USA BASEBALL NEWS

12U

Team USA Falls In 12U National Team Training Finale

Team USA's pitching staff strikes out 13 in the loss
July 21, 2019
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Team USA 1 0 1 2 0 1 0 5 10 1
Top Tier Americans 0 6 0 0 0 0 1 7 12 0
Win: R. Weisser Loss: L. Tinajero Save: T. Goldenetz
Box Score | Play-by-Play | Cumulative Stats

 

Santa Clarita, Calif. - Team USA could not overcome a six-run second inning by the Top Tier Americans as it fell, 7-5, in the final exhibition game of 2019 12U National Team Training, on Sunday, at William S. Hart Pony Baseball and Softball Park in Santa Clarita, California.

Team USA's starting pitcher Lucas Tinajero (Corpus Christi, Texas) (0-1) suffered the loss after allowing six runs, despite punching out five batters in two innings on the mound. Dillon Adkins (Mechanicsville, Md.) added five more strikeouts in two innings of relief. Top Tier Americans' Revin Weisser (1-0) earned the win after allowing a hit in one inning, while Trevor Goldenetz (1) earned the save.

Tinajero led the U.S. offensively after recording three hits and an RBI. Noah Meza (Chino Hills, Calif.) added the team's lone home run of National Team Training and recorded a pair of RBIs.

Key Moments

  • Team USA jumped out to an early lead in the top of the first after Gavin Fien (Temecula, Calif.) hit a one-out single through the right side of the infield to bring home Lucas Tinajero (Corpus Christi, Texas).
  • The Top Tier Americans used six hits, a balk and a wild pitch to score six runs in the bottom of the second to take a 6-1 lead.
  • The red, white, and blue responded in the top of the third with a solo home run to left-center field by Noah Meza (Chino Hills, Calif.).
  • Team USA continued scoring in the fourth inning as Sebastian Segura (Spring, Texas) hit a sacrifice fly to center field to bring home Jack Armijo (San Lorenzo, Calif.) and Tinajero hit an RBI-single up the middle to cut the lead to 6-4.
  • Segura led off the top of the sixth for with a single to right field, before scoring on a fielder's choice by Noah Meza to cut the lead one.
  • The Top Tier Americans held Team USA scoreless for the remainder of the sixth and the seventh inning, before scoring a run in the seventh to earn the 7-5 win.

Notable Information

  • Team USA finished National Team Training with a 1-1 record.
  • Noah Meza's home run in the third inning marked the first for Team USA in the 2019 campaign.
  • Team USA's finished National Team Training with 27 strikeouts, after recording 14 on Saturday and 13 on Sunday.
  • Lucas Tinajero (0-1) suffered the loss after allowing six runs on seven hits in two innings of work. Top Tier Americans' Revin Weisser earned the win after pitching an inning of relief.
  • Tinajero led the U.S. offensively with four hits, while Gavin Fien recorded three RBIs to lead the red, white and blue.
  • Dillon Adkins and Tinajero led the team with five strikeouts in National Team Training.

On Deck

  • The 12U National Team will have a final practice at William S. Hart Park on Monday, before traveling to Tainan, Taiwan, to compete in the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-12 Baseball World Cup.

Social

  • Stay tuned to @USABaseball12U on Twitter and visit USABaseball.com for the most up-to-date news about the 12U National Team.
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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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18U

USA Baseball Announces 2019 18U National Team Roster

Twenty-man roster will compete in WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup August 30-September 8
August 18, 2019

FULLERTON, Calif. - USA Baseball announced the 2019 18U National Team on Saturday, following the conclusion of the 2019 18U National Team Trials. The final 20-man roster will compete in the 2019 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup in Gijang, South Korea, August 30-September 8.

The 18U National Team will be playing for a record-fifth consecutive WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup gold medal after winning the last four events in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2017. The program has won eight straight international tournament titles dating back to 2011.

