USA BASEBALL NEWS

how-to-be-usab-coach-part-four

How to Become a USA Baseball Coach - Part Four: The Career Coach

August 21, 2020
You go to a USA Baseball national team identification event. You play your best. You get noticed. You get invited to the chance of a lifetime: An opportunity to represent your country as a player on the USA Baseball national team. That's the common path for a player. But what

You go to a USA Baseball national team identification event. You play your best. You get noticed. You get invited to the chance of a lifetime: An opportunity to represent your country as a player on the USA Baseball national team.

That's the common path for a player.

But what about the coaches for the USA Baseball national teams? A coach cannot go 8-for-19 with three home runs over the course of a weekend tournament. So, what do they do? What is their path? How do you become a coach for USA Baseball?

It is a question we get asked a lot.

The answer: Honestly, there is no "path" for the best coaches in the country to carefully weave through, marking off accomplishments from a cultivated list in order to get closer to their coaching dreams. The answer is more complex than that. There are any number of ways someone with the right heart, attitude and abilities can end up wearing U-S-A across their chest and, hopefully, a gold medal around their neck.

For proof of this, look no further than the 2018 15U World Cup champion coaching staff. Four men with wildly different paths to our coaching ranks found themselves all sharing a medal stand in Panama.

The Career Coach: Pitching Coach Adam Moseley

Adam Moseley is the head baseball coach at Hoover High School (Hoover, Ala.). As of 2020 he has been leading a big-time high school baseball program for thirteen years, spending the last six at Hoover. But his path to becoming a decorated head coach was set much earlier in life.

A pitcher by trade, Adam played baseball at Birmingham Southern College. But the on-field opportunity wasn't the main factor that drew him to the NAIA school; it was a coach.

"I knew I wanted to coach when I was in high school," Adam remembered. "It actually affected where I went to college. I wanted to play for someone who really taught the game."

That someone was Coach Brian Shoop. Shoop built a program at Birmingham Southern, turning the small school into an NAIA national champion and eventually an NCAA Division I conference champion and NCAA tournament threat.

Moseley studied under Shoop both as a player and ex-player, returning to camps to help out his mentor. He wanted to one day build his own program into a winner the same way Shoop had.

"We talked coaching all the time," Adam remembered of his time as a collegiate player. "He has been a constant source for me."

After graduating from Birmingham Southern in 1998, Adam started coaching high school baseball while taking graduate school classes. After grad school he began teaching and kept coaching before he eventually got a call from his hometown school, Grissom High School.

Adam would join Grissom as an assistant coach for three years before he took over the program. He led the Tigers for eight years and took the school to new heights, reaching the Alabama state quarterfinals four times in five years and an overall record of 224-153.

In 2014, Adam was hired to be the new head coach at Hoover High School. That same year, he was contacted by then USA Baseball Director of Baseball Operations Brooks Webb.

Why was Adam Moseley on USA Baseball's radar? He was an up-and-coming coach with drive and passion for the game, he already owned a track record of success in a major high school setting and was vouched for by a current USA Baseball coach, David Sharp. He checked all the boxes.

Moseley's insight to USA Baseball came from his relationship with David Sharp, the head coach of another big-time Alabama baseball program: Huntsville High School (Huntsville, Ala.). Sharp had helped with several USA Baseball identification events for the 12U National Team and shared his experiences with Moseley, and also recommended the career coach to USA Baseball.

"Brooks Webb called me and asked if I was interested [in working with USA Baseball]," Moseley remembered. "And I said yes, but I'd be a whole lot more comfortable if the pitchers were 60 feet, six inches away from the plate and the base paths were 90 feet apart."

Luckily, Webb was calling to fill a need at the National Team Championships in Florida, specifically with the 14U and 17U tournaments. Adam admits his first experience at a USA Baseball event was "a little overwhelming" due to the pressure of helping select a national team and the 14-hour days in hot and humid southern Florida. But, once he got settled in, it was "non-stop watching good baseball and learning."

Even though he wasn't coaching, Adam was determined to work as hard as he could at this new opportunity. His goal was to provide the best information possible, and let his dedication and drive show through his work.

He loved it, but it wasn't coaching. And Adam Moseley is a coach. He had known that since he was in high school.

The following year, even though it wasn't coaching, Adam once again returned to the National Team Championships event in Florida to give his time and expertise to USA Baseball and young players from across the country. And it was then that he was asked to lend his services to the 14U National Team Development Program.

"I thought the National Team Development Program was the coolest thing ever," said Moseley. At the National Team Development Program he was back where he felt most at home, back on the field coaching some of the most talented kids in the country. This is where he belonged.

Being back on the field and spending time with these players was something Adam took to heart. "I was there to coach pitchers, but I was there to coach them about life as well," he said.

Adam continued to coach USA Baseball players about pitching and life and "The USA Way" at any event he was asked to attend. And in 2017 he was named head pitching coordinator for the 14U National Team Development Program.

"You look around at these players and you think, well they are going to win a world championship next year," Moseley said. He didn't know it at the time, but he would be right there with them when they did. It was the plan all along.

"It was clear during the 14U National Team Development Program that Adam was meticulous and organized when it came to pitchers," said Ashley Bratcher, USA Baseball Senior Director of Baseball Operations and the 15U National Team program director. "He knew every detail about each player on the field and he created a thorough and development plan for all of them.

"Making him the pitching coach on the 15U National Team in 2018 was one of our easier decisions. He displayed an appreciation to the game, to his craft as a pitcher and to developing the athletes that told us he was the right guy to for the job. It is not an easy task to lead a pitching staff at a World Cup, especially when you were still searching for your first world title, and his experience and dedication to competing that helped lead our program to new heights."

The pitching staff he led in the 2018 U-15 Baseball World Cup posted a combined 1.24 ERA in the nine-game tournament. They outscored their opponents 88-13 on their way to winning the first U-15 Baseball World Cup in USA Baseball history. Adam Moseley returned home from the first international trip of his life with a gold medal.

That gold medal came just one year after he led the Buccaneers to an Alabama State Championship in 2017. It's safe to say the high school player looking at colleges knew exactly what he was meant to do with his life. He chose the right path and USA Baseball is thankful for it.

Adam Moseley's story is the fourth and final story of a four-part series on "How to Become a USA Baseball Coach." The remaining three stories of the series can be found on USABaseball.com.

View More
GSA_Spotlight_Article

GSA Spotlight: Ole Miss’ Hoglund Forming Into Complete Pitcher

February 25, 2021
Ole Miss has won a school-record 18-straight games after Sunday’s 5-4 win over Texas Tech to improve to 2-0 at the State Farm College Showdown. And each step along the way of this winning streak, there has been at least one constant. That’s Gunnar Hoglund. Hoglund hasn’t had the easiest

Ole Miss has won a school-record 18-straight games after Sunday’s 5-4 win over Texas Tech to improve to 2-0 at the State Farm College Showdown. And each step along the way of this winning streak, there has been at least one constant.

That’s Gunnar Hoglund.

Hoglund hasn’t had the easiest path to success at Ole Miss. He drew a combination of praise and consternation coming out of high school after turning down the Pittsburgh Pirates as a first-round pick. When you’re a first-round pick and you choose the college route over the big bucks, expectations couldn’t possibly be higher.

So, to say Hoglund’s freshman campaign was a learning experience for the ultra-talented righthander would be quite an understatement. It was that and more. Hoglund earned 16 starts and appeared in 17 games for the Rebels as a freshman, tallying a 5.29 ERA in 68 innings. He struck out 53 and only walked 14, but teams hit him at a shockingly high .282 clip.

There was a reason for that.

As a high school prep star, Hoglund had a big-time fastball that climbed into the mid-90s on a consistent basis. He also had a curveball. But more often than not in high school, he could just blow that fastball past hitters and get away with it without having to rely much on his secondary stuff.

That changed in a variety of ways in his first year at Ole Miss. In addition to needing to shelve the curveball, his fastball velocity wasn’t what it was in high school. As a freshman, he was more 88-91 and up to 92 mph with the offering, while the 74-76 mph curveball wasn’t missing bats at an elite level.

Something had to change between the fall before the 2020 campaign, and that was ditching the curveball to focus primarily on the slider and changeup.

Hoglund was well on his way to showing his complete self before the ’20 campaign was shut down. He tallied a 1.16 ERA in 23.1 innings, while also striking out 37 and walked four. Most notably, teams were hitting him at just a .205 clip when the season came to a close.

But when the season was shuttered, some wondered if Hoglund would continue this spring where he left off last season.

That answer is a resounding yes.

Facing one of the nation’s premier offenses Sunday afternoon, Hoglund, who admittedly didn’t have his best slider after the first couple of innings, struck out 11, walked three and allowed just three runs on three hits in 5.1 innings of work.

“The biggest thing you didn’t see today was the dominant slider. The slider was a big reason why his strikeout numbers were so good last spring,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. “He had a fastball, curveball and changeup as a freshman, and the curveball in high school. That works for him then. But he didn’t get swings and misses from those curveballs.

“I think he’s learned he doesn’t have to throw every pitch for a strike,” he added. “He can go out there and pitch more, and when you have super command like him, that’s what makes him special.

“There are guys out there that throw harder than him. There are guys out there that throw the slider harder than him, but he’s the whole package,” he added. “He has four pitches in the strike zone and really commands it well. To hit him, you really have to go out there and work. He was locating it in and out — against a pretty good offense.”

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound, was terrific in the first inning against the Red Raiders, going 1-2-3 with a pair of strikeouts — one on a 95 mph fastball and the other on a 96 mph heater. He allowed a two-run home run from Nate Rombach in the second inning and didn’t allow another run until Dylan Neuse greeted him with a solo home run to leadoff the sixth inning. He struck out Easton Murrell and was lifted for Austin Miller.

From a stuff standpoint, Hoglund has what you want from a frame standpoint, and has an easy, consistent, delivery. He was consistently 92-95 and up to 96 mph with the fastball early in the contest, while it was more 92-94 as the game progressed. He was 90-92 with the fastball in his final inning of work. He also threw some changeups at 83 mph, while the slider was effective at times at 83-87 mph — a couple of ticks higher from a velocity standpoint than last season.

“I thought he was pretty terrific against a very good offense,” Bianco said. “That’s a lineup that makes you work. It was not his best stuff today, but he had great command of the fastball and had velocity. Maybe after the first inning the slider was nonexistent, but he located the fastball well.

“Some of the things we tried to improve on — and credit him — is just trying to get more tilt on his fastball. I wanted more ride to his fastball, and we’re seeing that,” he added. “I’m not sure he’s throwing his fastball any harder than he did in high school, it’s just more consistent now.”

As for Hoglund, he credits a combination of technology and hard work for his continued improvements that have him a very safe bet to be a top two-round pick this summer.

“Using technology has been a big part of my improvement,” Hoglund said. “I was working on all my pitches — trying to get a complete arsenal. I can use any of my pitches in any count now.

“I can definitely tell a difference with my fastball,” he added. “If it’s at 88-90, someone can catch up to it, but when you’re pounding the zone at 92-95, you’re going to get some swings and misses.”

Ole Miss entered this season with high expectations, partly because of an expected rise by Hoglund.

More good days are certainly ahead for the Rebels, and for Hoglund, too.

D1Baseball.com is your online home for college baseball scores, schedules, standings, statistics, analysis, features, podcasts and prospect coverage.
View More
21GSA-PreSeason-WatchList-nophotoFBTwitter

2021 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Preseason Watch List Announced

The 43rd Golden Spikes Award will be presented in July
February 18, 2021
CARY, N.C. ­– USA Baseball announced its 55-player preseason Golden Spikes Award watch list today, beginning the process of identifying the top amateur baseball player in the country for the 2021 season. The 43rd Golden Spikes Award will be presented in July. The 2021 preseason watch list features 55 of the

CARY, N.C. ­– USA Baseball announced its 55-player preseason Golden Spikes Award watch list today, beginning the process of identifying the top amateur baseball player in the country for the 2021 season. The 43rd Golden Spikes Award will be presented in July.

