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Gold medal

South Stars Top Southwest Stars to Claim Gold at 13U NTIS Champions Cup

South uses seven-run fourth inning to finish week undefeated
August 22, 2021
CARY, N.C. – The 13U NTIS Champions Cup gold medal belongs to the South Stars. The South put together a seven-run fourth inning and held the Southwest to just two hits to secure a 10-4 victory on Sunday at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina. After Taytum Reeves

CARY, N.C. – The 13U NTIS Champions Cup gold medal belongs to the South Stars.

The South put together a seven-run fourth inning and held the Southwest to just two hits to secure a 10-4 victory on Sunday at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina.

After Taytum Reeves held the South off the scoreboard in the top of the first, the Southwest opened the scoring in the bottom half of the inning. A single and error put runners on base before Jose Partida's RBI-groundout drove in Santana Vital to make it 1-0. Matthew Kelley extended the lead a batter later, scoring on a wild pitch to make it a two-run lead.

The South anwered quickly in the top of the second. Dominic Giametta walked to lead off the inning and the South eventually loaded the bases with two outs before a two-run, bloop single to left field tied the game at two. Partida replaced Reeves with the bases loaded, coaxing a popout to strand three runners and keep the game tied.

The lead went right back to the Southwest a half-inning later. With two runners on and two outs, an error plated two runs to give the Southwest a 4-2 advantage in the bottom of the second.

Both teams were held scoreless in the third inning before an offensive outburst by the South in the top of the fourth. Judson Dowell led off the inning with a single and scored on an RBI-single by Grant Sperandio. Austin Smith tied the game with an RBI-double and then scored on an RBI-single by Adam Alvarez to make it a 5-4 lead.

The South continued to hit, rattling off three consecutive RBI-singles. Julian Suarez, Jack Smejkal, and Lincoln Boyle all had well-struck hits to drive in runs and continue to add on. Dowell had his second hit of the inning to drive in another run, capping a seven-run frame and giving the South a 9-4 lead.

"Our dugout was really loud," Dowell said. "We were really supporting the batters, and that's what the result was."

Rallies in the fourth and fifth innings nearly got the Southwest back into striking distance, but Dowell ended a threat in the fourth with a strikeout before stranding the bases loaded in the fifth with a punchout to keep the lead at five.

The Southwest bullpen kept the South scoreless in the fifth and sixth innings. The Southwest threatened again in the bottom of the sixth, putting runners on the corners with two outs before a Dowell induced a lineout to right field.

After the South added one more run in the top of the seventh to go up 10-4, Dowell closed the door with a scoreless seventh, striking out the final batter, to secure the gold medal.

South head coach Alejandro Martinez was proud of his players, who have put in extra work all weekend long.

"We've been working hard with these guys this whole week," Martinez said. "We've been early, working after practice, and preparing for today. It was an outstanding job by the kids."

While the South Stars earned gold, the silver medal was awarded to the Southwest Stars. The Southeast Stars topped the Southwest Stripes, 12-3, to claim bronze. 

 

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LincolnBoyleArticle

USA Baseball Announces 2021 National Team Identification Series Selections

A total of 72 athletes were selected for 2022 national team programming from the 2021 NTIS Champions Cup
September 16, 2021
CARY, N.C. – USA Baseball today announced the 72 athletes selected from the 2021 National Team Identification Series (NTIS) for its 2022 national team programming, following the completion of the NTIS Champions Cup that was held at the National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina, from August 11-29. The announcement

CARY, N.C. – USA Baseball today announced the 72 athletes selected from the 2021 National Team Identification Series (NTIS) for its 2022 national team programming, following the completion of the NTIS Champions Cup that was held at the National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina, from August 11-29. The announcement was first made on the USA Baseball NTIS Selection Show, which can be found on USABaseball.com and the organization’s YouTube channel, USABaseballTV

The NTIS is USA Baseball’s most comprehensive player identification program and includes six age groups ranging from 11U-16U. Under the direction of USA Baseball Regional Directors, tryouts are held in every region of the country to be identified and selected for their regional teams, and invited to the NTIS Champions Cup in Cary, North Carolina.

 

 

The 2021 NTIS Champions Cup featured over 1,200 of the nation’s best players competing in 144 games, as well as skill testing and on-field evaluations run by USA Baseball Task Force and national team coaches.