"We are really excited about the twenty players that we have just chosen for this year's 18U National Team," said 2019 18U National Team Manager Jack Leggett. "It's been a great trial period with a great group of kids that has worked extremely hard. The decisions were really tough, but we feel like the twenty that we have now show us a lot of versatility, a lot of talent and a lot of really good attitudes, so we are really looking forward to competing for a world championship."

Five members of the 2019 18U National Team have suited up for the red, white and blue previously, including Pete Crow-Armstrong (Sherman Oaks, Calif.) who has been named to his fourth national team. Crow-Armstrong, Max Rajcic (Fullerton, Calif.) and Drew Romo (Spring, Texas) return to the 18U National Team for the second consecutive year after winning a gold medal with the program at the 2018 COPABE U-18 Pan-American Championships.

Additionally, Crow-Armstrong, Lucas Gordon (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Alejandro Rosario (Miami, Fla.) were teammates on the 2017 15U National Team that won a gold medal at the COPABE Pan Am "AA" Championships in Cartegena, Colombia.

The 20-man roster also features 10 athletes that have participated in the National Team Development Program (NTDP), including seven members of the 2018 17U NTDP.

Eleven members of this year's 18U National Team are new to USA Baseball national team programming in 2019 and were identified by participating in the inaugural 2019 Prospect Development Pipeline League (PDP) League, which serves as the primary identification event for the 18U National Team. In total, 18 members of the final roster participated in the PDP League this summer at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Hall of Famer Jack Leggett, who guided the 18U National Team to the program's eighth consecutive gold medal in 2018, returns to lead Team USA in 2019. He is joined on staff by the pitching coach, Scott Bankhead, and assistant coaches Gerald Laird and Gregg Ritchie.

The 2019 18U National Team will begin training in Fullerton, California, from August 18-21 before traveling to Taichung, Taiwan, to continue training with three friendlies against Chinese Taipei from August 24-27. Team USA will then open play in the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup against South Africa on Friday, August 30, at 6 a.m. ET in Gijang, South Korea.

For more information on the 18U National Team, follow on Twitter at @USABaseball18U.

2019 18U National Team
(Name; Position; Hometown)

^Mick Abel; RHP; Portland, Ore.
^Jack Bulger; C/OF; Bowie, Md.
*^Pete Crow-Armstrong; OF; Sherman Oaks, Calif.
*^Lucas Gordon; LHP; Los Angeles, Calif.
^Hunter Haas; IF; Phoenix, Ariz.
Colby Halter; UTL; Jacksonville, Fla.
Kyle Harrison; LHP; Danville, Calif.
Robert Hassell; OF/LHP; Franklin, Tenn.
^Austin Hendrick; OF; Pittsburgh, Pa.
Ben Hernandez; RHP; Chicago, Ill.
Ed Howard; IF; Chicago, Ill.
^Nolan McLean; UTL/RHP; Willow Spring, N.C.
*^Max Rajcic; RHP; Fullerton, Calif.
*^Drew Romo; C; Spring, Texas
*^Alejandro Rosario; RHP; Miami, Fla.
Jason Savacool; RHP; Syracuse, N.Y.
Nate Savino; LHP; Sterling, Va.
Tyler Soderstrom; C; Turlock, Calif.
Milan Tolentino; IF; Mission Viejo, Calif.
AJ Vukovich; IF/OF; Mukwonago, Wis.

*Denotes National Team alum
^Denotes National Team Development Program participant

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WNT

Team USA Dominates Venezuela 15-5

Two home runs aided Team USA in the Sunday morning victory
August 18, 2019
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
VEN 2 0 1 0 2 0 x 5 9 0
USA 0 1 0 1 1 11 1 15 13 2
Win: J. Mackay Loss: A. Jedemeza Save: None
Box Score | Play-by-Play | COPABE Stats
 

AGUASCALIENTES, Mexico - The USA Baseball Women's National Team opened up the 2019 COPABE Women's Pan-American Championships in a 15-5 walk-off victory over Venezuela with the help of two home runs on Sunday at Parque Deportivo Ferrocarrilero in Aguascalientes, Mexico. 

