USA BASEBALL NEWS

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

USA Baseball Cancels 2020 National Team Identification Series Events

All USA Baseball National Team Identification Series events, including regional tryouts and the Champions Cup, are cancelled
June 25, 2020

CARY, N.C. - USA Baseball announced today that it has cancelled all 2020 National Team Identification Series (NTIS) events due to the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. All regional tryouts, as well as the NTIS Champions Cup scheduled to take place at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in August, will not be rescheduled.

"Due to the ongoing transmission of COVID-19 and its continued impact within the United States, all 2020 National Team Identification Series events have been cancelled," said USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO Paul Seiler. "It is disappointing for us to withdraw this truly unique and comprehensive national team identification opportunity from our calendar as it provides every young athlete in our country the opportunity to play for Team USA; however, the health and safety of our participants and their families continues to be our top priority during this unprecedented crisis."

The NTIS is the organization'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. Each region team then travels to Cary, North Carolina, for the Champions Cup, where the athletes are evaluated and scouted by national team coaches and task force members for the chance to play on a future USA Baseball national team or participate in a national team development program.

Regional identification events for the 2021 edition of the NTIS Champions Cup may begin on September 4, 2020. USA Baseball will continue to closely monitor the evolving COVID-19 pandemic and diligently evaluate the status all remaining events scheduled on the 2020 calendar, which continue to be subject to cancellation or postponement.

For more information on the USA Baseball NTIS, visit USABaseballNTIS.com.

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USA Baseball Modifies On-Field Programming Schedule

All events continue to be subject to cancellation or postponement
May 18, 2020

CARY, N.C. - USA Baseball announced today a modified schedule of events for its 2020 summer season due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Created in adherence to the regulations set forth by the appropriate federal, state and local governments, the updated schedule is tentatively set to begin with the 14U Cup from July 24-26 at the National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina.

All of these events continue to be subject to cancellation or postponement based on the future state of the evolving coronavirus situation. The organization will monitor the guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC), as well as consult its Medical/Safety Advisory Committee in order to evaluate the status of its upcoming tournaments.

All further decisions will be made in as timely a manner as possible with respect to the safety and well-being of all the participating athletes, coaches and fans. If these tournaments run as scheduled, teams and fans will be required to follow a series of return to play guidelines developed by USA Baseball. These guidelines will be shared with all participants within an appropriate timeframe leading up to the event.

"As the national governing body for baseball in the United States, we feel it is in the best interest of the thousands of baseball athletes in our country to postpone our return to the field due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic," said USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO Paul Seiler. "We share in the longing for baseball's return, but we believe it is prudent to continue assessing the situation and finalizing a course of action that prioritizes the overall health and safety of our participants and their families in light of the continued transmission of this disease.

"This schedule was structured in an effort to secure as many opportunities as possible for athletes who hope to one day play for Team USA. We will remain steadfast in our commitment to this charge; however, we will continue to evaluate the situation on a daily basis and monitor the guidelines set forth by the CDC and the USOPC in case additional modifications need to be made."

The following events have been tentatively rescheduled on the 2020 calendar:

• 17U National Team Championships North Carolina (July 27-30)
• 14U and 15U National Team Championships Arizona (July 27-30)
• 16U and 17U National Team Championships Arizona (July 31-August 3)
• 15U National Team Championships North Carolina (August 4-9)
• 10U Futures Invitational (August 6-9)
• 16U National Team Championships North Carolina (August 11-16)
• 11U, 12U, 13U and 14U NTIS Champions Cup (August 19-23)
• 15U and 16U NTIS Champions Cup (August 26-30)

The following events and national team programming have been cancelled:

• 11U Futures Invitational
• 13U/14U Athlete Development Program (ADP)
• 16U/17U National Team Development Program (NTDP)
• National Team Championships Florida

The 14U Cup (July 24-26) and 11U/13U Futures Series Irvine (August 28-30) are set to take place as originally scheduled.

Additionally, USA Baseball continues to work closely with the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) with respect to the international baseball calendar. To date, the WBSC has postponed the Americas Baseball Olympic Qualifier, U-15 Baseball World Cup and the Women's Baseball World Cup until further notice. The U-12 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier has also been postponed but will not take place this year.

"USA Baseball fully supports the WBSC and its decision to indefinitely postpone the events on the baseball calendar in an effort to protect our national team athletes at this time," continued Seiler. "When the time comes for Team USA to return to the field, we will be ready to continue our longstanding tradition of excellence on the international stage."

Corresponding to the status of the international baseball calendar, USA Baseball has cancelled all 12U National Team programming events for 2020, meanwhile any future events planned for the 15U National Team, 18U National Team, Collegiate National Team and Women's National Team this year will be announced as necessary.

The Medical/Safety Advisory Committee has published a free Athlete Preparation Plan that provides a series of at-home exercises aimed to prepare young athletes for their return to the diamond following a prolonged disruption from on-field activity. To access this plan and to read its recommendations for baseball players during the COVID-19 pandemic, click here.

Further information on USA Baseball updates relating to COVID-19 can be found here. For up-to-the-minute updates on the organization and its events, follow @USABaseball on social media.

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NHSI

USA Baseball Cancels 2020 National High School Invitational

All USA Baseball events through April 15 have been cancelled or postponed
March 12, 2020

Centers for Disease Control: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

DURHAM, N.C. - USA Baseball announced today that the 2020 National High School Invitational (NHSI), the Futures Series in Melissa, Texas, and all USA Baseball Coaches Clinics and National Team Identification Series (NTIS) regional tryouts through April 15 have been cancelled or postponed amid concerns surrounding the rapid spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) across the United States.

"We have been working closely with the USA Baseball Medical Safety Committee, as well as monitoring the guidelines and recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to acquire the latest information on this global situation. Given that, and in an effort to protect the health and safety of all those involved, we have decided to cancel the 2020 National High School Invitational, as well as all USA Baseball events through April 15," said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball's Executive Director and CEO. "We are disappointed that we will not be able to hold these tournaments and tryouts, but our top priority continues to be the health and safety of the athletes, fans, parents, coaches and administrators who travel from around the entire country for these events."

The ninth edition of the annual NHSI tournament was scheduled to occur from April 1-4 at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina. The Futures Series was to be held from April 17-19 at the Melissa Sports Complex in Melissa, Texas, while the Coaches Clinics and NTIS tryouts were set to take place throughout six regions in the U.S.

The NHSI will not be postponed to another date in 2020 but will recommence in 2021, and the Futures Series in Melissa, Texas, will also not be rescheduled in 2020.

USA Baseball will continue to closely monitor the ongoing situation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and diligently evaluate the status of its events scheduled to take place after April 15. All decisions will be made in as timely of a manner as possible with respect to the safety and well-being of all the participating athletes, coaches and fans.

Further information on possible new dates for the NTIS regional tryouts and all additional Coaches Clinics will be announced at a later time.

For more information on the NHSI, Futures Series, Coaches Clinics or the NTIS, visit USABaseball.com.

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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

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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