseball. We have had good pitching and the defense has been really solid. The lineup has been moving the ball around too."

Northwest Stripes would rally back later in the game as they scored six runs between the fifth and sixth innings to cut its deficit to 9-6, but Southwest would ultimately respond and score three runs in the bottom of the sixth to put the game out of reach.

"I told our guys we lost our focus for about an inning, but they are a good team, so they quickly realized that we have to stay focused. I just had to give them a quick reminder in the dugout and that was it," said Rojo.

The gold medal game will take place on Field Five at Thomas Brooks Park at 11:00 am ET Sunday morning.

"I told them to get some rest [heading into the gold medal game]. They are eleven years old so they have a good balance of energy; so, I think they'll be alright tomorrow morning for the championship game," Rojo continued.

Continue to follow @USABaseballNTIS on Twitter and visit USABaseball.com for the most up-to-date news about the National Team Identification Series.

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NTIS

USA Baseball Announces 2019 NTIS Selections

A total of 72 athletes were selected for 2020 national team programming from the 2019 NTIS
September 10, 2019

DURHAM, N.C. - USA Baseball announced the 72 athletes selected from the 2019 National Team Identification Series (NTIS) for its 2020 national team programming on Tuesday, following the completion of the NTIS Champions Cup that was held at the National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina, from August 7-25. The announcement was first made on the annual USA Baseball NTIS Selection Show, which can be found on USABaseball.com and the organization's YouTube channel, USABaseballTV.

The NTIS is USA Baseball's most comprehensive player identification program and includes six age groups ranging from 11U-16U. Under the direction of USA Baseball Regional Directors, tryouts are held in every region of the country for athletes to be identified and selected for their region teams, and invited to the NTIS Champions Cup in Cary, North Carolina.

The 2019 NTIS Champions Cup featured over 1,200 of the nation's best players competing in 144 games, as well as skill testing and on-field evaluations run by USA Baseball Task Force and national team coaches.

"We are thrilled to announce the seventy-two athletes who have been selected out of our National Team Identification Series for next year's national team programs," said USA Baseball Assistant Director of Baseball Operations and NTIS Champions Cup Tournament Director Ann Claire Roberson. "The talent level on display during the Champions Cup in Cary this year was exceptional and it made the selection process very difficult for our task force members and our national team program directors."

Twelve athletes from each age group were invited to compete in the following year's age-appropriate national team programming events, including the 2020 12U National Team Trials, the 2020 13U Athlete Development Program, the 2020 14U National Team Development Program (NTDP), the 2020 15U National Team Trials, the 2020 16U NTDP and the 2020 17U NTDP.

In total, the 72 athletes selected are from twenty-three different states and all six regions from across the U.S.

The 2019 National Team Identification Series selections are as follows:

Name; Position; Hometown; Region

2020 12U National Team Trials Invitees:
(from 11U NTIS)
Lincoln Boyle; RHP/IF; Overland Park, Kan.; Midwest
Cole Dennis; C/IF; Acworth, Ga.; Southeast
Grady Emerson; IF/RHP; Trophy Club, Texas; South
Andruw Giles; OF/LHP; Henderson, Nev.; Southwest
Archer Horn; RHP/IF; San Manteo, Calif.; Northwest
Dylan Kemp; OF/IF; Tustin, Calif.; Southwest
Dylan Minnatee; IF/LHP; Elk Grove, Calif.; Northwest
Josiah Morris; C/IF; Oakley, Calif.; Northwest
Kevin Roberts Jr.; IF/RHP; Bailey, Miss.; South
Logan Schmidt; LHP/OF; Villa Park, Calif.; Southwest
Dylan Seward; IF/OF; Eastvale, Calif.; Southwest
Tavis Honeycutt; IF/RHP; Newberry, Fla.; Southwest

2020 13U Athlete Development Program invitees:
(from 12U NTIS)
Chase Bentley; RHP/IF; Granite Bay, Calif.; Northwest
Cade Colombara; OF/RHP; Woodland, Calif.; Northwest
Jesse Del Toro; RHP/IF; Modesto, Calif.; Northwest
Cesar Gonzalez; IF/RHP; Hillsboro, Ore.; Northwest
Dane Perry; RHP/OF; Friendswood, Texas; South
James Rice; OF/RHP; New York, N.Y.; Northeast
Nick Richardson; OF/LHP; Bremen, Ga.; Southeast
Isaac Rojas; RHP/IF; Riverside, Calif.; Southwest
Brandon Santiso; C/RHP; Miami Gardens, Fla.; Southeast
Rookie Shepard; IF/C; North Las Vegas, Nev.; Southwest
John Short; RHP/C; Anaheim, Calif.; Southwest
Nikko Taylor; IF/RHP; El Sobrante, Calif.; Northwest