The U.S. trailed 5-4 when the team pushed 11 runs across in the bottom of the sixth inning to catapult them to a game one win. The final run was scored by Kylee Lahners (Laguna Hills, Calif.) who reached home on a walk-off single by Malaika Underwood (San Diego, Calif). 

Five U.S. batters finished the day with multi-hit performances, including Alex Hugo (Olathe, Kan.), Lahners, Jade Gortarez (Riverside, Calif.), Underwood and Kelsie Whitmore (Temecula, Calif.).

Megan Baltzell (Stafford, Va.) and Hugo sent Team USA's first two home runs of the tournament over the right field and left field walls, respectively. Baltzell's blast put the U.S. on the board in the second inning and Hugo's homer was a two-run shot that gave the team its first lead of the game. 

Marti Semetelli (West Newton, Mass.) started on the bump for the red, white, and blue, allowing five runs on eight hits while striking out one batter. Jamie Mackay (Newport Beach, Calif) came in as relief and notched the win, giving up just one hit and no runs in her one inning of action. Angelina Jedemeza suffered the loss for Venezuela. 

Key Moments

• Venezuela took an early lead in the top of the first inning, scoring two runs on three hits.
• Baltzell sent Team USA's first home run over the right field wall to cut the deficit in half 2-1 in the second inning.
• Venezuela put up one more run in the top of the third, extending its lead to 3-1.
• Underwood led off the bottom of the fourth with a single to right field and reached third base on a double steal before scoring on a Whitmore singled through the right side making the score 3-2.
• Venezuela continued to score against the U.S. pitching staff, taking a 5-2 lead in the top of the fifth.
• Hugo and Lahners led of the bottom of the fifth with a walk and a double, respectively, and scored on a Gortarez single, putting the game at 5-4.
• Anna Kimbrell (Fort Mill, S.C.) hit a lead-off single to left in the bottom of the sixth and Hugo followed with a two-run shot over the left field wall to give Team USA its first lead of the game, 6-5.
• Lahners reached on a hit-by-pitch, Gortarez followed with a double to left field, and Underwood was walked to load the bases for Baltzell. Lahners scored when Venezuela chose to intentionally walk Baltzell, giving the U.S. a 7-5 lead in the bottom of the sixth.
• Whitmore stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and sent Gortarez home with a single to center field for an 8-5 in the bottom of the sixth.
• Kimbrell was walked with the bases loaded, allowing Underwood to cross the plate and give Team USA a 9-5 lead in the bottom of the sixth, and Lansdell also picked up an RBI-walk to score Baltzell, extending the U.S. lead to 10-5.
• Hugo collected her third hit of the game with a single up the middle that moved Kimbrell and Whitmore across the plate, putting Team USA up 12-5 in the bottom of the sixth.
• Lahners doubled to left center field in her second at-bat of the sixth inning, scoring Hugo and Lansdell to make it a 14-5 ball-game.
• Underwood ended the game with a walk-off single to right field that scored Lahners and gave Team USA a 15-5 run-rule victory in the sixth inning.

Notable Information

• Five U.S. batters finished the day with multi-hit performances, including Alex Hugo (3-for-4), Kylee Lahners (2-for-3), Jade Gortarez (2-for-4), Malaika Underwood (2-for-4) and Kelsie Whitmore (2-for-4).
• Jamie Mackay collected the win for the U.S., scattering one hit in her one inning of relief.
• Megan Baltzell and Alex Hugo each hit home runs on the contest. Baltzell's solo shot gave Team USA its first run of the game and Hugo's two-run blast gave the team its first lead at 6-5.
• Alex Hugo led the red, white, and blue offensively in game one, hitting .750 (3-for-4) with a single, a double, a home run and four RBIs in the contest.

