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Arambula Article

GAMEDAY: Team USA Plays Super Round Finale Against Nicaragua

First pitch scheduled for 2:00 p.m. MT/4:00 p.m. ET at Estadio Arturo C. Nahl
November 12, 2022
LIVE STATS

LIVE STATS

LA PAZ, Mexico – The 18U National Team wraps up Super Round play at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier against Nicaragua. First pitch is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. MT/4:00 p.m. ET at Estadio Arturo C. Nahl in La Paz, Mexico.

LAST TIME OUT

Team USA secured its spot in the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier title game with an 8-7 walk-off win over Mexico on Friday night. After falling into a quick 4-0 hole, an RBI hit by Ty Southisene and a two-run blast by Casey Borba tied the game up in the second. Then, with the U.S. trailing by a run in the bottom of the seventh, PJ Morlando and Noah Franco hit clutch doubles to tie it before Nazzan Zanetello delivered the final blow with a walk-off single to secure the victory.

Team USA's bullpen was key in the win, as it tossed 6.1 innings and allowed just three runs (one earned). Mason Brassfield was the first pitcher out of the bullpen and he turned in 1.2 strong frames before handing the ball to Stunner Gonzales, who pitched four innings of one-run ball. Cade Townsend, who earned the win, pitched a scoreless seventh to set the table for Zanetello's walk-off knock.

HISTORY AGAINST NICARAGUA

Team USA and Nicaragua have met five times at the U-18 level, with the U.S. holding a 4-1 advantage in the series. After first playing one another in 1992, the two nations last competed at the 2018 WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier, which resulted in a 17-2 win for the United States.

CLINCHED AND QUALIFIED

With last night's victory over Mexico, Team USA has already clinched a spot in the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier gold medal game. Additionally, the U.S. has qualified for next summer's WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in Tainan, Taiwan, where the squad will look to defend its title from 2022.

BORBA BOMBS

Casey Borba hit his second home run of the tournament on Friday against Mexico, a clutch two-run shot to tie the game in the second. Borba now has a team-best 10 RBIs to go with his two dingers, ranking him second in the tournament in that category. The Santa Ana, California native has also scored at least once in all six of the team's games, joining PJ Morlando and Ty Southisene as the only two players to accomplish that feat.

QUALIFIER SUCCESS

The U.S. has won each of the last five U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifiers it has competed in, earning gold in 2009, 2011, 2014, 2016, and 2018 while compiling a 41-1 overall record. The program most recently captured gold in the event with a perfect 9-0 record in 2018, outscoring its opponents 131-27.

SUPER ROUND STANDINGS

United States (4-0)

Mexico (2-2)

Panama (2-2)

Venezuela (2-2)

Nicaragua (1-3)

Puerto Rico (1-3)

INSIDE THE ROSTER

Team USA’s 20-man roster features four members who have previously donned the stars and stripes. A trio of players reunite on the roster after earning spots on the 15U National Team: Carson Messina, Austin Nye, and Michael Torres. Additionally, Daniel Arambula (2017) and Torres (2018) played for the 12U National Team, both winning gold medals.

In total, 10 of the 20 players on the roster have participated in USA Baseball development programs, including eight players from the 2022 16U/17U National Team Development Program (NTDP). Arambula, Talan Bell, Matthew Champion, Noah Franco, PJ Morlando, Vaughn Neckar, Ford Thompson, and Torres all participated at this year’s NTDP from July 25-29 in Cary, North Carolina. The roster also includes four players who participated in the 2022 Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) League: Casey Borba, Roman Martin, Campbell Smithwick and Nazzan Zanetello.

MEET THE COACHES

Denny Hocking is back at the helm of the 18U National Team after guiding the U.S. to a gold medal at this summer’s WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in Bradenton and Sarasota, Florida. The skipper, who owns 13 years of major-league playing experience, has spent time as an analyst, coach, and minor-league manager, and currently works as an analyst on Bally Sports West.

Team USA alum and 14-year MLB veteran Brad Penny returns to the staff as pitching coach after serving in the same role for the program in a friendship series against Canada in 2021. The World Series champ and two-time MLB All-Star led last year’s staff to a 1.53 ERA with 89 strikeouts in 59 innings. Former 12U National Team Manager and longtime Orange Lutheran High School skipper Eric Borba is on staff as an assistant coach, as well as New York Yankees’ minor-league coach James Cooper.

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Cal Poly's Larry Lee To Manage 2023 Collegiate National Team

All-time Big West wins leader returns for second stint on staff, first as manager
January 31, 2023
Cary, N.C. - USA Baseball today announced that California Polytechnic State University’s Larry Lee will manage the 2023 Collegiate National Team. Lee is entering his 21st season at the helm of the Mustangs and is the winningest head coach in Big West Conference history, amassing 614 wins with Cal Poly

Cary, N.C. - USA Baseball today announced that California Polytechnic State University’s Larry Lee will manage the 2023 Collegiate National Team. Lee is entering his 21st season at the helm of the Mustangs and is the winningest head coach in Big West Conference history, amassing 614 wins with Cal Poly and 1,074 overall in his career.

Lee returns to the Team USA coaching staff after serving as an assistant coach in 2017 when the U.S. went 15-5 with friendship series wins over Chinese Taipei, Cuba, and Japan. He will be making his managerial debut with the stars and stripes in 2023.

“Larry has been an extremely successful head baseball coach for over three decades and is a perfect fit to lead our team in 2023,” said USA Baseball General Manager of Collegiate and Professional Teams Eric Campbell. “Over the past twenty years, Larry has turned Cal Poly into one of the west coast’s perennial baseball programs thanks to his tremendous baseball acumen and knowledge. We are confident that he will provide valuable leadership to the young men on our roster, which will feature college baseball’s best once again this year.”

“It’s always an honor to be a part of the Collegiate National Team coaching staff,” said Lee. “I look forward to being surrounded by some of the best coaches and players in college baseball.”

Since taking over as head coach in 2003, Lee has led Cal Poly to eleven 30-win seasons, including a record-setting campaign in 2014 in which the Mustangs broke the program record with 47 wins and won their first Big West Championship. The program has finished in the top four of the conference standings in 17 of Lee’s 20 seasons and recently notched three-consecutive second-place finishes from 2017-19. The Mustangs have won over 35 games in seven different seasons under Lee.

Lee’s program has reached the NCAA Division I Regionals on three different occasions, including its first-ever appearance in 2009. The Mustangs returned to the tournament in 2013 and pushed eventual national champion UCLA to the brink of elimination before falling to the Bruins in the Los Angeles Regional. Cal Poly then capped off its record-breaking season in 2014 by hosting the San Luis Obispo Regional.

Thirty-six Mustangs have been drafted in the first 10 rounds of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft during his tenure. Most recently, Lee’s son, Brooks, was selected with the eighth overall pick in the 2022 Draft by the Minnesota Twins. In addition, 2018 MLB All-Star Mitch Haniger played under Lee before being drafted as a first-round compensatory pick in 2012 and is one of 12 players who have gone on to the major leagues after playing for Lee at Cal Poly. In total, 81 of Lee’s players have signed professional baseball contracts.

Five of Lee’s former players–Matt Imhof (2013), Mark Mathias (2014), Nick Meyer (2017), Brooks Lee (2021), and Drew Thorpe (2021)–have previously played for the Collegiate National Team.

Before taking the reins at Cal Poly, Lee spent 16 years as the head coach at Cuesta College (San Luis Obispo, Calif.). There, he guided the program to four California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) Final Four appearances and nine Western State Conference titles, including six in a row from 1997-2002. Lee accumulated an overall record of 460-241-3 with the Cougars and was inducted into the California Community College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010.

The remaining 2023 Collegiate National Team staff, as well as more information about the 2023 Collegiate National Team schedule, will be announced at a later date.

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Chinook Seedery Named Official Sunflower Seed Supplier of USA Baseball

The multi-year relationship will provide Chinook Seedery products to six national teams and two national team development programs
January 26, 2023
CARY, N.C. – USA Baseball and USA Baseball Sports Properties within LEARFIELD today announced an exclusive multi-year relationship with Chinook Seedery to become the Official Sunflower Seed Supplier for the organization. Through this relationship, Chinook Seedery will supply sunflower seeds for all USA Baseball national team and national team development

CARY, N.C. – USA Baseball and USA Baseball Sports Properties within LEARFIELD today announced an exclusive multi-year relationship with Chinook Seedery to become the Official Sunflower Seed Supplier for the organization. Through this relationship, Chinook Seedery will supply sunflower seeds for all USA Baseball national team and national team development programs.

Additionally, Chinook Seedery will also supply promotional items to USA Baseball for its foul ball program. Beginning in 2023, fans will receive a complimentary pack of sunflower seeds when they return a foul ball during USA Baseball events at the National Training Complex.

"USA Baseball is pleased to name Chinook Seedery the Official Sunflower Seed Supplier for the organization,” said USA Baseball Chief Operating Officer David Perkins. “Chinook Seedery produces a flavorful variety of healthy snacks that will help fuel USA Baseball national team and national team development program athletes. We appreciate their support and look forward to collaborating with them to develop future sunflower seed flavors.”

"Few things are more Americana than baseball and sunflower seeds. Chinook's partnership with USA Baseball is a natural fit that is only bolstered by our recent flavor collaboration with Team USA alum Bobby Witt Jr. We could not be more excited to bring the 'best seeds ever' to the best ballplayers in our great country," said Chinook Seedery Founder Mark Pettyjohn.

Launched in 2020, USA Baseball Sports Properties within LEARFIELD is dedicated to representing USA Baseball by developing and managing sponsor relationships with brands looking to align with USA Baseball and its events and programming.

About Chinook Seedery

Based in Austin, Texas, Chinook Seedery is the country's fastest-growing sunflower seed brand, providing a "better-for-you option" that is lower in sodium, non-GMO certified, gluten-free, and Keto friendly. Chinook combines a unique small-batch process with the largest, most premium seeds grown in the US, resulting in the "best seeds ever.” For more information or to try the product, visit http://www.chinookseedery.com, or follow us on Instagram (@chinookseedery), Facebook (@chinookseedery), and Twitter (@chinookseedery).

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Tenth Annual National High School Invitational Bracket Released

First-round matchups set for Wednesday, March 29 at the USA Baseball National Training Complex
January 25, 2023
CARY, N.C. - USA Baseball today released the bracket for the tenth annual National High School Invitational (NHSI), presented by the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance (GRSA) and the Town of Cary, which will run March 29 through April 1 at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C. First-round
2023 NHSI Bracket Reveal

CARY, N.C. - USA Baseball today released the bracket for the tenth annual National High School Invitational (NHSI), presented by the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance (GRSA) and the Town of Cary, which will run March 29 through April 1 at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C.

First-round matchups are as follows:

  • Bishop Verot vs. Aquinas – 10 a.m., Field 3
  • Blessed Trinity vs. Bishop Gorman – 11 a.m., Coleman Field
  • Santa Margarita Catholic vs. TC Roberson – 12 p.m., Field 4
  • Hagerty vs. Brother Rice – 1 p.m., Field 3
  • Doral Academy vs. St. Xavier – 3 p.m., Coleman Field
  • Jesuit (Portland) vs. Calvary Christian – 4 p.m., Field 4
  • Houston County vs. JSerra Catholic – 5 p.m., Field 3
  • Huntington Beach vs. Basha – 6 p.m., Coleman Field

The NHSI is a single-elimination championship tournament, with each participating team guaranteed to play four games. The 2023 championship game will be played on April 1 on Coleman Field, with the first pitch to be determined.

All games for the 2023 NHSI will be streamed on USABaseball.TV.

For more information on the NHSI, visit USABaseball.com or follow @USABEvents on Twitter and Instagram and @USABaseball on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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PDP Winter Camps Provide Unique Developmental Experience 

USA Baseball hosted four developmental camps this offseason
January 20, 2023
One of USA Baseball’s core values is providing the opportunity for players to represent their country through the game of baseball on the international stage. Within those opportunities to make a national team, the organization takes pride in creating ways for players to develop their skills in order to compete

One of USA Baseball’s core values is providing the opportunity for players to represent their country through the game of baseball on the international stage. Within those opportunities to make a national team, the organization takes pride in creating ways for players to develop their skills in order to compete at the highest level of the game.

Most of those opportunities come from developmental programs held at the National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina, like the 13U/14U Athlete Development Program, 16U/17U National Team Development Program, and Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) League. Others come from various joint events with Major League Baseball throughout the country like the Breakthrough and Trailblazer Series.

This offseason, though, USA Baseball has taken it a step further in the opportunity to play for Team USA with the Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) Winter Camps. Through these camps, players who have previously been involved in a USA Baseball or MLB Develops event get a unique offseason developmental experience while continuing to build a relationship with coaches and staff members.

“The crux of these winter camps is that we wanted to create continuity,” said USA Baseball Director of Player Development Jim Koerner. “In the past, we would work with players throughout the summer but wouldn’t have any touch points with them in the wintertime. These camps allow us to stay in contact and to continue the relationship-building process in preparation for the following summers with training camps, national tournaments, and World Cups.”