“After an incredible month of competition, we are excited to announce the seventy-two athletes who have been selected out of our National Team Identification Series for next year’s national team programming,” said USA Baseball Assistant Director of Baseball Operations Ann Claire Roberson. “The outstanding talent at this year’s Champions Cup in Cary made for a very difficult selection process for our task force members and national team program directors, but we are looking forward to watching these players continue to grow in the coming year and seeing their impact on our 2022 programming.” 

Twelve athletes from each age group were invited to compete in the following year’s age-appropriate national team programming events, including the 2022 12U National Team Trials, the 2022 13U/14U Athlete Development Program (ADP), the 2022 15U National Team Trials, and the 2022 16U/17U National Team Development Program (NTDP).

In total, the 72 athletes selected are from twenty-three different states and all six regions from across the U.S.

The 2021 National Team Identification Series selections are as follows:

Name; Position; Hometown; Region

 

  • 2022 12U National Team Trials invitees:
  • (from 11U NTIS)
  • Trenton Finley; C; Lebanon, Tenn.; Southeast
  • Anthony Frausto; INF/LHP; New Braunfels, Texas; South
  • Mason Harris; INF/RHP; Rocklin, Calif.; Northwest
  • Landon King; INF/RHP; San Mateo, Calif.; Northwest
  • Grady Klovstad; OF; Orange, Calif.; Southwest
  • Cristian Matos; C/RHP; Belleville, N.J.; Northeast
  • Braiden Miller; INF/RHP; Waterford, Va.; Northeast
  • Ethan Orozco; C/RHP; Chula Vista, Calif.; Southwest
  • James Stout; C; Artesia, Calif.; Southwest
  • Elliot Su; INF/RHP; Rochester, Minn.; Midwest
  • Maximus Villalva; INF; El Cajon, Calif.; Southwest
  • Ellis White; INF/1B; Concord, N.C.; Southeast

 

  • 2022 13U/14U Athlete Development Program invitees:
  • (from 12U NTIS)
  • Caleb Alexander; IF/RHP; Houston, Texas; South
  • Brady Bickham; IF/RHP; Claremont, Calif.; Southwest
  • Caden Borcherding; C/IF; McDonough, Ga.; Southeast
  • Chase Cotton; IF/RHP; Lincoln, Calif.; Northwest
  • Zachary Estrada; OF/RHP; Covina, Calif.; Southwest
  • Aaron Garcia; IF/C; Pico Rivera, Calif.; Southwest
  • Jacob Gray; MIF; Benicia, Calif.; Northwest
  • Kekahupono Kong; RHP/C; Mililani, Hawaii; Southwest
  • Jackson Maddix; OF/LHP; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Northeast
  • Logan Pascarella; LHP/IF; Corona, Calif.; Southwest
  • Blake Ragsdale; IF/RHP; Burr Ridge, Ill.; Midwest
  • Jacob Seamon; OF/RHP; Rolling Meadows, Ill.; Midwest

 

  • 2022 13U/14U Athlete Development Program invitees:
  • (from 13U NTIS)
  • Blake Bowen; OF/IF; Riverside, Calif.; Southwest
  • Lincoln Boyle; RHP/IF; Overland Park, Kan.; South
  • Judson Dowell; IF/RHP; Houston, Texas; South
  • Andruw Giles; OF/IF; Henderson, Nev.; Southwest
  • Aaron Hernandez; LHP/OF; Miami, Fla.; Southeast
  • Archer Horn; IF/RHP; San Mateo, Calif.; Northwest
  • Josiah Morris; C/IF; Oakley, Calif.; Northwest
  • Joshua Priest; IF/OF; San Diego, Calif.; Southwest
  • Taytum Reeves; C/IF; Menifee, Calif.; Southwest
  • Logan Schmidt; LHP/IF; Villa Park, Calif.; Southwest
  • Dylan Seward; IF/RHP; Eastvale, Calif.; Southwest
  • Julian Suarez; C/IF; Sinton, Texas; South

 