The 2021 preseason watch list features 55 of the nation’s top amateur players from high school and college baseball. The Golden Spikes Award Advisory Board will maintain a rolling list of players, allowing athletes to play themselves into consideration for the award throughout the season.

Headlining the 2021 watch list is top MLB Draft prospect Kumar Rocker (Vanderbilt), who is making his second consecutive appearance on the preseason watch list this year. Rocker is joined by seven other 2020 Golden Spikes Award preseason watch list members, including Alex Binelas (Louisville), Colton Cowser (Sam Houston), Adrian Del Castillo (Miami), Trenton Denholm (UC Irvine), Josh Elvir (Angelo State), Bobby Seymour (Wake Forest), and Ethan Wilson (South Alabama). Additionally, Kevin Abel (Oregon State) returns to the list in 2021 after being named to the 2019 Golden Spikes Award preseason watch list.

“We are thrilled to be bringing the Golden Spikes Award back this year and kicking off the 2021 amateur baseball season with the fifty-five-player preseason watch list,” said Paul Seiler, Executive Director/CEO of USA Baseball. “The athletes who make up this year’s initial watch list have an incredible amount of talent and we are looking forward to their return to the diamond so we can follow their journeys during what will undoubtedly be a highly competitive season.”

The 2021 Golden Spikes Award preseason watch list features five athletes that will look to become just the third player from a non-NCAA Division I school to win the award, following in the footsteps of Alex Fernandez (1990) and Bryce Harper (2010). Elvir returns to the preseason watch list for the second year in a row representing NCAA Division II, while Mo Hanley (Adrian) and Luis Vargas (Wayland Baptist) represent NCAA Division III and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes (NAIA), respectively.

Jordan Lawlar (Dallas Jesuit High School) and Andrew Painter (Calvary Christian High School) are the only high school baseball players recognized by the advisory board for the 2021 preseason watch list. Lawlar and Painter are the first players from their respective schools to be named to the Golden Spikes Award preseason watch list.

Sixteen different collegiate athletic conferences are represented on the 2021 preseason watch list with eight of those conferences boasting multiple selections, including the American Athletic, Atlantic Coast, Big 12, Big Ten, Big West, Pac-12, Sun Belt and Southeastern Conferences.

Florida leads the list of schools represented with three players on the 2021 list, followed closely by Arkansas, Boston College, Louisville, Miami, Ole Miss, Tennessee, UCLA, Vanderbilt, Virginia, and Wake Forest, which all boast a pair of athletes.

Oregon State’s Adley Rutschman took home the prestigious award most recently in 2019, joining a group of recent winners that include Andrew Vaughn (2018), Brendan McKay (2017), Kyle Lewis (2016), Andrew Benintendi (2015), A.J. Reed (2014), Kris Bryant (2013), Mike Zunino (2012), Trevor Bauer (2011), Bryce Harper (2010), Stephen Strasburg (2009), Buster Posey (2008) and David Price (2007).

Fan voting will once again play a part in the Golden Spikes Award in 2021. Amateur baseball fans will be able to vote for their favorite players on GoldenSpikesAward.com, starting on June 8 with the naming of the Golden Spikes Award semifinalists. USA Baseball will announce the finalists for the award on June 24 and fan voting will open at GoldenSpikesAward.com concurrently, remaining open through July 2.

The winner of the 43rd Golden Spikes Award will be named in July. To stay up-to-date on the 2021 Golden Spikes Award visit GoldenSpikesAward.com and follow @USAGoldenSpikes on Twitter and Instagram.

  •  

  • The 2021 Golden Spikes Award timeline:
  • April 14: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award midseason watch list announced
  • June 8: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalists announced, fan voting begins
  • June 15: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalists fan voting ends
  • June 24: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award finalists announced, fan voting begins
  • July 2: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award finalists fan voting ends
  • July: USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award trophy presentation
  •  

  • A complete list of the 55-player USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award preseason watch list is as follows:
  •  

  • Name; Position; School; Conference
  • Andrew Abbott; LHP; Virginia; Atlantic Coast Conference
  • Kevin Abel; RHP; Oregon State; Pac-12 Conference
  • Hunter Barco; LHP; Florida; Southeastern Conference
  • Alex Binelas; 3B; Louisville; Atlantic Coast Conference
  • Mason Black; RHP; Lehigh; Patriot League
  • Tyler Black; 2B; Wright State; Horizon League
  • Brooks Carlson; 2B; Samford; SoCon Conference
  • Parker Chavers; OF; Coastal Carolina; Sun Belt Conference
  • Maxwell Costes; 1B; Maryland; Big 10 Conference
  • Colton Cowser; OF; Sam Houston; Southland Conference
  • Ryan Cusick; RHP; Wake Forest; Atlantic Coast Conference
  • Henry Davis; C; Louisville; Atlantic Coast Conference
  • Adrian Del Castillo; C; Miami; Atlantic Coast Conference
  • Trenton Denholm; RHP; UC Irvine; Big West Conference
  • Josh Elvir; OF; Angelo State; Lone Star Conference
  • Jud Fabian; OF; Florida; Southeastern Conference
  • Max Ferguson; 2B; Tennessee; Southeastern Conference
  • Richard Fitts; RHP; Auburn; Southeastern Conference
  • Christian Franklin; OF; Arkansas; Southeastern Conference
  • Sal Frelick; OF; Boston College; Atlantic Coast Conference
  • Zack Gelof; 3B; Virginia; Atlantic Coast Conference
  • Hunter Goodman; C/UTL; Memphis; American Athletic Conference
  • Peyton Graham; INF; Oklahoma; Big 12 Conference
  • Steve Hajjar; LHP; Michigan; Big 10 Conference
  • Mo Hanley; OF/LHP; Adrian; Michigan Intercollegiate Conference
  • Jaden Hill; RHP; LSU; Southeastern Conference
  • Gunnar Hoglund; RHP; Ole Miss; Southeastern Conference
  • Grant Holman; RHP/1B; California; Pac-12 Conference
  • Jordan Lawlar; INF; Dallas Jesuit High School
  • Jack Leiter; RHP; Vanderbilt; Southeastern Conference
  • Seth Lonsway; LHP; Ohio State; Big 10 Conference
  • Tommy Mace; RHP; Florida; Southeastern Conference
  • Christian MacLeod; RHP; Mississippi State; Southeastern Conference
  • Ty Madden; RHP; Texas; Big 12 Conference
  • Robby Martin; OF; Florida State; Atlantic Coast Conference
  • Michael McGreevy; RHP; UC Santa Barbara; Big West
  • Matt McLain; SS; UCLA; Pac-12 Conference
  • Troy Melton; RHP; San Diego State; Mountain West Conference
  • Robert Moore; 2B; Arkansas; Southeastern Conference
  • Cody Morissette; 3B; Boston College; Atlantic Coast Conference
  • Dylan Neuse; OF; Texas Tech; Big 12 Conference
  • Doug Nikhazy; LHP; Ole Miss; Southeastern Conference
  • Braden Olthoff; RHP; Tulane; American Athletic Conference
  • Andrew Painter; RHP; Calvary Christian High School
  • Connor Pavolony; C; Tennessee; Southeastern Conference
  • Zach Pettway; RHP; UCLA; Pac-12 Conference
  • Connor Prielipp; LHP; Alabama; Southeastern Conference
  • Kumar Rocker; RHP; Vanderbilt; Southeastern Conference
  • Bobby Seymour; 1B; Wake Forest; Atlantic Coast Conference
  • Alex Toral; 1B; Miami; Atlantic Coast Conference
  • Jose Torres; INF; NC State; Atlantic Coast Conference
  • Luis Vargas; OF; Wayland Baptist; Sooner Athletic Conference
  • Luke Waddell; SS; Georgia Tech; Atlantic Coast Conference
  • Jordan Wicks; LHP; Kansas State; Big 12 Conference
  • Ethan Wilson; OF; South Alabama; Sun Belt Conference
View More
2021-MalaikaUnderwood-NewsletterAd-01

Malaika Underwood: Writing Her Own Story

Inspired by her daughters, ten-time Team USA alum Malaika Underwood wrote "Birdie Can, Too!" based on her own journey in baseball
February 9, 2021
Growing up, ten-time USA Baseball Women’s National Team alum Malaika Underwood always knew she wanted to play baseball. “In my life there is no pre-baseball,” Underwood said. “I’ve always loved baseball and it was the first sport that I ever chose to play.” So, whether it was playing in rec

Growing up, ten-time USA Baseball Women’s National Team alum Malaika Underwood always knew she wanted to play baseball.

“In my life there is no pre-baseball,” Underwood said. “I’ve always loved baseball and it was the first sport that I ever chose to play.”

So, whether it was playing in rec league games, on a playground or even just at a friend’s house, Underwood always found a way to play the game she loved. No matter what.

But as she finished middle school and realized there weren’t really any opportunities for girls to play baseball at the high school level, she had to create her own opportunity. She knew she could excel at the next level, she just needed a chance and, once again, she found a way.

Underwood wrote a letter to every high school coach in the San Diego area – not asking for a spot on the team, just for a fair shot to try out. Luckily, Coach Bob Allen at La Jolla High School gave her that shot.

Throughout tryouts, Underwood put a tremendous amount of pressure on herself to succeed.

“I didn’t want to put myself on the line and fail, but you have to take those risks if you’re going to achieve things in life,” Underwood said.

And that is exactly what she did: Underwood took a chance and it paid dividends. She excelled at tryouts, earning a spot on the team, and with a double down the right field line in a preseason game, Underwood became the first girl in San Diego to ever play baseball at the high school level.

“I remember that moment so clearly it was that sense of relief and belonging on the team,” Underwood recalled. “It was ‘Ok, I’ve got this.’”

She played baseball all four years at La Jolla High School. But since she knew her future opportunities on the diamond were once again limited, she also played basketball and volleyball, and with her incredible athleticism, she continued to excel at it all. Eventually, Underwood earned a scholarship to play volleyball at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Her time in Chapel Hill not only brought her great success on the court, but also brought her closer to Cary, North Carolina, the home of USA Baseball and her chance to get back on the base paths: the Women’s National Team.

Since reigniting her baseball career and making Team USA for the first time in 2006, Underwood has been named to a USA Baseball national team a record-10 times, which is more than any other alum – male or female. In that time, Underwood has won four gold medals, helped Team USA to a world championship in her first year with the squad in 2006, tied for the Women’s National Team single game records in at-bats (6) and hits (5), and was named the USA Baseball Sportswoman of the Year in 2015.

That’s not all Underwood has done since 2006, though; while playing baseball for her country, she has also built a successful career, gotten married and had two daughters. And now, Underwood has added children’s author to her long list of accomplishments.

Her new book “Birdie Can, Too!” was inspired by her own journey within the game of baseball – told through the eyes of her oldest daughter, Birdie.

As she began to read books to her daughter, Underwood realized that although they were fine stories, she just couldn’t shake the feeling that there had to be more. Wanting Birdie to absorb as much meaningful language as possible, she got the idea to write a story that shows you can achieve anything you set your mind to if you work hard enough.

It was the idea to write her own story.

“If you do the work you can make it happen and that’s why I wrote the book,” Underwood said. “I want it to be so engrained in [young girls] that they can achieve anything that they don’t ever question that. I really truly believe that seeing is believing. That you can accomplish something.”

And for Underwood, it even goes beyond that. The mindset and confidence lie with the individual, but the progress that is happening and is still yet to be made in baseball stretches nationwide.