2020 14U National Team Development Program invitees:
(from 13U NTIS)
Conner Barth; IF/C; Antelope, Calif.; Northwest
Tristan Bristow; RHP/OF; Helotes, Texas; South
Samuel Cozart; RHP/IF; High Point, N.C.; Southeast
Konnor Griffin; OF/IF; Florence, Miss.; Southeast
Aidan Hall; IF/RHP; Galt, Calif.; Northwest
Kailand Halstead; C/IF; Aberdeen, Wash.; Northwest
Kaohu Kawelu; IF; Hilo, Hawaii; Southwest
Boston Kellner; RHP/OF; Woodbury, Minn.; Midwest
Maximo Martinez; IF/OF; Hawthorne, Calif.; Southwest
Dean Moss; IF/RHP; Atherton, Calif.; Northwest
Brady Strohm; IF/RHP; Winchester, Calif.; Southwest
Jeremiah Vargas; OF/IF; Lemon Grove, Calif.; Southwest

2020 15U National Team Trials invitees:
(from 14U NTIS)
Danny Arambula; IF/OF; Redlands, Calif.; Southwest
Matthew Champion; IF/RHP; Fontana, Calif.; Southwest
Cooper Cohn; C/IF; McHenry, Ill.; Midwest
Sebastian David; IF/RHP; Medina, Wash.; Northwest
Hayden Federico; IF/C; West Monroe, Texas; South
Theodore Gillen; IF/RHP; Austin, Texas; South
Brandon Luu; IF/LHP; Irvine, Calif.; Southwest
Ethan Martinez; IF/LHP; Fort Worth, Texas; South
Andre Modugno; IF/OF; Upper Saddle River, N.J.; Northeast
Chris Newstrom; C/IF; Anthem, Ariz.; Southwest
Brett Renfrow; OF/RHP; Manassas, Va.; Northeast
Christian Rodriguez; OF/RHP; Coral Springs, Fla.; Southeast

2020 16U National Team Development Program invitees:
(from 15U NTIS)
Nathan Aguilar; IF; Torrance, Calif.; Southeast
Mason Balsis; C/OF; Bristow, Va.; Southeast
Darryl Dilworth II; OF/IF; Fairfield, Calif.; Northwest
Max Eichenberger; C/RHP; Canton, Ga.; Southeast
Jacob Hudson; RHP/OF; Scotts Valley, Calif.; Northwest
Cameron Kim; IF/OF; Jurupa Valley, Calif.; Southwest
Jonathan Kim; OF; Brookfield, Wis.; Midwest
Xaige Lancaster; IF/OF; Hilo, Hawaii; Southwest
Cooper Milford; OF/RHP; Cumming, Ga.; Southeast
Cayden Munster; IF/OF; Fresno, Calif.; Northwest
Jackson Pace; RHP/IF; Hollister, Calif.; Northwest
Griffin Stieg; OF/RHP; McLean, Va.; Southeast

2020 17U National Team Development Program invitees:
(from 16U NTIS)
Ivan Arias; IF; Boston, Mass.; Northeast
Kyle Ayers; OF/RHP; Sherman Oaks, Calif.; Southwest
Zachary Crotchfelt; LHP/OF; Jackson, N.J.; Northeast
Dallas Dale II; OF; Windermere, Fla.; Southeast
Korbyn Dickerson; OF/RHP; Jeffersonville, Ind.; Midwest
Aiden Fancher; OF/IF; Louisville, Miss.; Southeast
Braedon Karpathios; LHP/IF; Willow Street, Pa.; Northeast
Chase Petty; RHP/IF; Somers Point, N.J.; Northeast
Jack Reynolds; IF/RHP; Columbia, S.C.; Southeast
Brandon Rogers; OF/IF; Chicago, Ill.; Midwest
Justin West; LHP/IF; Paducah, Ky.; Midwest
Jett Williams; IF/RHP; Heath, Texas; South

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NTIS

Northwest Stripes Defeat Southeast Stars 3-1, Win 16U NTIS Champions Cup Gold Medal Game

The Northwest Stripes pitching staff allow just one hit in the championship game
August 25, 2019

CARY, N.C. -  The Northwest Stripes one-hit and defeated the Southeast Stars 3-1 to win the 16U 2019 NTIS Champions Cup on Sunday at Coleman Field in Cary, North Carolina.