  • 2022 15U National Team Trials invitees:
  • (from 14U NTIS)
  • Marcus Cantu; IF/RHP; Friendswood, Texas; South
  • John Dolan; C/IF; Huffman, Texas; Southm
  • Ethan Downum; OF/LHP; Frisco, Texas; South
  • Magdiel Estevez; OF/LHP; Miami, Fla.; Southeastk
  • Gian Gamelli; LHP/IF; Wenham, Mass.; Northeast
  • Reid Jacobson; IF/RHP; Albuquerque, N.M.; Southwest
  • Lyndon Lee; IF/IF; Las Vegas, Nev.; Southwest
  • Carlos Machado; IF/RHP; Pembroke Pines, Fla.; Southeast
  • Brady Murrietta; C/IF; Yorba Linda, Calif.; Southwest
  • Davidenko Rodriguez; IF/OF; Katy, Texas; South
  • Sebastian Segura; IF; Spring, Texas; South
  • John Austin Wood; C/IF; Tupelo, Miss.; Southeast

 

  • 2022 16U/17U National Team Development Program invitees:
  • (from 15U NTIS)
  • Alec Blair; OF/LHP; Lafayette, Calif.; Northwest
  • Cash Campbell; IF/RHP; Downers Grove, Ill.; Midwest
  • Kayson Cunningham; IF/OF; San Antonio, Texas; South
  • Jonathan Dobis; OF/RHP; Eagan, Minn.; Midwest
  • Conor Essenburg; IF/LHP; Manhattan, Ill.; Midwest
  • Jake Evans; IF/OF; Long Beach, Calif.; Southwest
  • Ross Felder; RHP/IF; Springdale, Ark.; Southwest
  • Aidan Hall; IF/RHP; Galt, Calif.; Northwest
  • Jake Haruki; C/OF; Irvine, Calif.; Southwest
  • Cooper Moss; RHP/IF; Panama City Beach, Fla.; Southeast
  • Jacob Smith; IF/RHP; Winston Salem, N.C.; Southeast
  • Quindon Wright; OF/RHP; Albany, Ga.; Southeast

 

  • 2022 16U/17U National Team Development Program invitees:
  • (from 16U NTIS)
  • Danny Arambula; IF/OF; Redlands, Calif.; Southwest
  • Andrew (AJ) Garcia; OF/LHP; Chicago, Ill.; Midwest
  • Holden Harris; RHP/IF; Leander, Texas; South
  • Leighton Harris; LHP/IF; Lexington, Ky.; Midwest
  • Joshua Knoth; RHP/OF; Medford, N.Y.; Northeast
  • Joe McGee; OF; Danville, Calif.; Northwest
  • Joseph McMannis; RHP/IF; Emmitsburg, Md.; Northeast
  • Bryce Navarre; LHP/IF; Lake Charles, La.; Southwest
  • Landon O'Donnell; IF; Valrico, Fla.; Southeast
  • Owen Paino; IF/OF; Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; Northeast
  • Gabriel Tirado; C/IF; Newington, Conn.; Northeast
  • Joey Tonnotti; RHP/OF; Southington, Conn.; Northeast
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14Ugoldupdated

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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SWStripes

Southwest Stars Walk-off to Win 11U NTIS Gold Medal

Stars come from behind for second straight day
August 29, 2021
CARY, N.C. -- The Southwest Stars overcame a three-run deficit to claim gold at the 11U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup, topping the South Stripes, 5-4, in walk-off fashion at Thomas Brooks Park in Cary, North Carolina. After falling behind for the second consecutive game, the Stars rallied for

CARY, N.C. -- The Southwest Stars overcame a three-run deficit to claim gold at the 11U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup, topping the South Stripes, 5-4, in walk-off fashion at Thomas Brooks Park in Cary, North Carolina.

After falling behind for the second consecutive game, the Stars rallied for three runs in the fifth before Grady Klovstad's walk-off single in the seventh clinched the gold medal.

The scoring started early in the contest, with the Stars jumping out to a quick lead after a scoreless top of the inning from Josh Johnson. Carson Reis hit an RBI-single in the bottom of the frame to give the Stars an early 1-0 advantage.

The Stripes struck back quickly in their next at-bats. Anthony Frausto led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on Dylan Mercado's infield hit to put a pair of runners on. A wild pitch then put the runners on second and third, and Frausto scored on a sacrifice fly by Gabriel Silva-Whatley to tie the game.

The Stars put a runner on base in their half of the second but didn't score before the Stripes rallied in the third to take the lead. The inning started with a double by Beau Stevens, who was eventually plated on a sacrifice fly by Arden Calagan to make it 2-1. William Pepper scored on an error to extend the lead, and Frausto drove in another run with a double to give the Stripes a 4-1 lead.