Up Next

• The USA Baseball Women's National Team will continues action at the 2019 COPABE Women's Pan-American Championships on Monday, August 19 against the Dominican Republic immediately following the completion of the opening ceremony at the Parque Deportivo Ferrocarrilero in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Stay tuned to social media for an updated start time.

Social Media

• Stay tuned to @USABaseballWNT on Twitter and visit USABaseball.com for the most up-to-date news about the 2019 USA Baseball Women's National Team.

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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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NTIS

What It Means to Represent Your Region

From hometown hero to a chance at making a USA Baseball National team
August 17, 2019

Spanning across the first three weeks in August, over 200 athletes from six regions of the country (Midwest, Northeast, Northwest, South, Southeast and Southwest) compete in the USA Baseball National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup, hoping to be noticed by USA Baseball and its team of Task Force members. Their goal? To earn a spot on a national team trials or national team development program roster for the following year.

But to get there, athletes first undergo a series of tryouts across various states in each of their respective regions. And before they can fight for a chance to win the NTIS Champions Cup, and to show that they have what it takes make a USA Baseball national team program, they first need to prove they can represent their region.

For these athletes, representing their region is an honor. They have the rare opportunity to put on a uniform that displays where they are from, and for many of these athletes, where they learned to play the game of baseball. With pride and motivation to prove their region is the best, these athletes go head-to-head with one another in a battle for not only a gold medal in the NTIS Champions Cup, but a shot a representing their country. Earning an invite to represent your region Cary is an achievement only a handful of athletes have the privilege to experience. 

Bobby Brooks, who began his NTIS journey in La Mirada, California, is one of just 27 players to come from the Southwest region and will be competing for its Stars team in the 12U NTIS Champions Cup this year.

"Being able to represent the Southwest region is great. It is just an honor really. We get a chance to play with kids from our state and from out-of-state as well," Brooks said. "I feel like my hard work has paid off. I get to play with some of the best players from my country and that is what it is all about."

Like many of the athletes at the NTIS, Brooks wants to take full advantage of his time in Cary and has one goal in mind. 

"Nothing could come close to winning the gold medal while I'm here. Winning gold for my region would be the best experience I have ever had."

Another athlete who has been given the opportunity to represent their region, Oliver Service from Detroit, Michigan, is representing the Midwest region on the Stars team in the 14U NTIS Champions Cup. Service feels confident in his abilities and is eager to prove himself this in the tournament.

"It feels good to know you are one of the guys that people are talking about in your region. I know I am good; I just have to show out there on the field," Service said.

When asked about what it means to play for his region, Service was quick to point toward his experience at the Little League World Series and the bond he has built with his teammates during his NTIS process. 

"It was great playing for my region at the Little League World series, so it is a great honor to play in something that big again. I am just ready to show off my talents," Service said. "All the kids here have been so welcoming and very friendly. Along with my teammates, I have worked so hard to get here. We have become so close and just to have that bond with them will be something to remember forever."

Jorge Barba, an outfielder from Miami, Florida, and a member of the 14U Southeast Stars, echoed Service's feelings, acknowledging the importance of impressing scouts at the Champions Cup, but also having another driving force at play when he steps on the field at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina 

"It is incredible to be able to be out here and competing with all of these great baseball players," Barba said. "I work hard and I love this sport. After this experience, I'm hoping that I can play for Team USA one day. But winning a gold medal for the Southeast region is a different story."

For many of these athletes, proving themselves and representing their region can be the first step in their baseball careers outside of playing in their hometowns. Competing in the NTIS Champions Cup comes with the unique opportunity of meeting other athletes from around the country and gauging themselves against some of the best young talents in their age group.

But, after the numerous tryouts around their region that have led them here to the NTIS Champions Cup, it is obvious to them that winning and representing your region is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to not take lightly. 

These athletes have earned their chance to represent their regions in Cary so that may one day be able to represent their country abroad.

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NTIS

Drawing from Experience: Josh Atomanczyk

From Team USA to the NTIS
August 16, 2019

Josh Atomanczyk knows what it feels like to win gold. 

