USA BASEBALL NEWS

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Claycomb, Dolan lead South Stars to 14U NTIS Champions Cup Gold

The 14U gold was the second gold medal for the South Region at the 2021 NTIS Champions Cup
August 29, 2021
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E SW STRIPES 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 7 1 SOUTH STARS 0 0 1 2 1 0 X 4 10 0 WP: Jeffrey Claycomb  |  LP: Nathan Chavez   CARY, N.C. -- The South Stars tallied runs
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
SW STRIPES 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 7 1
SOUTH STARS 0 0 1 2 1 0 X 4 10 0
WP: Jeffrey Claycomb  |  LP: Nathan Chavez

 

CARY, N.C. -- The South Stars tallied runs in three consecutive innings and picked up a stellar outing in relief by Jeffrey Claycomb to defeat the Southwest Stripes, 4-1, in the gold medal game of the 14U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup on Coleman Field at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina.

The win secured the South region’s second championship at the 2021 NTIS Champions Cup, following the 13U South Stars gold medal win over the Southwest Stars last week. 

Southwest Stripes’ Miles Scott led off the game with a single and moved into scoring position with one out to start the game; however, South Stars catcher John Dolan threw him out trying to steal third and ended the early offensive threat. Dolan followed that up by throwing out two more base runners in the top of the second inning, tossing out Ryder DeJournett and Brock Johnson in back-to-back at-bats to end the second.

The Southwest Stripes once again threatened in the third inning after a walk, a hit-by-pitch, and a bunt single loaded the bases with no outs. But, back-to-back infield flies and a fielder’s choice to short ended the threat to keep the game scoreless.

Bryce Nixon tallied the first hit of the game for the South Stars to lead off the bottom of the third inning, and followed it up with scoring the first run of the game on an RBI-single down the left-field line by Davidenko Rodriguez to give South Stars a 1-0 lead.

Dolan then contributed with the bat, leading off the fourth inning with a single and moving into scoring position when Marcus Cantu was hit by a pitch. South Stars’ starting pitcher Joseph Carreon followed with a booming two-run double to left field to extend their lead to 3-0.

The Southwest Stripes tried to rally. A walk and a single led off the top of the fifth inning to kickstart their lineup and a sacrifice bunt by Anthony Murphy moved runners to second and third. That is when Jeffrey Claycomb came on in relief for the South Stars and took over the game from there, picking up back-to-back strikeouts to keep the Southwest Stripes off the board.

Ethan Downum legged out an infield single to lead off the bottom of the fifth for the South Stars and advanced to third on a Davidenko Rodriguez single and an error by the right fielder. Dolan followed with his second hit of the game with an RBI-single to left to put South Stars up 4-0.

Down to their final three outs, Jeffrey Peters III slammed a lead-off double to right-center in the top of the seventh inning for the Southwest Stripes. Down to their final out and with Peters on third, Luke Herrera came on to pinch hit. Facing Claycomb, he struck out swinging, but the ball got past Dolan, allowing him to advance to first and Peters to score from third to cut the deficit to three.

But that is all Claycomb would allow, picking up a groundout to third base on the very next batter to close the game out, securing the 4-1 win and the gold medal for the South Stars.

Nathan Chavez suffered the loss on the mound for the Southwest Stripes, giving up three runs and striking out two batters in his 3.1 innings of work. Jack Lorenz gave up a run in his 1.0 inning of work, striking out one, and Jason Rodriguez struck out two batters in his 1.2 innings of scoreless relief.

Claycomb picked up the win in relief for the South Stars, striking out five batters and giving up just one hit and one unearned run in 3.0 innings. The South Stars starter, Carreon, gave up three hits in 3.0 innings in a no-decision and Antonio Solis gave up a pair of hits in his scoreless inning of work as well.

Offensively, Dolan (2-for-2, RBI) and Skyler Branam (2-for-3) led the South Stars offense with multiple hits on the day, while Carreon (1-for-1) contributed half of the team’s RBIs with his double in the fourth inning. Bruin Agbayani led the Southwest Stripes offense on the day, finishing 2-for-3.

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Texas Twelve Takes 16U National Team Championships North Carolina Gold Medal

Texas Twelve narrowly defeats Dulins Dodgers Prime to earn their second gold medal of the 2022 National Team Championships North Carolina
June 25, 2022
CARY, NC – Texas Twelve came out on top in a close one-run matchup with Dulins Dodgers Prime to exit the gold medal match victorious by a score of 3-2 at the 16U National Team Championships North Carolina on Saturday in Cary, North Carolina. After Dulins Dodgers Prime scored quickly

CARY, NC – Texas Twelve came out on top in a close one-run matchup with Dulins Dodgers Prime to exit the gold medal match victorious by a score of 3-2 at the 16U National Team Championships North Carolina on Saturday in Cary, North Carolina.

After Dulins Dodgers Prime scored quickly in the top of the first on an RBI single to right field by Brooks Sartain, Texas Twelve immediately responded in the bottom half of the inning. Braylon Payne and Nathan Hodge recorded consecutive singles to jump start the offense with Caden Miller bringing Payne home to tie the game. Isaiah Castaneda grabbed the 2-1 lead on an RBI single to score Hodge.

The Dodgers wouldn’t go down without a fight as Owen Lee laced an RBI double to right center field to tie the game up at 2-2 in the top of the third. Texas Twelve retook the lead after Joshua Crisp, Jr. led off the bottom of the fourth with a double down the left field line, and Marco Gonzales provided the go-ahead RBI on a sacrifice fly to bring Crisp home for the 3-2 lead.

The Texas Twelve offense notched 10 hits with seven batters in the lineup recording at-least one hit with Payne, Hodge, and Mason Jacob providing multi-hit efforts.

Nolan Veeder dealt 6.1 innings and allowed two runs on five hits to earn the win for Texas Twelve. Brady Corcoran received the save, entering in relief to record two outs, including a line out to end the ball game. Andrew Perry suffered the loss for Dulins Dodgers Prime, allowing three earned runs in three innings on the bump.

Game Highlights:

  • Kyle Branch led the game off with a single to center, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and scored the first run of the game for a Dodgers 1-0 lead via an RBI single to right field by Brooks Sartain.
  • Braylon Payne and Nathan Hodge hit back-to-back singles to start the bottom of the first. The duo initiated a successful double steal to move into scoring position. Miller drove Payne in on an RBI single, tying the game 1-1, but was thrown out advancing to second by catcher Matthew Mainord.
  • Isaiah Castaneda quickly took the 2-1 lead for the Dodgers by bringing home Nathan Hodge on an RBI single.
  • Owen Lee doubled to right center field to bring in Kendyl Johnson and score the game-tying run in the top of the third.
  • Joshua Crisp, Jr. laced a double down the left field line to open the bottom of the fourth. This forced a pitching change for Dulins Dodgers Prime as Perry was relieved by Ian Garza.
  • Crisp Jr. grabbed the lead 3-2 by scoring on a sacrifice fly from Marco Gonzales after advancing to third on a sacrifice bunt by Mason Jacob.
  • Texas Twelve threatened in the bottom of the fifth by loading the bases with just one out, but Ian Garza halted the scoring threat with a strikeout and a ground out to end the inning.
  • Braylon Payne laid out to make a diving catch down the left field line to keep the Dodgers from scoring with two outs and two runners on in the top of the sixth.

Notable Information:

  • With the 16U gold medal victory, Texas Twelve earned their second gold medal of the 2022 National Team Championships North Carolina after winning the 17U tournament.
  • Braylon Payne finished the tournament with a .435 average (10-23), hitting two doubles, five runs batted in, and seven runs scored for Texas Twelve.
  • Nolan Veeder concluded the tournament with 10.1 innings pitched, six strikeouts, and a 1.36 earned run average after earning the win in the gold medal game for Texas Twelve.
  • Texas Twelve was dangerous on the base paths all tournament, stealing 27 bags in seven games and only being caught stealing four times.
  • Kyle Branch led Dulins Dodgers Prime with eight hits and five runs scored from the leadoff spot.

Quotables:

Nolan Veeder on winning gold…

“Winning gold is amazing. Braylon making an amazing diving play is just surreal. Nolan back there calling a great game. It’s just amazing. It’s a lifetime moment and I’ll never forget this.”

Braylon Payne on his performance offensively throughout the tournament…

“Coach just kept picking me up when I was down. I was struggling at first and I found a groove changing my batting stance. He made me realize I’m a really good hitter and kept pushing me.”

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Premier Nationals to Meet Showcase Baseball Academy in 11U Futures Title Game

Premier, SBA each pick up two bracket play wins on Saturday to set stage for Sunday finale
June 25, 2022
Premier Nationals 8, ZT Prospects National 5 The Premier Nationals got revenge from last year’s 11U Futures title game, taking down ZT Prospects National, 8-5, in semifinal action. After ZT Prospects got on the board immediately in the first, the Nationals took the lead and then went back and forth

Premier Nationals 8, ZT Prospects National 5
The Premier Nationals got revenge from last year’s 11U Futures title game, taking down ZT Prospects National, 8-5, in semifinal action. After ZT Prospects got on the board immediately in the first, the Nationals took the lead and then went back and forth until an explosive fifth inning helped them pull away.

Nine different players had at least one hit for the Nationals, with Cash Ericsson and Dylan Mercado leading with two hits apiece. Liam Barry, Ericsson, and Quinn Neal each drove in two runs in the win for Premier. ZT’s offense was led by two-hit efforts from Adam Allet, Eli Martinez, Caleb Lozano, and Mason Smith.

Mercado earned the win for Premier, turning in 5.1 innings and allowing five runs (two earned). He was replaced by Chase Cook, who got the final five outs and allowed just two hits. Martinez suffered the loss for ZT Prospects.

Game Highlights

  • After tossing a scoreless top of the first inning, Martinez drove in the game’s first run with an RBI single to plate Trent O’Malley and give ZT Prospects a 1-0 lead.
  • The Nationals immediately answered in the top of the second, loading the bases on a pair of singles and a walk before Barry singled to left field to give Premier a 2-1 edge.
  • Premier’s Mercado responded well to the run support on the mound in the second, tossing a perfect frame to give the Nationals a shutdown inning.
  • ZT Prospects was able to scratch a run across in the bottom of the third. Mannix Renfro was hit by a pitch and Allett singled, followed by another RBI single by Martinez to knot the game at two apiece.
  • In the bottom of the fourth, ZT Prospects scored again to take the lead. With two outs and two on, Lozano singled on a line drive to left field to give his squad a 3-2 edge.
  • Premier National immediately responded in the top of the fifth, exploding for six runs to open up a big lead. The rally started when Cook slammed a two-run double to give Premier a one-run lead, and continued when Carter Holder singled to put Premier in front 5-3.
  • The lead was extended to five for Premier National when they tacked on a trio of runs in the fourth on defensive miscues by ZT Prospects.
  • ZT Prospects crept a little closer in the bottom of the sixth, scoring twice to make it 8-5. The first run came on a single by Lozano followed by a sacrifice fly from Kason Burger to make it a three-run game.
  • Cook secured the final three outs in the seventh to punch Premier's ticket to the title game.

Notable Information

  • The game was a rematch of last year’s 11U Futures title game, which resulted in a gold medal for ZT Prospects in 2021.
  • The Nationals had five hits in their six-run fifth inning, including three consecutive knocks early in the frame.
  • Mercado is now batting .500 (7-for-14) in the tournament and has at least one hit in all five games played for the Nationals.
  • Martinez also raised his tournament batting average to .500 (7-for-14) and has now driven in seven runs across five games for ZT Prospects.
  • With the win, Premier advances to the 11U Futures Invitational title game for the second consecutive year.

Showcase Baseball Academy 1, Braves Baseball Academy 0

Showcase Baseball Academy was able to hold a powerful Braves Baseball Academy offense scoreless in route to a 1-0 shutout win to clinch a spot in the 11U Futures title game.

SBA scratched a run across in the top of the second and then spent the rest of the game playing strong defense to keep the Braves off the board and secure the win. The only run of the game came on an RBI single by Layton Saliba in the second inning.