The organization held four camps: three for male prospects in December in Los Angeles, Houston, and West Palm Beach, Florida, and one in January for female prospects in Phoenix. Each of them was a three-day camp comprised of 20-30 players and consisted of high-level instruction on the offensive and defensive side of the ball.

Some of the topics covered were base-running, base-stealing, position-specific defensive instruction, hitting development, and scrimmaging in a controlled environment to execute those specific skills.

“We were able to put these players in a competitive environment with high-level coaching where we can challenge them and put them in a position of vulnerability,” added Koerner. “The upside to these camps was that they didn't have to have an immediate worry about making a national team or a ranking, and we could truly be hands-on with their development as a baseball player.”

USA Baseball put a lot of thought into the makeup of the coaching staff for each of these four camps in an effort to provide the best possible experience to the athletes in attendance. Four to five coaches were present at each event, and all of them have had some sort of connection to USA Baseball. Former MLB player and Olympic gold medalist Mike Kincade, two-time Women’s National Team manager and Coordinator of Player Development for the Oakland Athletics Veronica Alvarez, and multi-time Team USA player, coach, and Board of Directors member Ernie Young are just a few of the many names who were present at these camps.

Most of the coaches in attendance additionally have experience at the minor and/or major league levels. Several others have had incredible success on the high school and collegiate stages of the game, like Southlake Carroll High School (Texas) coach Larry Vucan, who was recently named the 2022 American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) National High School Coach of the Year.

“At these events, you’re getting high-level instruction. We have coaches from professional organizations and people who have been on past national team staffs, so you’re getting a lot of wonderful information and attention to detail,” said Alvarez, who was a part of the staffs in Los Angeles and Phoenix. “At these camps, we’re focusing on the details that make big differences, so, as a young player, you’re going to learn a lot of information that you have maybe never heard before from people who have been in the game for a long time.”

In addition to the high-level developmental instruction that these players received, they also were allowed to take part in a series of assessments. These assessments, which measure cognitive skills, speed of processing, athletic performance, and on-field talent, provide an additional resource for data comparison as they work towards a future national team program. Additionally, the results of these tests are distributed to the 30 professional Clubs in preparation for the MLB Draft and USA Baseball for national team identification.

“All of the athletes who were in attendance went through a PDP Performance Assessment, which mirrored the same assessment that they went through in the summer with us. It allowed us to track additional information on the athletes and find some insights that we don't always get to see,” explained USA Baseball Senior Director of Technology Russell Hartford.

“When we test these athletes in the summer, they can be fatigued from the busy schedules they have, and we can see it in the data. When we get to assess them in the winter when their schedules aren’t as packed, we can see if there is a difference in their performance, how well their offseason training regiments are actually working, and if they are improving strength, speed, and agility and in the ways that they want to. We quantify all that information, take objective measurements on their athletic performance, and create some longitudinal data for the athletes to create a strong development plan for them.”

Between the performance assessments and high-level instruction, the PDP Winter Camp experience is unmatched. For the players who attended one of the four camps, it was evident that they were eager to gain as much knowledge as they could from the available resources in an effort to reach the goal of making a future national team.

“Being able to have access to a lot of the metrics through Rapsodo and get valuable feedback from the coaches and PDP staff was awesome. Looking over the measurements, being able to take the time to really talk through them, and then apply it in the cages or on the mound was very helpful,” said seven-time alumna and 2022 USA Baseball Sportswoman of the Year Kelsie Whitmore, who attended the women’s camp earlier this month.

“This is probably the first event we’ve ever had this much data available for us. I’ve heard of all of these technologies and worked a little bit with them, but having people who work with it every day at the camps and being able to pick their brains and get the feedback right on the spot was incredible. To be able to work in such depth was really cool, and I’m thankful that so many people were willing to take the time to do that.”

The intimacy of these PDP Winter Camps not only allows coaches and staff members to evaluate the nation’s best talent but also helps these players to know how valuable of a role they play in the grand scheme of representing Team USA and competing for gold medals.

The relationship-building aspect with USA Baseball, and one-on-one attention from the coaches, is an experience that is far and few between for athletes who are looking to prepare for the next level in their careers.

“I think it's important to let these players know that USA Baseball is invested in their developmental process and that we want to see them succeed individually and collectively,” said Koerner. “From our perspective, we want to see the players who are also invested in USA Baseball. We want players who are coachable, want instruction, and are going to be able to adjust to high-pressure situations, whether it's in a camp setting or a national tournament. By having these one-on-one conversations and these intimate types of development camps, were really able to get a handle on who is really bought into this process. Overall, this process plays a role in the success of the organization and winning gold medals.”

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USA Baseball Unveils Field For Tenth Annual National High School Invitational

Tenth annual NHSI to be held from March 29 to April 1 in Cary, North Carolina
January 6, 2023
CARY, N.C. – USA Baseball today unveiled the 16-team field for the 10th annual National High School Invitational (NHSI) presented by the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance and the Town of Cary. The event will be held from March 29 to April 1 at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in

CARY, N.C. – USA Baseball today unveiled the 16-team field for the 10th annual National High School Invitational (NHSI) presented by the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance and the Town of Cary. The event will be held from March 29 to April 1 at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina.

The field features nine teams that have participated in previous years, including 2016 champion Huntington Beach High School (Huntington Beach, Calif.), which has competed in the event five times since its inception in 2012.

“USA Baseball is excited to kick off its 2023 slate of events in March with the tenth edition of the National High School Invitational,” said USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO Paul Seiler. “Year in and year out, this event puts the national spotlight on high school baseball, playing host to the nation’s top players and programs. We look forward to offering an incredible experience for sixteen elite teams that will be participating in Cary, along with their families and fans.”

The 2023 event marks Huntington Beach’s third consecutive appearance at the National High School Invitational, and its sixth overall. The Oilers own one of the best overall win percentages (.700) in the 10-year history of the NHSI with an all-time record of 14-6.

Along with Huntington Beach, Bishop Verot High School (Fort Myers, Fla.) and host T.C. Roberson High School (Asheville, N.C.) have participated multiple times in the event. Bishop Verot returns for a third time after appearances in 2014 and 2022, while T.C. Roberson returns to the event for the first time since competing in 2013 and 2014.

The 2023 edition of the NHSI will be the second-ever appearance for five teams in the field. Blessed Trinity Catholic High School (Roswell, Ga.) and Hagerty High School (Oviedo, Fla.) will return to Cary for the first time since 2019, while Calvary Christian High School (Clearwater, Fla.) and Brother Rice High School (Chicago, Ill.) will be participating for the first time since 2018 and 2017, respectively. Additionally, this will be JSerra Catholic High School’s (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) first appearance since 2015 and Bishop Gorman High School’s (Las Vegas, Nev.) first since 2012.

Aquinas High School (San Bernardino, Calif.), Basha High School (Chandler, Ariz.), Doral Academy (Doral, Fla.), Houston County High School (Warner Robins, Ga.), Jesuit High School (Portland, Ore.), Santa Margarita Catholic High School (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.), and St. Xavier High School (Louisville, Ky.) will all compete in the event for the first time.

The 2023 field boasts tremendous depth, as Doral and St. Xavier won state titles during the 2022 season, while Bishop Gorman finished runner-up in its respective state championship. Five other schools made state playoff appearances last year, including Aquinas, Hagerty, and TC Roberson who all reached the semifinals.

Additionally, Brother Rice is fresh off winning a Super Sectional Championship, and JSerra clinched the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Division I Championship last year.

In total, nine states will be represented in this year’s tournament, led by Florida and California with four teams apiece. In addition, two schools will represent Georgia, while Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Nevada, North Carolina, and Oregon will each have one school competing in the event.

“The GRSA is proud to be a host partner of the NHSI again this year,” said Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance Director Tori Collins. “We have always valued our relationship with USA Baseball. We appreciate its tireless efforts to bring first-class events like this to the National Training Complex in Cary each year. Not only does the NHSI have a tremendous economic impact on our community, but it also further strengthens Cary’s brand as one of America’s top destinations for amateur sports and an outstanding host of our nation’s top athletes.”

The USA Baseball National Training Complex (NTC), in partnership with the Town of Cary, has been the official home of USA Baseball since 2007. The NTC has been the stage for the NHSI since its inception in 2012 and includes four baseball fields maintained at Major League Baseball (MLB) standards. Many of MLB’s most-accomplished players have played at the NTC in their careers, including four-time American League (AL) MVP Mike Trout and two-time National League (NL) MVP Bryce Harper. The Town of Cary received the National Gold Medal Grand Plaque Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management in 2016, which honors U.S. communities that demonstrate excellence in parks and recreation through long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, program development, professional development, and agency recognition.

The 2023 edition of the NHSI marks the 10th anniversary of the prestigious event that brings the nation’s top high school teams and players to Cary, North Carolina. Many of the players that have competed in the event have gone on to illustrious careers in professional baseball, including 2016 NL MVP Cody Bellinger and 2021 World Series champion Max Fried, as well as All-Stars Joey Gallo and Lucas Giolito. Additionally, nine first-round picks from the last three MLB Drafts (2020-2022) participated in the event, including Slade Cecconi, Pete Crow-Armstrong, Ed Howard, Dylan Lesko, Jack Leiter, Austin Martin, Garrett Mitchell, Andy Painter, and Mikey Romero.

The NHSI is a single-elimination championship tournament, with each participating team guaranteed to play four games. The 2023 championship game will be played on April 1 on Coleman Field, with the first pitch to be determined. The bracket and complete schedule will be announced at a later date.

The complete list of 2023 NHSI participants is as follows:

High School (City, State)

  • Aquinas High School (San Bernardino, Calif.)
  • Basha High School (Chandler, Ariz.)
  • Bishop Gorman High School (Las Vegas, Nev.)
  • Bishop Verot High School (Fort Myers, Fla.)
  • Blessed Trinity Catholic High School (Roswell, Ga.)
  • Brother Rice High School (Chicago, Ill.)
  • Calvary Christian High School (Clearwater, Fla.)
  • Doral Academy (Doral, Fla.)
  • Hagerty High School (Oviedo, Fla.)
  • Houston County High School (Warner Robins, Ga.)
  • Huntington Beach High School (Huntington Beach, Calif.)
  • JSerra Catholic High School (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.)
  • Jesuit High School (Portland, Ore.)
  • Santa Margarita Catholic High School (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.)
  • St. Xavier High School (Louisville, Ky.)
  • T.C. Roberson High School (Asheville, N.C.)

For more information on the NHSI, visit USABaseball.com or follow @USABEvents on Twitter and Instagram and @USABaseball on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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USA Baseball Announces Organizational Changes And Promotions

Ashley Bratcher named General Manager of National Teams
January 5, 2023
CARY, N.C. – USA Baseball today announced organizational changes and a series of promotions and title changes, including the appointment of Ashley Bratcher as General Manager of National Teams and Eric Campbell as the General Manager of Collegiate and Professional National Teams. Bratcher has served multiple critical roles in the

CARY, N.C. – USA Baseball today announced organizational changes and a series of promotions and title changes, including the appointment of Ashley Bratcher as General Manager of National Teams and Eric Campbell as the General Manager of Collegiate and Professional National Teams.

Bratcher has served multiple critical roles in the organization since 2009 and will now oversee and support all three youth national team programs, the Women's National Team program, national team and athlete development programs, and national team identification events. Additionally, Campbell will continue to lead the Collegiate and Professional National Team programs.

"USA Baseball has grown tremendously over the past few years, and we are happy to announce several changes and promotions within our organization," said USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO Paul Seiler. "The changes showcase the organization's growth as the national governing body for baseball in the United States. Notably, we are thrilled to elevate Ashley Bratcher to General Manager of National Teams. Ashley's outstanding leadership and wealth of experience will continue to impact our organization and the amateur baseball landscape significantly and profoundly."

USA Baseball also announced three additional promotions in the Baseball Operations department. First, Brett Curll will lead the defending world champion 18U National Team Program after serving in a support role with both gold-medal-winning 18U National Teams in 2022. Curll joined the organization in 2018 after spending seven years working in amateur baseball following his collegiate baseball career at the University of Maryland and Liberty University.

Ben Kelley is taking over the two-time defending world champion 15U National Team Program. Kelley joined the organization in 2017 and has helped manage facility operations at the USA Baseball National Training Complex and run the National Team Championships in Arizona over the last five years. In addition, he oversaw the 13U/14U Athlete Development Program and supported several youth national team programs. Cole Beeker joined USA Baseball full-time in the fall and will serve as the program director for the defending world champion 12U National Team. Beeker was an intern for the 18U National Team in 2021 and, most recently, was an amateur scouting assistant for the Detroit Tigers.

An additional change made within the Baseball Operations department is Director of Player Development Jim Koerner will now be responsible for guiding the 13U/14U Athlete Development Program (ADP) and 16U/17U National Team Development Program (NTDP). Koerner, who spent 20 years coaching at the collegiate level, joined USA Baseball full-time in 2021 and will simultaneously continue on as the Field Coordinator for the MLB/USA Baseball Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) League as well.