Before he was representing the South region at the 2019 National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup at the USA Baseball National Training Complex, Atomanczyk was donning the red, white and blue as a member of the USA Baseball 12U National Team. 

Atomanczyk was a part of Team USA in 2017 at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-12 Baseball World Cup, where he helped the 12U National Team finish with an 8-1 record and the gold medal, it's third overall world championship. 

"At the stadium, nobody ever wanted [Team USA] to win," said Atomanczyk. "It was always everybody else against us. We fed off that pressure and used it to help us win gold."

Atomanczyk used that pressure to turn in a gem of a performance in Team USA's Super Round game of the WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup. He pitched the United States to a 6-3 win over Japan, throwing 5.1 innings, allowing just four hits and one earned run, while striking out seven. At the plate, he went 2-for-3 with a pair of home runs and five RBIs. Atomanczyk's performance in that game earned him Co-USA Baseball International Performance of the Year honors. 

The person he shared the award with? Marcus Stroman, who threw a masterpiece of his own, tossing a one-hitter over 6.1 innings to lead Team USA to its first-ever gold medal at World Baseball Classic in 2017.

"I remember finding out that I won the award and thinking that it could not be real. Marcus Stroman is somebody that I have always looked up to because I am not going to ever be a big guy," said Atomanczyk. "With him in the Major Leagues, he is proving that height does not measure heart, and that is something that I kind of live by now. So, knowing that we shared that award together is crazy."

Atomanczyk batted .381 with five home runs in total during the World Cup, and also threw 9 2/3 innings on the mound, posting a 1.23 ERA.

"Being able to go to Taiwan was such an incredible experience. I was so lucky and fortunate to be given that opportunity and I hope I get the chance to represent Team USA again someday soon."

Today, Atomanczyk is back at the National Training Complex, but this time, it is to represent his region.

"It means a lot to represent my region," said Atomanczyk. "It is a big honor. I feel like being at the NTIS has helped me get a lot of exposure and helped get coaches to learn my name, and I just have to give them something to remember me by. I do not care if they remember how good I am, I just want them to know about my character; I want to be the reason why people say 'he represents USA Baseball so well.'"

Atomanczyk is returning to the NTIS Champions Cup as a member of the 14U South Stripes team after playing for the 13U South Texas team last summer, where he was second on the team in batting average (.500) and helped them to a 3-1 record and a bronze medal.

"This year I am looking for [an NTIS Champions Cup gold medal]. It would be a big accomplishment for our region," said Atomanczyk.

USA Baseball Task Force member Josh Ellison has watched on as Atomanczyk has played an integral part on his teams over the past two summers.

"If he continues to develop both mentally and physically as a baseball player, he has the potential to one day contribute to a top-tier program, and if he continues to work hard every day, he may even play at the highest level," said Ellison. "The USA Baseball Task Force] is looking for the intangibles. Baseball IQ, the willingness and hunger to want to compete for your country. When you find those things, you find something special, because you know you are finding somebody who not only wants to obtain a gold medal, but he wants to one day, possibly wear a major league uniform and contribute to the game for years to come."

Aside from leading his region to gold, Atomanczyk also hopes to leave the 2019 NTIS Champions Cup with an invite to the 2020 USA Baseball 15U National Team Trials.

"I feel like I can compete with anybody [at the NTIS Champions Cup], and I just have to believe in myself and show that out on the field," said Atomanczyk. "I have always just tried to work harder than everybody else, and it would mean everything to me [to receive an invite to the USA Baseball 15U National Team Trials]. It has been a dream of mine ever since I was little, and to know that I [have won gold with USA Baseball], and to know that I have the chance to maybe do it again someday is what keeps me playing baseball."