Taber Fast started the game and earned the win for The Northwest Stripes, only allowing one hit and one run through four innings pitched. Francis Freenor entered the game in the fifth and held the Southeast Stars scoreless through two innings pitched. In the top of the seventh, Lucas Kelly took the mound and earned the save for is squad. 

The Northwest Stripes second baseman, Gary Hall, was a vital part of his team's success in the gold medal game, recording several highlight-reel plays on the field. Hall attributes his stellar play to his teammates having his back. 

"We are like a pack. That is just how we roll. We all make plays and we all give each other fist bumps. That is just how we work," Hall said. "As a team, we have really good chemistry. We all joke around and like to have fun. I think the main point in sports is to have fun and of course it feels great to win."

The head coach of the Northwest Stripes, Kevin Kopple, reiterated what his second baseman said when asked about why the Northwest Stripes were so successful at the 2019 16U NTIS Champions Cup.

"Just for them to be able to get through this weekend and stay consistent, I think it was an awesome experience. It was a great group of kids to be around," Kopple said. "My team had a lot of personality, but that is what makes it fun. My team got along well, created friendships and bonds that made this a great experience for everyone."

Key Moments:
• In the bottom of the first and with a man on third, Robert Hipwell hit an RBI-single to bring home the Northwest Stripes first run of the game.
• With a runner on second in the bottom of the second, the Northwest Stripes' Logan Johnstone hit a liner up the middle to plate the second run of the game for his team, making the score 2-0.
• In the top of the third, the Northwest Stripes' Gary Hall dove for a hard-hit grounder up the middle, collected the ball, and threw to first to get the out and end the inning.
• In the top of the fifth, the Southeast Stars' Christopher Landaas took advantage of a wild pitch and reached home, scoring his team's only run of the game and bringing the score to 3-1.

Social Media:

Continue to follow @USABaseballNTIS on Twitter and visit USABaseball.com for the most up-to-date news about the National Team Identification Series.

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NTIS

Munster Leads Northwest Stars To 15U NTIS Champions Cup Gold Medal

Cayden Munster went 2-for-3 with a walk and three RBIs in the victory
August 25, 2019

CARY, N.C. - The Northwest Stars capitalized on a big day from Cayden Munster and company on Sunday, scoring seven runs to defeat Southwest Stripes 7-4 and claim the 15U NTIS Champions Cup gold medal at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina.

Munster kicked off the scoring in the second inning and set the tone for the offense as he reached on a walk and immediately stole second base. He came around to score to give Northwest Stars the early 1-0 lead.  

"I was just trying to drive the ball over the shortstop's head every at-bat," said Munster. "That was my mentality today. Being able to play in the championship game was a blessing. It felt like game seven of the World Series."

Southwest Stripes took over the lead in the third, going up 2-1, but the Northwest Stars would answer back as they went on to score six runs over the next three innings take the 7-2 lead. The Southwest Stripes would score a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh to bring the score to 7-4, but their rally would stop there and Northwest Stars would go on to claim the 15U NTIS Champions Cup gold medal.

Munster went 2-for-3 on the day, including a triple that almost left the yard. He also walked and drove in three RBIs.

"[Munster] took the team and put it on his back," said Northwest Stars head coach Jake Valentine. "He's a crazy competitive kid. He had a huge knock late in the game to open the game up and get our guys going again, but he has been doing that the entire weekend so I cannot say enough about the kid."

Logan Cindric got the start on the mound for the Northwest Stars, allowing two runs over four innings. He was relieved out of the bullpen by Ryan Lee, who was credited with the win in the victory. Mason McGwire started for Southwest Stripes and threw five innings, allowing two runs (one earned) while striking out three. He was relieved by Kaynan Kaku Jr., who was the losing pitcher of record.

"The way our team played today is how we have played the entire weekend," said Valentine. "Never too up or down. Our one rule here this weekend was to bring good energy to the table, and these guys did just that today."

The NTIS Selection Show will be broadcasted on September 10, 2019 on the USA Baseball YouTube page. Continue to follow @USABaseballNTIS on Twitter and visit USABaseball.com for the most up-to-date news about the National Team Identification Series.

Key Moments:
• Cayden Munster reached on a walk and came around to score to give the Northwest Stars the 1-0 lead in the second.
• Isaiah Jackson roped a double to right field in the third to drive in a pair and give Southwest Stars the 2-1 lead.
• Ethan Winslow grounded out to drive in a run in the top of the fifth, tying the game at two apiece.
• Munster hit an RBI triple off the right field wall in the top of the fifth to give the Northwest Stars the 3-2 lead.
• Grayson Reveal hit an infield single to the left side to bring in another Northwest Stars run, putting them ahead 4-2.
• The following batter, Bryant Viskovich, hit a single to left to drive in a run and put Northwest Stars up 5-2.
• Munster drove in another pair of runs with a two-RBI single to right, giving Northwest Stars the 7-2 lead.
• The Southwest Stripes scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh to bring the score to 7-4, but their rally would stop there and Northwest Stars would go on to claim the 15U NTIS Champions Cup gold medal.