“The game is accessible to everyone,” Underwood said. “And some of the progress that’s being made at the grassroots level is really meaningful and will have a lasting effect on our game.”

Underwood wants to continue that progress in communities across the country so that young girls will have the same amount of opportunities as boys to get started in baseball. As more opportunities present themselves, the number of girls actively playing and pursuing the game will increase as well.

For Underwood, the goal is to empower girls to continue to play at any level. And not only just to play, but to feel accepted in the game as well. That confidence and sense of belonging is what she hopes her book instills in young girls everywhere. She wants “Birdie Can, Too!” to serve as that initial building block for girls in the game she loves.

“I hope this is the start of that message being more pervasive and I have a lot of hope in that,” Underwood said, noting the recent advancements of Miami Marlins General Manager Kim Ng, Vanderbilt football’s female kicker, Sarah Fuller, and having the first woman as Vice President of the United States in Kamala Harris.

“What I do also hope with this book is that we start to see advancements in gender equity pick up speed. The things that I went through, I hope that my daughters don’t have to go through,” she said.

Underwood’s advice to girls looking to follow in her footsteps is simple: “Do the work. You have to prove every step of the way that you belong on that baseball field.”

But while every athlete has to put in their own work to make it, Underwood also knows the importance of finding advocates and friends along the way – like Birdie. “You feel so much more empowered when you don’t feel so alone,” she said.

Approaching her 40th birthday this year with four gold medals, a full-time career with One Team Partners, two daughters and now a book that she hopes will make an impact on her own daughters and anyone out there fighting to reach a dream, Underwood has no interest in slowing down anytime soon.

This is just the start of her impact on the game she loves.

View More
nhsicancelled

2021 National High School Invitational Cancelled

The ninth edition of the annual event will resume in 2022
February 9, 2021
CARY, N.C. – USA Baseball announced today the cancellation of the 2021 National High School Invitational (NHSI) presented by the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance and the Town of Cary. The event was scheduled for March 24-27 at the USA Baseball National Training Complex. The ninth edition of the annual tournament

CARY, N.C. – USA Baseball announced today the cancellation of the 2021 National High School Invitational (NHSI) presented by the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance and the Town of Cary. The event was scheduled for March 24-27 at the USA Baseball National Training Complex.

The ninth edition of the annual tournament will not be rescheduled for 2021; however, USA Baseball will resume the tournament in 2022. The NHSI has been a mainstay on the organization’s calendar since its inception in 2012 in celebration of the top high school baseball programs and players from across the country.

“It is disappointing to announce the cancellation of the National High School Invitational for the second consecutive year,” said USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO Paul Seiler. “The health and safety of the participants, coaches, and fans command our attention during this pandemic, and it remains obvious that instability surrounding COVID-19 continues to linger within every community in the nation. The cancellation of our event aims to protect these athletes and safeguard the integrity of the participating teams’ respective seasons.”

Orange Lutheran High School (Orange, Calif.) will remain the defending champions of the NHSI entering 2022 after winning its third-consecutive title in 2019.

USA Baseball is closely monitoring the ongoing coronavirus and is evaluating the status of its events scheduled for 2021. At this time, no USA Baseball-sanctioned events will take place before April 1.

To receive more information on the NHSI and future USA Baseball events, visit USABaseball.com or follow @USABaseball on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

View More
AlumNewsletter_2021Schedule2

USA Baseball Set to Get Back On-Field in 2021

The schedule includes Olympic qualification, the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in Florida, and more
February 8, 2021
CARY, N.C. ­– In 2021, the USA Baseball calendar is set to include 2021 Olympic Games qualifying opportunities, hosting the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup in Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida, as well as numerous national team identification events throughout the country. This year marks the return of the

CARY, N.C. ­– In 2021, the USA Baseball calendar is set to include 2021 Olympic Games qualifying opportunities, hosting the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup in Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida, as well as numerous national team identification events throughout the country.

This year marks the return of the Futures Invitational and Futures Series events, which are tentatively scheduled to take place in May and June, respectively. The 11U and 13U Futures Series will be held in Irvine, California, from May 14-16, while the 10U Futures Invitational is set for June 17-20 and the 11U Futures Invitational is scheduled for June 24-27. Both 11U events will serve as identifications events for the 12U National Team.

June will also feature the second National Team Championships North Carolina (June 16-July 8), the National Team Championships Arizona (June 14-July 7), the first-ever MLB Draft Combine (June 20-28), and the beginning of the Appalachian League’s first season as a collegiate summer league.

The 2021 Appalachian League season will feature 54 games and will run from June 3-August 7, with its first All-Star Game set for July 27 and the one-game Appalachian League Championship scheduled for August 7.

In addition to the first-of-its-kind MLB Draft Combine being held at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina, in June, the 2021 PDP League will also take place in Cary. This year’s PDP League will take place from July 22-August 1 and will once again serve as the primary identification event for the 18U National Team, which is set to compete at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida.

The tentative 2021 USA Baseball schedule for the coming months is as follows:

  • MAY:
  • – Futures Series Irvine (May 14-16)
  • JUNE:
  • – 10U Futures Invitational (June 17-20)
  • – 11U Futures Invitational (June 24-27)
  • – National Team Championships NC (June 16-July 8)
  • – National Team Championships AZ (June 14-July 7)
  • – MLB Draft Combine (June 20-28)
  • – Appalachian League (June 3-August 7)
  • JULY:
  • – PDP League (July 22-August 1)
  • – Appalachian League (All-Star Game: July 27)
  • AUGUST:
  • – National Team Identification Series (August 11-29)
  • – Appalachian League (Championship Game: August 9)
  • SEPTEMBER:
  • – WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup (September 10-19; Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida)
View More
LKJAS78F

Sixteen Alumni Earn 2020 MLB Awards

Four former Team USA players named to the All-MLB First Team in 2020
February 8, 2021
CARY, N.C. - Sixteen USA Baseball alumni were announced as Major League Baseball award winners following the 2020 season. Four former national team players were named to the All-MLB First Team, while four were named to the All-MLB Second Team. Freddie Freeman led the way with four honors last season, including being

CARY, N.C. - Sixteen USA Baseball alumni were announced as Major League Baseball award winners following the 2020 season. Four former national team players were named to the All-MLB First Team, while four were named to the All-MLB Second Team.

Freddie Freeman led the way with four honors last season, including being named the 2020 National League MVP after leading MLB in runs (51), finishing 2nd in MLB in OPS (1.102) and 2nd in the NL in average (.341), OBP (.462) and slugging (.640). He also picked up his second Silver Slugger Award, earned the 2020 Hank Aaron Award, and was named to the All-MLB First Team.

Freeman was joined on the All-MLB First Team by fellow Team USA alums Trevor Bauer, Manny Machado and Mike Trout. With the 2020 honor, Trout became only the second player in MLB history to earn a spot on the First Team for the second year in a row.

Additionally, Bauer earned his first Cy Young Award in 2020, while Nolan Arenado and Alex Gordon both earned the eighth Gold Glove Award of their careers. It was the eighth consecutive time Arenado has won the award and the fourth in a row for Gordon. Arenado also earned his fourth consecutive Platinum Glove Award last year, while Gordon picked up his second since 2014. Kolten Wong also earned a Gold Glove Award following the 2020 season, his second in as many years.

Corey Seager became just the eighth player in MLB history to win the World Series MVP after also earning the honor in the League Championship Series. Seager won the award unanimously after recording a .400/.556/.700 slash line with two home runs in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ six-game championship series win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

The complete list of USA Baseball alumni that earned 2020 MLB Awards is as follows:

  • All-MLB 1st Team
  • Trevor Bauer
  • Freddie Freeman
  • Manny Machado
  • Mike Trout
  • All-MLB 2nd Team
  • Gerrit Cole
  • Michael Conforto
  • Clayton Kershaw
  • Corey Seager
  • Cy Young
  • Trevor Bauer (NL)
  • Gold Glove
  • Nolan Arenado (NL)
  • J.P. Crawford (AL)
  • Joey Gallo (AL)
  • Alex Gordon (AL)
  • Trenton Grisham (NL)
  • Evan White (AL)
  • Kolten Wong (NL)
  • Hank Aaron Award
  • Freddie Freeman
  • MLB MVP
  • Freddie Freeman (NL)
  • Platinum Glove
  • Nolan Arenado (NL)
  • Alex Gordon (AL)
  • Silver Slugger
  • Freddie Freeman (NL)
  • Travis d’Arnaud (NL)
  • Manny Machado (NL)
  • World Series MVP
  • Corey Seager
View More
MLBUSABPDP-MLBUSA

MLB and USA Baseball Schedule Evaluation and Showcase Events for 2021 & 2022 MLB Draft Prospects

January 25, 2021
“MLB Draft Combine” and “PDP League” Tentatively Set For This Summer At USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C.; New Draft League Season To Incorporate Combine Assessments and Evaluations Major League Baseball and USA Baseball today announced enhancements to the joint Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) to feature a lineup

“MLB Draft Combine” and “PDP League” Tentatively Set For This Summer At USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C.;

New Draft League Season To Incorporate Combine Assessments and Evaluations

Major League Baseball and USA Baseball today announced enhancements to the joint Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) to feature a lineup of evaluation and showcase events for 2021 & 2022 MLB Draft prospects, including the first-ever MLB Draft Combine for high school and college baseball players. Additionally, the PDP League, a development & assessment opportunity for high school players eligible for the following year’s Draft, will return following the cancellation of the 2020 event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These programs, which will be hosted at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina, will strictly adhere to health protocols and other safety measures that are consistent with all state and local regulations, protect all participants and on-site personnel, and maintain the integrity of the individual player assessments.

The inaugural MLB Draft Combine (June 20th-28th) will feature top high school and college baseball prospects, as identified by MLB Clubs, who will have the opportunity to participate in a series of medical & performance assessments as well as educational programming designed to prepare them for a career in professional baseball. As part of the Combine experience, the top 88 high school players eligible for the 2021 MLB Draft will be selected to participate in a unique showcase tournament from June 20th through 26th. The tournament will feature eight games, including “bronze medal” and “gold medal” games, as well as PDP Performance Assessments and a pro-style showcase workout. Medical and performance assessments for all athletes will be conducted June 24th-28th. Additionally, all participants of the newly formed MLB Draft League will have the opportunity to participate in Combine assessments and evaluations through special events in Draft League communities during the month of June. The MLB Draft Combine will be an integral part of the identification and development process for future USA Baseball national teams. MLB and USA Baseball are in communication with the NCAA to ensure athlete eligibility requirements are met overall.

From July 22nd through August 1st, the second PDP League will feature the top 96 high school players who are eligible for the 2022 MLB Draft. The PDP League provides athletes with an unprecedented amateur experience, including competitive gameplay, player development sessions, educational seminars and other player programming to prepare players for a professional baseball career. The PDP League also will continue to serve as the primary identification opportunity for the USA Baseball 18U National Team.

Additional details for the MLB Draft Combine and the 2021 PDP League, both of which are voluntary and free of charge for participants, will be announced at a later date.

The 2021 MLB Draft is planned for July 11th-13th, and for the first time since the inception of the Draft in 1965, the event will be scheduled outside the month of June. The Draft will feature a minimum of 20 rounds across the three days, beginning with the opening night of the Draft on Sunday, July 11th following the 2021 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, part of All-Star Sunday at Truist Park. Since 2009, the first night of the Draft has been held live at MLB Network in Secaucus, New Jersey.

 

ABOUT THE PROSPECT DEVELOPMENT PIPELINE

Created in 2017, the PDP is the official identification and player assessment pathway to all 30 MLB Clubs for elite amateur baseball players in advance of the annual MLB Draft.