Graham Hufstetler got the win for SBA after tossing 5.0 shutout innings, scattering five hits and striking out three. Colton Pettinato entered for the final batter and induced a game-ending ground out to get the save for SBA. Despite throwing a complete game, Parker Visage got the loss for the Braves after allowing just a single run on six hits.

Game Highlights

  • Visage worked around a one-out hit in the top of the first to keep the game scoreless in the opening frame, and Hufstetler did the same for Showcase as the game stayed scoreless in the early going.
  • Hufstetler led off the top of the second inning with a triple and scored on an RBI single by Saliba to give SBA a 1-0 lead.
  • The Braves got a leadoff single from Mateo Mier in the bottom of the second, but Hufstetler coaxed a big double play to escape the inning and keep the Braves scoreless.
  • SBA put a runner in scoring position in their half of the third when Pettinato hit a two-out triple, but an inning-ending groundout thwarted the scoring chance.
  • Another opportunity came for SBA to extend the lead in the top of the fourth when they hit back-to-back singles, but a double play retired the side and kept the game 1-0.
  • The Braves started their half of the fourth with a pair of singles to open the inning before lining into a double play as the game remained a one-run contest.
  • The scoring chances came few and far between in the final few innings, as Ryder Sheffield and Pettinato combined to pitch the final two frames to secure to win.

Notable Information

  • The win was SBA’s second shutout of the day, as they beat Knights Elite, 4-0, in quarterfinal round action on Saturday morning.
  • SBA has now allowed just six runs over the tournament’s first five games.
  • The Braves had a potent offense up until this point, combining to score 43 runs in their first four games before the shutout.
  • Visage’s complete game came on a 73-pitch effort, as the Braves’ starter was dominant aside from the early run.
  • With the win, SBA secures a spot in the 11U Futures title game for the first time in program history.
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GBG San Diego's Max Villalva Wins 11U Futures Home Run Derby

June 24, 2022
CARY, N.C. -- GBG San Diego's Max Villalva put on a dominant performance at the 2022 11U Futures Invitational Home Run Derby on Friday night, cranking 12 homers in two rounds to secure the derby trophy. Villalva hit five homers in the first round to advance to the championship round,

CARY, N.C. -- GBG San Diego's Max Villalva put on a dominant performance at the 2022 11U Futures Invitational Home Run Derby on Friday night, cranking 12 homers in two rounds to secure the derby trophy. Villalva hit five homers in the first round to advance to the championship round, and then cranked seven dingers in the finals to win it.

Villalva homered all over the ballpark in the derby victory, spreading the homers around. His first-round showing put him into the final round against One National's Andres Armenta, Carolina Cardinals' Mason Karraas, ZT Prospect National's Eli Martinez, and Premier Nationals' Quinn Neal. Martinez and Neal each cranked five homers in the final round, but Villalva was able to pull away with the seven-homer showing.

The derby featured 23 participants, with each competing in the first round before the top five contestants moved on to the final. The National Training Complex was jumping all derby long, with players' teammates and families heavily invested in the result.

Villalva is currently batting .556 (5-for-9) in the 11U Futures Invitational, leading the offensive attack for GBG San Diego. He has a hit in all three of the team's games, including multiple hits in each of his last two. Villalva has already locked in a spot at 2022 12U National Team Trials via last year's National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup.

He was only one of three batters to hit double dit homers on Friday night, along with Martinez and Neal.

The 11U Futures Invitational gets back into action on Saturday morning, with the semifinal round set to kick off at 10:45 a.m. at Middle Creek Park in Cary, North Carolina.

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16U National Team Championships North Carolina Semifinals Set For Saturday

Dulins Dodgers Prime, eXposure Prime, Richmond Braves Platinum, and Texas Twelve advanced to Saturday’s 2022 16U National Team Championships North Carolina semifinals
June 24, 2022
CARY, N.C. – Dulins Dodgers Prime, eXposure Prime, Richmond Braves Platinum, and Texas Twelve advanced to Saturday’s 2022 16U National Team Championships North Carolina semifinals after winning their quarterfinal games on Friday.

CARY, N.C. – Dulins Dodgers Prime, eXposure Prime, Richmond Braves Platinum, and Texas Twelve advanced to Saturday’s 2022 16U National Team Championships North Carolina semifinals after winning their quarterfinal games on Friday.

eXposure Prime 11, Banditos Scout 1

eXposure Prime bats fired out the gates at Coleman Field and held the momentum the entire game to win the first quarterfinal game 11-1 over Banditos Scout. With the victory, eXposure advances to the semifinal on Saturday morning.

Ben Johnson collected the win dealing 3.1 innings with one hit allowed and two strikeouts. Tristan Bristow suffered the loss yielding nine runs, six earned, through two innings.

Game Highlights:

  • Brennon Seigler led the game off with a single and came home on an RBI single by Chase Fralick for the 1-0 lead.
  • Anthony Tralongo scored on a throwing error by the Banditos catcher making it 2-0 to end the first.
  • Cayden Sheffield tacked on another in the top of the second pushing the lead to 3-0 on an RBI single.
  • eXposure utilized a six-run inning in the top of the third enhancing their advantage to 9-0. Henry Allen and Jason Bello notched RBI singles with Fralick delivering a two RBI single for his third RBI of the game. Riley Luft followed Fralick up with an RBI triple to knock him in. Eli Evans capped off the scoring via an RBI fielder’s choice.
  • Holden Harris recorded the Banditos’ lone run in the bottom of the fourth, driving in Alex Valentin on a fielder’s choice.
  • Seigler picked up a two RBI double on a deep blast to the left field wall in the fifth to conclude the scoring in a 11-1 win.

Texas Twelve 7, Legacy Baseball Group 3

The Texas Twelve utilized a six-run outburst in the second inning and held off the Legacy Baseball Group winning 7-3 to clinch their semifinal spot.

Isaiah Castaneda earned the victory providing five innings of one hit ball and yielding just one run to Legacy. Grayden Levin took the loss tossing 2.2 innings and allowing seven runs.

Game Highlights:

  • Mason Jacob tripled to center field in the second inning to bring home two for the 2-0 lead.
  • Trace Meadows and Braylon Payne notched back-to-back RBI doubles increasing the lead to 5-0 in the second. Payne would come into score on a wild pitch for the 6-0 advantage.
  • Gregory Rangel provided the first run of the game for Legacy on an RBI single in the top of the fith.
  • Legacy attempted to rally in the top of the seventh pushing two runs across. Julian Areliz doubled to drive in the first run and Matthew Churchill followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 7-3.

Dulins Dodgers Prime 2, Knights Knation 1

Dulins Dodgers Prime locked in their place in the semifinals in walk-off fashion to beat Knights Knation 2-1. It was pitching duel for almost the entire game as neither side was able to score until the seventh inning.

Parker Bowman netted the win delivering a complete-game and yielding just one run. Bryce Navarre received the loss dealing 6.1 innings with six strikeouts and two runs allowed.

Game Highlights:

  • Kyle Branch was the first runner in the game to reach third on either side as he led off the bottom of the fifth for the Dodgers with a triple to center field. Hayden Federico ended the inning for Knights Knation doubling Branch off at third after making a great catch in foul territory.
  • Konnor Griffin hit a triple to right field in the top of the seventh setting up an opportunity for Knights Knation to strike.
  • Trip Dobson brought Griffin home on a single for the 1-0 lead.
  • Dulins Dodgers utilized small ball following the leadoff single by Michael Catalano as Matthew Mainord and Kendyl Johnson laid down bunt singles to load the bases.
  • Owen Lee stepped up to the plate and sent the game-winning hit down the right field for the Dodgers 2-1 win.

Richmond Braves Platinum 7, Canes Prospects 4

Richmond Braves Platinum overcame an early three run deficit to beat Canes Prospects 7-4 and round out the quarterfinal games for the final semifinal spot.

Cord Yates entered in relief to earn the win silencing the Canes Prospects in 3.1 hitless innings and striking out three. Hogan Denny took the loss surrendering two runs in one inning pitched.

Game Highlights:

  • With the bases loaded in the top of the first, Yoon Chae was hit by a pitch for a Richmond Braves 1-0 lead.
  • Canes Prospects answered in the bottom of the first utilizing three RBI singles by Riley Williams, Tyler Inge, and JT Stiner for a 4-1 lead.
  • Tanner Schaedel cut the deficit to 4-2 thanks to a sacrifice fly in the top of the second.
  • In the top of the fourth, Preston Groves began the two-run inning with a sacrifice fly and Luke Harlow tied it 4-4 with an RBI single.
  • Yoon Chae gave the Braves a 6-4 lead on a two RBI single and Dominick Cafferillo walked to bring in another run for insurance.

Richmond Braves Platinum takes on Dulins Dodgers Prime on Coleman Field at 8 a.m. on Saturday, June 25 in the semifinals of the 16U National Team Championships North Carolina. On the other side of the bracket, eXposure Prime meets Texas Twelve for the semifinal on Field 2 at 8:15 a.m.

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RJ Farrell Article

12U National Team Manager RJ Farrell Brings Gold Medal Mentality to 11U Futures

Farrell, USA Baseball Task Force dialed in during 11U Futures in Cary
June 23, 2022
CARY, N.C. – At this week’s 11U Futures Invitational in Cary, North Carolina, 24 teams from across the nation are competing for gold medals and the right to take home to Futures trophy. And while they do that, 2022 12U National Team Manager RJ Farrell and the USA Baseball Task

CARY, N.C. – At this week’s 11U Futures Invitational in Cary, North Carolina, 24 teams from across the nation are competing for gold medals and the right to take home to Futures trophy.

And while they do that, 2022 12U National Team Manager RJ Farrell and the USA Baseball Task Force will watch the tournament unfold with another medal in mind: the 2022 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-12 Baseball World Cup gold medal.

Farrell and the task force have a big task in front of them as they prepare to build the 2022 12U National Team. While they have already identified and selected 12 players from last summer’s 11U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup to compete at 12U National Team Trials, 24 more athletes from the Futures Invitational will receive an invite by the tournament’s end on Sunday.

Farrell feels lucky to have such a strong group of task force members to assist in the player identification process.

“This task force is amazing and they’re going to get after it,” Farrell said. “We’re focused on building the roster out the right way. They’re veterans in every way in terms of player evaluation and understanding these kids.”

The roster that the staff is focused on building will be the team that travels to Tainan, Taiwan, for the WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup. Team USA is looking to return to the top of the podium, as the program won back-to-back gold medals in 2015 and 2017 before falling short in 2019.

The Futures Invitational, which brings together 24 of the country’s best travel programs for a four-day tournament across two different locations, is the primary identification event for the 12U National Team. USA Baseball’s eight-person task force is locked in on every pitch, play, and moment, ensuring that they will put together the best possible 36-man Trials roster.

While evaluating, Farrell is looking for more than just talented players.

“We’re looking for kids who can play the game at a really high level,” he said. “Then, as we get through the week, we’ll start seeing the character aspects and the maturity of these young men. Ultimately, to make a national team, it takes a mature young man.”

Part of that character evaluation comes throughout the week at Futures. The task force makes a point to chat with the players before and after games, making sure they get to know every aspect of the player and person before extending an invite to Trials.

 After Futures concludes on Sunday with the crowning of a tournament champion, the work for the staff has just begun. The Trials roster will be finalized shortly after, and the work toward trimming that roster to a final 18-man roster will be underway.

At Trials, players will endure four days of intrasquad games, athletic assessments, and more to give the coaching staff a better idea of who will be the perfect fit for Team USA. It’s a process that will be new to most – if not all – of the participating players.

“These guys will go into four days of intense training with the national team staff and Trials coaches,” Farrell said. “It will be like something these guys have never been through.”

The experience will be a memory for the athletes, and will serve as a major point of development early in their baseball careers. At the conclusion of Trials, Farrell and his staff will be ready to name the final roster for the 12U National Team, moving the process yet another step closer to Team USA’s trip to the WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup.

Although this is Farrell’s second year serving on field as manager of the stars and stripes, it will be his international managerial debut in 2022. In 2021, amidst uncertainty as a result of the pandemic, Farrell led Team USA to a 3-0 record in exhibition play. Now, he will be at the helm the U.S. travels internationally.