Up Next:

The National Team Identification Series Selection Show will be broadcasted on September 10, 2019 on the USA Baseball YouTube page.  

Social Media:

Continue to follow @USABaseballNTIS on Twitter and visit USABaseball.com for the most up-to-date news about the National Team Identification Series.

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NTIS

The Path to Team USA

From representing your region to representing a nation
August 24, 2019

The chance to show that you have what it takes to play for Team USA; that is what the USA Baseball National Team Identification Series (NTIS) is all about. 

Athletes ranging from 11 to 16 years old from all over the country spend the better part of their calendar year attending NTIS tryouts trying prove that they have what it takes to represent their region at the USA Baseball NTIS Champions Cup at the National Training Complex come August. Where, if they stand out in front of USA Baseball Task Force members, they can earn an invite to a USA Baseball national team trials or a National Team Development Program (NTDP) in the future.

For many, the NTIS is the first step toward playing for glory. USA Baseball alumni and current Major League Baseball players Albert Almora, Alex Bregman and David Dahl each participated in the NTIS before they suited up for Team USA.

James Osmond is a member of the 15U Northeast Stripes at the 2019 NTIS and he understands what is on the line during his time in Cary.

"The opportunity to play against some of the top players and learn from some great coaches has been so helpful," said Osmond. "It has really helped prepare me for the big moment and my chance to be selected.

"If was to be selected, knowing that I am one of the top fifteen-and-under players in the country and knowing that I could compete with some of the other best athletes in the world would be an indescribable experience."

Osmond understands that standing out as the best-of-the-best is no easy task and is something that requires extra determination.

"I am trying to hit, run, field and do all the basics to stand out and hopefully be selected," continued Osmond. "I want to do all of the routine things right and then let everything else work itself out from there."

If Osmond were to be selected from this year's NTIS, he would receive an invite to be a part of the 2020 16U NTDP. 

The 16U NTDP is an initiative that allows for USA Baseball to further connect athletes with USA Baseball coaching staffs to better prepare and develop them for a future USA Baseball National Team experience. 

It is one of three NTDPs, with 14U and 17U being the other two programs. Players on a USA Baseball NTDP will participate in skill development sessions, various off-field educational components, intrasquad games and more. 

"It would be incredible to be selected to a the 16U NTDP," said Osmond. "To be able to take that knowledge that I learn there, and to hopefully one day be able go over to another country and represent my nation playing the sport I love... It would be an incredible experience."

Northwest Stars outfielder Devin Riley is another player at the 2019 NTIS currently doing everything he can to show that he has what it takes to be selected.

"It would be a huge honor to play for Team USA," said Riley. "I was out here in Cary two years ago and now that I am back I can really see that I have a chance to [get selected]. It would just be a huge honor.

"Playing for my region is a big honor already, and if I was selected, I would be able to play with players from all over the country and really be able to take my game to the next level," said Riley.

Riley's cousin, Tyree Reed, is a USA Baseball alumnus who was selected from the NTIS in 2016 and went on to play for the 14U NTDP in 2017. 

"[Reed] has told me that the NTDP is a fantastic opportunity," said Riley. "He said that everything you do there helps to set you up to play for a National Team, from being a good teammate to hustling and more."

Reed took his experience from the NTDP and turned it into a gold medal as he was a part of the USA Baseball 15U National Team that won its first ever World Baseball Softball Confederation U-15 Baseball World Cup gold medal last summer.

"If I could follow in his footsteps and [get selected from the 2019 NTIS], that would be such a huge honor," said Riley.

By making it to the NTIS Champions Cup in Cary, North Carolina, Osmond and Riley have already proven that they are among the best athletes in their region. If they continue to work hard and show that they are the best-of-the-best, their next uniform could be red, white and blue.

"It has always been a dream of mine to wear those three letters across my chest," said Riley. "After seeing somebody that you look up to do it, and win gold doing it, you can't help but think 'I want to do that too.'"

 

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NTIS

Northwest Stripes, Southeast Stars Set to Face Off in 2019 16U NTIS Champions Cup Gold Medal Game

Both pitching staffs held opponents to a combined three runs in the semifinals
August 23, 2019

After two days of competition, just two teams remained, as the Northwest Stripes are slated to take on the Southeast Stars in the 2019 16U NTIS Champions Cup gold medal game. 