After the Stars scored on a wild pitch in the fourth, they rallied for two more runs in the fifth to tie the game. Maximus Villalva got the inning started with a walk before scoring on an RBI-double by Grady Alonso, who would come around to tie the game on an RBI-ground out.

Grady Klovstad and Dylan Hottle exchanged scoreless innings in the sixth to send the game to the seventh in a 4-4 tie. Micah Wilcox took the mound in the top of the seventh for the Stars, keeping the Stripes off the scoreboard.

Villalva led off the bottom of the inning with a single and stole second, putting the winning run in scoring position with no outs. After a hit-by-pitch and single loaded the bases with no outs, Klovstad singled up the middle to plate the winning run and secure the gold medal for the Stars.

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NaomiRyanMW

Trailblazers: Naomi Ryan, Veronica Alvarez Reunite at NTIS Champions Cup

Alvarez and Ryan previously met at Trailblazer Series
August 27, 2021
CARY, N.C. – A couple years ago at the Trailblazer Series – a joint program presented by Major League Baseball and USA Baseball that gives girls and women in baseball a chance to showcase their talent – Veronica Alvarez met Naomi Ryan. Alvarez was a coach, and Ryan was playing

CARY, N.C. – A couple years ago at the Trailblazer Series – a joint program presented by Major League Baseball and USA Baseball that gives girls and women in baseball a chance to showcase their talent – Veronica Alvarez met Naomi Ryan.

Alvarez was a coach, and Ryan was playing in the event, which was established in 2017 and includes competitive play, instruction, and community outreach. It’s an event that both Alvarez and Ryan are thankful for and are proud to be a part of.

Now, the two are reunited. Alvarez and Ryan are both in Cary, North Carolina this weekend for the National Team Identification Series Champions Cup at the USA Baseball National Training Complex.

Alvarez, who is serving on the USA Baseball Task Force, is at the event identifying players to participate in future USA Baseball programming. She is a member of a large group, with eyes locked on the competition at all times.

Ryan is a player at the event, competing with the 14U Northeast Stars. She’s thrilled to be at the same event as Alvarez, who she looks at as a mentor and role model for women in baseball. Ryan is motivated to represent her region, but also to show that she belongs.

"I'm just trying to prove that I play like the rest of them," Ryan said. "I work hard and I think I can do it."

Alvarez has enjoyed watching Ryan grow as a baseball player, is excited that she is competing at the NTIS.

“I absolutely love seeing girls staying involved in the game and showcasing that their talent is good enough,” Alvarez said. “It’s really cool to see Naomi develop not only physically, but also to develop with the opportunities she’s getting in the game of baseball.”

Alvarez serves as the manager for the USA Baseball Women’s National Team, a position she has held since 2019. A former catcher, Alvarez played for the Women's National Team four times before joining the coaching staff in several different capacities, making her way up to manager. She is not only focused on leading Team USA to international success, but also promoting the presence of girls and women in baseball.

“There’s a whole group of girls that grow up playing baseball that nobody recognizes or sees,” Alvarez said. “There’s a whole lot of them that play and love the game and aren’t trying to do something out of the ordinary – they just are, because they’re different.”

Ryan reached out to Alvarez on social media before making the trip to the NTIS, telling the coach that she’d be playing in the event. After the Trailblazer Series a couple years ago, Alvarez and Ryan were happy to be reunited in Cary.

"Learning from Veronica was really great experience," Ryan said. "I've heard a lot about her and how much improvement she's made for women in the game."

Ryan is playing for a chance to earn a spot in future USA Baseball programming. Twelve players will be selected from the 14U NTIS to compete at next year’s 15U National Team Trials, and Ryan is competing to be one of those selections. 

Alvarez offered some words of advice for Ryan in her quest to continue to develop in a game where she is mostly surrounded by men.

“Don’t underestimate the people that you’re playing with,” Alvarez said. “Once you prove yourself, they’re going to fall in line and respect your ability.” 

After meeting a couple of years ago, Alvarez and Ryan’s paths have crossed again this weekend in Cary. With Ryan an up-and-coming baseball player and Alvarez a well-respected coach, this will certainly not be the last time the two share a baseball field.