That has added a bit more meaning to the entire process.

“When we did this last year, we still were a little unsure what we were going to be doing in the summer,” Farrell said. “This summer, we know exactly what we’re doing. We’re going to Taiwan.”

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Konnor Griffin's Confidence Fuels Him to Keep Playing Hard

Konnor Griffin is back at the National Team Championships North Carolina hoping to add to his USA Baseball resume.
June 23, 2022
CARY, NC – Baseball is a game of failure – with as many ups as there are in the game, there are just as many downs. Konnor Griffin is a ball player who has experienced plenty of high moments in his young baseball career, but is learning to believe in

CARY, NC – Baseball is a game of failure – with as many ups as there are in the game, there are just as many downs. Konnor Griffin is a ball player who has experienced plenty of high moments in his young baseball career, but is learning to believe in his game when the going gets tough as he fights for an invitation to the 2022 16U/17U National Team Development Program (NTDP).

His mindset to accomplish this feat is simple.

“Playing hard every game,” said Griffin who returns to 2022 16U National Team Championships with Knights Knation. “Giving it all I’ve got and hopefully the success comes. Sometimes this game can be hard and come with a lot of failure. I know I’ve got to stick to my plan and give it my all.”

At the 2021 14U National Team Championships North Carolina, Griffin was a walking highlight-reel. Slashing .455/.533/.545 with five runs batted in for Knights Knation, he put the complex on notice by stealing home and helping the team narrowly defeat Richmond Braves Platinum 9-8.

Word of Griffin’s play traveled around to the USA Baseball Task Force as they sought the best individuals to invite to the 2021 15U National Team trials.

There was no better feeling than receiving the invitation for an opportunity to prove himself and hone his craft among the finest at his age.

“It was awesome. Getting recognized as one of the top players in the country is always an honor. I went to the trials and had a really great time. I came out of the trials a better baseball player by competing against all my teammates every single day.”

Griffin’s experience at trials allowed him to build up confidence and show he belongs among the best. As a member of the Stars at trials, Griffin displayed his game-changing ability by going 2-for-3 with two doubles and swiping three bags in five games played. He also dealt 2.2 innings and struck out four to not allow a run to score. The dynamic play earned him a spot as one of 20 athletes on the 2021 15U National Team.

The moment hearing his name called was a moment unlike any the Mississippi native has ever experienced.

“It’s one of the best moments I’ve had in my life with baseball. I’ve been working for it for so long. To represent not only my country but being the only guy from Mississippi to make the 15U National Team was an honor.”

Griffin is not complacent with the lone national team selection at 15U and is hoping to don the red, white, and blue once more. While a potential invitation to the 2022 16U/17U NTDP is the first step, he has an even bigger goal in mind.

“One of my biggest goals coming up is making the 18U National Team. I just recently re-classified to 2024, so I’ll be a 17-year-old trying to make the 18U National Team. That will be a big challenge for me, but I’m going to work hard and try my best.”

While making the 2022 18U National Team is going to be a hard mountain to climb, Griffin is certainly up for the task.

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MLB, USA BASEBALL INTRODUCE 2022 PROSPECT DEVELOPMENT PIPELINE LEAGUE STAFF

Twelve former major leaguers to serve on staff in 2022
June 23, 2022
CARY, N.C. – Major League Baseball and USA Baseball today jointly introduced the coaching staff for the 2022 Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) League, highlighted by the naming of 12 former Major Leaguers to the staff. Jim Koerner, USA Baseball’s Director of Player Development, will serve as field coordinator, while the

CARY, N.C. – Major League Baseball and USA Baseball today jointly introduced the coaching staff for the 2022 Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) League, highlighted by the naming of 12 former Major Leaguers to the staff. Jim Koerner, USA Baseball’s Director of Player Development, will serve as field coordinator, while the 2022 18U National Team coaching staff – manager Denny Hocking, pitching coach Adam Moseley, and assistant coaches Roberto Vaz and Jack Wilson – will be roving coordinators at the event.

The PDP League is scheduled to take place June 29-July 6 at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina and will again serve as the primary identification event for the 18U National Team in 2022. The event invites 100 of the top 18-and-under aged prospects for a week of development and assessment opportunities for high school players eligible for the following year’s MLB Draft. The league offers an extraordinary amateur baseball experience, featuring competitive gameplay, individualized player development sessions, and evaluations using modern technologies tailoring individualized development curriculums for each player, as well as off-field leadership, skill-building, and educational seminars to assist players in preparing for a professional baseball career.

Many players in the PDP League also will compete in the MLB-USA Baseball High School All-American Game held at Dodger Stadium during MLB All-Star Week.

Three former Major Leaguers and one college coaching veteran comprise the four PDP League team managers in 2022. Six-time MLB All-Star Lance Berkman (Houston Baptist) will serve as a manager this summer and will be joined by seven-year major leaguer Adam Hyzdu, 25-year college coaching veteran Tom Griffin (Carson-Newman), and Olympic gold medalist and 12-year major leaguer Doug Mientkiewicz as this year’s PDP League team managers. In addition, a group consisting of eight former professional baseball players, two former national team coaches, and two current college coaches will serve as assistant and pitching coaches in 2022.

“We are very excited to welcome such an accomplished and experienced staff to this year’s PDP League,” said Ashley Bratcher, USA Baseball 18U National Team General Manager. “This year’s staff offers unparalleled knowledge of baseball across multiple levels of the game and will be both challenging and engaging voices for our athletes. We know this coaching staff will be eager to help develop and identify the nation’s best players as we continue our pursuit of a world championship.”

The full coaching staff for the 2022 PDP League is as follows (Coaches’ bios enclosed below):

COORDINATORS

  • Field Coordinator: Jim Koerner
  • Roving Coordinator: Denny Hocking
  • Roving Coordinator: Adam Moseley
  • Roving Coordinator: Roberto Vaz
  • Roving Coordinator: Jack Wilson

TEAM LIGHT BLUE

  • Manager: Adam Hyzdu
  • Pitching Coach: LaTroy Hawkins
  • Assistant Coach: Lunch McKenzie
  • Assistant Coach: Nick Punto
  • Certified Athletic Trainer: Sydney Neighbors

TEAM GRAY

  • Manager: Lance Berkman
  • Pitching Coach: Dave Wallace
  • Assistant Coach: Andre Butler
  • Assistant Coach: Mike Kinkade
  • Certified Athletic Trainer: Brandon Schaust

TEAM NAVY

  • Manager: Tom Griffin
  • Pitching Coach: Greg Swindell
  • Assistant Coach: Rucker Taylor
  • Assistant Coach: Dmitri Young
  • Certified Athletic Trainer: James Wood

TEAM RED

  • Manager: Doug Mientkiewicz
  • Pitching Coach: Kip Wells
  • Assistant Coach: Ro Coleman
  • Assistant Coach: Butch Chaffin
  • Certified Athletic Trainer: Adrian Ramon

The identification process for the 2022 18U National Team begins with the PDP League. The 16U/17U National Team Development Program (NTDP), which is set to take place July 25-29 at the USA Baseball National Training Complex, will also serve as an identification event for this year’s 18U National Team.

Following the conclusion of this year’s identification events, the 18U National Team Trials will take place August 29-September 2 in Florida. The final 20-man 18U National Team roster will be announced following Trials and the team will remain in Florida for training from September 3-8 before taking part in the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup. The U-18 Baseball World Cup will be hosted by the U.S. for the first time since 1995 in Bradenton and Sarasota, Florida, from September 9-18.

For more information on the PDP League, follow @BaseballPDP on Twitter and Instagram and visit the PDP League website.

COACHES' BIOS

Six-time MLB All Star and Houston Baptist head coach Lance Berkman joins the 2022 PDP League as manager of Team Gray. Berkman played 15 seasons in the Major Leagues, including 12 with the Houston Astros, two with the St. Louis Cardinals, and one each with the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers. A career .293 hitter, he finished with totals of 366 home runs, 422 doubles, 1,234 RBIs, and 1,146 runs scored. Berkman was named the 2011 National League Comeback Player of the Year after helping lead the Cardinals to the World Series title, and was inducted into the Astros Hall of Fame in 2020. Prior to his professional career, Berkman was a standout at the collegiate level at Rice where he was named the 1997 National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) National Collegiate Player of the Year after hitting .431 with 41 home runs, 134 RBIs, and 109 runs to lead the Owls to their first College World Series appearance. He hit .385 for his collegiate career with 67 homers and 272 RBIs en route to claiming All-America honors twice, which later led to his induction into the Rice Hall of Fame in 2005 and the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015. Berkman was selected by the Astros with the 16th overall pick of the first round in the 1997 MLB Draft. After retiring from Major League Baseball in 2013, Berkman spent four seasons as the head coach at Second Baptist High School in Houston, guiding the Eagles to the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) 4A state championship in 2016. He was named head coach at Houston Baptist in 2021.

Andre Butler returns for his second season at the PDP League as an assistant coach for Team Gray. The owner and operator of Graveyard Mentality in Pennsylvania, Butler is one of the best in the coaching profession at teaching outfield play. In addition to running his training organization, he also has extensive experience coaching at the collegiate level, most recently for two seasons as an assistant coach and defensive coordinator at Swarthmore College. With the Garnet, Butler served as the first-base coach while also implementing defensive strategies throughout games. It was Butler’s second stint at Swarthmore after spending the 2012-2013 school year as an assistant with the team and previously coaching for four seasons as an assistant at Penn State University, where he served in multiple roles, including hitting coach. His first season with the Nittany Lions was the program's best in recent history, as they earned their first winning record in four years and doubled their Big Ten-win total from the previous season. Prior to his time at Penn State, Butler also coached at the University of Pennsylvania and DeSales University. In addition to his coaching experience, Butler played collegiately for four seasons at Eastern University (St. Davids, Pa.), graduating in 2012 as one of the program's all-time best hitters. He also started his own tee ball league called the "Jackie Robinson West Philly League" in Philadelphia.

Two-time national team coach Butch Chaffin will serve as an assistant coach for Team Red at the 2022 PDP League. Chaffin is currently the head coach at Cookeville High School (Cookeville, Tenn.) where he has been named District 7-AAA Coach of the Year five times and the Region Coach of the Year three times. For USA Baseball, he has twice served as an assistant coach, first for the 2010 18U National Team and again with the 2017 12U National Team which won its third-consecutive WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup. Prior to coaching at Cookeville High School, he was an assistant coach at Tennessee Tech for four years and a professional scout for the Kansas City Royals.

Former Vanderbilt standout Ro Coleman joins the 2022 PDP League as an assistant coach for Team Red. A key component of the Commodores’ 2014 NCAA National Championship and 2015 runner-up finish, Coleman is currently the CEO of the Nashville Stars Youth Foundation, a non-profit organization and baseball development program in Nashville designed to provide more opportunities and exposure for underserved demographics. He also coaches both the 13U and 17U Stars club teams. The Chicago, Illinois, product played in 224 games during his Vanderbilt career, finishing on a high note as he was named to the 2017 NCAA Clemson Regional All-Tournament Team. He was selected in the 34th round of the MLB Draft by the Detroit Tigers later that year and played one season for the Connecticut Tigers. Coleman is no stranger to USA Baseball either, having competed at the 2012 Tournament of Stars and 18U National Team Trials. Coleman recently served as a coach at the MLB-USA Baseball Breakthrough Series earlier in June.

Returning for his second year at the PDP League is Tom Griffin, who is set to manage Team Navy after managing the Light Blue team last summer. He recently completed his 17th season as head coach at Carson-Newman University, where he owns a 476-361 record. Over his 24-year career as a collegiate head coach, Griffin has won 660 total games and has coached five Major League Baseball Draft picks and 22 total professional players, including USA Baseball alum Steve Cishek. Griffin led the Eagles to the NCAA Tournament twice in his first three seasons at the helm, posting a 43-18 record in his third season. The skipper is currently in his third stint with Carson-Newman after twice serving as an assistant coach in the early 2000s. Griffin came to Jefferson City after spending eight seasons as the head coach at nearby Tusculum College, where he won 184 games and led the Pioneers to four consecutive trips to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) District 24 Tournament. He also served as the head coach at Morristown East High School (Morristown, Tenn.) in 2002, where he led the Hurricanes to a district championship in his only season.