After going 3-0 in pool play, the Northwest Stripes earned a spot in the semifinals against the Southwest Stripes. After a giving up a run in the first, Northwest Stripes' Philip Penrose-Gonzalez hit an RBI-single to tie the game in the bottom of the second. The Northwest Stripes plated their second run of the game in the bottom of the third thanks to a sacrifice-fly hit by Jake McCoy. Northwest Stripes would go on to score three more insurance runs and win 5-2.

The Northwest Stripes pitcher, Robert Hipwell, pitched three innings of scoreless baseball and praised his team's offensive abilities in the semifinal game. 

"I thought we played really well. We kept the noise loud in the dugout and were able to string together multiple hits to get us a win," said Hipwell.

The Northwest Stripes have proved all tournament to be a complete team, outscoring opponents 26-8 in the first three games. Coach Kevin Kopple believes his team has taken advantage of the opportunities given to them all tournament. 

"We have swung the bats pretty well all weekend. I think we have been able to capitalize on most of our chances. We have been throwing strikes and minimizing innings," said Kopple. "There have been times where we dodged bullets and not allowed out opponents to have big innings."

The second semifinal game featured the Southwest Stars and the Southeast Stars going into extra innings to determine who would advance to Sunday's gold medal game. The Southeast Stars were first to strike with an RBI-single from Aiden Fancher in the top of the third. The Southwest Stars would respond with an RBI-single of their own from Bryson Hoier in the bottom of the fifth. The two teams remained tied through regulation and the game was forced into extra innings, where the Southeast Stars would capitalize on a passed ball and score the game-winning run. 

The Southeast Stars faced adversity in the first game of the tournament, losing 5-2 to the Northwest Stars. They were able to bounce back and outscore their next two opponents, 9-3. The Southeast Stars' catcher, Bryan Arendt, credits his team's confidence as the catalyst for his team advancing to the gold medal game.

"We have been playing really well. Today, we pitched well, hit well and did a good job on the bases. We have a lot of confidence right now and that is showing in our team chemistry," said Arendt. "We are really confident going into Sunday's gold medal game. We experienced a loss early in the tournament and that is behind us. I believe that our pitching is going to be the reason we get a win on Sunday."

The gold medal game between the Northeast Stripes and the Southeast Stars will be played on Coleman Field at 2:00 pm ET on Sunday and streamed live on USABaseball.com and Facebook Live.

Continue to follow @USABaseballNTIS on Twitter and visit USABaseball.com for the most up-to-date news about the National Team Identification Series.

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NTIS

Northwest Stars, Southwest Stripes Advance to 15U NTIS Champions Cup Gold Medal Game

Pitching was key for both advancing teams
August 23, 2019

Cary, N.C. - Entering Friday, both the Stars and Stripes teams from each of the Northwest and Southwest regions remained in the chase for the 15U National Team Identification Series Champions Cup gold medal. By the end of the day, Northwest Stars and Southwest Stripes emerged after winning their respective semifinal matchups.

Led on the mound by starting pitcher Tyler Nordby, the Northwest Stars defeated the Southwest Stars 3-0 Friday afternoon at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina.

"I was pumped coming into this game," said Nordby. "I wanted to pitch so bad, and right when coach told me I was starting, I thought 'this is my game', and I was ready to come out and play."

Nordby set the tone on the bump for the Northwest Stars, tossing five shutout innings while allowing just three hits in the victory.

"Nordby was pretty gutsy," said Northwest Stars head coach Jake Valentine. "He gave us a really great start today. He had all three pitches working well and did a really good job of understanding what the other team was trying to do, and pitched against it."

Nordby was relieved out of the bullpen by Nathan Kojetin, who threw two innings, allowing no hits and no runs to record the save.

"[Kojetin] came in and shoved," said Nordby. "He threw two big innings and secured the shutout for us. He pitched really well."

Ethan Winslow led the offensive charge for Southwest Stars, hitting two sacrifice-fly balls for two RBIs, while Jonas Salk hit an RBI groundout, helping Southwest Stars to finish with the 3-0 victory.

"They have been playing with a lot of energy the entire weekend," said Valentine. "They have each other's backs and play for each other."

The Northwest Stars will face off against the Southwest Stripes in the gold medal game, who earned their spot after defeating Northwest Stripes, 5-1, in their semifinal game Friday afternoon.

Kaedon Mas and Andrew An were the key contributors for the Southwest Stripes in the semifinal victory. The duo combined to throw seven innings on the mound, holding Northwest Stripes to just one run on two hits.