PDP athletes take part in one the most comprehensive athletic evaluation experiences in sports to date, which include the following:

  • Athletic Assessment – Captures objective performance measurements including gait analysis, dynamic broad & counter-movement jumps, agility, cognitive speed of processing, and, grip strength & slant board sway tests.
  • Sport Vision Screening– Screens players with a set of vision tests designed to help athletes by assessing vision strengths and identifying areas of vision that can be improved to enable them to reach maximum performance levels.
  • Swing Analysis – Each athlete is assigned to a sensor to track each swing they take, to monitor the barrel speed, hand speed, acceleration and impact momentum. High-speed, slow motion video is captured on every athlete.
  • Ball Flight Analysis – For pitchers, measurements include velocity, spin rate, spin axis, spin efficiency vertical & horizontal break.  For hitters, measurements include ball exit velocity, spin rate, distance and launch angle.

 

Following each evaluation, athletes receive a fully-customized player report, inclusive of personal results and data from their evaluation, developmental information with guidelines for improvement, and other relevant resources to aid players and families in navigating the amateur experience.

The PDP also supports a growing list of additional programs and initiatives, providing player development and athletic assessment exposures for summer baseball collegiate leagues, MLB Baseball & Softball Development amateur events (e.g., Hank Aaron Invitational, DREAM Series, Breakthrough Series and States Play), MLB international showcases, the East Coast Pro Showcase, and USA Baseball’s national teams, national team development programs, and its National Team Championships.

View More
InMemoriam3-LasordaInMemoriam (1)

USA Baseball Mourns Loss of Tommy Lasorda

Former manager led Team USA to the gold medal in the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games
January 8, 2021
CARY, N.C. – USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO Paul Seiler released the following statement mourning the loss of Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda. Lasorda led Team USA to the gold medal in the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, defeating two-time defending gold medalist Cuba 4-0 in the championship game. “Words cannot begin to

CARY, N.C. – USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO Paul Seiler released the following statement mourning the loss of Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda. Lasorda led Team USA to the gold medal in the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, defeating two-time defending gold medalist Cuba 4-0 in the championship game.

“Words cannot begin to express the profound loss we feel with the passing of Tommy Lasorda. His achievements on the baseball field are legendary but his legacy will forever exceed his baseball accomplishments. His patriotism was inspiring and the people who were fortunate enough to meet and learn from him will forever carry on his passion and goodwill for international baseball and our country. He is the epitome of a titan in our game and USA Baseball will forever honor his memory.

“We are thankful that we were able to reconnect Tommy with his Olympic players and staff as we celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the gold medal victory in the Sydney Olympic Games in September.”

Lasorda was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997 following a career that included four National League pennants and two World Series titles with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was named the manager of the USA Baseball Sydney 2000 Olympic Games baseball team and led the U.S. to its second gold medal in Olympic Games history (Seoul 1988 Olympic Games).

His ties to USA Baseball ran deeper than the jersey. Lasorda maintained a close relationship with the late Rod Dedeaux, a fellow USA Baseball Olympic Team manager (Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games), and remained active with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation, the longtime partner with USA Baseball. He also spoke with USA Baseball’s national teams and its athletes on numerous occasions, spreading his love of country and his passion for American baseball on the international stage.

View More
US2_0121-e

USA Baseball Recognizes 15U National Team Trials Selections

Sixty players were selected from USA Baseball identification events in 2019 and 2020
December 18, 2020
CARY, N.C. –  USA Baseball announced today its 2020 15U National Team Trials roster selections. The list features 60 athletes chosen from a USA Baseball identification event, including the 2019 13U Athlete Development Program, 13U and 14U National Team Identification Series Champions Cups, and 14U National Team Development Program, as

CARY, N.C. –  USA Baseball announced today its 2020 15U National Team Trials roster selections. The list features 60 athletes chosen from a USA Baseball identification event, including the 2019 13U Athlete Development Program, 13U and 14U National Team Identification Series Champions Cups, and 14U National Team Development Program, as well as the 2020 15U National Team Championships North Carolina.

The announcement comes after the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) rescheduled the 2020 WBSC U-15 Baseball World Cup, originally scheduled to take place in November in Tijuana, Mexico, to March 2021 because of COVID-19. However, after careful consideration and deliberation, USA Baseball has declined its invitation to compete in the rescheduled event due to the ongoing pandemic and its commitment to the long-term health and safety of its athletes and staff. Consequently, USA Baseball will not name a final 15U National Team in 2020.

“It is a pleasure to recognize this group of tremendously gifted young athletes after earning a spot on the 15U National Team Trials roster,” said USA Baseball Senior Director of Baseball Operations Ashley Bratcher. “Although we will not ultimately name a final national team roster this year to compete in next year’s World Cup, it does not detract from the achievements of these athletes who excelled during one of our national team identification events.

“These sixty kids have separated themselves as the best fifteen-and-under baseball players in the United States and we look forward to watching how they continue to progress on and off the field as we evaluate them for future USA Baseball national team programs.”

The Trials roster features 17 national team alumni, eight participants of the inaugural 13U Athlete Development Program and 18 members of the 14U NTDP. Three-time national team alumnus Kai Caranto (Castaic, Calif.) headlines the roster and is joined by fellow 2019 15U National Team members Spencer Butt (Davie, Fla.), Brandon Olivera (Hialeah, Fla.) and Ben Reiland (Villa Park, Calif.). All three athletes won a gold medal last year at the WBSC U-15 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, defeating Panama 3-1 in the final.

Additionally, 17 players on the roster have won a gold medal with the 12U National Team, including 10 members of the 2017 World Champion 12U squad that won the U.S. its third consecutive U-12 Baseball World Cup title in Taiwan: Daniel Arambula (Yucaipa, Calif.), Butt, Caranto, Owen Egan (Yucaipa, Calif.), Colt Emerson (Cambridge, Ohio), Gavin Grahovac (Orange, Calif.), Olivera, Bryce Rainer (Simi Valley, Calif.), Reiland and Raffaele Valazquez (Long Beach, Calif.).

In total, the 60 athletes span 21 different states and 35 of them are new to USA Baseball national team programming. Twenty-four athletes earned a spot on the 15U National Team Trials roster after representing their respective region at the 2019 NTIS Champions Cup, four invitees were selected from both the 2019 Athlete Development Program and 14U NTDP, while 23 were chosen after their performance at the inaugural National Team Championships in North Carolina.

Jared Halpert (Harvard-Westlake School; Chatsworth, Calif.) was named the 15U National Team manager for 2020 with Steve Butler (Eagan High School; Eagan, Minn.), Adam Moseley (Hoover High School; Hoover, Ala.) and Jeff Sherman (Marcus High School; Flower Mound, Texas) joining him on the staff as assistant coaches. Team USA is the current defending world champions after winning the nation’s first-ever U-15 Baseball World Cup title in 2018.

For more information on the 15U National Team and the selection process, please visit USABaseball.com or follow along on Twitter, at @USABaseball15U.

 

2020 15U National Team Trials Roster
Name; Position; Hometown; Identification Event (Region/Team)

*Daniel Arambula; IF/RHP; Yucaipa, Calif.; 14U NTIS (Southwest)
Cade Arrambide; C/IF; Tomball, Texas; Champs NC (Team Elite)
Conner Barth; IF/C; Roseville, Calif.; 13U NTIS (Northwest)
*^Tristan Bristow; RHP/OF; Helotes, Texas; 13U NTIS (South)
*^Spencer Butt; IF/RHP; Davie, Fla.; 14U NTDP
*^Kai Caranto; IF/OF; Castaic, Calif.; 14U NTDP
Matthew Champion; IF/RHP; Fontana, Calif.; 14U NTIS (Southwest)
*^Masato Chilcutt; C/IF; San Antonio, Texas; 13U ADP
Bryce Clavon; IF; Hampton, Ga.; Champs NC (Carolina Elite National)
Cooper Cohn; C/IF; McHenry, Ill.; 14U NTIS (Midwest)
Samuel Cozart; RHP; High Point, N.C.; 13U NTIS (Southeast)
^Connor Crisp; RHP/OF; Locust Grove, Ga.; Champs NC (5 Star National Dobbs)
^Derek Curiel; OF; West Covina, Calif.; Champs NC (Empire Baseball)
Daniel Cuvet; IF; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Champs NC (Elite Squad)
Sebastian David; IF/RHP; Medina, Wash.; 14U NTIS (Northwest)
*^Owen Egan; OF/RHP; Yucaipa, Calif.; Champs NC (Elite Squad)
*^Colt Emerson; IF; Cambridge, Ohio; Champs NC (Team Elite)
Hayden Federico; IF/C; West Monroe, La.; 14U NTIS (South)
*^Ross Felder; RHP/IF; Springdale, Ark.; 13U ADP
Jack Frankel; RHP/IF; Plano, Texas; (USA Prime National 2022)
Theodore Gillen; IF/RHP; Austin, Texas; 14U NTIS (South)
*^Gavin Grahovac; C/IF; Orange, Calif.; Champs NC (Empire Baseball)
Konnor Griffin; OF/IF; Florence, Miss.; 13U NTIS (Southeast)
Aidan Hall; IF/RHP; Galt, Calif.; 13U NTIS (Northwest)
*^Kailand Halstead; C/IF; Cosmopolis, Wash.; 13U NTIS (Northwest)
^Ryder Helfrick; C/OF; Brentwood, Calif.; (Meta Prime 2023)
Caleb Hoover; RHP/C; Heath, Texas; Champs NC (Empire Baseball)
Kaohu Kawelu; IF; Hilo, Hawaii; 13U NTIS (Southwest)
Boston Kellner; RHP/OF; Colorado Springs, Colo.; 13U NTIS (Midwest)
^Trenton Lape; IF/RHP; Bossier City, La.; Champs NC (5 Star National Dobbs)
Brandon Luu; IF/LHP; Irvine, Calif.; 14U NTIS (Southwest)
Manuelle Marin; IF; Hialeah, Fla.; Champs NC (Elite Squad)
Ethan Martinez; IF/LHP; Fort Worth, Texas; 14U NTIS (South)
Maximo Martinez; IF/OF; Hawthorne, Calif.; 13U NTIS (Southwest)
Coleman Mayfield; LHP; Elk City, Okla.; Champs NC (Team Elite)
Frank Menendez; LHP/OF; Miami, Fla.; Champs NC (Elite Squad)
Evan Miranda; RHP/IF; Fontana, Calif.; Champs NC (Empire Baseball)
^Andre Modugno; IF/OF; Upper Saddle River, N.J.; 14U NTIS (Northeast)
Lucas Moore; OF; West Chester, Ohio; Champs NC (Tri State Arsenal)
*^Dean Moss; IF/OF; Atherton, Calif.; 13U NTIS (Northwest)
^Chris Newstrom; C/IF; Scottsdale, Ariz.; 14U NTIS (Southwest)
*^Brandon Olivera; RHP; Hialeah, Fla.; 14U NTDP
*^Josiah Palomino; C/UTL; Riverside, Calif.; 13U ADP
*^Bryce Rainer; IF/OF; Simi Valley, Calif.; Champs NC (Empire Baseball)
*^Benjamin Reiland; OF; Villa Park, Calif.; 14U NTDP
Brett Renfrow; OF/RHP; Manassas, Va.; 14U NTIS (Northeast)
^Luca Reyes; OF/IF; Teaneck, N.J.; Champs NC (Team Elite)
Christian Rodriguez; OF/RHP; Coral Springs, Fla.; 14U NTIS (Southeast)
Jackson Sanders; LHP/OF; Opelika, Ala.; Champs NC (Team Elite)
Campbell Smithwick; C/OF; Conway, S.C.; Champs NC (Canes Baseball National)
^Ty Southisene; IF; Henderson, Nev.; Champs NC (Empire Baseball)
^Nolan Stevens; LHP/OF; Elk Grove, Calif.; (NCTB Alpha Dogs)
*^Brady Strohm; IF/RHP; Winchester, Calif.; 13U NTIS (Southwest)
Landon Stump; RHP; Morgan Hill, Calif.; (Meta Prime 2023)
Drew Titsworth; RHP; Frankenmuth, Mich.; Champs NC (Team Elite)
Anthony Tralongo; IF; Wellington, Fla.; Champs NC (Team GA Baseball)
Jeremiah Vargas; OF/IF; San Diego, Calif.; 13U NTIS (Southwest)
*^Raffaele Velazquez; C/IF; Long Beach, Calif.; Champs NC (Empire Baseball)
Landon Victorian; RHP/OF; Lake Charles, La.; (Banditos Black)
^Braeden Weckman; OF/RHP; Winter Springs, Fla.; 13U ADP