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NTIS media

Overall Champion Set to be Decided at 11U/14U NTIS Champions Cup

Southwest holds three-point lead in standings
August 26, 2021
CARY, N.C. – With two weeks in the books at the 2021 National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup, only three days of games remain before a champion is crowned. While the event has winners in each age group, the regions are also competing for the overall Champions Cup. Each

CARY, N.C. – With two weeks in the books at the 2021 National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup, only three days of games remain before a champion is crowned.

While the event has winners in each age group, the regions are also competing for the overall Champions Cup. Each game matters, with a point system deciding the overall winner. Teams receive 10 points for a win in bracket play and six for a win in consolation play. A loss in bracket play yields a team five points, and a loss in consolation is two points. A tie in bracket play is seven points, and a consolation tie is three points.

Entering 11U/14U play, which begins on Friday morning at the USA Baseball Complex in Cary, North Carolina, the Southwest currently owns a three-point lead over the South. The Southeast is also in the mix, just a point behind the South.

NTIS Program Director Ann Claire Roberson is excited about the level of competition at the event.

“The past two weeks of NTIS have gone really well,” Roberson said. “We’re really excited about the talent amongst all of the age groups so far, and we’re excited to see what the 11U and 14U age groups bring to the table.”

Pool play action will begin for the 11U and 14U age groups on Friday, playing through Sunday. The 11U games will be held at Thomas Brooks Park, while the 14U athletes will compete at the National Training Complex, including Coleman Field.

Each age group at the NTIS has been not only competing for their regions, but also looking to secure a spot in future USA Baseball programming. This weekend, the 11U players are looking to earn a trip to 2022 12U National Team Trials, while the selected 14U players will go to 2022 15U National Team Trials.

Each weekend, the NTIS Task Force works to identify players for future USA Baseball programming. The task force roams from field to field during games, and helps with instruction during on-field workouts.

Roberson has been impressed by the task force’s hard work and passion for finding the best players for USA Baseball at NTIS. 

“The task force has done an incredible job over the past two weeks,” she said. “They’ve had some long, hard decisions and conversations about the large group of players in the event. It makes it hard to make selections, but they work even beyond when the event is completed.”

The players, who are among the best in their region, have given the task force a lot to think about and discuss over the event’s first two weeks.

“We’ve been really happy with the level of talent that has come through the NTIS so far this year,” Roberson said. “The talent has been phenomenal across all ages and all regions. 

Selections to future USA Baseball programming will be announced on September 14th. Selected players will be emailed, and announcements will be made throughout USA Baseball’s social media platforms.

The 11U/14U weekend kicked off with an opening ceremony on Wednesday night before the teams returned to the National Training Complex for photos, PDP testing, and on-field workouts on Thursday. Athletes from all over their respective regions are just meeting for the first time, but all have the same goals in mind: to represent their regions and to try to secure a spot in future USA Baseball programming.

With the overall championship up for grabs, the race for the Champions Cup is sure to be a tight finish. Follow along with all of the action on USABaseball.com, and by following on Twitter at @USABEvents.

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12UNTISRecap_Article

Midwest Stripes Claim 12U NTIS Champions Cup Crown

Gold medal marks the region’s first at the NTIS Champions Cup
August 22, 2021
CARY, N.C. – The Midwest Stripes claimed the gold medal at the 12U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup on Sunday at Thomas Brooks Park in Cary, North Carolina, with a 3-2 defeat of the South Stripes. The victory marks the Midwest region’s first NTIS Champions Cup gold medal.

CARY, N.C. – The Midwest Stripes claimed the gold medal at the 12U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup on Sunday at Thomas Brooks Park in Cary, North Carolina, with a 3-2 defeat of the South Stripes. The victory marks the Midwest region’s first NTIS Champions Cup gold medal.

The Midwest Stripes got the scoring started early in the contest after Jacob Seamon cranked a leadoff double and came across on an RBI groundout off the bat of Griffin Boesen for a 1-0 lead. They added one more in the top of the second with a sacrifice fly that allowed Dominic Talaga to score and make it a 2-0 game.

One inning later, Blake Ragsdale led things off with a single to shallow center and Boesen then collected his second RBI of the game with a single to left field that brought in Ragsdale and gave the Midwest Stripes a 3-0 advantage.

Using a leadoff walk and back-to-back singles to load the bases with one out, Midwest threatened to add to its lead in the top of the fourth but a clutch flyout and a play at the plate got the South Stripes out the jam to keep it a three-run game and take the momentum into the bottom half of the fifth.