"My curveball was moving very well for me today," said An. "I was nervous at first because when I was warming up, my stuff was not feeling that good, but once I was in the game I began to feel it and started to settle in. I started hitting my spots with it and I felt really good overall."

Southwest wasted no time getting on the board as Xaige Lancaster hit an RBI single in the bottom of the first to give his team the 1-0 lead. Mas knocked in a pair of RBIs in the bottom of the fourth to extend the Southwest Stripes lead to 3-0.

Southwest Stripes tacked onto their lead in the bottom of the fourth as two runs came around to score via a Northwest error, bringing the Southwest lead to 5-0. Northwest would score a run in the next half inning, but that's all the offense they would muster as Southwest Stripes went on to win 5-1.

"It was such an incredible atmosphere," said Mas. "The guys out here at the NTIS are extremely competitive and this is some of the most fun I have had playing baseball. It was a great win for us today and I am looking forward to the gold medal game."

The championship game will take place on Coleman Field at the USA Baseball National Training Complex at 11:00 am ET Sunday morning. It will be streamed live on USABaseball.com and Facebook Live.

Continue to follow @USABaseballNTIS on Twitter and visit USABaseball.com for the most up-to-date news about the National Team Identification Series.

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NTIS

Southwest Stars Defeat Southwest Stripes 2-1, Win 12U NTIS Champions Cup Gold Medal Game

Petrossi leads Stars to victory with two-run RBI-double
August 18, 2019

CARY, N.C. - The Southwest Stars' Patrick Petrossi hit a two-run RBI-double in the top of the third to give his team a lead they would not relinquish, as they defeated the Southwest Stripes 2-1 on Sunday at Thomas Brooks Park in Cary, North Carolina. 

John Short (Anaheim, Calif.) was impressive on the mound Southwest Stars, going the distance and giving up just one run in the seventh inning. 

"With John [Short] on the mound, he really kept us in the game. He threw phenomenally. He really just had a great tournament," said Southwest Stars head coach Shane Schumaker. 

Both teams struggled at the plate for most of the game. Petrossi attributed his success on offense to putting in extra practice before the game.

"It felt great to hit that double. I was working on my hitting before the game and I think that is what helped me today," said Petrossi. "We all believed in ourselves. We played really well together and I hope I can play with these guys again someday."

In the bottom of the seventh and with one out recorded, Isaac Rojas (Riverside, Calif.) came up big for the Southwest Stripes with a clutch RBI-double to score his teams only run of the game. 

The Southwest Stars third baseman, Miles Layton (Sandy, Utah), would respond with two back-to-back spectacular plays on the corner to close out the game.

"The only thing going through my head was to knock the ball down and stop that run from reaching home, and get the ball to first as quickly as I could," said Layton. "It feels amazing [to win a gold medal] and so cool to even be here. But to make it to this point and then to win, it is just a really cool feeling."

Coach Schumaker was proud of his teams effort in the gold medal game and believes that the bond they built together is what helped them become champions. 

"The comradery between our team was what helped us the most. We were having a good time. The players were always smiling and having fun. Win or lose, we were going to have that experience together. Baseball is such a small world and I think they will continue to have these close relationships. That is what USA Baseball gave to these players."

Key Moments:

• In the top of the second and with two runners on, Southwest Stars' Patrick Petrossi hit a two-run RBI-double down the first baseline to score the first runs of the game.
• In the bottom of the third, Southwest Stars center fielder, Bo Lowrance (Salt Lake City, Utah), fielded a line-drive and made the throw to first to get the out.
• In the bottom of the seventh, Southwest Stripes' Isaac Rojas hit an RBI-double to bring his team within one run, making the score 2-1.
• With the game-tying run on third base in the bottom of the seventh, Southwest Stars third basemen Miles Layton made back-to-back impressive defensive plays that would hold the runner and secure a victory.

Up Next:

The National Team Identification Series Champions Cup will continue next weekend, August 23-25, as the 15U and 16U age groups come to town.

Social Media:

Continue to follow @USABaseballNTIS on Twitter and visit USABaseball.com for the most up-to-date news about the National Team Identification Series.

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NTIS

Dritz Leads Southwest Stars to 14U NTIS Champions Cup Gold Medal After 1-0 Win Over Southeast Stars

Dritz allowed just three hits in the complete game effort
August 18, 2019

CARY, N.C. - Braylen Dritz threw a complete game shutout to lead the Southwest Stars to the 14U National Team Identification Series Champions cup gold medal Sunday morning after defeating Southeast Stars 1-0 at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina.

Dritz was dominant on the mound in the gold medal game, allowing just one hit through the first five innings. He allowed just four base runners in total while striking out three in the complete game effort.