The organization also made several changes within the Communications–formerly Media Relations–and Creative Services teams. Josh Spitz, who joined the organization in 2021 following four years working in the Athletic Communications office at Stony Brook University, was promoted to Assistant Director of Communications. Additionally, Mark Jenkins is the newest Director of Creative Services, and Kevin Jones currently serves as the Director of Brand for the organization. Jenkins joined USA Baseball in 2021 following stops working in creative services for Memphis, Southern Methodist (SMU), and UL Lafayette football programs. Jones has been with USA Baseball since 2012, serving as both a video producer and graphic designer, and spent the last five years as the Director of Creative Services. In his new role, Jones will oversee and develop the identity of USA Baseball in an expanding digital landscape.

Lastly, Lisa Braxton will continue to oversee BASE (Baseball Athlete Safety Education) in her new role as Director of Athlete Safety, in addition to holding expanded responsibility with the entire USA Baseball athlete safety program. Braxton spent nearly a decade at soccer.com, managing team sales, marketing, and institutional and club business before joining the organization in 2021. She also worked for two years for the NCAA.

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USA Baseball Announces 2022 Award Winners

18U National Team’s Bryce Eldridge named Richard W. “Dick” Case Award winner
December 6, 2022
CARY, N.C. – USA Baseball today named its annual organizational award winners, recognizing the top athletes, coaches, and performances from its 2022 USA Baseball national teams and development programs. 18U National Team member Bryce Eldridge is the Richard W. “Dick” Case Award winner, the fifth 18U National Team alumnus to

CARY, N.C. – USA Baseball today named its annual organizational award winners, recognizing the top athletes, coaches, and performances from its 2022 USA Baseball national teams and development programs. 18U National Team member Bryce Eldridge is the Richard W. “Dick” Case Award winner, the fifth 18U National Team alumnus to earn athlete of the year honors since 2011. The award is given annually to USA Baseball’s top player in honor of the organization’s founding Executive Director and CEO.

The 18U National Team collected honors in three additional categories in 2022, boasting Rod Dedeaux Coach of the Year Denny Hocking, International Performance of the Year winner Christian Rodriguez, and “Doc” Counsilman Science Award recipient Adam Moseley.

Seven-time Women’s National Team alumna Kelsie Whitmore is the 2022 Sportswoman of the Year, the 12U National Team earned Team of the Year honors, and Mike Bianco capped off an incredible 2022 by being named the USA Baseball College Coach of the Year.

The Developmental Coach of the Year Award went to 15U National Team Manager Drew Briese, and the Volunteer Coach of the Year honor went to André Butler. Rounding out the awards in 2022 is Coach Educator of the Year Bill Krejci, and Daisy Nelson, the organization’s Service Provider of the Year.

“It is our honor to recognize a group of talented people for their tremendous performances both on and off the field,” said USA Baseball Executive Director and CEO Paul Seiler. “2022 will go down as one of the most successful years in USA Baseball history. Our national teams combined to win four gold medals, three world championships, an international friendship series, and a bronze medal, and the efforts of this group of esteemed individuals were paramount to achieving such unrivaled success this year.”

The complete list of the 2022 USA Baseball organizational award winners is as follows:

  • Richard W. “Dick” Case Award: Bryce Eldridge, 18U National Team
  • Rod Dedeaux Coach of the Year: Denny Hocking, 18U National Team
  • Sportswoman of the Year: Kelsie Whitmore, Women’s National Team
  • International Performance of the Year: Christian Rodriguez, 18U National Team
  • Team of the Year: 12U National Team
  • College Coach of the Year: Mike Bianco, Collegiate National Team
  • Developmental Coach of the Year: Drew Briese, 15U National Team
  • Volunteer Coach of the Year: André Butler
  • Coach Educator of the Year: Bill Krejci
  • “Doc” Councilman Science Award: Adam Moseley, 18U National Team
  • Service Provider of the Year: Daisy Nelson

Bryce Eldridge earned Richard W. “Dick” Case Player of the Year honors after putting together a dynamic performance at the plate and on the mound at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup. The two-way star was named Tournament MVP after batting .316 with three homers and 13 RBIs – both tournament highs – and going 1-0 with a spotless 0.00 ERA and one save in three appearances as a pitcher. The Vienna, Virginia, native picked up at least one hit in five of his seven games at the plate and allowed just one hit over three innings pitched. Eldridge delivered in a major way in the first and last games of the tournament, kicking off the World Cup with a grand slam as part of a five-RBI game to beat the Netherlands in the tournament opener. Then, after leading the U.S. offense throughout the tournament, Eldridge cranked a three-run blast in the top of the seventh of the gold medal game before getting the final three outs on the mound as Team USA beat Chinese Taipei to secure its ninth world championship.

Rod Dedeaux Coach of the Year Denny Hocking led the U.S. to its ninth world championship at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in Bradenton and Sarasota, Florida, and followed that up by leading another 18U National Team to gold at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier. Under his guidance in his Team USA managerial debut, the U.S. claimed a world title on its home soil. The 13-year MLB veteran pushed all the right buttons throughout the World Cup as the U.S. went 8-1 en route to a gold medal. Hocking demonstrated his leadership ability by guiding the U.S. to two wins on the final day. Team USA scored 68 runs – its most at a World Cup since 2015 – and struck out 73 batters to lead the tournament. With the gold medal victory over Chinese Taipei, the United States captured its fifth world title in the last six editions of the event. A second 18U National Team under the guidance of Hocking then traveled to Mexico to qualify for next year’s U-18 Baseball World Cup in Taiwan. Not only did the team qualify, but the U.S. left with a gold medal after outscoring its opponents 79-24, hitting .348, and tallying 10 home runs. In total, Hocking led the 18U National Team program to two gold medals and an overall 16-1 record in 2022.

Sportswoman of the Year Kelsie Whitmore made her seventh career appearance for the Women's National Team this past summer. She played a vital role in helping the stars and stripes clinch their friendship series against Canada in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Whitmore started all five games – two on the mound, one as the designated hitter, and two in the outfield – and tallied at least one hit in four games. In the series opener, Whitmore was lights out as she was a double short of the cycle, going 3-for-3 with four RBIs, while pitching 4.2 innings of shutout ball. She led all players in the series with seven runs, eight hits, 10 RBIs, and a 1.000 slugging percentage. Along with her accomplishments with Team USA, Whitmore made history this spring by becoming the first female to play baseball in a league affiliated with Major League Baseball, making her professional debut with the Staten Island FerryHawks on April 21. She made 39 appearances in her rookie season in the Atlantic League.

Trailing Japan 3-2 in the third inning with the bases loaded and no outs in a Super Round game that would send Team USA to the gold medal game with a win, a torrential downpour set the stage for what would become the 2022 USA Baseball International Performance of the Year. The 18U National Team called on Christian Rodriguez out of the bullpen for the restart the morning after. Rodriguez needed just 13 pitches to strike out the Japan side and strand his three inherited base runners to keep the game within one and the U.S. within striking distance of a berth in the final. He would follow his masterful third inning with four more shutout innings, striking out seven batters, before his teammates would rally for the 4-3 walk-off victory. Rodriguez's performance set the tone for Team USA on the final day of the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup as the red, white, and blue capped off the event that afternoon with its ninth world championship following a 5-1 victory over Chinese Taipei in the finale.

The 12U National Team traveled to Taiwan in August and returned home with its fourth world championship in program history, earning gold at the WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup and later being named the 2022 USA Baseball Team of the Year. Amidst strict Covid-19 protocols, the team was required to quarantine in its hotel for three days, but it was not enough to deter the red, white, and blue, as they took care of business by going a perfect 8-0 in tournament play and becoming the first team in 12U National Team history to go unbeaten at the World Cup. After posting four wins in the Opening Round, the U.S. opened the Super Round with a walk-off win over Mexico and a victory over Chinese Taipei before taking down Venezuela twice to claim the title. Team USA clubbed 27 home runs and outscored its opponents 99-31. Seven players for the gold-medal-winning squad earned spots on the All-World Team after the tournament, including Colin Anderson, who was named Tournament MVP. The U.S. now boasts four U-12 Baseball World Cup titles, the most in the world.

Ole Miss Head Coach and 2022 Collegiate National Team Manager Mike Bianco collected plenty of hardware in 2022 to earn USA Baseball College Coach of the Year honors. Bianco led Ole Miss to its first-ever national championship as the Rebels went the distance at the 2022 College World Series. After posting a 42-23 record in regular season play, his squad won the Coral Gables Regional and the Hattiesburg Super Regional before knocking off Oklahoma to win the national championship. Bianco then took the reins as manager of the Collegiate National Team and led the U.S. to a bronze medal at Honkbalweek in Haarlem, Netherlands. Competing against nations featuring numerous players with professional baseball experience, Team USA beat Japan in the bronze medal game, 5-1. The U.S. pitching staff posted a 0.70 ERA in the tournament, the lowest team ERA in Collegiate National Team history.

Developmental Coach of the Year Drew Briese made his managerial debut this past summer with the 15U National Team and led Team USA to its second-straight gold medal at the WBSC U-15 Baseball World Cup in Hermosillo, Mexico. Under his guidance, the squad posted an 8-1 record, highlighted by back-to-back wins over Cuba in the semifinal and gold-medal games, as Team USA outscored its opponents 99-30 in the tournament. Briese played an instrumental role in the development of the players with his wealth of knowledge and experience at the youth and collegiate levels of baseball, helping them to prepare for the next level of their careers.

André Butler's impact in four significant events and national team programs for USA Baseball this year led to him being named the Volunteer Coach of the Year. He was a member of the Task Force at the USA Baseball National Team Championships, aiding in identifying players for the National Team Development Programs (NTDP), and a coach at the 16U/17U NTDP, where he helped prepare those kids for a future national team opportunity. Butler was also on the coaching staff at the PDP League and the 18U National Team Training Camp, where he helped identify and develop a group of athletes that would go on to win the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in September - its ninth in program history. Additionally, eight members of the 16U/17U NTDP later went on to win a gold medal at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier in Mexico in November.

Coach Educator of the Year Bill Krejci has been involved with USA Baseball for nearly three decades as a coach and instructor for national teams and developmental programs, and most recently as a part of the Fun At Bat program. With the Fun At Bat program, he has impacted the growth of baseball among youth, serving as a lead instructor at numerous teacher training sessions and as a lead clinician at multiple USA Baseball Homegrown Clinics in 2022. Krejci spends his time with USA Baseball demonstrating the fundamentals of the game to physical education teachers from across the country, helping them implement it into their everyday curriculum. In 2022, his service to USA Baseball has reached more than 100 teachers and 50,000 students in eight school districts using Fun At Bat and over 200 kids who attended a Homegrown Clinic.

"Doc" Counsilman Award recipient Adam Moseley is one of the foremost leaders within the USA Baseball coaching community to use scientific data and state-of-the-art technology as part of his coaching. Under his guidance as the pitching coach for the 18U National Team at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup, Moseley helped lead the U.S. to its ninth world championship thanks to his tireless work using analytical data and ball flight analysis. Not only did his commitment to data allow him to scout opponents in a tournament setting, but he was also able to utilize data from PDP Performance Assessments and Trackman to aid in identifying and selecting the roster for the 18U National Team. Team USA scored 68 runs – its most at a World Cup since 2015 – and struck out 73 batters to lead the tournament.

Daisy Nelson is an unsung hero for the tremendous success of USA Baseball and its many athletes. Nelson has been responsible for staffing and training certified athletic trainers for USA Baseball national teams, training camps, and identification events since 2016. Her contributions, and the extension of her work through USA Baseball's certified athletic trainers, contributed to an unprecedented run of success for the U.S. this year as the stars and stripes won four gold medals, three world championships, a friendship series, and a bronze medal in 2022.

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The Gold Standard

A look back at Team USA’s 12U, 15U, and 18U World Cup titles in 2022
November 29, 2022
READ ON ISSUU At USA Baseball there is a mantra of ‘The Gold Standard.’ Simply put, it is the mindset to win gold on one of the biggest stages of the sport. This standard is most certainly lived out, as Team USA has 110 gold medals to its name since

READ ON ISSUU

At USA Baseball there is a mantra of ‘The Gold Standard.’ Simply put, it is the mindset to win gold on one of the biggest stages of the sport.

This standard is most certainly lived out, as Team USA has 110 gold medals to its name since the organization became the national governing body for baseball in 1978. Three of those came this past summer when the 12U, 15U, and 18U National Teams all earned titles at their respective World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Baseball World Cups, marking the first time that Team USA has ever won a gold medal at all three youth World Cups in a single year.

“The gold standard sounds a little aggressive sometimes, but it's more about a pursuit of excellence and a pursuit of perfection,” said USA Baseball Chief Executive Officer Paul Seiler. “Achieving perfection is a relative term, but it’s hard to do. If you look at what our responsibility is, as an organization, specific to international competition and an athletic representation, it's the sport of baseball wrapped in the American flag.

“When you take those two tenants of our identity, at least on the field, there’s a very high expectation in this country, and it’s one that we embrace of performing well at the highest level while competing for gold medals.”