After keeping the Midwest squad scoreless through the fourth and fifth innings, the South Stripes put together a rally in the bottom half of the fifth that got them within one. With two runners on and two outs, the South took advantage of a Midwest miscue to plate two runs and make it a 3-2 game heading into the sixth.

The Midwest Stripes wrestled back control in the final two innings, though, with Elijah Jungwirth on the mound. Jungwirth allowed just one hit and collected two strikeouts in the final two innings to hold onto the 3-2 victory and secure the gold medal.

“It’s bigger than just the team, it’s the entire region,” said NTIS Midwest Regional Director Rich Janor. “The Midwest region has never won the Champions Cup, we’ve never brought the gold medal home, so I couldn’t be more excited for our region and what these kids were able to accomplish here today.”

The South Stripes finished with the 12U NTIS Champions Cup silver medal after a strong week in Cary, while earlier in the day, the Northwest Stars earned the 12U NTIS Champions Cup bronze medal when they took down the Northwest Stripes, 12-6. The Northwest Stars jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning of the contest and never looked back, adding runs in the second, fifth, sixth, and seventh innings to keep the Stripes at bay and seal the bronze.

The 2021 NTIS Champions Cup will wrap up next week with its final two age groups as the 11U and 14U regional squads battle it out for their respective gold medals before an overall regional winner is named. The final weekend of the 2021 NTIS Champions Cup will run from August 25-29 at the USA Baseball National Training Complex and Thomas Brooks Park in Cary, North Carolina.

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LoganSchmidtArticle

South Stars and Southwest Stars to Meet in 13U NTIS Gold Medal Game

Boyle, Schmidt dominant in semifinal wins
August 21, 2021
CARY, N.C. – The stage is set for the 13U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) gold medal game. After picking up wins in Saturday's semifinal round on Saturday at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina, the South Stars and Southwest Stars will meet in the gold medal

CARY, N.C. – The stage is set for the 13U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) gold medal game.

After picking up wins in Saturday's semifinal round on Saturday at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina, the South Stars and Southwest Stars will meet in the gold medal game on Sunday.

Logan Schmidt fired a complete game shutout in the first semifinal game to lead the Southwest Stars past the Southeast Stars, 6-0.

After Schmidt tossed a 1-2-3 first inning, the Southwest offense got off to a quick start in the bottom of the inning. After putting runners on base to open the inning, Taytum Reeves drove in the first run of the game with an RBI-groundout. Santana Vital scored on a wild pitch to make it 2-0 before two more runs were scored on an error to give the Southwest a four-run lead.

Schmidt kept the Southeast off the board in the top of the second. Dylan Seward led off the bottom of the frame with a double, eventually coming around to score to make it 5-0. The Southwest nearly added on in the following inning, putting runners on second and third before Braeden Harris coaxed a pop-up to keep the Southeast deficit at five.

The Southeast threatened to crack the scoreboard in the top of the fifth when Travis Honeycutt led off the inning with a single. After Schmidt escaped the inning unscathed, the Southwest added a run on a sacrifice fly by Seward to make it 6-0. They nearly added more runs later in the inning, but Southeast second baseman Junior Lopez made an acrobatic catch to limit the Southwest to a run.

The Southeast put another runner on in the sixth but still couldn’t plate a run. The Southwest looked to bust the game open in the bottom of the sixth, putting two runners in scoring position, but were unable to extend the lead.

Harris led off the seventh in the top of the seventh with a double, moving to third with only one out in the inning. But Schmidt induced two consecutive pop outs to secure the win for the Southwest.

“I felt really good out there,” Schmidt said. “I pitched well in the first inning and then my team gave me some run support, so it gave me more room to breathe.”

Southwest head coach Jason Phillips is looking forward to the opportunity to play for gold on Sunday.

“I’m really excited for the guys,” Phillips said. “They’ve responded well, they’re really coachable, and they’re really fun to be around. This is a special honor.”

The South Stars also a strong pitching perfomance from Lincoln Boyle and the bullpen to knock off the Southwest Stripes, 7-2, to move on to the gold medal game.

In the top of the first, the South loaded the bases with one out before plating the first run of the game. Jack Smejkal added an RBI-single to give the South an early two-run lead.

Boyle tossed a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the inning to get his start off to a strong start. The South put a pair of runners on in the top of the second, but Southwest starter Ervey Quijada evaded trouble to keep the deficit at two.