*Denotes national team alum
^Denotes Athlete Development Program or National Team Development Program participant

View More
homegrownheader2

USA Baseball Launches Homegrown Program

Program includes two unique initiatives featuring USA Baseball alumni
November 18, 2020
CARY, N.C. – USA Baseball today announced the launch of its Homegrown program to provide youth participants with a unique opportunity to learn and grow with athletes from their hometown in fun and interactive settings. The program features two different initiatives – Homegrown Clinics and Homegrown Connections – that will

CARY, N.C. – USA Baseball today announced the launch of its Homegrown program to provide youth participants with a unique opportunity to learn and grow with athletes from their hometown in fun and interactive settings. The program features two different initiatives – Homegrown Clinics and Homegrown Connections – that will allow Team USA alumni to give back to their hometowns and youth-based organizations that hold personal meaning or supported their overall personal or professional development.

In addition to welcoming USA Baseball alumni back into their communities, the Homegrown program also allows the organization to continue its efforts to increase participation in the sport at the grassroots level. Participants will be connected with USA Baseball National Member Organizations to learn about local league registration opportunities and schools participating in the Homegrown program that are not already part of the USA Baseball Fun At Bat program will be able to incorporate the free initiative into their educational curriculum going forward.

Fun At Bat is part of Major League Baseball’s PLAY BALL initiative–the sport’s largest collective effort to encourage young people to participate in baseball- or softball-related activities. The Fun At Bat program reaches nearly 3.5 million children across all 50 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, Mexico, London and Brazil. The program is available in English, Spanish and Portuguese, and also includes a literacy component focusing on character development and teaching traits such as leadership, teamwork and responsibility.

“The Homegrown program is an exciting chance for our athletes to give back to the places where their baseball journeys began,” said USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO Paul Seiler. “Both the Homegrown Connections and Homegrown Clinics will present unique opportunities for USA Baseball alumni to stay connected to the places that helped them as they started their careers, and we look forward to helping create impactful interactions between these young participants and their hometown heroes.”

The USA Baseball Homegrown program will begin in the fall of 2020 with Homegrown Connections, a virtual, webinar-like experience that will provide youth with a rare opportunity to connect with national team alumni from their community in a personalized setting. Students from elementary schools and youth-based or youth mission-driven organizations will get to know their hometown heroes through these live, interactive events.

The first Homegrown Connections webinar featured two-time Team USA alum Michael Cuddyer on November 17. The webinar consisted of an interactive discussion before concluding with a question and answer session featuring questions submitted by participants from his hometown of Chesapeake, Virginia.

Cuddyer was a member of the 1996 and 1997 18U National Teams. In 1997, he led Team USA in home runs (3), runs scored (8), total bases (15) and stolen bases (3), and tied for the lead in RBIs with six, helping the 18U National Team win the 1997 USA Baseball Team of the Year Award.

He was selected ninth overall in the 1997 MLB June Amateur Draft by the Minnesota Twins and made his major league debut with the club on September 23, 2001. He went on to play 15 seasons in the big leagues, finishing with a .277 career batting average, two All-Star selections and a Silver Slugger Award. After playing 11 seasons with the Twins, Cuddyer was inducted into the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame in 2017. 

In addition to Homegrown Connections, the USA Baseball Homegrown program will also include Homegrown Clinics, which are in-person baseball events for youth from elementary schools and youth-based or youth mission-driven organizations between the ages of 5-12. Set to begin in the fall of 2021, this initiative will allow participants to be given a chance to get outside to learn and play alongside USA Baseball alumni.

For more information on the Homegrown program, Fun At Bat and all USA Baseball Development initiatives, visit USABDevelops.com or follow @FunAtBat and @USABDevelops on Instagram and Twitter.

View More
20140901_USA_18U_National_Team_SNP_019

USA Baseball Sets Sights on 2021

Olympic qualification and WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in Florida highlight 2021 calendar
October 13, 2020
CARY, N.C. – Following the successful completion of the inaugural National Team Championships North Carolina in August, USA Baseball has shifted its focus to 2021 programming. Next year’s calendar is set to include 2021 Olympic Games qualifying opportunities and hosting the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup

CARY, N.C. – Following the successful completion of the inaugural National Team Championships North Carolina in August, USA Baseball has shifted its focus to 2021 programming. Next year’s calendar is set to include 2021 Olympic Games qualifying opportunities and hosting the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup in Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida, as well as numerous national team identification events throughout the country.

The National Team Championships North Carolina marked the final event of 2020 as the 15U and Women’s National Team Trials will not be held this year. Both the 15U and Women’s National Team programs were set to compete in the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-15 Baseball World Cup and Women’s Baseball World Cup, respectively; however, the events were postponed due to COVID-19. Additionally, no regional identification events for the 2021 USA Baseball National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup will be held in 2020.

“We are looking forward to a full slate of USA Baseball programming in 2021, including opportunities to qualify for the Olympic Games, compete for world championships and earn a gold medal on our home turf at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in Florida,” said USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO Paul Seiler. “This year, while challenging, has given us a chance to learn and develop as an organization and we are excited for the opportunities presented to us to get back into action in 2021 and continue developing young athletes both on and off the field.”

A full schedule of USA Baseball’s 2021 events and national team programming will be announced at a later date. The upcoming year will include the ninth annual National High School Invitational (NHSI), as well as the Futures Invitational, the National Team Championships in Arizona and North Carolina, and the National Team Identification Series, among others.

Next year will also feature the 2021 Olympic Games, which are currently scheduled to take place from July 23-August 8 in Tokyo, Japan. Team USA will compete for one of two remaining spots in the Olympic Games baseball tournament.

For further information on USA Baseball national teams, events and philanthropic efforts, follow @USABaseball on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

View More
GiveForGlory_ThankYou_Website

USA Baseball Inaugural Day of Giving Raises $23,000

One hundred and fifty-four donors contributed during the 24-hour campaign
October 7, 2020
CARY, N.C. – On September 30, 2020, USA Baseball held its inaugural Day of Giving to raise funds for the organization’s athletes, coaches, national teams, events and programs. During the 24-hour campaign, 154 donors contributed a total of $23,000 in support of USA Baseball’s continued commitment to the growth of

CARY, N.C. – On September 30, 2020, USA Baseball held its inaugural Day of Giving to raise funds for the organization’s athletes, coaches, national teams, events and programs. During the 24-hour campaign, 154 donors contributed a total of $23,000 in support of USA Baseball’s continued commitment to the growth of amateur baseball across the U.S.

“Our inaugural Day of Giving was a great success,” said Senior Director of Development, Will Chriscoe. “The USA Baseball community truly came together to show its support of Team USA and the growth of amateur baseball in the United States. This is a great foundation for this new program as we aim to support our many initiatives and national teams in the future.”

This year’s Day of Giving donors hailed from 29 different states and all six national team programs received gifts throughout the 24-hour campaign. The organization’s education and development programs, as well as the USA Baseball National Training Complex, also received donations. The largest overall Day of Giving fundraising effort went to the Organization Greatest Needs fund which raised money to support any and all future USA Baseball strategic initiatives and emerging priorities.

Through this campaign, the USA Baseball community did more than just raise money for the future of baseball and Team USA – it raised the hopes of every athlete and coach striving to impact our game and all those who dream of representing the U.S. on the world stage. Every donor opened doors for millions of athletes across the country and invested in their futures as people and players.

To learn more about USA Baseball’s inaugural Day of Giving or to continue to support the organization, its national teams, events and programs, visit GiveForGlory.com.

View More
2020-MLBPostseason-FBTwitter-01

Eighty USA Baseball Alumni In 2020 MLB Postseason

All 16 postseason teams have at least one former member of Team USA
September 29, 2020
CARY, N.C. – USA Baseball announced today that eighty USA Baseball alumni are set to play in the first-ever 16-team MLB postseason. All 16 postseason teams have at least one former Team USA member on their rosters. The Cincinnati Reds lead the way with eight alumni, while the Atlanta Braves,

CARY, N.C. – USA Baseball announced today that eighty USA Baseball alumni are set to play in the first-ever 16-team MLB postseason. All 16 postseason teams have at least one former Team USA member on their rosters. The Cincinnati Reds lead the way with eight alumni, while the Atlanta Braves, San Diego Padres and St. Louis Cardinals each have seven.

The National League has a combined 47 alumni on its rosters while the American League boasts 33 players who have previously worn the red, white and blue.

The 2020 MLB Postseason began on Tuesday, September 29, with Game One of the American League Wild Card Series featuring the Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins.

The opening round matchup featuring the most USA Baseball alumni is between the Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds in the National League Wild Card Series, which will include a total of 15 players that have suited up for the stars and stripes. The series begins on Wednesday, September 30, at 12 p.m. ET.

The complete list of USA Baseball alumni on 2020 MLB Postseason rosters is as follows:

 

American League

 
Chicago White Sox (5):
Gio Gonzalez - 2013 Professional (WBC)
Yasmani Grandal - 2009 Collegiate
Nick Madrigal - 2011 14U; 2012 15U; 2014 18U; 2017 Collegiate
James McCann - 2011 Professional
Carlos Rodon - 2012, 2013 Collegiate


Cleveland Indians (3):
Francisco Lindor - 2009 16U; 2010 18U
Tyler Naquin - 2011 Collegiate
Adam Plutko - 2012 Collegiate


Houston Astros (6):
Alex Bregman - 2010 16U; 2011 18U; 2013, 2014 Collegiate; 2017 Professional (WBC)
Chase De Jong - 2011 18U
Lance McCullers - 2010 18U
George Springer - 2010 Collegiate
Kyle Tucker - 2012 15U
Justin Verlander* - 2003 Collegiate


Minnesota Twins (3):
Tyler Clippard - 2017 Professional (WBC)
Brent Rooker* - 2019 Professional
Caleb Thielbar - 2019 Professional


New York Yankees (3):
Gerrit Cole - 2009, 2010 Collegiate
Erik Kratz - 2010, 2019 Professional
Giancarlo Stanton - 2013, 2017 Professional (WBC)


Oakland Athletics (5):
Matt Chapman* - 2013 Collegiate
Robbie Grossman - 2007 18U
Mike Minor - 2007, 2008 Collegiate
Matt Olson - 2010 16U
JB Wendelken* - 2015 Professional

 
Tampa Bay Rays (2):
Austin Meadows* - 2011 16U
Brett Phillips - 2015 Professional

 
Toronto Blue Jays (6):
Cavan Biggio - 2012 18U
A.J. Cole - 2007 16U
Randal Grichuk - 2007 16U
Robbie Ray - 2009 18U
Tanner Roark - 2017 Professional (WBC)
Matt Shoemaker - 2011 Professional

  