LaTroy Hawkins will bring 21 years of MLB experience to the 2022 PDP League as the pitching coach for Team Light Blue. The Gary, Indiana, native ranks 10th on baseball's all-time list in games, appearing in 1,042, is one of 13 relievers in baseball history to record at least one save against all 30 teams, and appeared in 60-plus games in 10 different seasons. Hawkins will also be able to share first-hand knowledge of suiting up for Team USA, having played in the 2009 World Baseball Classic where he appeared in four contests. A seventh-round pick out of high school by the Minnesota Twins in 1991, he made his Major League debut in 1995 to kick off his lengthy career which saw him play for 11 different teams until his retirement after the 2015 campaign. Hawkins currently works as a special assistant in the baseball operations department for the Twins where he contributes to the amateur scouting process and development of organizational pitching philosophies. Hawkins has been a long-time coach for multiple diversity-focused, amateur development events hosted by MLB and USA Baseball, including the Breakthrough Series, DREAM Series, and the Hank Aaron Invitational (also led by the MLBPA).

Before taking the reins as the 2022 18U National Team manager, Denny Hocking will serve as a roving instructor at the 2022 PDP League, bringing 13 years of major-league playing experience to the dugout. Hocking was a 52nd round draft pick in the 1989 MLB Draft by the Minnesota Twins, where he spent 11 of his 13 professional seasons. Hocking made his big-league debut in 1993 and played in 84 games over his first four seasons with the Twins before getting his first extended playing time in 1997, appearing in 115 games and batting .257. He was a staple with the Twins for the following six seasons, with the best one coming in 2000 when he batted .298 with four home runs and a career-high 47 RBIs. He then spent time with the Colorado Rockies before playing his final professional season with the Kansas City Royals in 2005. Throughout his career, Hocking served as a utility player, playing every position besides catcher and pitcher. Following his playing career, Hocking spent time as an analyst and reporter for MLB.com and Fox Sports Radio before becoming a coach. He began his coaching career as the hitting coach for the Single-A Frederick Keys in 2010 before he joined the Double-A Bowie Baysox in 2012. Hocking made his managerial debut the following season, managing the Los Angeles Angels' minor-league affiliate Inland Empires. He has been a minor league field coordinator and had three more stints as a minor league manager over the course of his career, most recently with the Single-A Modesto Nuts.

An 18-year veteran of professional baseball, Adam Hyzdu is slated to be the manager of Team Light Blue at the 2022 PDP League. Drafted 15th overall in the first round of the 1990 MLB Draft by the San Francisco Giants, Hyzdu waited 10 years before making his Major League debut in 2000 with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He went on to spend parts of seven total seasons in the big leagues, finishing as a career .229 hitter with 19 home runs and 61 RBIs in 221 games. Hyzdu then played one season with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of the Japanese Pacific League in 2006, where he batted .272 with seven home runs in 47 games. By the time he retired later that year, he had played 1,971 career games combining his time at all levels of professional baseball.

Sydney 2000 Olympic gold medalist Mike Kinkade brings a plethora of baseball experience to the 2022 PDP League as an assistant coach for Team Gray. Kinkade was a crucial member of the 2000 Olympic Team on its run to the gold medal, recording a .207 average with six hits, three RBIs, and four runs scored in the tournament. He made his second appearance in the red, white, and blue with the 2006 Olympic Qualifying Team where he hit .333 with a team-leading 11 RBIs. Kinkade was selected in the 19th round of the 1994 MLB Draft by the Milwaukee Brewers and made his big-league debut with the New York Mets in 1998. In his six-year Major League playing career, the Livonia, Michigan, native played in 222 games and collected a .256 batting average, 56 runs scored, 13 home runs, and 48 RBIs. Following his playing career, Kinkade served as a member of the Seattle Mariners’ minor league coaching staff from 2011-14, including managing the Peoria Mariners in 2012. He then coached the Whitman County American Legion Program from 2016-2019 and was the head coach for Pullman High School (Pullman, Wash.) from 2018-2019 before serving as an assistant coach at Cal State University Bakersfield during the 2020 season. Kinkade was also a member of the coaching staffs at the inaugural MLB Draft Combine, the Women’s NTDP, and the first-ever Girls Camp in 2021.

PDP League Field Coordinator and USA Baseball Director of Player Development *Jim Koerner *was the head coach at North Carolina Central University (NCCU) from 2011-2021. As just the second head coach in the program’s modern-day history, Koerner took NCCU baseball to new heights in his 10 years at the helm. Under his guidance, the Eagles set the school record for wins twice, in 2013 (27) and again in 2018 (28). He also coached two MLB Draft picks with NCCU, including Corey Joyce, who became the highest selection in program history when he was taken in the 12th round by the Detroit Tigers in 2019. Before his time at NCCU, Koerner was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Buffalo from 2007-2011, helping the Bulls reach their best offensive performances in program history in 2009 and 2010. The team recorded an all-time high in wins since 1999 during the 2009 season and set the records for team batting average (.312), home runs (46), and stolen bases (71) in 2010. In those two seasons combined, the Bulls broke over 25 season, career, team, and individual records. He began his coaching career in 2001 as the head coach at Medaille College, where he helped found the program and was named the 2003 North Eastern Athletic Conference Coach of the Year. He broke into the Division I ranks as an assistant at Monmouth University before a stint at Marshall University.

As Director of Player Development, Koerner is responsible for developing on-field programming for the six USA Baseball national teams, three national team development programs, and the PDP League. He also produces curriculums related to player development for USABDevelops.com, the organization’s free online educational resource center. 

With over five decades of baseball coaching experience, Mark “Lunch” McKenzie will have a wealth of knowledge to share as an assistant coach for Team Light Blue at the 2022 PDP League. The head coach at Concordia University, St. Paul for 20 years, McKenzie has also served in various capacities for USA Baseball since 1997, including three separate national teams. He has twice served on gold-medal winning 16U coaching staffs, first as an assistant in 1997 and again in 1998 as the team’s manager, both of which won the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) World Youth Championships. McKenzie was also an assistant coach for the 2008 18U squad which claimed silver at the IBAF “AAA” Junior World Championships. In addition to his coaching duties at Concordia, he was also the school’s athletic director from 2016-19. In his 20 years at the helm for the Golden Bears, McKenzie put together an overall record of 456-361-1, including conference championships in 2003 and 2008. His efforts on the diamond have also earned him several awards, including the 1998 USOC Developmental Coach of the Year and Baseball Canada’s 2010 Cito Gaston Humanitarian Award.

Olympic gold medalist and 12-year MLB veteran Doug Mientkiewicz joins the 2022 PDP League as manager of Team Red. A two-time USA Baseball alum, he played for the 1994 Collegiate National Team before winning gold at the 2000 Olympics where he hit a game-winning home run against South Korea in the semifinals. Mientkiewicz is one of just five players to win both a gold medal and a World Series championship, which he accomplished as a member of the 2004 Boston Red Sox. After a standout collegiate career at Florida State he was selected in the fifth round of the 1995 MLB Draft by the Minnesota Twins, with whom he spent 12 of his 18 professional seasons. Mientkiewicz’s best year came in 2001 when he played in 151 games and hit .306 with 15 home runs, all career highs, in addition to claiming the American League Gold Glove award as the top defensive first baseman. After over six seasons with the Twins, he would later go on to play for the Red Sox (2004), New York Mets (2005), Kansas City Royals (2006), New York Yankees (2007), Pittsburgh Pirates (2008), and Los Angeles Dodgers (2009). Mientkiewicz finished his MLB career as a .271 hitter with 66 home runs and 405 RBIs. Following his playing career, he joined the coaching ranks as the hitting coach for the rookie league Ogden Raptors in 2012. He returned to the Twins organization the next season where he would serve as manager of the Single-A Fort Myers Miracle (2014-2015, 2017) and Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts (2015-16). Most recently, Mientkiewicz was the manager of the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens from 2018-19.

Adam Moseley, who is set to serve as the pitching coach for this year's 18U National Team, will join the 2022 PDP League staff as a roving instructor. Moseley previously served as pitching coach for the World Cup-champion 15U National Team in 2018, and the Alabama native's USA Baseball coaching experience also includes stints at the 2017 14U NTDP and 15U Trials. Additionally, he was named to the 2020 15U National Team staff before the 2020 WBSC U-15 Baseball World Cup was postponed. Moseley is currently the head coach at Hoover High School (Hoover, Ala.), where he led the Buccaneers to an Alabama State Baseball Championship in 2017. Before taking the head coaching position at Hoover following the 2014 season, Moseley led his former high school, Grissom High School (Huntsville, Ala.), to the state quarterfinals in four of his final five seasons. Moseley has coached high school baseball for 16 seasons and has compiled an overall record of 457-260.

Barry University athletic trainer Sydney Neighbors is set to serve as the ATC for Team Light Blue at the 2022 PDP League. Coming off of her third season with the Buccaneers baseball team, Neighbors worked with USA Baseball last year as well, providing medical coverage for the 2021 16U/17U National Team Development Program. She has also previously worked with a variety of national teams at the Lake Placid Training Center in 2016-2017, including USA Bobsled, Skeleton, Luge, Arial Ski, and Biathlon. Prior to arriving at Barry in 2020, Neighbors spent time at both Radford and UNCG.

Nick Punto, a 14-year MLB veteran, returns to the PDP League this summer as an assistant coach for Team Light Blue. Punto was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 21st round of the 1998 MLB Draft and spent five professional seasons with the organization before making his Major League debut in 2001, when he played in four games for the Phillies. He got his first extended time in the big leagues in 2003, playing in 64 games for the Phillies and batting .217. Prior to the 2004 season, Punto joined the Minnesota Twins where he would spend the bulk of his career. In 2006, Punto batted .290 with a career-high 45 RBIs while stealing 17 bases. After seven seasons with the Twins, Punto signed with the St. Louis Cardinals and went on to have a career-best .388 OBP in his one season with the club, winning a World Series in 2011. He then played for the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Oakland Athletics before officially retiring in 2016. Punto is a Saddleback College Athletics Hall of Famer.

Adrian Ramon is slated to serve as the athletic trainer for Team Red at the 2022 PDP League. Currently the head trainer for the Ohio State baseball program, Ramon has over a decade of experience working at both the collegiate and professional levels. He has spent time at Rice, Florida Gulf Coast University, and Bradley University as well as various levels of Minor League Baseball with the Texas Rangers, Arizona Diamondbacks, Kansas City Royals, and Milwaukee Brewers organizations. Ramon is a graduate of the University of North Texas where he earned a degree in Kinesiology. He received his master’s degree in Athletic Training from Weber State University where he worked with Real Salt Lake and the Winter Dew Tour.

Brandon Schaust joins the 2022 PDP League as the athletic trainer for Team Gray. The University of Nebraska at Omaha graduate served in the same position for the 2021 18U National Team which defeated Canada in a Friendship series last year in Florida.

Joining the Team Navy coaching staff as its pitching coach at the 2022 PDP League is 17-year Major League veteran, All-Star, World Series champion, and USA Baseball alum Greg Swindell. The former University of Texas standout was drafted second overall in the first round of the 1986 MLB Draft by the Cleveland Indians. After just three minor league appearances, Swindell made his big-league debut in August of that same year. That kicked off what would be a 17-year Major League career that saw him play for six different clubs with an overall record of 123-122 and 3.86 ERA in 664 career games. He also struck out 1,542 batters in 2,233.1 total innings pitched. Swindell was named to the 1989 All-Star Game as a member of the Indians and earned a World Series ring when he helped the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks defeat the New York Yankees. One of the most decorated players in Longhorn history, Swindell’s collegiate career saw him post a 43-8 record in 77 games with a 1.92 ERA in his three seasons in Austin. He made 50 starts, pitching 32 complete games and notching school records for shutouts (14) and strikeouts (501) while leading Texas to three consecutive Southwest Conference titles and back-to-back College World Series appearances in 1984 and 1985. Swindell was named the 1985 Baseball America National Player of the Year and was a three-time finalist for the Golden Spikes Award. He was also a member of the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team which competed in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics where baseball was classified as a demonstration sport. After retiring as a player in 2002, he began his coaching career in 2004 at Texas State before returning to his alma mater the following season where he helped the Longhorns win their sixth NCAA National Championship. Swindell was inducted into the UT Hall of Honor in 1996, the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008, and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 2019. He has served as a TV analyst on the Longhorn Network since 2016.