In addition to the on-field attributes, the gold standard embodies the type of player and coach that comes through USA Baseball. The Team USA experience is not just about winning gold; it’s also about the character of the people who get to wear the U-S-A letters across their chest.

“To me, the gold standard has always been more about the way that we carry ourselves,” said Ashley Bratcher, general manager of the 18U National Team program. “Everything we do, we’re going to do it to the highest of our ability. How we treat others that we interact with and leaving things better than we found them is a big deal, because those are details that go into ultimately trying to win a gold medal. The hope and goal at the end of the day is to build better people, both staff and players, as well as better men and women in our process.”

Winning gold is not as easy as Team USA may make it seem. There is so much more that goes into ‘The Gold Standard’ than just coming out on top. What was an incredible run for the U.S. on the international stage could not have been done without the buy-in and commitment from players, coaches, and staff members.

“It truly takes a village to put the summer together from a behind-the-scenes standpoint, and for us to come out on top is extremely special. Three World Cups in one summer just never happens, and it was an unbelievable experience for our organization,” said Will Schworer, who oversaw the 12U and 15U National Team programs over the summer.

“We had comebacks, we had losses, we dealt with adversity off the field from the normal challenges involved when traveling for a competition, but we controlled what we were able to control and at the end of the day, we were able to truly come together. Everybody involved just has so much willingness to do what it takes in the pursuit to win gold, and it speaks volumes to the drive behind USA Baseball.”

That ‘village’ of players, coaches, and staff members all played an integral part to creating the storyline of three World Cup titles within a six-week span.

*12U NATIONAL TEAM
*
While traveling to an international competition can be experience of a lifetime, a lot of challenges can be faced. For the 12U National Team, who traveled to Tainan, Taiwan, for its World Cup, it was forced to quarantine on a single floor of a hotel for nearly a week before they could step foot on a field. For what manager RJ Farrell initially saw as a setback, his perspective quickly changed once the team lived it. Looking back, he sees that time as a valuable piece to the squad winning gold.

“At first, I was super nervous about it,” said Farrell. “I didn’t know what we were going to do with a team of 11- and 12-year-olds who are confined to one floor of a hotel for days. We had to find ways to get them moving every day but looking back I think that time helped us a lot. As pessimistic as I was, my optimism turned fast. Since we didn’t have to compete right away, we got to adjust to the time, but also the players were forced to become friends because they had nowhere else to go. I think it ultimately helped us on the field when it came time to compete; it was unexpectedly a big time positive for us.”

The chemistry certainly showed on the field, as the team went undefeated with an 8-0 record and outscored its opponents 99-25. Just looking at the results, though, doesn’t quite tell the story of this team. Even though it did not endure a loss during the stretch of the tournament, the team found themselves at times in tough spots against opponents but managed to find a way to win every time.

“What was special about this group is that they all put their egos aside,” said Farrell. “They all had the mentality that they were going to do whatever is going to help the team. I think for a group of young men, they did exceptionally well in putting the team first. They knew that if we called on them, it was going to be an important situation and that we were going to need them to do their thing.”

In its second game of the pool play against Japan, Team USA led by just one run heading into the final inning before exploding for 14 runs, which included a pinch-hit grand slam by Colin Anderson, to come away with a 21-6 win. What could have been a narrow win for the stars and stripes turned into a dominant performance at the plate and a glimpse into what potential this team had.

Fast forward to its first two Super Round games against Mexico and Chinese Taipei, the U.S. trailed at one point in both of those must-win matchups but came up clutch in the final frames. Whether it was the walk-off single by Anthony Ramon against Mexico or the go-ahead grand slam by Anthony Frausto in the fourth inning against Chinese Taipei, those moments led to the ultimate test of defeating a talented Venezuela team in its final two games of the tournament.

The first game between the squads was tightly contested with Team USA earning a 12-7 win; it was a back-and-forth battle between the top two offensive teams as there were a combined 19 hits and seven home runs in the game. In the gold medal game, Venezuela held a 2-1 lead through the first two-and-a-half innings, but the U.S. scored nine unanswered runs in combination with James Stout III’s 4.2 strong innings in relief en route to winning gold for the fourth time in the last five World Cups.

“I think on paper or if you're looking from the outside in, you don't feel the nervousness that some of the players did or excitement on coming back from games that they were battling through, but this team never let up,” said Schworer. “They were taught to keep going and keep hitting the gas for the entire six innings, and all the credit to the kids because it was it was an impressive feat that they pulled off.”

For Farrell, making his managerial debut and leading the squad with a world title this summer was a full circle moment as it was something he had been eagerly waiting to do for nearly three years. A member of the 2019 12U National Team staff that went to Taiwan, Farrell had been asked shortly after that event to be the manager in 2020, but due to challenges and setbacks from COVID-19, he was never able to fully assume the position until this past summer.

“Since coming back from the 2019 World Cup in Taiwan, I had thought a lot about the couple of losses that we had and how we didn’t medal,” said Farrell. “It was in my head a lot. Fortunately, we made the run that we did this summer and came away with a gold medal. It almost felt like redemption. A lot of us had put a lot of time and effort into this team, and to finally be able to see it through and bring the gold back home was truly special not just for me, but for everyone involved in the 12U program.”

*15U NATIONAL TEAM
*
While being a part of a national team is a great honor, there comes a responsibility when chosen to represent Team USA. A large component of that responsibility is a level of maturity.

As a teenager there are a lot of highs and lows emotionally and trying to navigate through the growing pains of life can be a tough task. For this year’s 15U National Team though, their identity was that they were a steadfast team. They managed to show maturity beyond their years when it came to how they handled tough situations, and it served as a large factor for ultimately defending its World Cup title.

“It’s a credit to those young players, who they are and how they studied themselves in a challenging environment,” said 15U National Team Manager Drew Briese. “We had a large group of guys who were just super steady and even keel. They never got too high or too low. It was really a credit to the young people that we had and how they went about their business. It was one of the reasons that I really, really loved that team. I loved coaching them because of the mentality that they had.”

One of the hardest situations that the 15U team faced the entire time in Hermosillo, Mexico, was the hostile environment that they played in. The environment not only created intense situations in games, but it also created incredible memories for this team as their story unfolded.

“The moment was never too big for those young people,” said Briese. “When you get into a situation where you're in a foreign country, and most of the stadium of several thousand people are against you, you worry a bit about what the what the response is going to be, but they answered. The moments of those young men playing under pressure, and the way that the team performed will always stick out as great memories.”

In its second game of the tournament the U.S. had to face Venezuela after a wild 29-0 win over South Africa the day before. The team trailed 5-1 heading into the final frame but scored four runs, impressively all while down to its final out, to earn a 5-4 walk-off victory.

Likewise, in its Super Round game against Panama it managed to earn another walk-off victory. This game was crucial in the pursuit of gold, as it was coming off a 12-6 setback to Japan and therefore could not endure another loss. The squad faced a 5-4 deficit heading into the bottom of the seventh, and just as it looked as though Panama might have been able to put the U.S. away, Coy James homered to tie the game and force extra innings. In the eighth, Alex Harrington’s sacrifice fly brought the game-winning run across.

“The Venezuela and Panama games were probably my favorite memories from the tournament,” said James. “I’ll tell those stories forever. In the Venezuela game we were down 4-1 in the bottom of the seventh, and I remember leading with a hit to get us going and eventually scored after a couple of walks to make it 4-2 with two outs. With how intense the crowd was, we really didn’t know if we were going to be able to pull it out, but we managed to create some runs with a couple more hits to win the game.

“When we played Panama, we were down late again, but I homered in the seventh to tie the game up and go to extras. It was a great feeling when I ran around the bases back to my teammates, and we ended up winning that game too. We were all going crazy at the end, and it was just a really cool environment to be in.”

After a shutout victory over Chinese Taipei in its second Super Round game, its final test of the tournament was Cuba. Like the 12U team, the 15U squad had to beat Cuba in back-to-back games on the path to its world title. Facing Cuba though, it wasn’t anything new for this team. Just like several of its previous games, there were several thousand fans in the stands and nearly all of them were cheering against the United States.

In the preview of the gold medal game, it was as though the crowd added fuel to the fire as the U.S. easily handed Cuba with an 11-1 result. It was a complete performance by the stars and stripes as it tallied 12 hits at the plate and held the opposition to one hit with seven strikeouts.

The gold medal game was a much different story though, as the teams were tied at 3-3 after the first three innings. Ethan Holliday’s RBI fielder’s choice in the fifth inning plated what proved to be the game-winning run, and that moment combined with four shutout innings in relief by Zane Burns and Ryan Harwood gave the U.S. just what it needed to complete the task of bringing home gold and winning a second straight world championship. 

“I vividly remember the end of that gold medal game when it was 4-3 in the top of the seventh and Cuba had runners at the corners with one out,” said Schworer. “Zane Burns had an unbelievable outing, but Ryan Harwood took over and only need eight pitches to strike out the final two batters. There were about 3,500 people in the stands chanting ‘Sí, se puede’ in that moment, rooting for Cuba and against the United States. Credit to the guys on the field for coming together as a cohesive unit and playing for each other. It was it was an unreal experience and phenomenal to watch come to fruition.”

*18U NATIONAL TEAM
*
The 18U National Team is one of the more highly touted squads in the amateur baseball landscape. For starters, they have won 10 World Cups, including five of the last six dating back to 2012, but also, the pool of players that the team is selected from are some of the most talented in the world at the amateur level. Players like two-time Gold Glove award winner Manny Machado, two-time World Series Champion Alex Bregman, two-time Silver Slugger Award recipient and MVP Bryce Harper, and three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw have all represented the United States as the 18U level.

Given the history and visibility of this program, this year’s World Cup title had a different sense of pride to it by being held in Sarasota and Bradenton, Florida. It was the first time since 1995 that the United States had hosted a World Cup at the U-18 level.

“In terms of visibility and awareness of the program and international baseball it was really cool to be on U.S. soil,” said 18U National Team General Manager Bratcher. “For the players, their families and friends were able to support them because of the accessibility that it provided by being held in Florida. And, of course, anytime you can defend a championship on your own soil and be successful, has a different level of relation and pride to it.”

Defending your home soil can be a daunting task, but for this squad it was something they embraced. It found a way to battle back time and time again, and it started with the first game of the tournament. In its opener against The Netherlands, Team USA faced a 3-0 deficit after the first inning-and-a-half but managed to score nine unanswered runs, highlighted by Bryce Eldridge’s grand slam in the fifth inning, to complete the comeback.

The squad also faced adversity in its game with Canada when Team USA trailed 5-3 in the middle frames, but a fifth-inning surge preceded a dramatic seventh as the U.S. held off Canada, who made it a 7-6 game with the bases loaded and one out, when Blake Mitchell shut the door with back-to-back strikeouts to help the U.S. secure the top seed in the Super Round.

“I think the chemistry part was huge for us,” said Eldridge. “We’ve all been boys for the past couple of years from playing on the summer circuit together. Even though we were down first, which was in almost half of our games, none of us were afraid of the competition. We had a bunch of leaders on the team who picked everyone up, and we were never worried any time when we were behind that we were going lose. We were confident and were ready for any adversity that came our way. We always found a way to respond.”

After finishing pool play undefeated, Team USA’s first true setback came in the Super Round opener against Chinese Taipei when it suffered a 6-2 loss. It was a moment that could have been of true defeat for a team but keeping the goal of winning gold at the forefront was the driver to how the rest of the tournament played out.

After a comeback win over Mexico the following day, the most important game of the tournament came in its matchup against Japan. A win would put the U.S. in the gold medal game but a loss placed the team playing for a bronze medal. Team USA got off to a rocky start, facing a 3-2 deficit in the third inning with Japan having the bases loaded with no outs. Due to heavy rain, however, the game was suspended until the next day.

The suspension ultimately became a pivotal moment in the tournament that flipped the script.

“I remember when we were on the bus back at the hotel, it was just the coaches and players, and I told them that this tournament no longer comes down to the decisions that the coaches are going to make,” said 18U National Team Manager Denny Hocking. “I asked them if they knew what the word ‘destiny’ meant, and they said no, so I read them the definition and suggested they have a team meeting in the hotel about what it means and where we were going to go from here.

“I went back to my room that night and took a picture of my whiteboard. Before we left for that game against Japan I wrote on it, ‘USA vs. Chinese Taipei gold, Japan vs. Korea bronze.’ I put an American flag we were given by a veteran on 9/11 along with a shield from his platoon that he gave me next to it and sent the photo in a group message and said, ‘That was what I wrote in my room before we left today, and you can use this in your meeting.’ About an hour later I got a response from Dylan Cupp, who we deemed our team captain, and he said, ‘Don’t worry Skip, we got this.’

“It was at that point I knew we were going to win gold. These boys understood the responsibility they had, and it was at that moment when I got that text that I knew we were truly destined to win the gold medal.”

The next day when the game resumed with the bases loaded and no outs, Christian Rodriguez put together one of the most impressive pitching performances you would ever see as he needed just 13 pitches to strike out the side in the third to keep Japan at bay and shift the momentum to Team USA. The next four innings were a pitcher’s duel as just one batter reached base in the stretch, but in the bottom of the seventh the U.S. managed to cause some chaos. With runners in scoring position following a single and two-base error, a balk tied the game at 3-3. Two at-bats later, Cupp delivered the walk-off single to advance the stars and stripes to the gold medal game.