National League

 
Atlanta Braves (7):
Ian Anderson - 2015 18U
Travis D'Arnaud - 2011 Professional
Freddie Freeman - 2005 16U; 2006 18U
Mark Melancon - 2005 Collegiate; 2017 Professional (WBC)
A.J. Minter - 2014 Collegiate
Dansby Swanson - 2014 Collegiate
Kyle Wright - 2016 Collegiate

 
Chicago Cubs (5):
Kris Bryant - 2012 Collegiate
Nico Hoerner - 2011 14U; 2012 15U
Craig Kimbrel - 2013 Professional
Kyle Ryan - 2009 18U
Kyle Schwarber - 2013 Collegiate

 
Cincinnati Reds (8):
Trevor Bauer - 2009 Collegiate
Nick Castellanos - 2009 18U
Kyle Farmer - 2012 Collegiate
Sonny Gray - 2009, 2010 Collegiate
Michael Lorenzen - 2008 16U; 2010 18U; 2011, 2012 Collegiate
Mike Moustakas - 2006 18U, 2010 Professional
Lucas Sims - 2010 16U
Jesse Winker - 2011 18U

 
Los Angeles Dodgers (6):
Walker Buehler - 2014 Collegiate
Joe Kelly - 2007 Collegiate
Clayton Kershaw - 2005 18U
Jake McGee - 2017 Professional (WBC)
A.J. Pollock - 2011 Professional
Corey Seager - 2010 16U

 
Miami Marlins (1):
Ryne Stanek - 2011, 2012 Collegiate

 
Milwaukee Brewers (6):
Brett Anderson - 2004 16U; 2005 18U; 2008 Professional (Olympic)
Ryan Braun - 2009, 2013 Professional (WBC)
Josh Hader - 2015 Professional
Keston Hiura - 2016 Collegiate
Corey Knebel - 2011 Collegiate
Christian Yelich - 2017 Professional (WBC)


San Diego Padres (7):
Jason Castro - 2009 Professional
Jake Cronenworth - 2019 Professional
Zach Davies - 2007 14U
Trent Grisham - 2014 18U
Eric Hosmer - 2007 18U; 2010 Professional; 2013, 2017 Professional (WBC)
Manny Machado - 2009 18U
Drew Pomeranz - 2009 Collegiate

 
St. Louis Cardinals (7):
Jack Flaherty - 2013 18U
Dexter Fowler - 2008 Professional (Olympic)
Paul Goldschmidt - 2017 Professional (WBC)
Andrew Miller - 2017 Professional (WBC)
Brad Miller - 2009, 2010 Collegiate
Matt Wieters - 2005 Collegiate
Kolten Wong - 2009 Collegiate

 

*= Athlete not currently on club's active roster due to designation to short-term disabled list, paternity leave, or temporary bereavement list

View More
AppLeague-social_MediaPanel

MLB, USA Baseball, Announce New Format For Appalachian League

September 29, 2020
Appy League to Become First Collegiate Summer League in Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) for Rising College Freshmen and Sophomores Plan Retains High-Level Baseball in the Region for the Long-Term Under Appalachian League Banner, Adds New Opportunities Major League Baseball and USA Baseball jointly announced today a new format for the

Appy League to Become First Collegiate Summer League in Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) for Rising College Freshmen and Sophomores

Plan Retains High-Level Baseball in the Region for the Long-Term Under Appalachian League Banner, Adds New Opportunities

Major League Baseball and USA Baseball jointly announced today a new format for the Appalachian League, which will feature the nation’s top rising college freshmen and sophomores in wood-bat play each summer. The new format affirms MLB’s commitment to the region, maintains the existing branding of the league, and assures that the Appalachian League will continue to host high-caliber baseball and future Major Leaguers for years to come.

The Appalachian League will become a part of the Prospect Development Pipeline (“PDP”), the collaborative effort between MLB and USA Baseball that establishes a player development pathway for amateur baseball players in the United States, and will be an integral part of the identification and development process for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team and other future national teams. Appalachian League participants will receive extensive visibility to MLB Club scouts through both in-person observation and state-of-the-art scouting technology. Players will receive instruction from former MLB players and educational programming designed to prepare them for careers as professional athletes. Plans include a 54-game regular season and an annual All-Star Game. MLB and USA Baseball will provide support for the league’s staffing, player participation, and administrative functions. The parties are in communication with the NCAA to ensure athlete eligibility requirements are met.

To herald the start of this exciting new format, each of the 10 teams in the Appalachian League have decided to undertake a process for changing their names and logos to incorporate symbols and images important to their respective local communities, to be adopted before the 2021 season. MLB and USA Baseball have already begun the process of identifying and inviting the top 320 players to participate in the 2021 Appalachian League.

Morgan Sword, MLB’s Executive Vice President, Baseball Economics & Operations, said: “We are thrilled to partner with USA Baseball and the Appalachian League communities to create a one-of-a-kind summer league that will attract the nation’s top collegiate players and allow local fans to see top prospects and future big-league stars in their hometowns. This announcement continues MLB’s commitment to preserving and growing baseball in communities around the United States. The road to the big leagues now runs through Appalachia.”

Mike Gaski, President of USA Baseball, said: “USA Baseball is excited for this unique opportunity to enhance the offerings within the Prospect Development Pipeline through the creation of a premier summer collegiate baseball league. Our commitment to the continued development of amateur athletes is paramount to our mission as the national governing body for the sport in the United States and it is an honor to align ourselves with a historic baseball brand such as the Appalachian League, as well as our partners in Major League Baseball. We look forward to welcoming elite-level college athletes to the Appalachian League and identifying players who will hope to one day play for Team USA.”

Dan Moushon, the President of the Appalachian League, said: “The communities of the Appalachian League have supported baseball since our founding in 1911. We are grateful to MLB and USA Baseball for bringing this exciting opportunity to our fans and look forward to welcoming players, coaches, MLB scouts, and fans into our cities next summer.”

The league will be guided by a Steering Committee composed of leaders from collegiate and professional baseball:

- CHRIS ALLEN – PRESIDENT & COO – BOYD SPORTS

- ASHLEY BRATCHER – SENIOR DIRECTOR – BASEBALL OPERATIONS, USA BASEBALL

- ERIC CAMPBELL – GENERAL MANAGER – NATIONAL TEAMS, USA BASEBALL

- TIM CORBIN – HEAD BASEBALL COACH, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY

- JOHN D’ANGELO – VICE PRESIDENT – AMATEUR & MEDICAL, MLB

- DAN HARTLEB – HEAD BASEBALL COACH, UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS

- GIL KIM – DIRECTOR OF PLAYER DEVELOPMENT, TORONTO BLUE JAYS

- BRYAN MINNITI – ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER, PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

- DAN MOUSHON – PRESIDENT, APPALACHIAN LEAGUE

- JALEN PHILLIPS – COORDINATOR – DRAFT OPERATIONS, MLB

- STEVE SANDERS – ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER, PITTSBURGH PIRATES

- JOHN SAVAGE – HEAD BASEBALL COACH, UCLA

- BILL SCHMIDT – VICE PRESIDENT – SCOUTING, COLORADO ROCKIES

- EDWIN THOMPSON – HEAD BASEBALL COACH, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY

Watch more on the impact of the new Appalachian League here and stay up to date here.

 

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
ABOUT THE NEW APPALACHIAN LEAGUE

- UNITED STATES SENATOR MARK WARNER OF VIRGINIA said: “For years, Minor League Baseball teams have provided affordable family entertainment for Virginians and fostered players who became Big League stars. This new Appalachian League format will continue that tradition, ensuring that high-level baseball will continue being played in our state for the long-term. I look forward to seeing the next generation of big league stars, and cultivating the next generation of baseball fans, right here in Virginia.”

- UNITED STATES SENATOR JOE MANCHIN OF WEST VIRGINIA said: “After months of conversations with Major League Baseball, USA Baseball, and the Appalachian League, I am pleased by this agreement to bring the Appalachian League into the Prospect Development Pipeline. This collaboration will directly benefit our two Appalachian League teams in Bluefield and Princeton, which provide many West Virginians with entertainment and family time and foster a love of the American pastime. Through this new arrangement, our communities will host the premier baseball players in the country, giving West Virginians a chance to see baseball’s future stars before they reach the big leagues. I am committed to ensuring the future of all of West Virginia’s minor league teams, and I will work with everyone involved to ensure these teams receive the support they need to succeed during this transition and look forward to seeing top talent play in the Mountain State for many years to come.”

- UNITED STATES SENATOR TIM KAINE OF VIRGINIA said: “I am delighted that MLB and the Appalachian League have come to this agreement. I’ve called for baseball to remain in communities like Bluefield, Danville, Pulaski, and Bristol — this format will do just that with high-quality competition on the field for these communities to enjoy for years to come.”

- UNITED STATES SENATOR SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO OF WEST VIRGINIA said: “Though we have missed baseball this summer on the diamonds across West Virginia, Major League Baseball and USA Baseball are ensuring future summer nights in Princeton and Bluefield will be spent watching our National Pastime. It will be a thrill to watch the nation’s premier college players chase their dreams of the Majors while keeping the rich baseball traditions alive for these two communities.”

- WEST VIRGINIA GOVERNOR JIM JUSTICE said: “I’m thrilled beyond belief that two of West Virginia’s fantastic baseball teams – the Bluefield Blue Jays and the Princeton Rays – will be charter members of the groundbreaking Appalachian League. I’ve had many conversations with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred as we work together to preserve the tradition of baseball in these communities as well as in Charleston and Morgantown, and I know he truly appreciates how important these teams are to the thousands of West Virginians who enjoy great baseball. They are crucial parts of our local economies and communities, bringing in all kinds of jobs. And when it comes to tourism, they are absolute home runs.

“It’s going to be an absolute treat to see some of the very best college baseball players in the country perfect their skills right in our backyard. These ballclubs in Bluefield and Princeton are two of West Virginia’s finest gems and I can’t wait for this exciting new chapter to get started.”

- UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN PHIL ROE, M.D., OF TENNESSEE said: “This agreement between the Appalachian League and Major League Baseball sounds like good news for our community. We have a long, rich history of baseball in Northeast Tennessee, and I am glad that tradition will continue.”

- UNITED STATES CONGRESSWOMAN CAROL MILLER OF WEST VIRGINIA said: “I applaud Major League Baseball and USA Baseball for joining together to create the new Appalachian League. This exciting decision will bring top-tier baseball talent into our communities and create new economic investment opportunities in West Virginia and rural areas across our region. Our baseball teams are the spirit of our small towns, and I am excited to attend a game in the newly formatted Appalachian League.”

- UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN DENVER RIGGLEMAN OF VIRGINIA said: “The Danville Braves have been an integral part of the Danville community and I am pleased to see them enter this new chapter. I am happy that baseball will remain in Danville with the creation of this new league.”

- CURT ALEXANDER, MAYOR OF LONGTIME APPALACHIAN LEAGUE VENUE ELIZABETHTON, TENNESSEE, said: “We are extremely excited about the opportunity to partner directly with Major League Baseball and USA Baseball. The City of Elizabethton is a baseball community, one that has supported this wonderful game for more than 45 years. Our baseball tradition runs deep in Elizabethton. We have a long history of championships and a big roster of former E-Twins players that have made it to the big leagues. Major League Baseball is providing us with another opportunity to enjoy a pipeline of great baseball players that have that same chance to make it big in the Majors. It’s an exciting time and we welcome this partnership with Major League Baseball and USA Baseball.”

- JEFF DISIBBIO, PRESIDENT/CEO OF THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OF THE TWO VIRGINIAS, said: “In Appalachia, America's favorite pastime is built on the dreams of the children playing catch in the backyard, using a limb from the closest tree for a bat. Thanks to the new Appalachian League format, local kids will continue to see the future stars in person, build relationships with them, and fall in love with a game trying to live out the hope that they can become one of their heroes one day. Thank you to the local organizers and teams who worked to save our league; without them these dreams could have been lost.”