The 2022 Atlantic 10 Conference Coach of the Year, Davidson head coach Rucker Taylor is set to serve as an assistant coach for Team Navy at the 2022 PDP League. Taylor led the Wildcats to an impressive 43-13 record this season, winning the program’s first outright regular-season league title in the process. The first coach in school history to win conference coach of the year honors, he has amassed a 112-62 record in his four seasons at the helm at Davidson after spending four years as a Wildcat assistant. Taylor previously worked as an assistant at Samford for six seasons following a four-year playing career at Vanderbilt where he was a two-time SEC Academic Honor Roll member. Rucker also coached at the inaugural USA Baseball 13U/14U Athlete Development Program in 2019.

Former Golden Spikes Award finalist Roberto Vaz, who will make his USA Baseball national team coaching debut with the 18U National Team this summer, will assist as a roving instructor for the 2022 PDP League. Vaz is currently in his eighth season as an assistant at LSU Eunice after re-joining the staff in 2017. The Brooklyn, New York, native oversees base running, hitters, and outfielders, and helped guide the team to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Championships in 2012, 2018, and 2021. During their run to the title in 2012, Vaz helped guide the Bengals to a then-school record 57 wins. He entered the coaching ranks in 2006 as an assistant coach at Grissom High School (Huntsville, Ala.) before earning his first head coaching gig with the North Alabama Expos in 2009. Vaz's other coaching stops included three years as head coach of the Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs, as well as two assistant roles at McNeese State and Buckhorn High School (Hunstville, Ala.). He played collegiately at Northeast Texas Community College, winning the 1996 NJCAA National Championship before spending a season at Alabama. There, Vaz finished as a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, also earning spots on the All-American First Team as well as All-SEC First Team. Vaz was drafted in the seventh round by the Oakland Athletics in the 1997 MLB Draft, playing seven years of professional baseball.

A year after making his USA Baseball debut as the pitching coach for the Professional National Team at the Tokyo Olympics, Dave Wallace will serve in the same role for Team Gray at the 2022 PDP League. Wallace has spent 48 years in professional baseball, spanning nine professional franchises in various positions among the minor and major league levels. After a Hall of Fame career at the University of New Haven, he spent nine years as a pitcher in the professional ranks, playing for both the Philadelphia Phillies and the Toronto Blue Jays until 1978. Wallace began his coaching career in 1981 with the Vero Beach Dodgers and spent the next 14 years coaching in the minor leagues before being named the pitching coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1995. Wallace went on to be the pitching coach for the New York Mets (1999-2000), Boston Red Sox (2003-2006), Houston Astros (2007), and the Baltimore Orioles (2014-2016), working with pitchers such as Pedro Martinez and Hideo Nomo, among others. He also held numerous executive positions within professional baseball throughout his career with the Atlanta Braves, Dodgers, Mets, and Seattle Mariners. Wallace most recently spent four years with the Braves as a special assistant to pitching (2016) and the director of pitching for Atlanta’s farm system (2017-20).

Adding even more experience to the bench for Team Red at the 2022 PDP League will be pitching coach Kip Wells, who pitched 12 seasons in the Major Leagues. Drafted as the 16th overall selection in the first round of the 1998 MLB Draft by the Chicago White Sox after a standout career at Baylor, Wells quickly made his way to the big leagues, making his debut in August of the following season. He would go on to play for nine MLB organizations over 12 seasons, amassing 963 strikeouts over 1,338.1 innings in 296 career games, 219 of which were starts. He recorded double-digit win totals in three consecutive seasons from 2001-03 with the White Sox and Pittsburgh Pirates. At the collegiate level, Wells played three seasons at Baylor where he posted a career record of 21-14 with 288 strikeouts and earned all-conference and second team All-America honors in 1998. After retiring as a player, he began his coaching career in 2016 as the pitching coach for the Class-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes and now runs the KW32 training center in Houston.

Before taking on his responsibilities with the USA Baseball 18U National Team, Jack Wilson will first serve as a roving instructor at the 2022 PDP League. Wilson will then move over to the 18U squad where he will be an assistant coach for the second consecutive year after helping defeat Canada in a friendship series, 5-1-1, last summer in Florida. He was also the head coach at Thousand Oaks High School (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) from 2017-2021, where he collected a 98-30-1 overall record and led the Lancers to two Marmonte League Championships (2019, 2021) and a CIF-SS Division 2 title in 2021. Under his guidance, the program went 24-6, including 10-2 in league play, in 2019 and finished the 2021 season with a 27-1 record. He also managed the squad to an 8-0 start to the 2020 season and a No. 1 CIF-SS Division 2 ranking before the pause in play caused by COVID-19. Prior to his coaching career, Wilson played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Seattle Mariners, and Atlanta Braves for over 12 years in the big leagues. He led the National League with 12 triples in 2004, earning a spot on the National League All-Star Team and a Silver Slugger Award for his efforts. In 1,370 MLB games, Wilson recorded a .265/.306/.366 career slash line with 61 home runs and 426 RBIs.

James Woods will serve as the athletic trainer for Team Navy at the 2022 PDP League. Woods recently completed his second year as the resident athletic trainer with the Virginia Tech football team. He was a four-year collegiate baseball player at Concord University in Athens, West Virginia, where he earned a degree in Athletic Training. He later received a master’s in Kinesiology from Lamar University. During his time in Beaumont, Texas, Woods spent two summers interning with the Houston Texas, in addition to working with the LU football and men’s golf teams.

Completing the experienced Team Navy coaching staff at the 2022 PDP League will be 13-year big league veteran and two-time All Star Dmitri Young. The fourth overall selection in the 1991 MLB Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals, Young hit at a career .292 clip with 171 home runs and 683 RBIs in 1,364 games for four different teams. He made his Major League debut with the Cardinals in 1996 before suiting up for the Cincinnati Reds (1998-2001), Detroit Tigers (2002-2006), and Washington Nationals (2007-2008). Young recorded double-digit home runs in eight of those 13 seasons, including a career-high 29 in 2003 when he made his first All-Star Game appearance. His second came four years later in 2007 as a member of the Nationals, when he hit a personal-best .320 for the season with 13 home runs and 74 RBIs en route to being named the National League Comeback Player of the Year. Young has spent the past two years as the head coach at Camarillo High School (Camarillo, Calif.) after being selected to lead the program in August 2020. Young also has been a long-time coach for the Breakthrough Series, DREAM Series, and the Hank Aaron Invitational.

About USA Baseball

USA Baseball is the national governing body for baseball in the United States and is committed to serving, protecting, and supporting the game of baseball and its 15.6 million participants. Founded in 1978, USA Baseball fields six national teams annually and is a member of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) and the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC). On the diamond, USA Baseball is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and the reigning World Baseball Classic champion, and its national teams have won 62 gold medals in international competition. Off the field, the organization is dedicated to the proliferation and health of the sport through the creation and management of numerous development initiatives including BASE (Baseball Athlete Safety Education), Fun At Bat, Pitch Smart, PLAY BALL and the Prospect Development Pipeline. For more information on the organization, its national teams, and development-driven initiatives, visit the official website USABaseball.com or USABDevelops.com.

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USA Baseball Alums, Event Participants Reflect on Lessons Learned with Team USA

Pfau, Reiland, and Southisene discuss the importance of the USA Baseball way
June 22, 2022
CARY, NC – At this week’s USA Baseball 16U National Team Championships North Carolina, Team USA alumni and event participants are everywhere. And although they are wearing their respective travel team jerseys, the lessons they learned while wearing the Team USA uniform have stuck with them throughout their baseball careers.

CARY, NC – At this week’s USA Baseball 16U National Team Championships North Carolina, Team USA alumni and event participants are everywhere.

And although they are wearing their respective travel team jerseys, the lessons they learned while wearing the Team USA uniform have stuck with them throughout their baseball careers.

Playing baseball with the United States across your chest comes with the responsibility of representing your country in a highest manner possible. For two-time Team USA alum Ben Reiland, that means having high character at all times.

“It’s very important to have great character because you don’t want your coaches to worry about what you’re doing on or off the field,” said Reiland, who is playing with USA Prime National in the tournament. “It’s good for your coaches to know you’re doing the right thing. You’re being polite, you’re being nice, you’re being respectful. It’s always a great example to set for little kids.”

Reiland, who has spent two summers in the stars and stripes and also participated in the 2019 14U National Team Development Program (NTDP), is well aware of the type of player USA Baseball looks for every summer. While talent on the field is important and a necessity, players must be good teammates and people in order to be selected to represent their country.

“The USA Baseball way is just doing everything right, from the little things to the big things on and off the field” Reiland said. “It’s about playing baseball the way it’s supposed to be played.”

Another Team USA alum who is in town for the 16U National Team Championships North Carolina is Julius Pfau, who played for the 12U National Team in 2018. Competing with Power Baseball this week in Cary, Pfau has taken what he learned about being the ultimate teammate and turned them into meaningful life lessons.

The middle infielder learned the value in being a team player during the 12U National Team’s trip to Mexico for the COPABE U-12 Pan American Championships in 2018, where the U.S. earned a gold medal.

“You’ve got to regulate your emotions,” Pfau said. “You have to always be picking up your teammates and being a great guy to your friends and even the other team. Showing respect to the umpires and other coaches is a big part of the way we play at USA Baseball.”

The USA Baseball way is instilled in players as soon as they take the field with the stars and stripes across their chest. From the moment they’re selected to wear the uniform, players are constantly learning key lessons about important values in the game of baseball.

For 2019 14U NTDP participant Ty Southisene, the key value that has stuck with him is respect.

“USA Baseball taught me a lot about respect,” said Southisene, who is in Cary with USA Prime National. “It’s about respecting the game and caring about each other. That’s what they instilled in me in 2019 and it’s still with me now.”

The 16U National Team Championships have now moved into seeded play and will crown a champion on Saturday. While the competing Team USA alums are now locked in on winning a gold medal and playing well in front of the USA Baseball Task Force, they take the field each time with Team USA both in their minds and in their hearts.

“The USA Baseball way is our way of life,” Pfau said. “It’s the way we play baseball and the way we treat people.”

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13U National Team Championships NC All-Tournament Team Announced

Gold medal-winning Stacked Baseball led with three all-tournament selections
June 21, 2022
CARY, N.C. – The 13U National Team Championships North Carolina All-Tournament team was announced today and features 16 athletes that competed in the event. The list is made up of eight hitters and eight pitchers and features a player from nine of the tournament’s 16 teams, including three from the

CARY, N.C. – The 13U National Team Championships North Carolina All-Tournament team was announced today and features 16 athletes that competed in the event. The list is made up of eight hitters and eight pitchers and features a player from nine of the tournament’s 16 teams, including three from the gold medal winning Stacked Baseball.

Luke Armijo – Team Elite

Luke Armijo made two relief appearances for Team Elite dealing 6.2 hitless innings with 10 strikeouts.

Brant Bivens – FL Dodgers Scout Team

Brant Bivens led FL Dodgers Scout Team with six hits and two RBIs while flashing his speed on the base paths swiping three bags.

Jael Castillo – Canes National

Jael Castillo batted .857 with a team-best six hits and four runs batted in for Canes National.

Lucas Farrar – Kangaroo Court American

Lucas Farrar was dominant in his quarterfinal start against Dulins Dodgers Prime delivering a complete-game shutout in 5.0 innings pitched with seven strikeouts.

Will Hayes – Team Elite

Will Hayes delivered a win for Team Elite in his start against Top Tier Select tossing 5.1 shutout innings with nine strikeouts and only one hit allowed.