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WNT

Team USA Walks-Off Canada in Exhibition Matchup

Anna Kimbrell knocked in the game winning run in the bottom of the seventh
August 16, 2019
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
CAN 3 0 3 2 0 3 0 11 13 0
USA 0 1 1 7 2 0 1 12 20 3
Win: A. Lansdell Loss: A. Asay Save: None
Box Score | Play-by-Play | Cumulative
 

CALVILLO, Mexico - A walk-off to center field in the seventh inning by Anna Kimbrell (Fort Mill, S.C.) led the USA Baseball Women's National Team to a 12-11 victory over Canada in the team's final exhibition game on Friday at Parque de Beisbol in Calvillo, Mexico. 

The U.S. will begin the COPABE Women's Pan-American Championships on Sunday, August 18, at 9 a.m. CT in a matchup against Venezuela.

Seven U.S. batters finished the day with multi-hit performers, including Alex Hugo (Olathe, Kan.), Jade Gortarez (Riverside, Calf.), Megan Baltzell (Stafford, Va.) and Ashton Lansdell (Marietta, Ga.), who each tallied three hits apiece. 

It was an offensive game for both teams, with Canada jumping out to an 8-2 lead after the home half of the fourth inning. But, Team USA gained its first lead in the bottom half of the fourth with seven runs scored and plated another two in the fifth. With the game tied at 11-11 in the home half of the seventh, Kelsie Whitmore (Temecula, Calif.) led off the inning with a double and Kimbrell knocked her in two batters later to win the game.

Sara Tobias (New York, N.Y.) started on the bump for the red, white and blue, tossing three strikeouts and allowing six runs on five hits across two innings of work. Lansdell came in as relief in the second inning and only allowed two runs on two hits while sitting down four batters. She picked up the victory for Team USA while Canadian reliever Amanda Asay suffered the loss. 

Key Moments 

• Canada jumped out to an early lead, scoring three runs on three hits in the first inning.
• With two outs in the second inning, Lansdell and Hugo hit back-to-back singles to put Lansdell in scoring position for Kylee Lahners (Laguna Hills, Calif.), who pushed her across the plate with a single to center, making it 3-1.
• Canada put up three more runs in the top of the third inning to extend its lead to 6-1.
• Baltzell led off the bottom of the third inning with a single to left field and stole second before Whitmore sent her home on a sac-fly to right field and put the score at 6-2.
• Canada extended its lead to 8-2 with a pair of runs in the top of the fourth.
• Hugo led off the bottom of the fourth with a double to left field and Denae Benites (Las Vegas, Nev.), who came in to pinch run, advanced to third when Gortarez singled up the middle. Gortarez stole second and the two scored on a single off the bat off Malaika Underwood (San Diego, Calif) to cut the deficit in half, 8-4.
• Underwood stole second and crossed the plate in the next at-bat when Baltzell knocked the ball into right field, putting the score at 8-5 in the fourth inning.
• Baltzell advanced to second base when Whitmore was hit by a pitch and made it an 8-6 game in the fourth inning on a single up the middle by Michelle Cobb (Wenatchee, Wash.).
• Whitmore moved to second base on Cobb's single, third base on a walk to Kimbrell, and put Team USA within one on a single through the left side by Lansdell, making the score 8-7 in the fourth.
• Benites came back in to run for Kimbrell and, along with Cobb, was sent home by a Hugo single to left field to end the fourth inning with its first lead of the game at 9-8.
• Jamie Mackay (Newport Beach, Calif.) came in to pinch run for Baltzell after she hit a lead off single. Whitmore followed with a single of her own in the next at-bat and Lahners pushed them both across the plate with a two RBI single to left to give the U.S. an 11-8 lead in the bottom of the fifth.
• Canada scored three runs in the top of the sixth and tied the game at 11. The Canadians held off the U.S. effort in the bottom half of the inning and failed to put a run across in the top of the seventh, giving Team USA the opportunity to win in the bottom frame.
• Whitmore led off the final frame with a double to center field and Kimbrell's walk-off single to center knocked her in to give Team USA a 12-11 win.