- RANDALL C. EADS, CITY MANAGER OF LONGTIME APPALACHIAN LEAGUE VENUE BRISTOL, VIRGINIA, said: “Minor League Baseball has a storied history in Bristol, and we are proud and excited that we are going to both preserve and improve America’s Pastime here in our community. In 1969, the Bristol Tigers debuted as Bristol’s minor league team. Over the years, the minor league teams have been affiliated with the Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammell are just two noteworthy Major League stars that began their careers here in Bristol. I look forward to seeing tomorrow’s Major League stars playing in Bristol soon!”

- DAVID GRAHAM, THE MAYOR OF LONGTIME APPALACHIAN LEAGUE VENUE PRINCETON, WEST VIRGINIA, said: “The City of Princeton and our many local baseball fans eagerly look forward to the return of Appalachian League Baseball to our community. Minor League Baseball has been enjoyed locally for the past 30 plus years and we have a wonderful facility in which to host it. The new structure of the League, plus the opportunity to name our own team will absolutely create enhanced interest and community support. We appreciate the efforts of Major League Baseball, the Appalachian League and our local team representatives in this endeavor.”

- SCOTT HUMMEL, PH.D., PRESIDENT OF TUSCULUM UNIVERSITY IN LONGTIME APPALACHIAN LEAGUE VENUE GREENEVILLE, TENNESSEE, said: “While we still have a lot to work out, Tusculum University is excited the about the possibility of bringing an MLB presence and USA Baseball to Greeneville. This could be a win-win-win for baseball, Greeneville, and Tusculum University. The summer collegiate league in our beautiful stadium will make for some magical nights of baseball in Greeneville.”

- RON MARTIN, THE MAYOR OF LONGTIME APPALACHIAN LEAGUE VENUE BLUEFIELD, WEST VIRGINIA, said: “The City of Bluefield is extremely excited about the prospect of a wooden-bat collegiate baseball league coming to Bluefield and other Appalachian League cities. This will continue the long tradition of excellent baseball being played at Bowen Field. This summer of COVID-19 has shown us what a summer without baseball in Bluefield is like. We are all anxious to see the players take the field at Bowen in 2021.”

- JAMIE NULL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MERCER COUNTY CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU, said: “The Mercer County Convention and Visitors Bureau is proud and excited to promote and support the new Appalachian League format. We believe that this league will create a sports tourism destination in Mercer County. The CVB will be able to market Mercer County as a place to watch new talent and rally around a new hometown league. We believe that this new league will bring tourism dollars to the area as fans, visitors, scouts and families will travel to Mercer County - all in the name of baseball. We look forward to working with both the Princeton and Bluefield Baseball clubs on this endeavor to continue America's favorite pastime right here in Mercer County, West Virginia.”

- DANE RIDEOUT, CITY MANAGER OF LONGTIME APPALACHIAN LEAGUE VENUE BLUEFIELD, WEST VIRGINIA, said: “When the baseball club briefed us on the prospect of a wooden-bat league, I was blown away. This will be extremely high- level ball, featuring the best college players with an excellent chance of making it to the majors. We’ve missed baseball this summer, and we are so glad that baseball will be returning to our city. We encourage our citizens to show up at Bowen Field next year and support the new league.”

- DEWEY RUSSELL, CITY COUNCIL MEMBER/PRESIDENT OF PRINCETON BASEBALL ASSOCIATION, said: “Princeton baseball has been a summer destination for the majority of our population. This partnership with MLB, USA Baseball and the Appalachian League is something our community will fully embrace from the youngest to the oldest fan. We believe that this league will bring a new set of fans to Hunnicutt Field in anticipation of seeing the next MLB stars and well as following the player throughout his college career. Thank you to all of those involved for making this dream a reality.”

- BILL SGRINIA, DIRECTOR OF THE CITY OF DANVILLE (VA) PARKS AND RECREATION, said: “Danville has had a long tradition as a baseball community and is extremely excited about keeping quality baseball in the city. We greatly enjoyed having the Danville Braves as part of our community and are sad to see them leave. However, we are appreciative of MLB and USA Baseball providing this opportunity for continued baseball in Danville. We look forward to a new team as part of the community.”

- PAT SHULL, THE MAYOR OF LONGTIME APPALACHIAN LEAGUE VENUE KINGSPORT, TENNESSEE, said: “I am pleased that Kingsport will continue to host high quality, exciting baseball. Let’s show our Kingsport spirit and get ready to welcome talented players from all over our nation. I’m ready for the first pitch now.”

- BILL SORAH, CITY MANAGER OF LONGTIME APPALACHIAN LEAGUE VENUE BRISTOL, TENNESSEE, said: “The City of Bristol has enjoyed professional baseball for over 75 years. As a member of the Appalachian League, Bristol has long enjoyed wholesome family entertainment provided by young athletes seeking to fulfill their dream of playing professional baseball at its highest level. These athletes have promoted goodwill and served as role models for our youth. The value of their presence in our community cannot be overstated. It is with great enthusiasm to learn of MLB’s proposal to create a new format for the Appalachian League that will bring collegiate baseball players to our region to further develop their skills. The opportunity to once again enjoy high-quality baseball played by aspiring young athletes is a reason for our region to celebrate.”

- CHARLIE STAHL, ASSISTANT CITY MANAGER OF LONGTIME APPALACHIAN LEAGUE VENUE JOHNSON CITY, TENNESSEE, said: “Learning that MLB, in affiliation with the Appalachian League, is committed to establishing a collegiate summer league keeps baseball alive and well in Johnson City and other Appalachian League communities for hopefully many years to come, continuing a tradition our citizens have enjoyed for over a century.”

- JONATHAN D. SWEET, PULASKI COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR, said: “Minor League Baseball has a storied history in the Town of Pulaski and we so are proud and excited that our community will be a big part of preserving and improving America’s pastime. The new Appalachian League format ensures high-level baseball will continue being played right here in Calfee Park for a long time to come. I look forward to seeing the next generation of big league stars come through our town, and as a community of baseball fans, we are committed to supporting these players and our teams.”

- HARDIN WATKINS, CITY MANAGER OF LONGTIME APPALACHIAN LEAGUE VENUE BURLINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA, said: “Minor League Baseball has an amazingly positive history in Burlington dating back to 1986. The City is proud and excited that we are going to both preserve and improve America’s Pastime here in our community. The new Appalachian League format ensures high-level baseball will continue being played at Burlington Athletic Stadium for the delight of folks in our community for the long-term. We are looking forward to seeing the next generation of big league stars come through our city and cultivating the next generation of baseball fans right here in our backyard.”

“The Burlington Royals have provided exciting, affordable entertainment for Burlington families for over thirty years and nurtured players who have gone on to impressive big league careers. This new format for the Appalachian League guarantees that fans right here in Burlington will continue to see future baseball stars, and that those players will get the support, kindness, and exposure they deserve on their path to the Majors. This is exciting for those players, for the Burlington Royals and for fans like me who can’t wait to get back to the ballpark.”

- MICHAEL WATSON, TOWN MANAGER OF LONGTIME APPALACHIAN LEAGUE VENUE BLUEFIELD, VIRGINIA, said: “We are extremely excited to see baseball continue in our area. The support by MLB has been a blessing and will continue the baseball legacy that has been a part of the community for decades.”

- MIKE WEBB, CITY MANAGER OF LONGTIME APPALACHIAN LEAGUE VENUE PRINCETON, WEST VIRGINIA, said: “Elite level baseball with a personal touch. Local team names and favorite players to watch as their careers progress to the MLB level. This is great for the City of Princeton and small-town America throughout the Appalachian League community and for Minor League Baseball!”

View More
2000GoldMedal-GamedaySocial-Final

On This Date: September 27, 2000 – USA vs. Cuba (Sydney Olympic Games)

Team USA captures first-ever Olympic gold medal with win over Cuba
September 27, 2020
On this date in USA Baseball history, Team USA captured its first-ever Olympic gold medal by defeating Cuba 4-0. Ben Sheets earned the win on the mound as Team USA finished the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games with an 8-1 record. In a rematch for the ages, Sheets took the mound

On this date in USA Baseball history, Team USA captured its first-ever Olympic gold medal by defeating Cuba 4-0. Ben Sheets earned the win on the mound as Team USA finished the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games with an 8-1 record.

In a rematch for the ages, Sheets took the mound with teammate Pat Borders behind the plate. Borders had been battling an ankle injury that occurred during the first matchup between the two squads and was returning for the first time since.

After using ace Jose Contreras to beat Japan in the semifinal, Cuba went with typical closer Pedro Luis Lazo as the starter. Lazo had managed the first two outs of the game when Team USA’s Mike Neill hit a solo home run to left field to open up the game and put the American’s on top early, 1-0.

In the bottom half of the first, Sheets struck out the first two batters before giving up a single to Cuba’s Omar Linares. Shaking off the early hit, Sheets recorded another strikeout to end the inning and with one inning under their belt, Team USA never looked back.

John Cotton led the second inning off with a double and forced the hand of Cuba’s pitching staff, bringing in Jose Ibar to relieve Lazo. Ibar and Sheets went to head-to-head in the second, third and fourth innings, matching zeros heading into the top of the fifth with Team USA still ahead 1-0.

In the fifth, Team USA broke through again as Doug Mientkiewicz managed a walk. Pat Borders doubled to right center, easily bringing home Mientkiewicz and extending the lead to 2-0. Borders was thrown out at third on a bunt by Adam Everett, however in the next at bat, Brent Abernathy recorded a base hit and put runners on the corners.

Cuba made a second a change on the mound bringing in Maels Rodriguez and hoping the sudden increase in speed could slow down the Americans. However, Team USA couldn’t be shaken at the plate as Wilkerson forced a walk and loaded the bases for Mike Neill.

Neill, with a home run already in the game, couldn’t repeat and struck out for the second out in the inning. Ernie Young, who had gotten hit in the pool play matchup with Cuba, came through for Team USA with a two-run single right back up the middle, running the score to 4-0 for Team USA.

With top notch defense backing up Sheets, including a Mientkiewicz diving stop in the fourth, Everett stopping every groundball that came near him and a Young sliding catch to end the eighth inning, manager Tommy Lasorda refused to take him out of the game, even after surpassing the 90-pitch count.

The Cubans had only managed three singles heading into the bottom of the ninth and Sheets wouldn’t have them add any more. Finishing the game, the way he started, Sheets struck out the first two batters in the final inning.

With one out left in the Olympics, Neill made the sliding snow cone grab in left field for the final out. For the first time in USA Baseball history, Tommy Lasorda and Team USA were Olympic Gold Medalists.