Lash Henderson – USA Prime National

Lash Henderson hit .571 (8-for-14) for USA Prime National and collected two extra-base hits while stealing two bases.

John Hucko – SBA Marucci

John Hucko led SBA Marucci with eight hits, four RBIs on his way to a .444/.524/.500 slash line to earn the silver medal.

Tristan Lange – Dirtbags

In his start against 5 Star National, Tristan Lange led Dirtbags to the win providing 6.1 shutout innings with five strikeouts and yielding four hits.

Joseph Newell – SBA Marucci

Joseph Newell excelling in his start for SBA Marucci with a no-hit complete-game shutout going 6.0 innings with eight strikeout against East Coast Sox.

Jose Partida – Stacked Baseball

Jose Partida appeared to pitch in three games for Stacked Baseball tying him for the tournament-best eight innings striking out nine with a 1.75 earned run average.

Kyle Plasman – Stacked Baseball

Kyle Plasman helped Stack Baseball win gold by hitting .450 (9-20) with three extra-base hits and six RBIs.

Joshua Priest – Stacked Baseball

Joshua Priest was the hottest hitter for Stacked Baseball leading the tournament with 12 hits, seven RBIs, and one home run.

Ervey Quijada Ceballos – Prime 27:17 Midwest

Ervey Quijada Ceballos was a workhouse for Prime 27:17 Mdiwest in his start against Kangaroo Court American going the distance with a 7.0 complete-game with three strikeouts.

Hudson Sapp – Kangaroo Court American

Hudson Sapp concluded with a team-best .545 batting average and five RBIs while walking six times for the bronze medalist Kangaroo Court American.

Blake Secrest – USA Prime National

Blake Secrest tossed 5.0 innings in his start for USA Prime National against DreamChasers Academy striking out eight batters and allowing one unearned run.

Hayden Talmage – SBA Marucci

Hayden Talmage slashed .467/.556/.467 contributing seven hits and three runs scored for the silver medal-winning SBA Marucci.

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Stacked Baseball Storms Past SBA Marucci to Claim 13U Champs NC Gold

Five-run fifth propels Stacked to first-ever 13U Champs NC gold
June 20, 2022
CARY, N.C. – Stacked Baseball used a five-run fifth inning to pull away from SBA Marucci and win gold with a 10-2 victory at the 13U National Team Championships North Carolina on Monday in Cary, North Carolina. After scoring quickly in the top of the first on an inside-the-park homer

CARY, N.C. – Stacked Baseball used a five-run fifth inning to pull away from SBA Marucci and win gold with a 10-2 victory at the 13U National Team Championships North Carolina on Monday in Cary, North Carolina.

After scoring quickly in the top of the first on an inside-the-park homer by Joshua Priest, Stacked rallied for five runs in the top of the fifth to break the game open. Priest was in the middle of the run-scoring again, leading off the inning with a single and scoring later in the inning. Jose Partida, Ayden Coleman, Carson Sulsona, and Tanner Brown all had RBI hits in the inning for Stacked, which grew its lead to 8-1 in the frame.

Nine different players had at least one hit for Stacked, including Partida’s three-hit effort. Coleman paced the offense with three RBIs, while Priest added two hits and a pair of RBIs. John Hucko had three hits and an RBI to lead SBA’s offensive attack.

Aidan Kent hurled 5.2 innings and allowed two runs on seven hits to earn the win for Stacked. Nolan Riesenberg got the final out, entering in the sixth and coaxing a fly out to lock it down for Stacked. Witt McCammon surrendered the loss for SBA, allowing two earned runs in 2.2 innings on the mound.

Game Highlights

  • After Tanner Brown walked to open the top of the first, Priest socked an inside-the-park homer to right-center field to give Stacked an immediate 2-0 lead.
  • Justin Iannetto and Hucko both singled in SBA Marucci’s half of the first, but Kent escaped the jam to keep Stacked in front by two.
  • Stacked manufactured a run in the top of the third on a double steal. Coleman scored from third in a rundown, giving Stacked a 3-0 edge.
  • SBA cracked the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI single by Hayden Talmage, trimming the deficit to two. Kent then coaxed an inning-ending double play for Stacked to escape the inning without any further damage.
  • Stacked began to pull way in the top of the fifth, plating five runs to take a seven-run lead. Priest started the rally with a leadoff single and came around to score on an RBI single by Partida, before Coleman drove in two runs on a single to make it a five-run advantage.
  • Sulsona’s double to plate Coleman made it 7-1, and Brown capped the rally with an RBI single to give Stacked an 8-1 advantage.
  • In the top of the sixth, Coleman grounded out to plate a run and Michael Flink added an RBI single as Stacked’s lead to grew 10-1.
  • Hucko hit an infield single to shortstop to score a run in SBA’s final at-bats, making it a 10-2 final score in favor of Stacked.

Notable Information

  • With the win, Stacked becomes the first-ever winners of the 13U National Team Championships North Carolina.
  • The gold medal is Stacked’s first medal at the National Team Championships North Carolina in program history.
  • Priest finished the tournament with a .522 (12-23) average, hitting a double, triple, and home run while driving in seven runs for Stacked.
  • Partida and Kyle Plasman combined for 11 RBIs in the tournament to help pace the Stacked offense to a gold medal.
  • Brown scored eight runs throughout the tournament, also drawing eight walks for Stacked.
  • In the gold medal run, Stacked’s pitching staff combined for a 1.93 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP.
  • Hucko, who hit a walk-off single in the semifinal round, led SBA’s offense in the tournament with a .444 (8-18) average and four RBIs.
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SBA Marucci to Face Off With Stacked Baseball in Inaugural 13U National Team Championships North Carolina

The two teams will hope to become the first gold medalist in the 13U age group
June 20, 2022
Cary, N.C. – SBA Marucci and Stacked Baseball secured their spots into the 13U National Team Championship gold medal match after victories in their semifinal matches on Monday afternoon. Stacked Baseball 6, Dirtbags 2 Stacked Baseball jumped on the scoreboard early with a pair of runs. The squad plated its

Cary, N.C. – SBA Marucci and Stacked Baseball secured their spots into the 13U National Team Championship gold medal match after victories in their semifinal matches on Monday afternoon.

Stacked Baseball 6, Dirtbags 2

Stacked Baseball jumped on the scoreboard early with a pair of runs. The squad plated its first run thanks to an RBI single by Andrew Jimenez in the top of the first and tacked on its second run of the frame via a hit-by-pitch with the bases loaded.

Kyle Plasman notched his first extra-base hit of the contest in the third, ripping a triple, and Jose Partida brought him home on a sacrifice fly to make it 3-0.

Dirtbags kept battling and scored in consecutive innings in the fifth and sixth to cut its deficit to one. Carter Beck stepped up with the bases juiced and was hit by a pitch to get his team on the baord. Hayden Walker worked a walk to open the sixth and Anthony Zezza drove him in from second on an RBI single to make it 3-2.

Stacked Baseball was not satisfied with the one-run advantage in the top of the seventh. Back-to-back singles gave the team life, and they pressured the Dirtbags defense by attempting a double steal to get into scoring position. The throw down to third sailed into left field and allowed Nolan Riesenberg to score to give Stacked Baseball a 4-2 lead. After a Jimenez walk, Plasman stepped up to the plate and blasted a 2-RBI double deep to right field to provide insurance. Plasman had a game-high two runs batted in and two extra-base hits in the win.

Jose Partida started the game and was extremely efficient for Stacked Baseball, dealing four shutout innings and yielding only two hits. Joshua Priest picked up the save, delivering three innings and kept the Dirtbags offense at bay. Vince Coker was handed the loss after walking three in the first inning and giving up two runs in 0.2 innings pitched.

Game Highlights

  • Jimenez picked up the first hit for Stacked Baseball on a RBI single in the top of the first, scoring Tanner Brown. Stacked Baseball worked three walks in the inning in addition to an RBI hit by pitch for a 2-0 lead.
  • Dirtbags got their first runner in scoring position thanks to Caleb Lynn collecting the team’s first hit of the game and advanced to second on a walk by Noah Price.
  • Plasman sent a triple to right field in the third and came home on a sacrifice fly by Partida, pushing the lead to 3-0.
  • With the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth, Beck wore a pitch to give Dirtbags their first run of the contest.
  • In the sixth a leadoff walk by Hayden Walker and a groundout put him on third, giving Zezza a chance to add a run with a runner in scoring position by lacing an RBI single for a 3-2 deficit.
  • Zezza stole second with no one covering the base, but the catcher’s throw sailed into center field. Zezza attempted to advance to third on the throwing error, but Partida threw him out.

Notable Information

  • Dirtbags came into the matchup averaging 6.5 runs a game, but Stacked Baseball’s pitching held them to just two runs.
  • Dirtbags stole five bags in the game compared to Stacked Baseball’s two.
  • Partida threw 72% strikes and needed just 43 pitches to get through four innings.
  • Head Coach Drew Madrigal on the win: “It’s really good for these guys. It’s been a long, dragged-out weekend. These guys got marks and banged up bodies. I’m proud of them.”

SBA Marucci 8, Kangaroo Court American 7

A back-and-forth affair, SBA Marucci struck first in the bottom of the second on back-to-back RBI singles. Kangaroo Court answered in the top of the third with three runs of their own to take its first lead of the game. SBA Marucci was held scoreless in the bottom of the third and Kangaroo Court pushed another run across.

SBA Marucci broke out with another multi-run effort in the bottom of the fourth, plating four to extend the lead. Kangaroo Court added a run to the scoreboard for the third consecutive inning in the fifth, inching back closer to SBA Marucci.

With zeros being exchanged in the sixth, Kangaroo Court American entered the seventh down by one. They refused to go down without a fight and rallied for two runs, grabbing the lead from SBA Marucci. SBA readied themselves in the dugout to retaliate. Retaliate they did. An error and hit-by-pitch followed by another error loaded the bases. SBA drew a walk to tie the ball game., and then John Hucko stepped up to the plate with ice in his veins as he laced a single on the first pitch he saw to send his team to the gold medal match on a walk-off thriller.

Witt McCammon picked up the win in relief, shutting down the Kangaroo Court American bats with 0.2 innings and one strikeout. Hudson Sapp suffered the loss, despite allowing zero earned runs in 2.2 innings of relief.

Game Highlights

  • Huck and Joseph Newell tallied consecutive RBI singles in the bottom of the second inning for a 2-0 lead.
  • Hudson Sapp provided the first of three runs in the top of the third for Kangaroo Court American on an RBI double. Aidan Kearney followed that with an RBI groundout and then Alex Gomez singled to score Sapp for a 3-2 advantage.
  • Kangaroo Court American made it 4-2 in the top of the fourth as Alan Zimmerman delivered another run on the Sapp walk with the bases loaded.
  • SBA Marucci jumped on starter Wilson Shaw for four runs in the bottom of the fourth. After two walks put runners on base, Jaxon Haynes began the scoring with an RBI single followed by Newell’s RBI single. The inning was capped off with Haynes scoring on a wild pitch and Griffin McKain’s sacrifice fly for a temporary 6-4 lead.
  • Ashton Cox trimmed the deficit to 6-5 for Kangaroo Court American on a bases loaded walk in the top of the fifth.
  • Despite a strikeout to lead off the seventh, Kangaroo Court American recorded two consecutive singles before Zimmerman tied the game on an RBI single. The team would coordinate a double steal attempt to go up 7-6 with Leo Reina crossing the plate.
  • Two errors and a hit-by-pitch would load the bases for Eli Webb before McCammon scored on the at-bat, tying the game 7-7 and Webb drew a walk to reload the bases.
  • Hucko took the first pitch to center field for a base hit to end the game in walk-off fashion for SBA Marucci.