Boyle led off the top of the third with a triple to right-center field, eventually scoring before another run was plated to make it 4-0, South.

The Southwest put together one of its best scoring chances in the bottom of the third. With runners on first and second and one out, a blooper fell into center field but an 8-5 putout kept the runners in the same position with two outs. Boyle then induced a flyout to right field to keep the Southwest scoreless.

The South extended its lead in the top of the fifth. Dominic Giametta got on base to lead off the inning, scoring on a double by Judson Dowell to make it 5-0. The lead grew to six after Adam Alvarez plated Dowell with an RBI-single.

Boyle ran into trouble in the fifth, as the Southwest loaded the bases. Boyle followed with a strikeout for the second out of the inning before being replaced by Austin Smith. The Southwest plated a run on a walk to make it 6-1 before Moten hit an RBI-single to trim the deficit to four. Giametta then entered the game and picked up a strikeout to escape further trouble.

The South added a run in the top of the sixth to take a 7-2 lead. Grant Sperandio shut the door on the win, stranding a pair of runners to secure the win.

The Southwest Stars and South Stars will meet in the gold medal game at Coleman Field at 11:15 AM ET. The Southeast Stars and Southwest Stripes will battle for bronze at 8:15 AM ET.

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Midwest Stripes and South Stripes Advance to 12U NTIS Champions Cup Gold Medal Game

August 21, 2021
CARY, N.C. – The Midwest Stripes and South Stripes clinched spots in the 2021 12U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup gold medal game with wins on Saturday at Thomas Brooks Park in Cary, North Carolina.  The Midwest Stripes were the first to earn a spot in Sunday’s championship

CARY, N.C. – The Midwest Stripes and South Stripes clinched spots in the 2021 12U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup gold medal game with wins on Saturday at Thomas Brooks Park in Cary, North Carolina. 

The Midwest Stripes were the first to earn a spot in Sunday’s championship game, winning 12-2 over the Northwest Stripes.

It was the Stripes from the Midwest that got on the board to start the game in the top of the first after a one-out triple put a runner on third that came in to score on an RBI groundout. They would add one more run in the inning to take a 2-0 lead into the bottom half.

The Northwest got on the board in the third, sending a two-out single into center to score a run and cut the Midwest lead in half, 2-1. The Midwest got it right back in the next half inning, though, hitting back-to-back lead off doubles to make it 3-1 in the top of the fourth. The team used the consecutive extra base hits as a spark, going up 8-1 before the inning was over.

The Northwest got one back in the fifth to make it 8-2 but couldn’t cut into the deficit anymore. Staying hot at the plate, the Midwest was able to add four more runs to win 12-2, improving to 3-0 on the week and advancing to Sunday’s championship game.

“We were really successful at the plate today and are going to try and keep the same thing going tomorrow,” said Lou Simios, coach of the Midwest Stripes. “Just keep throwing strikes and squaring the ball up and we should have success.”

In the second semifinal game of the day, the South Stripes came out on top over the Northwest Stars, 3-2, in walk-off fashion.

Similar to the Midwest Stripes, the South Stripes wasted no time getting on the board, scoring during their first at bats of the game to take an early 1-0 lead. The Northwest Stars tied it right back up in their half of the inning, making it 1-1 through an inning and a half.

After both teams went down quietly in the third, the Northwest Stars took the lead 2-1 with a play at the plate in the fourth. Keeping it a back-and-forth game, the South Stripes brought the tying run across in the bottom half of the inning.

With both team’s pitchers locked in, the game went into the seventh still tied 2-2. After holding the Northwest scoreless in the top half of the inning, the South Stripes got the leadoff runner on base in the bottom half of the inning. After playing some small ball and bunting the leadoff runner over to second, the team was able to eventually load the bases. With one out in the inning, Levi Abrego then sent the game-winning RBI up the middle of the infield to score Cole Ryherd and win the game 3-2 for the South Stripes.

“I just knew I had to run as hard as I could to score,” Ryherd said. “The only thing on my mind was making sure I crossed home.”

The Midwest Stripes and South Stripes will meet at 11:15 a.m. EDT tomorrow on Field 5 at Thomas Brooks Park in Cary, North Carolina, for the 12U NTIS Championship Cup gold medal.