 

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
USA 1 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 4 9 0
CUB 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
Win: B. Sheets Loss: P. Lazo | Box Score | Watch On Demand

 

GAME HIGHLIGHTS
- Ben Sheets earned the win recording five strikeouts and allowing only three hits in nine innings
- Mike Neill was 2-for-5 with an RBI and a home run
- Ernie Young was 2-for-4 with two RBIs
- Pat Borders was 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI

 

 


QUOTABLES

- “From Day One, we knew if we had one player we could build around, if we needed to have somebody who could win the gold medal for us, that player was Ben Sheets. We didn’t have the prettiest team, we didn’t have a Ferrari. But if we did have one, it was Sheets.” Paul Seiler (Baseball America, Miracle on Grass)

- “I was fired up. I knew it was an opportunity of a lifetime, and I was ready for it.” Ben Sheets (Miracle on Grass)

- “I can’t describe the feeling. We came here to do one thing, win the gold, and nobody gave us a chance to do it. We proved everybody wrong.” Brent Abernathy (Baseball America, Miracle on Grass)

- “Everybody had set the Cubans as the standard for this sport. But this is our sport. Baseball was started by us and it’s played by us. And now we’ve won the gold medal. These were the best games of my life, and if I don’t ever play again, I’ll be happy I was able to play in this game tonight.” Ernie Young (Baseball America, Miracle on Grass)

- “Well, you know when they said that the coaches don’t get medals, I got my medal when I saw them put those gold medals around my players. I got my medal when they played the National Anthem. I got my medal when they not only played the National Anthem, but when they raised the American flag, that’s when I started to cry. And when they played our National Anthem, I knew that we had done something. We had won for our country. Tommy Lasorda (Miracle on Grass)

- "It’s bigger than the World Series. It’s bigger than the Los Angeles Dodgers. And I have to say that it’s the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.” Tommy Lasorda (Miracle on Grass)

 

View More
watchmp

Relive the 2000 Olympics Gold Medal Game On Demand

September 27, 2020
Relive every out of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games gold medal game between USA and Cuba, courtesy of The Olympic Channel. Team USA captured the gold after Ben Sheets threw a complete-game shutout to win 4-0. For more information on this game, visit the "On This Date" article here.
Relive every out of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games gold medal game between USA and Cuba, courtesy of The Olympic Channel. Team USA captured the gold after Ben Sheets threw a complete-game shutout to win 4-0. For more information on this game, visit the "On This Date" article here.
View More
2000GoldMedal-GamedaySocial-0926

On This Date: September 26, 2000 – Korea vs. USA (Sydney Olympic Games)

Team USA heads to gold-medal game with Mientkiewicz walk-off
September 26, 2020
On this date in USA Baseball history, Team USA defeated Korea 3-2 in the Olympic semifinal with a walk-off two-run home run by Doug Mientkiewicz. With the win, Team USA secures a spot in the gold-medal game and a rematch against the two-time defending champion Cuba. Roy Oswalt was on

On this date in USA Baseball history, Team USA defeated Korea 3-2 in the Olympic semifinal with a walk-off two-run home run by Doug Mientkiewicz. With the win, Team USA secures a spot in the gold-medal game and a rematch against the two-time defending champion Cuba.

Roy Oswalt was on the mound for Team USA in another bout with Korean pitcher Tae-Hyon Chong after opposing each other in their first contest in pool play. Throughout the first two innings, the game held a lot of similarity as neither pitcher allowed anything to get going at the plate.

However, Korea managed to break through first scoring two runs on two hits in the top of the third and taking the first lead of the game. Oswalt got out of the inning with a strikeout and a fly out and Team USA answered in the fourth.

Brad Wilkerson led off the inning with a double to right field and made his way to third on a ground out by Mike Neill. John Cotton, who had previously been in an 0-for-14 slump at the plate, doubled to the gap in left-center field, scoring Wilkerson and bringing the score to 2-1.

Until the seventh, the two pitchers matched and held the other’s offense at bay. Ryan Franklin came in to pitch in relief for Team USA and kept Korea scoreless. The Americans picked back up their attack when Mike Kinkade laid a bunt down the third-base line and was called safe at first in a close play. Despite a pitching change for Korea, Doug Mientkiewicz singled to right and Kinkade took an extra base, sliding safely into third in yet another close play. A Marcus Jensen sac-fly brought home Kinkade and the game was tied again at 2-2.

In the eighth, after Brent Abernathy doubled and made his way to third base, the weather was too much and caused a two-hour rain delay, Team USA’s second of the tournament. After the delay, Neill was intentionally walked, and on a Cotton grounder to third, both Abernathy and Cotton were called out on a force play at home and an interference call when Abernathy collided with the catcher, ending the threat by Team USA.

Todd Williams took over on the mound for Team USA in the top of the ninth making quick work of the side with two strikeouts and a fly-out.

In the bottom half of the inning, Mike Kinkade reached base after getting hit and was replaced on the base path by Travis Dawkins, Team USA’s fastest runner. When Dawkins was picked-off at first, Doug Mientkiewicz stepped up to the plate and called game. On a 2-1 pitch, Mientkiewicz sent a solo shot over the right field fence to walk-off and send Team USA to the gold-medal game.

Team USA will match up with Cuba in the championship game in a rematch for the history books. The two teams will enter the final day with 7-1 records each.

 

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
KOR 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 3 0
USA 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 3 6 1
Win: T. Williams Loss: SJ. Park | Box Score

 

GAME HIGHLIGHTS
- Roy Oswalt recorded four strikeouts and allowed two runs and only four hits in six innings pitched
- Ryan Franklin pitched two innings in relief and recorded two strikeouts
- Todd Williams earned the win, striking out two in the ninth inning
- Doug Mientkiewicz was 2-for-3 with an RBI and the walk-off home run
- Mike Kinkade was 1-for-2 and scored a run
 

QUOTABLES

- “One of the biggest hits of my life, for sure. Felt really good to come through for us in that situation, and get us on the scoreboard.” John Cotton (Miracle on Grass)

- “I remember seeing the pitch come up off his fingers, and the first thing I thought, the first instant when I saw the ball come out of his hand, was ‘Game over. Just put a good swing on it, put a good swing on it, it’s a change-up.’ I remember being a little bit out in front of it, but I got a good part of the bat on it, and I remember running to first base thinking, ‘That never happens. That never happens.’” Doug Mientkiewicz (Miracle on Grass)

- “One second I was so angry that Gookie had gotten picked off first, and by the time I had gotten back to the dugout, Doug had hit that ball over the fence. And it was pure joy." Tommy Lasorda (Miracle on Grass)

- Before his at-bat, Doug and I had a talk, and he said, ‘Skip, I’ll do whatever it takes for us to win the game.’ He’s never thought about his individual accomplishments this whole time, just of the team and winning.” Tommy Lasorda (Miracle on Grass)

 

View More
2000GoldMedal-GamedaySocial-0924

On This Date: September 24, 2000 – USA vs. Australia (Sydney Olympic Games)

Team USA heads to semifinals with run-rule win over Australia
September 24, 2020
On this date in USA Baseball history, Team USA finished play in the preliminary round with a 12-1 win over Australia. With the win, Team USA heads into the semifinals with a 6-1 record and the second seed in the medal round. Former major-league pitcher Mark Hutton got the start

On this date in USA Baseball history, Team USA finished play in the preliminary round with a 12-1 win over Australia. With the win, Team USA heads into the semifinals with a 6-1 record and the second seed in the medal round.

Former major-league pitcher Mark Hutton got the start on the mound for the host nation Australia in what would be their Olympic finale. Despite Hutton’s best efforts, Team USA’s play at the plate just could not be stopped.

The offensive slump that Team USA experienced in its loss to Cuba did not translate over, and in the second inning, the Americans scored four runs on three hits and never looked back. A 34-minute rain delay put the game on pause after Team USA added another run in the second to bring the score to 5-0, but they didn’t stop there.  

In the top of the fourth, the Americans brought around five runs and set the score at 10-0. Every Team USA player either had a hit or scored a run throughout the course of the game. 

On the defensive side of things, Kurt Ainsworth was on the mound for Team USA and through five innings he had only allowed one run on five hits, while striking out three in the process.  

With a 10-1 ballgame in the sixth, Marcus Jensen hit a solo home run to extend the lead by 10 runs. Team USA added a final run in the seventh and was complemented by Chris George pitching two shutout innings of relief to keep the score at 12-1. The extra runs ended the game after the seventh due to the international run-rule.

With the results of Korea over South Africa and Cuba over Japan, now second seeded Team USA will take on third seeded Korea in the semifinals. First seeded Cuba will take on fourth seeded Japan in the other semifinal.

 

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
USA 0 4 1 5 0 1 1 12 14 0
AUS 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 7 2
Win: K. Ainsworth Loss: M. Hutton | Box Score

 

GAME HIGHLIGHTS

- Kurt Ainsworth pitched five innings allowing only one run on five hits and struck out three
- Brent Abernathy was 4-for-5 with three RBIs and two doubles
- Brent Abernathy’s two doubles set the U.S. Olympic Record for most doubles throughout the tournament (5)
- Mike Kinkade was 2-for-5 with a double and two RBIs
- Marcus Jensen was 3-for-4 with three RBIs and a home run
- Anthony Sanders was 1-for-3 with an RBI and scored three runs in his first start
 

QUOTABLES

- "I felt good about our ballclub, and I feel good about it now. I think our chances are good. If we play like we're capable of, we'll see what the results are." Tommy Lasorda (Baseball America, Miracle on Grass)

- “Our emotions had dropped a little after last night, and tonight we got our intensity back. We focused right in and got Kurt some runs and got off to a good start, which we haven’t been doing enough. We had a more businesslike attitude tonight, and that’s what we need for the final two games.” Doug Mientkiewicz (Baseball America, Miracle on Grass)

- “We were more relaxed tonight, and we went out and hit like we did in the exhibitions. The last few games, we’ve had some struggles, but the team made some adjustments.” Reggie Smith (Baseball America, Miracle on Grass)

- "I think when we play the way we're capable of, there's no team in this tournament that can beat us. It's up to us to play up to our capability." Brent Abernathy (Baseball America)

 

View More
2000GoldMedal-GamedaySocial-0923

On This Date: September 23, 2000 – USA vs. Cuba (Sydney Olympic Games)

Team USA suffers first Olympic loss in matchup with Cuba
September 23, 2020
On this date in USA Baseball history, Team USA suffered its first loss of the 2000 Olympics to the two-time defending gold medalist Cuba in a 6-1 decision. The two clubs hold 5-1 records, the best of the tournament’s eight teams. Lefthander Rick Krivda got the start on the mound

On this date in USA Baseball history, Team USA suffered its first loss of the 2000 Olympics to the two-time defending gold medalist Cuba in a 6-1 decision. The two clubs hold 5-1 records, the best of the tournament’s eight teams.

Lefthander Rick Krivda got the start on the mound for Team USA in his first appearance of the tournament. Along with being a lefty, Krivda came with major-league experience and a breaking ball manager Tommy Lasorda hoped would hold off the Cubans at the plate.  

After Cuba’s Jose Ibar retired the American side in order in the top of the first, it was Krivda’s chance to do the same. Despite his best efforts, Krivda was unable to find his rhythm and Cuba tallied four runs in the first inning.  

After a solid second inning for Krivda, he was relieved by Jon Rauch. Rauch was able to quiet the Cuban side, striking out eight through four innings and allowing only one run. With his eight strikeouts, Rauch pushed his Olympic total to 21 in just 11 innings on the mound.

With Cuba leading 6-0 heading into the ninth, Team USA was able to avoid the shutout as Pat Borders managed an RBI single and brought home Sean Burroughs putting the Americans on the board.

With the loss, Team USA heads into the final game before the four-team medal round with a 5-1 record. They will take on Olympic host Australia with medal-round seeding yet to be determined.

 

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 7 2
CUB 4 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 - 6 10 0
Win: J. Ibar Loss: R. Krivda | Box Score
 
GAME HIGHLIGHTS
- Jon Rauch allowed only three hits in four innings and recorded eight strikeouts
- Sean Burroughs was 2-for-4 with a double and the sole run for Team USA
- Pat Borders was 2-for-4 on the night with an RBI
 

QUOTABLES

- "I ran into trouble when I walked Omar Linares. They hit some high changeups, and even when I made a better pitch, Miguel Caldes was able to hit it into the gap. If I could have that first inning back, maybe it would be a different game.” Rick Krivda (Baseball America, Miracle on Grass)

- “I didn't go out there and do anything different. I just threw strikes. It's nice to go out and do well.” Jon Rauch (Baseball America)

 

View More