Notable Information

  • Hucko (2-for-4) and Newell (2-for-3) delivered multi-hit efforts in the win for SBA Marucci.
  • Gomez (2-for-4) and Sapp (2-for-3) paced the Kangaroo Court American offensively.
  • Hudson Sapp threw 11 first pitch strikes to the 14 batters he faced.
  • Both teams collected more walks than strikeouts.
  • Kangaroo Court American out-hit SBA Marucci 9-8.
  • Head Coach Collin Thacker on the win: “This group of boys has a character unlike any group I’ve ever seen. It’s a true joy to watch them on the field and off. I think that’s what makes the difference is they love each other as much off the field than they do on.”
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Schedule Announced for Women’s National Team’s Friendship Series With Canada

The teams will play a five-game friendship series July 28-August 1
June 20, 2022
OTTAWA – Baseball Canada and the Thunder Bay International Baseball Association (TBIBA) have announced the schedule for the five-game, Canada vs. USA Women’s Baseball Friendship Series that is set to take place in Thunder Bay, Ontario, July 28 – August 1. All games will be played at Baseball Central in

OTTAWA – Baseball Canada and the Thunder Bay International Baseball Association (TBIBA) have announced the schedule for the five-game, Canada vs. USA Women’s Baseball Friendship Series that is set to take place in Thunder Bay, Ontario, July 28 – August 1.

All games will be played at Baseball Central in Thunder Bay, a site that is no stranger to hosting international baseball with the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cups taking place there in 2010 and 2017.

Schedule:

  • Thursday, July 28 - USA @ Canada - 7:30 p.m.
  • Friday, July 29 - Canada @ USA - 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, July 30 - USA @ Canada - 1 p.m.
  • Sunday, July 31 - Canada @ USA - 7:30 p.m.
  • Monday, August 1 - USA @ Canada - 1 p.m.

Canada and USA will both hold workouts at Baseball Central Wednesday, July 27, before the series begins July 28.

Friendship Series event information, including ticket sales, will be available on the TBIBA Facebook page.

Stay up-to-date with Baseball Canada’s and USA Baseball’s Women’s National Team programs by following @BaseballCANWNT and @USABaseballWNT on Twitter.

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13U National Team Championships North Carolina: The Perfect Place For Father's Day

Special Sunday at 13U North Carolina Team Championships thanks to Father's Day
June 19, 2022
Cary, N.C. – Today was special at the USA Baseball National Training Complex. With all 16 teams competing in the 13U National Team Championships North Carolina, there was an abundance of action on Sunday. It is special any time baseball is playing at the National Training Complex, but today being

Cary, N.C. – Today was special at the USA Baseball National Training Complex. With all 16 teams competing in the 13U National Team Championships North Carolina, there was an abundance of action on Sunday. It is special any time baseball is playing at the National Training Complex, but today being Father’s Day made it that much more meaningful.

For many, baseball strengthens the bond between a father and son. Whether it is throwing around a baseball, working together in the batting cages, or watching the beautiful sport together, all of this time spent together creates incredible moments and memories that last a lifetime.

As you travel from field to field there are more than a few dads locked in passionately cheering on their sons, and there was no better way for them to be spending Father’s Day.

The opportunity Anthony Gomez, father of East Coast Sox Adrian Gomez, gets spending the day at the National Team Championships North Carolina brings him immense pride.

“On Father’s Day, it’s a great thing to watch my son do what he loves to do - be out on a baseball field,” said Gomez. “I’m so proud of not only him, but all the boys that have come with him. Watching the competition, I’m super happy to be out here and proud to watch them compete for the love of the game.”

For Shea Cox, father of Kangaroo Court American Ashton Cox, all opportunities to watch his son play are tremendous, but 13U National Team Championships North Carolina makes it sweeter.

“Any day to watch your kids play baseball is an honor, especially at the USA Baseball headquarters,” said Cox. “The complex is beautiful. The kids are having a great time and so are all the fathers.”

Eugene Clendinen, father of Top Tier Select Isaiah Clendinen, cherishes his baseball relationship with his son and this day reminds him to appreciate every second.

“I recall the moments watching the Los Angeles Dodgers with my dad and they were very special. My dad passed away when I was in high school, so I wasn’t able to share my experiences with him. I get to do that with my son and it’s very meaningful for me.”

With bracket play arriving tomorrow at 13U National Team Championships North Carolina, win or lose, every father is going to have a full heart watching their son on the diamond.

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ZT Prospects National Completes 10U Futures Title Defense With Gold Medal Win

June 19, 2022
CARY, N.C. – ZT Prospects National (CA) completed its title defense at the 10U Futures Invitational on Sunday, taking down Banditos DeLeon (TX), 8-0, at Thomas Brooks Park in Cary, North Carolina. ZT Prospects National took a quick lead in the bottom of the first and then built on the

CARY, N.C. – ZT Prospects National (CA) completed its title defense at the 10U Futures Invitational on Sunday, taking down Banditos DeLeon (TX), 8-0, at Thomas Brooks Park in Cary, North Carolina.

ZT Prospects National took a quick lead in the bottom of the first and then built on the lead in the bottom of the third, scoring three runs to give them a 4-0 edge. The runs came on back-to-back RBI singles by Salvador Garcia and Jacob Miller, which were two of the four hits for the squad in the eventful third frame. ZT Prospects National then added four runs in the fifth, with two of them coming on a single by Garcia.

The Banditos battled to get back into the game but had multiple rallies halted before they could get on the scoreboard. Salvador Garcia kept the Banditos’ offense at bay all game long, turning in5.2 innings of one-run ball to earn the win. Garcia struck out five and allowed just four hits in the win. Despite pitching well, Reese Pogue suffered the loss for the Banditos.

ZT Prospects National got production from the top of their lineup, with Garcia, Miller, and Ju combining for seven RBIs in the victory. Steven Holguin and Chase Meka each scored two runs in the win for the gold medalists. Maddox McBryde, Boston Targac, and Ian Yarbrough combined to tally the four hits for the Banditos.

Game Highlights

  • Garcia was locked in from the first pitch, retiring the Banditos in order to open the game in the top of the first.
  • After reaching on an error to lead off the bottom of the first, Humphris advanced to third and scored on an RBI groundout by Ju to open the scoring and give ZT Prospects National a 1-0 lead.
  • Garcia retired nine of the first ten batters he faced, carrying the 1-0 lead into the bottom of the third for ZT Prospects National. The squad then eventually loaded the bases before Garcia and Miller notched back-to-back singles to give ZT Prospects National a 4-0 advantage.
  • The Banditos nearly cracked the scoreboard in the top of the fourth, putting two runners on with one out, but Garcia coaxed a strikeout and a ground out to escape the jam and keep the Banditos off the board.
  • Holguin and Meka both singled to open the bottom of the fifth inning, and both were plated on another RBI single by Garcia. Garcia would eventually come around to score as ZT Prospects National’s lead grew to 8-0.
  • McBryde tripled in a run in the Banditos’ final frame, driving in Targac to get on the board before Amari Kirschner entered to seal the victory for ZT Prospects National.

Notable Information

  • With the win, ZT Prospects National has now won back-to-back 10U Futures Invitational titles, becoming the first program in event history to accomplish the feat.
  • ZT Prospects National finished the tournament with a perfect 5-0 record, outscoring opponents 47-10.
  • The Banditos finished runners-up at the 10U Futures Invitational for the first time in program history.
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Warm Welcome For 13U National Team Championships North Carolina Debut

13U Champs NC provides a better tomorrow for USA Baseball
June 19, 2022
Cary, N.C. \- National Team Championships North Carolina welcomed a brand-new age group to the tournament in 2022 with 13-and-under squads on Saturday. There was plenty of energy around the USA Baseball National Training Complex, as patrons were eager to see the opportunities the event presents for the young competitors.

Cary, N.C. - National Team Championships North Carolina welcomed a brand-new age group to the tournament in 2022 with 13-and-under squads on Saturday. There was plenty of energy around the USA Baseball National Training Complex, as patrons were eager to see the opportunities the event presents for the young competitors.

Ira Rootman is one of the players who is excited to be a part of USA Baseball history as one of the first participants competing at the 13U National Team Championships North Carolina. The outfielder from Legacy Baseball has participated in the 2019 USA Baseball Futures Invitational and represented the 13U Southwest Stripes at the 2021 USA Baseball National Team Identification Series Champions Cup, and he is pumped up to add National Team Championships to his list of USA Baseball events that he has participated in.

“It was an amazing idea to expand the National Team Champions North Carolina to 13U,” said Rootman. “You come out here and it’s an amazing experience to be around all the top guys in the nation. We’re competing for gold. It’s making everyone better as a player.”

The atmosphere at Coleman Field is providing a big league feel for these young guns ready to prove themselves to the onlookers around the complex. With big-time names of baseball representing their country on these very same fields, it is no surprise there is a sense of euphoria overcoming the ballplayers. Knowing Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, and Trea Turner, as well as many others, have run around these diamonds can be surreal.

“I played on Coleman Field today and it was like playing in the MLB,” said Rootman. “You hear your name announced and you can feel the presence that superstars played here before. I’m thankful for the opportunity to be here and I’m going to keep balling out.”

The opportunity for the 13-and-under group to compete at the National Team Championships presented itself with the expansion of invitations to the 2022 13U/14U Athlete Development Program (ADP). With ADP increasing the number of invitations from 40 to 72, there was a missing piece at play - a true identification event for the 13U age group.

There was a perfect solution for the dilemma – adding a 13U tournament at National Team Championships North Carolina. This allows for an incredible chance for development at this age, and USA Baseball Task Force member Bryan Madsen sees a bright future in his sights.

“It gives them a chance to develop in an environment that is the best,” said Madsen. “The best training environment that this age group hasn’t had before, which is only going to help benefit the players and the USA Baseball program as they get older. I think you’re going to see a real advancement in the 13- and 14-year-old ages, as well as the 15U National Team, with the expansion of ADP this year.”

A familiar face at the complex echoed a similar message as Madsen’s. 2021 15U National Team Manager Jared Halpert is at the helm for Legacy Baseball hoping to secure a gold medal. While the tournament title is in his sights, Halpert believes this is a great place to begin the transition for younger players towards the next level.

“Giving these younger kids the ability to bridge the gap of high school, collegiate, and professional athletes to play on the same field that they are playing on is incredible,” said Halpert. “For them to have the opportunity to get on the National Training Complex and get comfortable with the dimensions that they’re going to have to play when they get of age is invaluable.”

With all the participants prepared to showcase their skills and keen on earning an ADP invitation, Halpert has words of wisdom for them all.

“My advice to all these players is play like you love it. Put your heart on your sleeve and go out here hard as you can. That’s what these coaches are looking for is kids who love this game and will do anything to get on this field to go compete.”

The love of baseball is here in Cary and USA Baseball is loving this new chapter in its organization.

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ZT Prospects National to Meet With Banditos DeLeon in 10U Futures Gold Medal Game

ZT Prospects National will look to defend 2021 gold in title game
June 18, 2022
CARY, N.C. – The gold medal game is set at the 2022 10U Futures Invitational. Looking to defend their 2021 title, ZT Prospects National (CA) will battle Banditos DeLeon (TX) on Sunday in the title game at Thomas Brooks Park in Cary, North Carolina. The matchup comes after ZT Prospects

CARY, N.C. – The gold medal game is set at the 2022 10U Futures Invitational.

Looking to defend their 2021 title, ZT Prospects National (CA) will battle Banditos DeLeon (TX) on Sunday in the title game at Thomas Brooks Park in Cary, North Carolina.

The matchup comes after ZT Prospects National and Banditos DeLeon both earned semifinal round victories on Saturday.

ZT Prospects National 6, WFBA Hammerheads 1

After ZT Prospects National opened the scoring on an RBI groundout by Steven Holguin in the bottom of the third, the team broke the game open with a huge hit in the bottom of the fourth. With two runners on and no outs in the frame, Salvador Garcia cranked an inside-the-park homer to deep right field to plate three runs and give ZT Prospects National a four-run edge.

The WFBA Hammerheads chipped away and cut the lead to 4-1 in the fifth, but ZT Prospects National added a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning to secure the semifinal win. Garcia had a game-high four RBIs, going 1-for-3 in the win. Bryant Ju (2-for-2) and Gavin Sumter (2-for-2) both added a pair of hits for ZT Prospects National, while Carson Behr (1-for-2) tallied the only hit for the WFBA Hammerheads.