It was just a 30-minute turnaround for the U.S. to prep for the finale due to the semifinal game’s suspension, but the team never wavered. Not only was it coming off the thriller over Japan, but it had a revenge game ahead of them in Chinese Taipei and the U.S. was not going to be denied of its destiny.

Despite Chinese Taipei scoring first, Team USA managed to knot the score a 1-1 in the fourth and take its first lead of the game in the fifth at 2-1. After Taipei failed to bring the game-tying run home in the sixth Eldridge put the game away in the seventh, both at the plate and on the mound. In the top of the seventh he hit a three-run home run to left field, then came in to pitch in the bottom half and induced a scoreless frame. At that point, the squad officially reached their destiny of winning a gold medal to take back the title of world champion in front of friends and family on home soil.

“Once we won, I was just extremely happy for the boys, for being able to accomplish what they ultimately set out to do,” said Hocking. “I think that experience made those guys realize what it takes to reach the goal that you set out to have. I hope that when they reflect on the player meeting that they had after the Japan game was suspended, they see how much of a life-changing moment that was.”

*THE HARDWARE
*
When the final out of a gold medal game is recorded, and you’re on the winning side, it is a moment unlike any other. Knowing that your team has won a gold medal for your country is something that so few people get to experience, but the ones who have hold onto that memory forever.  

“I don't even think I could even try explaining the emotions in that moment,” said Eldridge. “In that time, I just remember throwing up my glove and almost fell. It was like a blackout. I won a state championship, and at the time that was the greatest feeling I ever had playing baseball. But winning a gold medal on the world stage was a feeling that still I don't know how to describe to people when they ask about it. There’s nothing else like it.”

On top of winning a gold medal, Anderson, Eldridge, and James each took home some additional hardware as they were named the Most Valuable Player at their respective World Cups.

“It was amazing to win the MVP award,” said James. “All the hard work I had been putting on the field and at the gym had paid off. Every game I was just trying to help the team win and ended up doing well enough to win MVP. It was a great honor.”

Once a player is immersed in the Team USA experience and understands what it means to uphold the gold standard, it becomes something they are forever a part of. Only a select group of players get to know what the pursuit of gold is like; what it means to never give up, how to have a steadfast approach to any situation, and how it feels to reach their ultimate goal. But, more importantly, the off-field aspects become just as intrinsic for players and coaches alike. The importance of individual success fades into the background when one is a part of USA Baseball and gives way to continuing to build upon the foundation they stand upon, aiming to make it better for those who are to follow. USA Baseball becomes a part of one’s makeup, and is something they carry with them everywhere they go.

“Ever since we went to Taiwan, my teammates and I were always researching about the 15U and 18U teams and when they were playing,” said Anderson. “All those players were so good, and the other MVPs, Coy James and Bryce Eldridge, they were amazing and dominated at their tournaments. I definitely look up to them.

“They had that one job, to get that gold medal, and that’s what they did.”

On top of USA Baseball’s three gold medals this summer, the Women’s National Team also contributed the gold standard when it won its five-game friendship series with Canada back in July. Additionally, last month the 18U National Team managed to capitalize on a record-breaking summer for Team USA and clinch a spot at the 2023 WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in Tainan, Taiwan. The team went undefeated with an 8-0 record and won a gold medal at the World Cup Americas Qualifier in La Paz, Mexico.

“I think success breeds success,” said Seiler. “I believe there are so many of our athletes and coaches who desire to maintain the excellence that those before them have achieved.

“I feel like as we've grown as an organization and our pipeline of opportunity has expanded, that's it’s created different avenues and opportunities to have more and more players and their families connected to what it means to be involved with USA Baseball. As soon as you get close to the epicenter of being on a USA Baseball national team, I think it’s easy to understand what you’re playing for.”

And what they’re playing for, of course, is this gold standard that was created in 1978 which ultimately led to a record-breaking summer for Team USA.

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Cleveland Guardians Partner with Ohio 529 and USA Baseball to Bring "Fun At Bat” to K-5 Physical Education Classes Across Ohio

FREE MLB PLAY BALL Youth Initiative for 2022-2023 School Year for physical education teachers
November 16, 2022
(article written and published by MLB.com) Cleveland, Ohio – “Fun at Bat presented by Ohio 529”, developed by USA Baseball and supported by Major League Baseball, the Cleveland Guardians and Ohio 529, provides introductory level bat-and-ball classroom instruction for kids with an emphasis on character development, functional movement, literacy, active

(article written and published by MLB.com)

Cleveland, Ohio – “Fun at Bat presented by Ohio 529”, developed by USA Baseball and supported by Major League Baseball, the Cleveland Guardians and Ohio 529, provides introductory level bat-and-ball classroom instruction for kids with an emphasis on character development, functional movement, literacy, active play and fun.

This free program offering is available to all schools (grades K-5) throughout the state of Ohio. Separate curriculums have been created for grades K-2 & 3-5, that provide developmentally appropriate lesson plans that align with SHAPE America’s National Standards and Grade-Level Outcomes for Physical Education.

“I truly believe baseball is a game for everyone and that this program will truly help grow the game,” said Cleveland Guardians 3B José Ramírez. “This program offers all course materials in both English and Spanish languages for young learners across the state.”.”

Participating schools will receive quality equipment, USA Baseball Championship Principle Book, and other resources. Physical education teachers will also have access to free online courses which assist in teaching the basic fundamentals of the program.

“USA Baseball has a stellar track record at providing great baseball instruction across many levels, which is just one of the many reasons we’re so excited to bring this free program to Ohio schools”, said Cleveland Guardians Assistant Director of Community Impact and Diversity Initiatives Raphael Collins.

The Cleveland Guardians are encouraging all K-5 physical education teachers & school administrators to go online, learn more, and register your school by visiting www.cleguardians.com/funatbat.

Cleveland, OH – “Fun at Bat presented by Ohio 529”, developed by USA Baseball and supported by Major League Baseball, the Cleveland Guardians and Ohio 529, provides introductory level bat-and-ball classroom instruction for kids with an emphasis on character development, functional movement, literacy, active play and fun.

This free program offering is available to all schools (grades K-5) throughout the state of Ohio. Separate curriculums have been created for grades K-2 & 3-5, that provide developmentally appropriate lesson plans that align with SHAPE America’s National Standards and Grade-Level Outcomes for Physical Education.

“I truly believe baseball is a game for everyone and that this program will truly help grow the game,” said Cleveland Guardians 3B José Ramírez. “This program offers all course materials in both English and Spanish languages for young learners across the state.”.”

Participating schools will receive quality equipment, USA Baseball Championship Principle Book, and other resources. Physical education teachers will also have access to free online courses which assist in teaching the basic fundamentals of the program.

“USA Baseball has a stellar track record at providing great baseball instruction across many levels, which is just one of the many reasons we’re so excited to bring this free program to Ohio schools”, said Cleveland Guardians Assistant Director of Community Impact and Diversity Initiatives Raphael Collins.

The Cleveland Guardians are encouraging all K-5 physical education teachers & school administrators to go online, learn more, and register your school by visiting www.cleguardians.com/funatbat.

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20220918_G50_USA-TPE_U18BWC_0952

Catching Up With Bryce Eldridge

A Q&A With USA Baseball alum Bryce Eldridge
November 15, 2022
USA Baseball recently caught up with Bryce Eldridge, who is fresh off a gold medal at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup back in September. The following is a Q&A to reflect on his time with Team USA. USAB: Since winning gold at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup, what

USA Baseball recently caught up with Bryce Eldridge, who is fresh off a gold medal at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup back in September. The following is a Q&A to reflect on his time with Team USA.

USAB: Since winning gold at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup, what has life been like since being back home?

BE: “There was so much support from my hometown when I got home, and not just for me but for all my teammates as well. I think people understood what a special experience it was for me to be able to represent our country. I was flooded with so much positivity and even came home to a sign in my front yard. When I went into local restaurants, I had people going out of their way to tell me congratulations and how proud they were of me. I also got to go talk to my high school team and some little league teams and share my experience.”

USAB: Aside from winning gold, what was your favorite memory of the World Cup?

BE: “I think the best part about the World Cup was getting the hang out with all my teammates at the hotel. You know, after a game or before a game, we would all would just talk about baseball or just goof off and have some fun with each other. It was a close-knit group of kids, and we were inseparable.”

USAB: If you could describe winning a gold medal for team USA in one word, what would it be?

BE: “Surreal. It’s something that not many people have accomplished. It’s a feeling that everyone dreams of. Not many people get to see that dream through, and I did which was so awesome.”

USAB: What was it like putting on that USA uniform for the first time?

BE: “I had goosebumps. It was a such cool feeling, I felt like a million bucks. You should see my camera roll; I have like 100 selfies and pictures of me. It was such a cool experience.”

USAB: You recently signed your National Letter of Intent to play at Alabama next year. What is your biggest takeaway from playing for Team USA that you feel like you can take with you to the next stage of your career?

BE: “Just knowing that how good a team can be when you're tight-knit and have a good group of leaders. It can be it can be something special for not just a team or a sport, but also for a workplace. It was cool to be a part of, and I think I can take that with me moving forward and understand what it takes to be a winner. I hope to be able to bring that with me to Alabama try to become a leader for that team as well.”

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GOLDEN! Team USA Beats Panama in World Cup Qualifier Title Game

Nye’s dominant outing, 10-run fifth inning carry U.S. to sixth straight title
November 14, 2022
Box Score | Plays | Cumulative Stats
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Panama 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 3 4
Team USA 0 1 0 0 10 0 X 11 12 0

Box Score | Plays | Cumulative Stats

LA PAZ, Mexico – Team USA scored 10 runs in the fifth inning en route to an 11-1 victory over Panama to win gold at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier on Sunday afternoon at Estadio Arturo C. Nahl.

It is the sixth consecutive WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier title for the 18U National Team, as the program has won gold at every tournament since 2009.

What seemed to be a pitchers’ duel turned into a blowout win for the U.S. thanks to a 10-run fifth inning in which Team USA batted around before recording an out. The outburst began when Nazzan Zanetello (Florissant, Mo.) hit a leadoff double–his first of two extra-base hits in the inning–before coming around to score on an RBI single by Ty Southisene (Henderson, Nev.). Casey Borba (Santa Ana, Calif.) then picked up an RBI knock between two bases-loaded walks as the stars and stripes kept the line moving to take a 5-0 lead.

Three straight hits continued the massive U.S. rally. Roman Martin (Whittier, Calif.) and Macon Winslow (Hertford, N.C.) hit back-to-back opposite-field singles to each drive in a run before Zanetello delivered the massive blow. With the bases loaded, Zanetello hit a bases-clearing, three-run double for his second extra-base hit of the frame to make it a 10-run lead for the United States. The final run of the outburst came on the first out of the inning, a Noah Franco (Downey, Calif.) RBI groundout that grew Team USA’s lead to 11-0.

Before the scoring onslaught in the fifth, the U.S. and Panama were locked in a nailbiter. Austin Nye (Roseville, Calif.) started for Team USA and was nearly unhittable in his five innings of work, striking out seven and earning the win. Aside from a one-out single in the first and a leadoff walk in the fourth, Panama’s lineup was unable to muster anything off the righthander, who was named Tournament MVP after posting a spotless 0.00 ERA in seven innings over two appearances.

The U.S. was only able to score once in the first four innings while Nye kept Panama in check, cracking the scoreboard in the bottom of the second. After Panama right fielder Ricardo Tivey made a perfect throw to nab Martin at the plate for the second out of the inning, Daniel Arambula (Yucaipa, Calif.) hit Team USA’s third single of the frame to get on the board, squeaking an RBI single inside the first-base bag to plate Zanetello and put the U.S. in front by a run.

After a quick third inning saw both sides go down in order, Nye walked the leadoff batter in the top of the fourth to put a runner on for Panama with the heart of its order due up. The righthander quickly locked back in, however, and struck out the next batter before inducing a 6-3 double play to keep Panama off the board. The leadoff base-on-balls was the only batter Nye walked in his masterful performance.

The U.S. followed suit by drawing a walk to lead off the bottom of the fourth, but like Nye, Panama righthander Emanuel Vargas escaped the inning unscathed. After getting Martin looking for the first out, PJ Morlando (Summerville, S.C.) was caught stealing and Winslow grounded out to third as Team USA was unable to build on its one-run advantage.

With only one run of support at the time, Nye continued dealing in the fifth. Panama’s Jose Aparicio sent a deep fly ball to the warning track on the first pitch of the inning, but Winslow tracked it down at the wall before Nye struck out the next two batters for his sixth and seventh punch outs of the day.

The U.S. then came to the plate and spent nearly 50 minutes on offense in its 10-run fifth inning to put the game out of reach. The first 10 batters to come to the plate reached base for the stars and stripes and all 10 scored as the offense collected seven hits and drew two walks in the frame. Panama was forced to make three pitching changes during the inning, using four pitchers to retire the U.S. side.