"[Dritz] went out there and dealt," said Southwest Stars head coach Kerry Kincaid. "He experienced very little trouble all game… I am proud of that kid. Today, he was outstanding."

Osnel Rojas was called on to start for the Southeast Stars, tossing 3.1 scoreless innings while striking out six. He was relieved out of the bullpen by Christian Rodriguez, who threw 3.2 innings, striking out four and allowing the only run of the ballgame. Rodriguez (0-1) was the losing pitcher while Dritz (1-0) earned the win.

Both teams were scoreless heading into the sixth, but Logan de Groot hit a single to right to drive in Jaydon Kea in the bottom of the sixth, scoring the only run of the ballgame and giving the Southwest Stars a 1-0 lead. With the lead, Dritz came back out in the seventh to finish the game and did just that, securing the gold medal for the Southwest Stars.

"They all played hard," said Kincaid. "They gave me one hundred percent the entire time. It has just been such an amazing and incredible opportunity to meet kids from the west that I have never met before. It was a fun experience." 

Continue to follow @USABaseballNTIS on Twitter and visit USABaseball.com for the most up-to-date news about the National Team Identification Series.

Key Moments:

• Southwest Stars threatened with the bases loaded in the first, but Southeast Stars starting pitcher Osnel Rojas recorded a strikeout to end the inning and keep the game tied at zero.
• With Southwest runners on first and second and one away, Rojas forced a groundball to the third baseman who stepped on third and threw to first to record the double-play, keeping the score at 0-0 in the third.
• Logan de Groot hit a single to right to drive in Jaydon Kea in the sixth inning, scoring the only run of the ballgame and giving the Southwest Stars a 1-0 lead.
• With the Southeast Stars batting and the tying run on third with just one away, a fly-ball was hit to Southwest Stars' right fielder Ricky Smith, who caught the ball and proceeded to gun the runner at the plate, securing the 1-0 victory for the Southwest Stars.

Up Next:

The National Team Identification Series Champions Cup will continue next weekend, August 23-25, as the 15U and 16U age groups come to town.

Social Media:

Continue to follow @USABaseballNTIS on Twitter and visit USABaseball.com for the most up-to-date news about the National Team Identification Series.

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NTIS

It's an All-Southwest Region Final for the 12u Champions Cup Title

All-Southwest region championship game slated for Sunday
August 17, 2019

After two days of competition, one region ran the table at the 2019 12U NTIS Champions Cup as the Southwest Stripes and Southwest Stars will battle it out for the gold medal. 

The Southwest Stars were dominate on the mound and in the batter's box in the first semifinal of the day, as they defeated the South Stripes, 13-0. The Southwest Stars starting pitcher, Rookie Shepard (Las Vegas, Nev.), pitched five shutout innings for his squad, while Tyler Young (Simi Valley, Calif.), threw one scoreless inning on the bump before the game was called after the sixth inning. Shepard was satisfied with his team's performance and is eager to fight for a gold medal. 

"I feel pretty good about our performance, but of course there are always things to improve on. I am just excited because as a team, we did very well today. I am just ready to compete for a gold medal," Shepard said. "Winning a gold medal would be a dream come true. I have never won gold before, and I've competed in a lot of USA Baseball tournaments. So, it would be great to finally win gold."

The Southwest Stars head coach, Shane Schumaker, believes that his team is peaking at the right time and hopes they keep the momentum going into championship Sunday. 

"We need to not change anything going forward. In all three of our games we have swung the bat pretty well, played great defense and the pitching has been phenomenal. We are throwing strikes and not getting behind in the count. Hopefully we change nothing," said Schumaker.

The Southwest Stars will play in the gold medal game against the Southwest Stripes, who were locked in a stalemate for five innings before the they pulled away late to defeat the Northwest Stars 5-1. 

The Southwest Stripes relied heavily on their starting pitcher, Brek Benedict (Fort Collins, Colo.), who went the distance, giving up just one run.

"I felt like I was really consistent today. My curveball was working and I was pounding the zone. My defense did a great job of backing me up," said Benedict. "Tomorrow we are going to have a lot of energy and get hyped up before the game like we always do, and if we win gold, that will be a dream come true." 

Southwest Regional Director and Southwest Stripes Coach Andy Rojo is proud of both teams for making it this far, but points to Benedict and the rest of the pitching staff as one of the main reasons his team is still in contention for a gold medal.

"We have had great pitching over the last three games. Brek was very consistent and getting ahead in the count early. He was very efficient with his pitches today," Rojo said. "I challenged the kids yesterday and asked them if they thought they had played their best baseball. They all collectively said 'no.' The energy was really outstanding today. We are just going to keep doing what we did today and hopefully we get the same result."