Notables

• Ashton Lansdell collected the win for the U.S., tossing two strikeouts and a walk and allowing two runs on two hits in two innings pitched.
• The U.S. and Canada combined for 33 hits in the contest with 20 coming from the Team USA offense.
• Four Team USA athletes notched three hits in the game, they include Alex Hugo (3-for-5), Jade Gortarez (3-for-3), Megan Baltzell (3-for-5) and Ashton Lansdell (3-for-4).

Up Next

• The USA Baseball Women's National Team will open up play in the 2019 COPABE Women's Pan-American Championships on Sunday, August 18 at 9 a.m. CT against Venezuela. 

Social Media

Stay tuned to @USABaseballWNT on Twitter and visit USABaseball.com for the most up-to-date news about the Women's National Team Development Program. 

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18U

Stars Blank Stripes in 18U Trials Finale

Five Stars pitchers combine to allow just three hits in the win
August 15, 2019
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 R H E
Stars 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 5 0
Stripes 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 5
Win: A. Santos Loss: C. Swilling Save: Keith
Box Score | Play-by-play | Cumulative Stats

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - In the final game of the 2019 18U National Team Trials, the Stars pitching staff allowed just three hits in eight scoreless innings to secure the 2-0 win over the Stripes. With the victory, the Stars improved to 4-1 in the trials series.

Robert Moore (Leadwood, Kan.) finished 1-for-3 with a walk and was responsible for both of the Stars' RBIs in the contest. Dylan Crews (Longwood, Fla.) and Robert Hassell (Franklin, Tenn.) both collected hits and scored runs for the Stars. Hunter Haas (Phoenix, Ariz.), who went 1-for-2 with a walk, and Tyler Soderstrom (Turlock, Calif.), who collected two hits on the day, led the way offensively for the Stripes.

Alex Santos (New York, N.Y.) earned the win for the Stars after allowing just one hit and no runs, while striking out three. Carson Swilling (Smith Station, Ala.) suffered the loss after allowing two hits, two walks and two runs in his relief appearance.

 

KEY MOMENTS

  • Hassell recorded the first hit of the game in the third, leading off with a ground-rule double for the Stars.
  • With the Stars threatening in the third with runners on first and second and one out, Kyle Harrison (Danville, Calif.) came through for the Stripes to escape the jam with a fielder's choice and a strikeout to keep it scoreless.
  • The first baserunners of the day for the Stripes came in the fourth inning when Haas drew a one-out walk and Soderstrom followed with a single, but a strikeout got the second out and Haas was caught stealing for the third to end the inning.
  • The Stars finally broke through for the first runs of the game when Hassell reached on an error to lead off the fifth before Crews and Moore followed with back-to-back doubles that made it 2-0 in the Stars' favor.
  • The Stripes tried to get a rally going in the seventh behind back-to-back one-out singles from Haas and Soderstrom but the Stars' Colby Halter got a flyout and a strikeout to end the threat and secure the 2-0 win.

 

NOTABLE INFORMATION

  • The Stars won the 18U National Team Trials series, 4-1.
  • The two pitching staffs combined to toss 24 strikeouts in the contest, with the Stars recording 14 and the Stripes collecting 10.
  • Santos (1-0) allowed just one hit and one walk and struck out three in two innings of work to earn the win.
  • The loss was attributed to Swilling (0-1) after he gave up two runs in his relief appearance.
  • Austin Hendrick (Pittsburgh, Pa.) recorded the highest average during the five-game series, hitting .571 with four hits, including one home run.
  • Rawley Hector (Van Alstyne, Texas) led all pitchers in the series with seven strikeouts in five innings of work throughout the week.

 

DUE UP

  • The 20-man 2019 18U National Team roster will be announced in the evening on Saturday, August 17.
  • 2019 18U National Team Training will start with the first practice for Team USA on Monday, August 19, and the first game on Tuesday, August 20, both at Fullerton Junior College.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA

  • Follow @USABaseball18U on Twitter for the most up-to-date information on the 18U National Team and 18U National Team Trials.
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