With Nye spending almost an hour in the dugout during the rally, Team USA turned to Carson Messina (Summerville, S.C.) to get the final six outs. Messina worked through some control issues in his two innings and allowed a run in the seventh before striking out Joaquin Gamba to secure the championship win for the United States.

Zanetello continued his tear at the plate in the tournament finale, going 3-for-3 with three runs scored and two driven in. It was the fourth multi-RBI game of the tournament for Zanetello, who hit seven of his nine total hits for extra bases. Arambula and Martin each had two-hit days and drove in a run for the U.S., and Southisene was 1-for-4 with a walk, meaning he reached base in all seven games he played in.

Nye’s final line was superb. The California native lasted five innings and allowed just one hit while striking out seven before handing the ball to Messina, who punched out two batters. The U.S. pitching staff finished the tournament with 65 strikeouts, the most of any team.

Manuel Moreno, who started for Panama and allowed one run in two innings, suffered the loss.

The United States was also atop the leaderboard in several offensive categories, including home runs (10) and runs scored (79). The 10-run fifth inning was the second time the stars and stripes scored nine or more runs in an inning during the tournament as they put up nine against Peru in a massive third frame during pool play.

Team USA was well-represented in the tournament award ceremony. Nye was named MVP after posting a flawless 0.00 ERA in two appearances, throwing seven total innings and striking out a team-best 12 batters. He also had a hit in his only plate appearance, smoking a two-run double in the tournament opener against Peru.

Morlando earned the title of Batting Champion after being a force in the batter’s box all tournament long, accumulating a .333 (7-for-21) average with three homers and nine RBIs. The three blasts tied six other players in U.S. history for most homers hit at a WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier. Morlando had a hit and RBI in all but one of the games he played in.

Zanetello earned the Stolen Base Champion title after swiping a tournament-most five bags. The speedster stole three total bases in pool play action before picking up two more in the Super Round against Mexico and Nicaragua.

Additionally, three U.S. players earned spots on the All-Tournament Team. Arambula was named to the team at third base thanks to his .353 average with five RBIs, including his run-scoring hit in the title game. Borba earned his spot as a first baseman after batting .360 with two homers and driving in a tournament-high 13 runs, collecting two multi-hit games. Campbell Smithwick (Conway, S.C.) got the honor at catcher, touting a .250 average with five RBIs in addition to catching the only runner who tried stealing with him behind the dish.

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Brass

GOLD MEDAL GAMEDAY: Team USA, Panama Meet in Gold Medal Game

First pitch scheduled for 3:00 p.m. MT/5:00 p.m. ET at Estadio Arturo C. Nahl
November 13, 2022
LIVE STATS

LIVE STATS

LA PAZ, Mexico – The 18U National Team takes on Panama in the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier gold medal game on Sunday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. MT/5:00 p.m. ET at Estadio Arturo C. Nahl in La Paz, Mexico.

LAST TIME OUT

The U.S. finished off a Super Round sweep on Saturday with an 8-4 win over Nicaragua. After Nicaragua answered with a run following back-to-back doubles by Campbell Smithwick and Casey Borba, the U.S. took back the lead for good on a two-run single by Daniel Arambula in the bottom of the third. Borba went 3-for-4 on the day with two runs driven in, increasing his RBI total to a team-best 12. Nazzan Zanetello continued his tear at the plate, smoking a two-run homer for some insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth.

Michael Torres started for the U.S. on the mound and was effective, tossing four innings of one-run ball. The southpaw worked into and out of a jam in the third inning to keep the Nicaraguan offense at bay and ended the day with five strikeouts. Ty Southisene pitched two innings in relief and allowed a run, and Noah Franco retired the final three batters despite permitting two runners to score.

HISTORY AGAINST PANAMA

The U.S. has played Panama 24 times at the U-18 level and owns a 22-2 record in the series, including an 18-1 record at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier. The two sides met for the first time in 1987 and most recently played earlier in this tournament, with Team USA picking up a 5-2 win in Super Round action.

FAMILIAR TERRITORY

The title game will be the 10th such contest for Team USA in 14 appearances at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier. The U.S. first appeared in the tournament's gold medal game in its debut tournament in 1993, where it fell to Cuba, 5-1. After not making the title game in the following three tournaments, the United States has appeared in the game nine times in its last 10 tries. Overall, the 18U National Team is 5-4 in the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier championship game.

2018 ALL OVER AGAIN

Team USA and Panama met in the title game at the most recent WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier, playing for gold on December 2, 2018, in Chitre, Panama. The U.S. knocked off Panama, 17-2, scoring early and often to secure its fifth-consecutive gold medal. Current Texas Rangers top pitching prospect Jack Leiter started that game for the stars and stripes and struck out nine batters in four innings, and current Kansas City Royal Bobby Witt Jr. hit for the cycle to help lead Team USA to the gold medal win.

QUALIFIER SUCCESS

The U.S. has won each of the last five U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifiers it has competed in, earning gold in 2009, 2011, 2014, 2016, and 2018 while compiling a 41-1 overall record. The program most recently captured gold in the event with a perfect 9-0 record in 2018, outscoring its opponents 131-27.

SUPER ROUND STANDINGS

United States (5-0)

Panama (3-2)

Mexico (3-2)

Venezuela (2-2)

Nicaragua (1-4)

Puerto Rico (1-4)

INSIDE THE ROSTER

Team USA’s 20-man roster features four members who have previously donned the stars and stripes. A trio of players reunite on the roster after earning spots on the 15U National Team: Carson Messina, Austin Nye, and Michael Torres. Additionally, Daniel Arambula (2017) and Torres (2018) played for the 12U National Team, both winning gold medals.

In total, 10 of the 20 players on the roster have participated in USA Baseball development programs, including eight players from the 2022 16U/17U National Team Development Program (NTDP). Arambula, Talan Bell, Matthew Champion, Noah Franco, PJ Morlando, Vaughn Neckar, Ford Thompson, and Torres all participated at this year’s NTDP from July 25-29 in Cary, North Carolina. The roster also includes four players who participated in the 2022 Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) League: Casey Borba, Roman Martin, Campbell Smithwick and Nazzan Zanetello.

MEET THE COACHES

Denny Hocking is back at the helm of the 18U National Team after guiding the U.S. to a gold medal at this summer’s WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in Bradenton and Sarasota, Florida. The skipper, who owns 13 years of major-league playing experience, has spent time as an analyst, coach, and minor-league manager, and currently works as an analyst on Bally Sports West.

Team USA alum and 14-year MLB veteran Brad Penny returns to the staff as pitching coach after serving in the same role for the program in a friendship series against Canada in 2021. The World Series champ and two-time MLB All-Star led last year’s staff to a 1.53 ERA with 89 strikeouts in 59 innings. Former 12U National Team Manager and longtime Orange Lutheran High School skipper Eric Borba is on staff as an assistant coach, as well as New York Yankees’ minor-league coach James Cooper.

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Borba Article

Team USA Wraps Up Super Round With 8-4 Win Over Nicaragua

U.S. scores in all but two innings to complete Super Round sweep
November 13, 2022
Box Score | Plays | Cumulative Stats
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Nicaragua 0 0 1 0 1 0 2 4 8 0
Team USA 1 0 2 3 2 0 X 8 12 0

Box Score | Plays | Cumulative Stats

LA PAZ, Mexico – Team USA finished World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier Super Round play with an 8-4 win over Nicaragua on Saturday afternoon at Estadio Arturo C. Nahl in La Paz, Mexico.

After completing a sweep of the Super Round, the United States is now 7-0 in tournament play entering Sunday’s gold medal game against Panama.

Scoring at least one run in all but two innings at the plate, Team USA’s offense kept its foot on the gas all afternoon. Back-to-back doubles by Campbell Smithwick (Conway, S.C.) and Casey Borba (Santa Ana, Calif.) got the U.S. on the board quickly in the first, and after Nicaragua tied it in the top half of the third, Team USA took the lead for good on a two-run single by Daniel Arambula (Yucaipa, Calif.) in the bottom of the frame. A three-run fourth helped the stars and stripes pull away before they added two in the fifth on a Nazzan Zanetello (Florissant, Mo.) homer, eventually picking up the 8-4 win.

Borba had a big day at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs. After delivering the opening run with his RBI double in the first, Borba notched a pair of singles to left, including an RBI knock in Team USA’s three-run fourth. Ty Southisene (Henderson, Nev.) and Michael Torres (Miami, Fla.) each had two-hit days for the stars and stripes, with Southisene also picking up an RBI. Zanetello hit a two-run blast in the fifth to continue his hot streak at the plate.

In addition to their strong days with the bat, Torres and Southisene did most of the pitching for Team USA. Torres started on the mound and threw four strong innings to earn the win, scattering four hits and permitting just one run. Southisene allowed a run in two innings of relief work, and Noah Franco (Downey, Calif.) surrendered two runs in the seventh but got the final three outs. Nicaragua starter Joshua Quezada allowed six runs in 3.1 innings pitched to suffer the loss.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Campbell Smithwick and Casey Borba hit back-to-back doubles in the bottom of the first to give Team USA a quick 1-0 lead.
  • A leadoff walk and a double put two runners in scoring position for Nicaragua with no outs in the top of the third, but Michael Torres limited the damage to just an RBI groundout as the game became tied.
  • After a sacrifice bunt by Noah Franco put a pair of runners in scoring position in the bottom of the third, Daniel Arambula snuck a two-run single inside the first-base bag to put the U.S. back in front at 3-1.
  • Ty Southisene legged out an infield single that brought Nazzan Zanetello home from third, extending the United States’ lead to three in the bottom of the fourth.
  • Team USA’s advantage continued growing in the bottom of the fourth when Casey Borba blooped an RBI single into left field to make it 5-1 and Roman Martin hit an RBI infield single to put the U.S. in front by five.
  • Derek Loaisiga hit an RBI single to left field to plate a run for Nicaragua and trim the U.S. lead to 6-2 in the top of the fifth.
  • The red, white, and blue’s lead became 8-2 in the bottom of the fifth when Nazzan Zanetello cranked a mammoth two-run homer to bring home Michael Torres, who led off the inning with a single.
  • Nicaragua scratched two runs across on an RBI single and a run-scoring fielder’s choice in the top of the seventh before Noah Franco got the final batter to ground out to finalize the 8-4 win.

OF NOTE

  • Ty Southisene had a hit and walk in the win and has reached base multiple times in five of the six games he has played in.
  • By driving in two runs in the win, Casey Borba is now tied for eighth-most RBIs by a U.S. player at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier with 12 (also: Bryce Harper, Denard Span, Mikey White).
  • With a hit in Saturday’s victory, Macon Winslow raised his team-best batting average to .455 (5-for-11).
  • Team USA’s 12 hits against Nicaragua are the most it has had in a game so far in tournament play.
  • With two doubles in the win, the United States has now hit a tournament-best 16 two-baggers at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier.
  • Every player with at least 10 at-bats on the U.S. roster has collected three or more hits.
  • The U.S. is atop the tournament leaderboard in runs scored with 68.
  • The 18U National Team now owns a 5-1 all-time record against Nicaragua.

ON DECK

Team USA will take on Panama in the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier gold medal game on Sunday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. MT/5:00 p.m. ET at Estadio Arturo C. Nahl in La Paz, Mexico.

SOCIAL MEDIA
To follow along with all the action with the 18U National Team, be sure to follow @USABaseball18U on Twitter and @USABaseball on FacebookInstagramTikTok, and Twitter.

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Walk Off Article

Zanetello’s Walk-Off Lifts Team USA Past Mexico, Clinches Spot in Title Game

Game-winning single in the bottom of seventh caps back-and-forth, 8-7 win
November 12, 2022
Box Score | Plays | Cumulative Stats
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Mexico 4 0 2 0 0 1 0 7 6 5
Team USA 0 4 0 0 2 0 2 8 7 3

Box Score | Plays | Cumulative Stats

LA PAZ, MexicoNazzan Zanetello (Florissant, Mo.) clinched Team USA’s spot in the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier gold medal game with a walk-off single to beat Mexico, 8-7, on Friday night at Estadio Arturo C. Nahl in La Paz, Mexico.

The U.S. will play in its sixth-consecutive WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier title game on Sunday.

After falling into a 4-0 hole out the gate, the U.S. battled back and trailed by a run entering the bottom of the seventh. Team USA then rattled off three hits–including two for extra bases–to tie and eventually win the game. PJ Morlando (Summerville, S.C.) started the rally with a well-struck double to left-center field to put the tying run on before scoring on an opposite-field double by Noah Franco (Downey, Calif.) to tie the game. Then, after an intentional walk loaded the bases for Zanetello, he smoked a walk-off single into right-center field to complete the comeback and secure the 8-7 win for the United States.

Seven different U.S. players collected a hit in the victory, including Casey Borba (Santa Ana, Calif.), who cranked a game-tying, two-run homer in the second inning after Team USA went down by four in the first. As he has been all tournament, Ty Southisene (Henderson, Nev.) was in the middle of everything for the U.S., going 1-for-2 with a hit, a hit-by-pitch, a run scored, an RBI, and a walk. Roman Martin (Whittier, Calif.) and Morlando also had a hit and a run scored in the win.