The gold medal game will be played on Sunday at 11:00 ET on Field Five at Thomas Brooks Park. Continue to follow @USABaseballNTIS on Twitter and visit USABaseball.com for the most up-to-date news about the National Team Identification Series.

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NTIS

Southwest Stars, Southeast Stars Headed to 14U NTIS Champions Cup Gold Medal Game

Starting pitching was the key for both teams on Saturday
August 17, 2019

CARY, N.C. - Entering Saturday, both of the Stars and Stripes teams from each of the Southeast and Southwest regions remained in the chase for the 14U National Team Identification Series Champions Cup gold medal. By the end of the day, Southwest Stars and Southeast Stars emerged after winning their respective semifinal matchups.

Led on the mound by starting pitcher Brandon Luu, Southwest Stars began Saturday with a 6-4 victory over Southwest Stripes in the first semifinal at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina. 

Luu was in ace form in the semifinal matchup. The southpaw allowed just three baserunners and struck out four in four scoreless innings of work to get the victory. 

"My fastball was working good. I was able to spot that well. I also had a good feel for my curveball later in the game and was throwing it for strikes," said Luu.

Luu's offense did a good job of providing run support for their pitcher early and often. In the top of the second, the Southwest Stars rallied with two away to score a pair of runs, and they tacked on three more in the third as Gavin Williams hit a two-RBI triple to right and came around to score, putting Southwest Stars up 5-0. 

"I was very happy with my team. They worked together to get some runs, and I felt more comfortable on the mound having a five-run lead," said Luu.

Southwest Stripes threatened a comeback after posting a big fifth inning, scoring four runs on three hits and a pair of walks to cut their deficit to 5-4, but that's all the offense they would muster in the contest. 

Southwest Stars padded their lead with another run in the fifth to make it a 6-4 game and Duncan Marsten closed the game out on the mound to secure the Southwest Stars a spot in the 14U NTIS Champions Cup gold medal game.

"Our team worked very hard for this. We got down for a little bit, but we never gave up. We just kept on scoring runs. We really worked as a team today," said Luu.

Southwest Stars Head Coach Kerry Kincaid was pleased with his team's performance in the semifinal game and is ready for tomorrow's gold medal matchup.

"I told them to get ready for [the gold medal game]. Get hydrated and get plenty of rest to be ready to go. We have to keep the foot on the throat and the foot on the pedal, but I was really pleased with our guys today," said Kincaid.

The Southwest Stars will face off against the Southeast Stars in the gold medal game, who will be looking for their second consecutive 14U championship after winning it all in 2018. 

Southeast Stars earned their spot in the gold medal game after defeating Southeast Stripes, 4-3, in their semifinal game Saturday afternoon. 

Southeast Stars starting pitcher Chayce Kieck set the tone early by throwing four scoreless innings to begin the ballgame.

"I have always been a guy that works around the zone," said Kieck. "I know I have a great group of guys behind me in the field so I know if I stay around the zone and let guys put the ball in play, I will have guys behind me to make the plays."

The Southeast Stars offense supported their starting pitcher with some early offense, taking advantage of a Southeast Stripes error in the second to score a run, and then tacking on three more in the third to jump out to a 4-0 lead. 

"My team had great energy all day today, so I think that is one of the reasons why we scored our runs in bunches," said Kieck. "They are the reason we are here. I am only a piece of the bigger puzzle."

The Southeast Stripes began to rally back as they scored a run in the fifth after Thomas Brice hit an RBI-single to cut the Southeast Stars lead to 4-1. In the seventh, the Southeast Stripes scored a pair of runs to bring the game to within a run, but Anderson Nance closed the game out on the mound for Southeast Stars, earning the save in the 4-3 victory.

"[Nance] pitched really good," said Kieck. Even though things kind of went sideways at the end there, he did a really nice job of keeping his composure and filling the zone, and ultimately, he secured the win for us."

Southeast Stars Head Coach Andy Burress has been happy with the production he has seen from his squad all weekend.

"We have a great group of guys," said Burress. "They play hard. We got here last year and won with a walk-off steal of home, and a lot of those guys from last year's 13U team are here with us again this year. We are just going to go out tomorrow and enjoy the atmosphere, enjoy the game, and continue to do what we have been doing."

The gold medal game will take place on Coleman Field at the USA Baseball National Training Complex at 11:00 am ET Sunday morning. It will be streamed live on USABaseball.com and Facebook Live.

Continue to follow @USABaseballNTIS on Twitter and visit USABaseball.com for the most up-to-date news about the National Team Identification Series.

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