Jacob Miller got the start on the mound for ZT Prospects National and twirled a gem, throwing a complete game and allowing just one run and one hit with five strikeouts. Hampton Maddox suffered the loss for the WFBA Hammerheads, allowing four runs over four innings.

Game Highlights

  • Miller got ZT Prospects National off to a strong start on the mound, striking out the side in the top of the first.
  • After Ju singled for the game’s first hit in the bottom of the first, Maddox escaped trouble with a pick off and a fly out to keep the game scoreless.
  • Miller and Maddox exchanged scoreless frames again in the second inning before the WFBA Hammerheads put a runner on base with two outs in the third. Ju erased the runner with a caught stealing to retire the side.
  • Sumter singled and was sacrificed over on a bunt by Amari Kirschner before eventually scoring on an RBI groundout by Holguin to open the scoring and give ZT Prospects National a 1-0 lead.
  • ZT Prospects National kept the foot on the gas in the fourth, hitting back-to-back singles before Garcia’s three-run homer broke the game open. The homer came on a deep fly ball to right field, and Garcia was able to score standing up.
  • The WFBA Hammerheads battled back in the top of the fifth, scoring on an RBI groundout by Michael Wedgeworth to trim the deficit to 4-1.
  • Garcia drove in another run in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI fielder’s choice and ZT Prospects National capped off the scoring with another run to give them a 6-1 lead that they would go on to win by.

Notable Information

  • Miller threw just 50 pitches in the complete-game win, tossing 45 strikes. He faced 19 batters and threw first-pitch strikes to 18 of them.
  • Zachary Humphris scored a pair of runs for ZT Prospects National, touching home plate each time he reached base.
  • ZT Prospects National put together nine hits in the win.
  • With the win, ZT Prospects National clinched their spot in the 2022 10U Futures Invitational Gold Medal Game.

Banditos DeLeon 8, San Diego Show 2

Although the game was a pitchers’ duel entering the third, Banditos DeLeon put up four runs in the third and another four in the sixth to knock off the San Diego Show (CA)

in the 2022 10U Futures Invitational semifinals.

Banditos opened the scoring with an offensive explosion in the top of the third, scoring four times over a four-batter span to take control of the game. San Diego Show responded with two runs over their own over the next two frames, but Banditos answered back with another four-run inning in the top of the sixth to put the game out of reach.

Banditos got six hits in the game, all coming from different players. Tanner Oberholter drove in two runs to lead the offensive attack, while Brayden Worthen and Case Miller chipped in a pair. Silas Entrekin had a game-high two hits, pacing the offense for San Diego.

Boston Targac turned in five innings of two-run ball to earn the win for Banditos, scattering six hits while striking out two. Entrekin surrendered the loss for San Diego, allowing four runs on three hits.

Game Highlights

  • Targac and Entrekin exchanged zeroes in the first two innings, with Targac escaping a jam in the first.
  • Mason Salinas was hit by a pitch to lead off Banditos’ half of the third, and Ian Yarbrough followed that with a single and the runners advanced on a sacrifice bunt to put two into scoring position. Brayden Worthen followed with a base-hit through the left side to plate the game’s first run and give Banditos a 1-0 edge.
  • The score quickly became 2-0 in favor of Banditos when Yarbrough was plated on an error in the third.
  • Banditos scored two more in the third, as Worthen and Miller touched home on wild pitches to extend the lead to four.
  • After winning the home run derby on Friday night, Carson Reis got San Diego Show on the board in the bottom of the third with an RBI single to right field to trim the deficit to 4-1.
  • San Diego Show continued battling in the bottom of the fourth, making it a 4-2 game on an RBI single by John Kauffman.
  • Looking to add insurance runs in the top of the sixth, Banditos put four runs on the board to give them an 8-2 lead. Yarbough opened the scoring on a wild pitch before Salinas and Oberholter smoked doubles to make it a six-run game.
  • Reese Pogue fired a perfect inning in the bottom of the sixth to secure the win and a spot in the title game on Sunday.

Notable Information

  • Salinas scored a game-high two runs in the win.
  • Targac threw 10 first-pitch strikes to the 13 batters he faced.
  • San Diego Show put at least one runner on base in each of the first four innings, but Targac was able to evade trouble and keep Banditos in front.
  • With the win, Banditos clinched their spot in the 2022 10U Futures Invitational Gold Medal Game.

The 2022 10U Futures Invitational title game will take place on Sunday morning at 10:45 am ET from Thomas Brooks Park. Follow along with all of the action on Twitter!

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17U National Team Championships NC All-Tournament Team Announced

Indiana Bulls National and Texas Twelve led with two all-tournament selections
June 18, 2022
CARY, N.C. – The 17U National Team Championships North Carolina All-Tournament team was announced today and features 15 athletes that competed in the event. The list is made up of nine hitters and six pitchers and features a player from 11 of the tournament’s 16 teams, including two from the

CARY, N.C. – The 17U National Team Championships North Carolina All-Tournament team was announced today and features 15 athletes that competed in the event. The list is made up of nine hitters and six pitchers and features a player from 11 of the tournament’s 16 teams, including two from the gold medal-winning Texas Twelve. 

Antonio Anderson - USA Prime National

Antonio Anderson batted .545 with a team-best six hits and six runs batted in for USA Prime National.

Jackson Blank - Texas Twelve

Jackson Blank delivered an elite pitching performance for Texas Twelve in the gold medal match dealing 5.1 scoreless innings and nine strikeout while yielding just three hits.

Blake Brown - Texas Twelve

Blake Brown finished the week with a .429 (6-for-14) batting average for Texas Twelve along with three stolen bags for the champions.

John Aballero - Elite Squad

John Aballero came ready to go for Elite Squad dealing 5.0 shutout innings in the first game of the tournament allowing just one hit and striking out nine.

Roch Cholowsky - Canes National / NY Mets Scout Team

Roch Cholowsky concluded with a team-best .500 batting average and two doubles with a tournament-best eight hits for the bronze medalist Canes National / NY Mets Scout Team.

Max Clark - Indiana Bulls National

Max Clark was an offensive weapon for the silver medal-winning Indiana Bulls National slashing .438/.550/.500 tying for a team-best seven hits.

Carson Messina - Canes Prospects

Carson Messina provided a tremendous start with a quarterfinal berth on the line for Canes Prospects pitching 4.2 shutout innings with seven strikeouts and only two hits.

Aidan Miller - Top Tier Roos American

Aidan Miller nearly led Top Tiers Roos American in every offensive category thanks to his tournament-best eight hits and team-best three extra-base hits for a slash line of .533/.563/.800.

Derrick Mitchell - East Coast Sox Scout

Derrick Mitchell led the tournament with eight runs batted in and two triples while flashing his speed on the base paths swiping two bags for East Coast Sox Scout.

Alex Naylor - Indiana Bulls National

Alex Naylor led the silver medal-winning Indiana Bulls National with a .500 (4-for-8) batting average as well as five walks and five runs scored. Three of his hits came in the quarterfinal game against Canes Prospects.

Alexander Petrovic - Artillery Baseball

Alexander Petrovic was the only pitcher in the tournament to strike out double digits in a single start as he silenced Team Elite with 10 strikeouts and one hit across 5.0 innings.

Jordan Perez - Elite Squad

Jordan Perez hit .412 (7-for-17) for semifinalist Elite Squad and collected five RBIs while also scoring four of the team’s runs. Additionally, he drew six walks and had a .579 on-base percentage.

Cal Randall - Canes National / NY Mets Scout Team

Cal Randall tossed a complete game shutout for Canes National / NY Mets Scout Team in the tournament, allowing just three hits while collecting six strikeouts in the win. 

Samuel Stafura - Dirtbags

Samuel Stafura batted .467 (7-for-15) for Dirtbags and had three stolen bases during the tournament.

Carson Timothy - Alpha Prime

Carson Timothy pitched 5.2 shutout innings for Alpha Prime, striking out eight batters while giving up just two hits and one walk.

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San Diego Show's Carson Reis Wins 10U Futures Home Run Derby

June 17, 2022
CARY, N.C. -- In front of an energetic crowd at the 10U Futures Invitational Home Run Derby, Carson Reis of the San Diego Show took home the trophy with a strong final-round performance. Reis cranked five homers in the last round, pulling away from the rest of the field to

CARY, N.C. -- In front of an energetic crowd at the 10U Futures Invitational Home Run Derby, Carson Reis of the San Diego Show took home the trophy with a strong final-round performance.

Reis cranked five homers in the last round, pulling away from the rest of the field to clinch the trophy. After he smoked two roundtrippers in the first round, including one to the opposite field, Reis hit two more homers than anyone else in the final round.

Reis competed in the final round against Tyler Early (One National), Kolt Hampton (Knights Elite), Bryant Ju (ZT Prospects National), and Jacoby Van Winkle (Prime 27:17). Early and Ju both clubbed three dingers in the championship round, but Reis' strong performance was enough to earn the title. Early and Ju both hit their homers to the pull side, sending shaggers deep into the grass.

Reis socked four blasts to left field and hit his deepest homer of the night to straightaway center field. The California native got the fans fired up at the National Training Complex, with Reis' San Diego Show teammates making more noise with each homer.

Prior to the championship round, the 16 players battled in a team competition. Ju carried Team Blue to a victory with a dramatic final 30 seconds, as the ZT Prospects National star cranked five homers to win it for his team. It was the highest scoring output of the team round.

There were impressive performances throughout the team round, with players supporting their teammates with every at-bat. Jacoby Van Winkle (Prime 27:17) had a ton of support from his teammates, who were sitting right behind home plate and reacting to every blast.

The 10U Futures Invitational returns to action on Saturday morning, with semifinal action set to begin at 10:45 am ET.

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Texas Twelve Grabs Gold To Win 17U National Team Championships NC

Texas Twelve's Jackson Blank silenced the Indiana Bulls National offense to secure gold at the 17U National Team Champs NC
June 17, 2022
Win: Blank Loss: French Save: None
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Indiana Bulls National 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0
Texas Twelve 3 1 0 0 0 1 X 5 3 1

Win: Blank Loss: French Save: None

Cary, N.C. – Texas Twelve’s offense showcased their composure at the plate and shut out Indiana Bulls National, 5-0, to claim gold at the 17U National Team Championships NC at the National Training Complex.

Texas Twelve took advantage of wild pitching by Indiana Bulls National to jump out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Three walks loaded the bases for Landon West, and he was hit by starter Carson French to provide the first run of the game. Blake Brown and Jaquae Stewart then scored on back-to-back wild pitches to extend the lead to 3-0.

Jack Bell worked a walk in the second inning and traveled around the bases on three straight wild pitches, making it 4-0.

Jackson Blank did exactly what his last name states – he blanked Indiana Bulls National for 5.1 innings as he fanned nine batters and yielded just three walks and three hits.

The only sign of trouble Blank faced was in the sixth inning after he walked Max Clark and Carter Murphy in consecutive at bats. Head coach Zach Dillon turned to Jackson Wilkerson in relief, who proceeded to fan two to end the inning and halt the threat.

Brown entered to pinch hit and added an insurance run in the sixth inning, driving an RBI single to center field to allow Stewart to slide under the throw from Clark and score.

Despite a single by Alex Naylor leading off the seventh inning, Wilkerson refused a potential seventh inning rally. He induced three straight outs with a strikeout to end it, securing the gold medal to complete Texas Twelve’s undefeated 6-0 tournament run.

Notable Information

  • Despite being outhit 4-3, Texas Twelve fueled its offense by working eight walks.
  • Blank and Wilkerson combined for 12 strikeouts in the win.
  • Blake Mitchell led Texas Twelve with two extra-base hits, a 1.248 OPS, and four runs batted in for the tournament.
  • Texas Twelve’s pitching staff allowed just eight earned runs across 40.1 innings for a combined 1.39 earned-run average.

Quotes

  • Kendall George - Texas Twelve
  • On how it feels to win the gold medal…
  • “It feels great. We came out here last year with the same goal and fell a little short. It was really personal this year to come out here and win.”
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