Team USA got stellar work out of its bullpen to keep the game close following a rocky start. After starter Ford Thompson (Snellville, Ga.) was knocked out of the game in the first, Mason Brassfield (Bakersfield, Calif.), Stunner Gonzales (Carlsbad, Calif.), and Cade Townsend (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) turned in 6.1 relief innings and allowed just three runs (one earned). Brassfield limited the damage in the top of the first and worked 1.2 innings before Gonzales tossed the bulk of the innings, allowing one run on three hits in four solid frames. Townsend, who earned the win, pitched the seventh and kept the U.S. within a run to set the table for Zanetello’s walk-off. Mexico’s Augusto Mendieta–who hadn’t allowed a hit in three appearances entering Friday’s game–suffered the loss.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Two bases-loaded walks, a wild pitch, and an RBI single by Ichiro Cano gave Mexico an immediate 4-0 lead in the top of the first.
  • Ty Southisene and Roman Martin reached scoring position with one out in the bottom of the first, but Mexico’s Oscar Soria escaped the jam to keep Mexico in front by four.
  • Mexico nearly extended its lead in the top of the second, loading the bases with one out before Mason Brassfield induced a 5-2-3 double play to end the threat and keep the score 4-0.
  • Standing on second base with two outs in the bottom of the second, Nazzan Zanetello stole third base and scored on an errant throw to make it a 4-1 score in favor of Mexico.
  • Ty Southisene got the U.S. within two runs in the bottom of the second, hitting the ball to the opposite field for an RBI double down the right field line.
  • With Ty Southisene on base and two outs in the bottom of the second, Casey Borba launched a two-run homer over the wall in left-center field to tie the contest at four.
  • Mexico scored two unearned runs in the top of the third to retake a 6-4 lead, capitalizing on a pair of Team USA defensive miscues.
  • Casey Borba got hit by a pitch to start the bottom of the fifth and–after advancing to third on a Roman Martin double–scored on a wild pitch to trim Team USA’s deficit to 6-5.
  • After a Macon Winslow walk seemingly put runners on the corners with two outs in the bottom of the fifth, Roman Martin scored on a bad throw back to the pitcher to knot the game at six.
  • With a runner on third and one out in the top of the sixth, Mexico’s Jose Sanchez laid down a bunt to bring home a run as Mexico took a 7-6 lead.
  • PJ Morlando led off the bottom of the seventh with an opposite-field double, and two batters later, scored on Noah Franco’s run-scoring double to tie the game at seven.
  • Mexico intentionally walked Daniel Arambula to load the bases with one out in bottom of the seventh for Nazzan Zanetello, who responded by drilling a walk-off single into the right-center field gap to complete the 8-7 win for Team USA.

OF NOTE

  • Nazzan Zanetello has picked up at least one hit in four of Team USA’s six games played and has stolen a tournament-best four bases.
  • Casey Borba’s second-inning blast was his second and the United States’ ninth of the tournament. No other team has more than five homers in tournament play.
  • The trio of Casey Borba, PJ Morlando, and Ty Southisene have each scored at least one run in all six tournament games and are tied for the team lead in that category with eight.
  • In two appearances at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier, Stunner Gonzales has allowed just one run on four hits in six innings pitched.
  • With a strikeout in the win, Cade Townsend has now struck out seven batters in 3.2 innings pitched so far in the tournament.
  • Team USA’s four-run second inning was the 11th time the team has scored three or more runs in a single inning in tournament play.
  • The stars and stripes have won 16 consecutive games at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier dating back to 2016.
  • By clinching a spot in the gold medal game, the United States will compete in its 10th WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier title game.
  • The U.S. improves to 23-4 all-time against Mexico at the U-18 level.

ON DECK

Team USA finishes WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier Super Round play against Nicaragua on Saturday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. MT/4:00 p.m. ET at Estadio Arturo C. Nahl in La Paz, Mexico.

SOCIAL MEDIA
To follow along with all the action with the 18U National Team, be sure to follow @USABaseball18U on Twitter and @USABaseball on FacebookInstagramTikTok, and Twitter.

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Gameday Article

GAMEDAY: Team USA Meets Mexico in Super Round on Friday Night

First pitch scheduled for 7:00 p.m. MT/9:00 p.m. ET at Estadio Arturo C. Nahl
November 11, 2022
LIVE STATS

LIVE STATS

LA PAZ, Mexico – The 18U National Team continues Super Round play at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier against Mexico. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. MT/9:00 p.m. ET at Estadio Arturo C. Nahl in La Paz, Mexico.

LAST TIME OUT

Team USA kicked off the Super Round on Thursday, defeating Panama, 5-2. The U.S. scored five quick runs in the first and held on despite a late Panama rally to pick up the win and remain unbeaten in tournament play. PJ Morlando and Macon Winslow both had RBI hits for the U.S. in its five-run first, where the squad picked up three of its five hits. Ty Southisene collected a single, stole a base, and scored a run in the win for the United States.

Talan Bell started for the stars and stripes and struck out three batters in three one-hit innings. Vaughn Neckar tossed two scoreless relief innings with three strikeouts to get credited with the win, escaping multiple jams with clutch punch outs. Matthew Champion and Mavrick Rizy also pitched an inning of relief out of the Team USA bullpen.

HISTORY AGAINST MEXICO

The United States owns a 22-4-0 record all-time against Mexico at the U-18 level, including a 5-3-0 record at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier. The two last met at the 2022 WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup, with the U.S. winning 7-5.

ATOP THE LEADERBOARD

Several Team USA players sit atop the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier statistical leaderboard. PJ Morlando has hit a tournament-high three home runs, followed by Noah Franco's two blasts. Michael Torres has drawn seven walks to put himself in a tie for first in that category, while PJ Morlando and Ty Southisene have both scored seven runs to tie for the tournament lead.

MORLANDO NEARS HISTORY

With three home runs in tournament play, PJ Morlando is now tied atop the leaderboard for most home runs in a WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier by a U.S. player. Morlando is tied with six former Team USA players, including Riley Greene and Bobby Witt Jr.

QUALIFIER SUCCESS

The U.S. has won each of the last five U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifiers it has competed in, earning gold in 2009, 2011, 2014, 2016, and 2018 while compiling a 41-1 overall record. The program most recently captured gold in the event with a perfect 9-0 record in 2018, outscoring its opponents 131-27.

SUPER ROUND STANDINGS

United States (3-0)

Panama (2-1)

Venezuela (2-1)

Mexico (1-2)

Nicaragua (1-2)

Puerto Rico (1-2)

INSIDE THE ROSTER

Team USA’s 20-man roster features four members who have previously donned the stars and stripes. A trio of players reunite on the roster after earning spots on the 15U National Team: Carson Messina, Austin Nye, and Michael Torres. Additionally, Daniel Arambula (2017) and Torres (2018) played for the 12U National Team, both winning gold medals.

In total, 10 of the 20 players on the roster have participated in USA Baseball development programs, including eight players from the 2022 16U/17U National Team Development Program (NTDP). Arambula, Talan Bell, Matthew Champion, Noah Franco, PJ Morlando, Vaughn Neckar, Ford Thompson, and Torres all participated at this year’s NTDP from July 25-29 in Cary, North Carolina. The roster also includes four players who participated in the 2022 Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) League: Casey Borba, Roman Martin, Campbell Smithwick and Nazzan Zanetello.

MEET THE COACHES

Denny Hocking is back at the helm of the 18U National Team after guiding the U.S. to a gold medal at this summer’s WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in Bradenton and Sarasota, Florida. The skipper, who owns 13 years of major-league playing experience, has spent time as an analyst, coach, and minor-league manager, and currently works as an analyst on Bally Sports West.

Team USA alum and 14-year MLB veteran Brad Penny returns to the staff as pitching coach after serving in the same role for the program in a friendship series against Canada in 2021. The World Series champ and two-time MLB All-Star led last year’s staff to a 1.53 ERA with 89 strikeouts in 59 innings. Former 12U National Team Manager and longtime Orange Lutheran High School skipper Eric Borba is on staff as an assistant coach, as well as New York Yankees’ minor-league coach James Cooper.

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Ty Article

Team USA Rides Big First Inning, Defeats Panama in Super Round Opener

Five-run first helps U.S. stay unbeaten with 5-2 win
November 11, 2022
Box Score | Plays | Cumulative Stats
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Team USA 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 5 1
Panama 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 2 3 2

Box Score | Plays | Cumulative Stats

LA PAZ, Mexico – Team USA rode a five-run first inning to a 5-2 victory over Panama in the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier Super Round opener on Thursday afternoon at Estadio Arturo C. Nahl in La Paz, Mexico.

The United States is now 5-0 in tournament play and 3-0 in the Super Round, per WBSC tournament rules.

The U.S. offense was dialed in from the first pitch, reaching base with seven of its first eight hitters and forcing Panama to use three pitchers in the opening frame. Ty Southisene (Henderson, Nev.) got the rally started with an infield single before he scored on a balk to make it 1-0, and PJ Morlando (Summerville, S.C.) followed with an RBI double to put Team USA in front by two. Then, with the bases loaded, Macon Winslow (Hertford, N.C.) hit a two-run single and Noah Franco (Downey, Calif.) scored on a wild pitch to make it a 5-0 advantage for the United States, a lead it would hold on to despite a late Panama rally in the seventh.

Three of Team USA’s five hits came in the five-run first inning, including Winslow’s two-run single. The left fielder reached in all three of his plate appearances, going 2-for-2 with a walk and two RBIs. Five different U.S. players scored runs in the win, including Morlando, who collected a hit and an RBI in Team USA’s busy first inning. Southisene did a little bit of everything for the United States, notching a hit, stealing a base, and scoring a run.

Despite walking 10 batters, U.S. pitchers held Panama to just two runs on three hits. Talan Bell (Oviedo, Fla.) started for Team USA and pitched three shutout innings with three strikeouts. The southpaw danced around trouble in each of his three frames, coaxing two key double plays to keep Panama off the board. Vaughn Neckar (Wildomar, Calif.) struck out three in two scoreless relief innings to earn the win, and Panama starter Adrian Ardines–who only got one out and allowed three earned runs–suffered the loss.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Ty Southisene led off the game with an infield single and­, after stealing second and advancing to third on a wild pitch, came home on a balk to score the first run of the contest.
  • With Casey Borba on second and one out in the top of the first, PJ Morlando put Team USA in front by two with an RBI double down the right field line.
  • Macon Winslow poked a two-run single through the right side with the bases loaded in the top of the first, plating two runs and growing Team USA’s lead to four.
  • The U.S. capped its five-run inning when Noah Franco sprinted home on a wild pitch to make it a 5-0 game in the top of the first.
  • Panama put runners on in both the second and third innings, but a double play erased the threat in the second and a Talan Bell pickoff helped Team USA maintain its five-run edge in the third.
  • Panama’s Derek Pinto hit an RBI double in the bottom of the fourth to put Panama on the scoreboard and trim the U.S. lead to 5-1.
  • A walk and hit-by-pitch put two on with none out for Panama in the bottom of the fifth, but Vaughn Neckar picked up a strikeout and Campbell Smithwick caught a runner stealing to turn a key double play and escape the jam.
  • With the bases loaded and the tying run at the plate for Panama in the bottom of the sixth, Vaughn Neckar got a clutch strikeout to keep Team USA in front by four.
  • Panama drew three walks and scored on a sacrifice fly in the seventh but Matthew Champion recorded the final out on a fielder’s choice to finish the 5-2 victory.

OF NOTE

  • PJ Morlando has at least one hit and one RBI in all five of Team USA’s games at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier.
  • Both PJ Morlando and Ty Southisene scored a run in the win and are now tied atop the tournament leaderboard in that category.
  • By drawing a walk in the victory, Michael Torres is now tied for most bases-on-balls in the tournament with seven.
  • With Talan Bell’s three scoreless innings, U.S. starters have allowed just four earned runs in 15 innings on the mound for a 2.40 ERA.
  • The stars and stripes have drawn at least six walks in all five of their tournament games.
  • Team USA has scored three or more runs in an inning 10 times in tournament play, including its five-run first on Thursday.
  • The U.S. has now won 18 consecutive games against Panama at the U-18 level.

ON DECK
Team USA continues WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier Super Round play against Mexico on Friday night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. PT/9:00 p.m. ET at Estadio Arturo C Nahl in La Paz, Mexico.

SOCIAL MEDIA
To follow along with all the action with the 18U National Team, be sure to follow @USABaseball18U on Twitter and @USABaseball on FacebookInstagramTikTok, and Twitter.

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Mikey Article

GAMEDAY: Team USA Begins Super Round Against Panama

First pitch scheduled for 2:00 p.m. PT/4:00 p.m. ET at Estadio Arturo C. Nahl
November 10, 2022
LIVE STATS

LIVE STATS

LA PAZ, Mexico – The 18U National Team kicks off Super Round play at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier on Thursday against Panama. First pitch is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. PT/4:00 p.m. ET at Estadio Arturo C. Nahl in La Paz, Mexico.

LAST TIME OUT

Team USA wrapped up a pool play sweep on Tuesday, defeating Canada, 10-4. The U.S. offense relied on timely two-out hitting en route to the win, striking first on a two-out, two-run homer by PJ Morlando in the top of the first. Casey Borba and Campbell Smithwick also picked up clutch two-out knocks in the victory, as Smithwick drove in a game-high three RBIs. Borba drove in a run and has now done so in each of the tournament's first four games to lead Team USA in that category.

Austin Nye got the start for the U.S. against Canada and tossed two shutout innings, working around a trio of singles while striking out five. Cade Townsend earned the win with 2.2 innings of one-run ball in relief, striking out six. Michael Torres and Ty Southisene combined to pitch the final 2.1 innings in the victory.

HISTORY AGAINST PANAMA

Team USA holds a 21-2-0 record all-time against Panama at the U-18 level. The countries first met in 1987 and have played 22 times since, with the U.S. winning the most recent matchup, 17-2, in 2018. The stars and stripes are 17-1 against Panama in WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier history.

MORLANDO NEARS HISTORY

With three home runs in tournament play, PJ Morlando is now tied atop the leaderboard for most home runs in a WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier by a U.S. player. Morlando is tied with six former Team USA players, including Riley Greene and Bobby Witt Jr.

RACKING UP THE K'S

Team USA's pitching staff has stuck out double-digit batters in two consecutive games and is tied with Canada for most punch outs in tournament play (38). U.S. pitchers struck out 10 batters in Sunday's win over Venezuela and followed that with 13 more in the win over Canada on Tuesday. *_Carson Messina *_leads all Team USA pitchers with seven strikeouts.

QUALIFIER SUCCESS

The U.S. has won each of the last five U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifiers it has competed in, earning gold in 2009, 2011, 2014, 2016, and 2018 while compiling a 41-1 overall record. The program most recently captured gold in the event with a perfect 9-0 record in 2018, outscoring its opponents 131-27.

SUPER ROUND STANDINGS

United States (2-0)

Panama (2-0)

Mexico (1-1)

Venezuela (1-1)

Nicaragua (0-2)

Puerto Rico (0-2)

INSIDE THE ROSTER

Team USA’s 20-man roster features four members who have previously donned the stars and stripes. A trio of players reunite on the roster after earning spots on the 15U National Team: Carson Messina, Austin Nye, and Michael Torres. Additionally, Daniel Arambula (2017) and Torres (2018) played for the 12U National Team, both winning gold medals.

In total, 10 of the 20 players on the roster have participated in USA Baseball development programs, including eight players from the 2022 16U/17U National Team Development Program (NTDP). Arambula, Talan Bell, Matthew Champion, Noah Franco, PJ Morlando, Vaughn Neckar, Ford Thompson, and Torres all participated at this year’s NTDP from July 25-29 in Cary, North Carolina. The roster also includes four players who participated in the 2022 Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) League: Casey Borba, Roman Martin, Campbell Smithwick and Nazzan Zanetello.

MEET THE COACHES

Denny Hocking is back at the helm of the 18U National Team after guiding the U.S. to a gold medal at this summer’s WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in Bradenton and Sarasota, Florida. The skipper, who owns 13 years of major-league playing experience, has spent time as an analyst, coach, and minor-league manager, and currently works as an analyst on Bally Sports West.

Team USA alum and 14-year MLB veteran Brad Penny returns to the staff as pitching coach after serving in the same role for the program in a friendship series against Canada in 2021. The World Series champ and two-time MLB All-Star led last year’s staff to a 1.53 ERA with 89 strikeouts in 59 innings. Former 12U National Team Manager and longtime Orange Lutheran High School skipper Eric Borba is on staff as an assistant coach, as well as New York Yankees’ minor-league coach James Cooper.

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PJ Article

Two-Out Hitting Helps Team USA Complete Pool Play Sweep With Victory Over Canada

Morlando hits third homer, Smithwick drives in three in 10-4 win
November 9, 2022
Box Score | Plays | Cumulative Stats
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Team USA 2 4 0 2 0 0 2 10 9 2
Canada 0 0 0 0 1 3 0 4 6 1

Box Score | Plays | Cumulative Stats

CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico – Team USA picked up timely two-out hits to complete a pool play sweep with a 10-4 win over Canada at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier on Tuesday afternoon in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

After finishing pool play unbeaten, the U.S. now advances to the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier Super Round.

PJ Morlando (Summerville, S.C.) delivered the first punch with a two-out homer in the top of the first, sending a deep shot over the wall in right-center field to bring home Casey Borba (Santa Ana, Calif.) and open the scoring. Then, after the U.S. added four runs in the second on walks and singles by Ty Southisene (Henderson, Nev.) and Campbell Smithwick (Conway, S.C.), the offense continued its two-out hitting in the fourth when Borba and Smithwick struck for back-to-back knocks with two away to extend the U.S. lead to eight.

Canada then chipped away with a run in the fifth and three more in the sixth, but the U.S. answered with two in the seventh and held on for a 10-4 win.

Morlando and Smithwick each tallied two-hit days for the U.S., which collected nine total hits and drew nine walks as a team. Smithwick had a team-high three RBIs, picking up a pair of RBI singles to go along with a run-scoring fielder’s choice. Borba and Morlando also drove in multiple runs, each plating a pair and scoring once. Daniel Arambula (Yucaipa, Calif.) and Nazzan Zanetello (Florissant, Mo.) led the team with two runs scored apiece.

Austin Nye (Roseville, Calif.) got the start for Team USA and was solid in his two innings on the hill, working around three singles to punch out five batters and keep Canada off the board. Cade Townsend (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) pitched 2.2 innings of one-run relief and had six strikeouts to earn the win for the U.S., which struck out 13 batters in the game. Elliot Cadieux Lanoue started for Canada and lasted just an inning plus, allowing five runs to surrender the loss.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • The U.S. put together a two-out rally in the top of the first when Casey Borba was hit by a pitch and PJ Morlando brought him home with a two-run homer to right field to take a quick 2-0 lead.
  • Canada hit two singles in the bottom of the first and eventually put two runners in scoring position, but Austin Nye picked up three clutch strikeouts to keep Team USA in front by two.
  • After three consecutive walks loaded the bases for the United States in the top of the second, Ty Southisene and Campbell Smithwick hit back-to-back singles to make it a 4-0 advantage.
  • Team USA’s lead grew to 6-0 in the top of the second on an RBI groundout by Casey Borba and a wild pitch that brought home Ty Southisene.
  • With two outs and Talan Bell on second in the top of the fourth, Campbell Smithwick hit his second RBI single of the game to make the score 7-0 in favor of the U.S.
  • Casey Borba singled up the middle in the top of the fourth to bring home another run for Team USA and grow the lead to eight.
  • Canada’s offense was held in check in the third and fourth innings by Cade Townsend, who struck out five of the eight batters he faced in those two frames to maintain the eight-run lead for the stars and stripes.
  • An opposite-field, solo homer by Canada’s Jorge Valdes put the Canadians on the board and trimmed their deficit to 8-1 in the bottom of the fifth.
  • Canada drew two bases-loaded walks and scored on a fielding error in a three-run sixth inning, cutting the U.S. lead to 8-4.
  • Danny Arambula led off the top of the seventh with a single, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a passed ball to put Team USA back up by five.
  • The stars and stripes extended their lead to 10-4 in the top of the seventh on an RBI fielder’s choice by Campbell Smithwick that brought home Nazzan Zanetello.
  • Ty Southisene pitched a perfect seventh inning to secure the 10-4 win and clinch the pool play sweep.

OF NOTE

  • PJ Morlando leads the tournament with three home runs. He is tied with six former U.S. players for most home runs hit at a WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier.
  • Talan Bell, Roman Martin, and Nazzan Zanetello drew two walks in the win as part of a nine-walk day for Team USA. Martin has now drawn multiple bases-on-balls in a game twice in tournament play.
  • Talan Bell (2) and Nazzan Zanetello (1) both stole bases in the victory and are tied for the team and tournament lead in that category with three.
  • With 13 combined strikeouts from Austin Nye, Ty Southisene, Michael Torres, and Cade Townsend, U.S. pitchers struck out double-digit batters for the second consecutive game.
  • Casey Borba has driven in a run in all four games for the red, white, and blue, giving him a team-best eight RBIs.
  • Team USA is the only team in the tournament to boast an unbeaten record at the conclusion of the Opening Round.
  • The win was the United States’ 40th all-time against Canada at the U-18 level.

ON DECK
The U.S. will advance to the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier Super Round in La Paz, Mexico, from November 10-12. The full Super Round schedule will be announced soon.

SOCIAL MEDIA
To follow along with all the action with the 18U National Team, be sure to follow @USABaseball18U on Twitter and @USABaseball on FacebookInstagramTikTok, and Twitter.

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US3_5049-e

GAMEDAY: Team USA Concludes Pool Play Against Canada

First pitch scheduled for 3:00 p.m. PT/5:00 p.m. ET at Estadio Leonardo Gastelum
November 8, 2022
LIVE STATS

LIVE STATS

LOS CABOS, Mexico – The 18U National Team wraps up pool play at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier on Tuesday against Canada. First pitch is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. PT/5:00 p.m. ET at Estadio Leonardo Gastelum in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

LAST TIME OUT

The U.S. picked up a 9-4 victory over Venezuela on Sunday to improve to 3-0 in Group B play. The squad fell into its first deficit of the tournament–trailing 1-0 in the third–before rattling off consecutive three-run innings to take control of the game. The contest turned when the U.S. hit back-to-back home runs off the bat of Roman Martin and PJ Morlando in the fourth, putting Team USA in front by five runs. Casey Borba put the icing on the cake with a three-run blast in the sixth, adding insurance to what ended up being a 9-4 victory for Team USA.

Carson Messina started on the mound and tossed 4.1 strong innings for the stars and stripes. The South Carolina native permitted three runs–two earned–and struck out seven in his outing. Mavrick Rizy entered in relief and escaped a jam in the fifth before pitching a scoreless sixth, and Matthew Champion got the final three outs of the win.

HISTORY AGAINST CANADA

The United States has played against Canada 48 times at the U-18 level and owns a 39-7-2 all-time record in the series. The two countries last met at the XXX WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup, when Team USA picked up a 7-6 win. The U.S. in 6-0 all-time against Canada in World Cup Qualifiers.

BIG THIRD INNINGS

Team USA has scored 16 runs across three third innings so far in tournament play. The nine-run outburst against Peru started the third-inning success, which the U.S. followed by scoring four against Puerto Rico and three against Venezuela in the third frame.

STRIKE THREE

Through three games, the United States' pitching staff has struck out 25 batters in 17.0 innings pitched. Carson Messina's seven punch outs lead the group, followed by Stunner Gonzales' four. The U.S. pitching staff owns a 2.06 ERA and has only permitted 11 hits in its 17.0 innings of work.

QUALIFIER SUCCESS

The U.S. has won each of the last five U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifiers it has competed in, earning gold in 2009, 2011, 2014, 2016, and 2018 while compiling a 41-1 overall record. The program most recently captured gold in the event with a perfect 9-0 record in 2018, outscoring its opponents 131-27.

POOL STANDINGS

United States (3-0)

Venezuela (2-1)

Canada (1-2)

Puerto Rico (1-2)

Peru (0-3)

INSIDE THE ROSTER

Team USA’s 20-man roster features four members who have previously donned the stars and stripes. A trio of players reunite on the roster after earning spots on the 15U National Team: Carson Messina, Austin Nye, and Michael Torres. Additionally, Daniel Arambula (2017) and Torres (2018) played for the 12U National Team, both winning gold medals.

In total, 10 of the 20 players on the roster have participated in USA Baseball development programs, including eight players from the 2022 16U/17U National Team Development Program (NTDP). Arambula, Talan Bell, Matthew Champion, Noah Franco, PJ Morlando, Vaughn Neckar, Ford Thompson, and Torres all participated at this year’s NTDP from July 25-29 in Cary, North Carolina. The roster also includes four players who participated in the 2022 Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) League: Casey Borba, Roman Martin, Campbell Smithwick and Nazzan Zanetello.

MEET THE COACHES

Denny Hocking is back at the helm of the 18U National Team after guiding the U.S. to a gold medal at this summer’s WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in Bradenton and Sarasota, Florida. The skipper, who owns 13 years of major-league playing experience, has spent time as an analyst, coach, and minor-league manager, and currently works as an analyst on Bally Sports West.

Team USA alum and 14-year MLB veteran Brad Penny returns to the staff as pitching coach after serving in the same role for the program in a friendship series against Canada in 2021. The World Series champ and two-time MLB All-Star led last year’s staff to a 1.53 ERA with 89 strikeouts in 59 innings. Former 12U National Team Manager and longtime Orange Lutheran High School skipper Eric Borba is on staff as an assistant coach, as well as New York Yankees’ minor-league coach James Cooper.

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