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Players Soak Up Experience at 13U NTIS

Playing on same fields as major leaguers a highlight for young athletes
August 20, 2021
CARY, N.C. – Many baseball stars, both past and present, have taken the fields at the USA Baseball National Training Complex over the years. Bryce Harper, Dansby Swanson, and Mike Trout are just three of the countless USA Baseball alumni who have stepped foot on the diamonds in Cary, North

CARY, N.C. – Many baseball stars, both past and present, have taken the fields at the USA Baseball National Training Complex over the years. Bryce Harper, Dansby Swanson, and Mike Trout are just three of the countless USA Baseball alumni who have stepped foot on the diamonds in Cary, North Carolina.

This week at the 2021 National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup, 13U players from across the country are looking to become the next big stars added to the list of those that have played both at the complex and for Team USA.

And when they take the fields at the National Training Complex, the history and the players who came before them are certainly on their minds.

“Obviously, a bunch of great players have played on these fields,” said Diego Delventhal of the 13U Northwest Stars. “It’s just really cool to know that when I step on these fields, a bunch of players who are in the MLB now have played here too. It’s really cool to know that I’m on that path.”

Knowing that the players who came before them in Cary, North Carolina, have gone on to successful MLB careers adds a special element to the weekend at the NTIS. While the list of the players who have played on the fields is strong in itself, there is also an impressive core of past NTIS participants that have played in the event and then went on to have successful baseball careers, including stints with USA Baseball national teams.

Among those alumni are seven-time Team USA alum Albert Almora, as well as Collegiate National Team alums Alex Bregman, Rio Ruiz, and Blake Snell. Hearing those names and knowing that they could be the next players to join that list energizes this year’s NTIS athletes, and proves to them that anything is possible if they continue to work hard.

“To have the opportunity to play at the NTIS feels awesome,” said 13U Northwest Stars player Josiah Morris. “These are probably the nicest fields I’ve ever been to. I’m just really excited to take the field with my team.”

While the list of athletes who have played on these fields before them is one exciting part of the NTIS, the atmosphere at the complex itself is also something that the players are soaking in.

The complex features four fields, all maintained at Major League Baseball standards. The grounds are some of the finest in the country, and the players are not taking it for granted.

“This complex is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” said Finnian O’Loughlin, who is representing the Northeast in the 13U tournament. “I’m really excited to be here.”

O’Loughlin recently had a conversation with a friend who had played at the complex in the past. The insight he got has helped him focus on having fun and enjoying the atmosphere, while trying not to get too caught up in it all.

“He gave me some really good advice,” O’Loughlin said. “He just told me to have fun and to not worry about anything. He said to think of it as a normal tournament, and just push away everything else and focus on what you have to do.”

That’s the goal for all of the players at the NTIS this week. While the list of players to come before them might be exciting to think about, the players are focused on standing out in front of the USA Baseball Task Force here and now and earning a spot in future USA Baseball programming.

And if they do, maybe one day their names will be listed with Harper and Trout’s on the list of USA Baseball and MLB greats that have played at the home of Team USA.

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Ambidextrous Pitcher Makes His Mark at 12U NTIS Champions Cup

12-year-old Tyler Shindo pitches lefty and righty, and hits from both sides
August 20, 2021
CARY, N.C. – At each level of baseball, there is an ultimate goal for a player to achieve. Major Leaguers want to win a World Series. College athletes want to play in Omaha. High schoolers want to win their state championships. And for many 12-year-olds, they dream about playing in

CARY, N.C. – At each level of baseball, there is an ultimate goal for a player to achieve. Major Leaguers want to win a World Series. College athletes want to play in Omaha. High schoolers want to win their state championships. And for many 12-year-olds, they dream about playing in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

For Tyler Shindo, though, there is a different dream. After winning the Little League World Series west regional with Honolulu Little League in San Bernardino, California, just days ago, Shindo arrived in Cary, North Carolina, for the 12U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup. Shindo and his father, Dustin, didn’t even go home before making the trip to North Carolina.

“It was tough because I wanted to do both,” Shindo said about choosing which competition to take part in. “But this was something I’ve never gotten to do and is a really cool opportunity.”

His Hawaii team will be competing in Williamsport, but Shindo decided to take a different path: playing at the NTIS Champions Cup in front of the USA Baseball Task Force. The fact that he would get the chance to compete for a spot on Team USA and the opportunity to play for his entire country on the international stage helped Tyler and his dad decide to stick with the commitment to come to Cary.

“Honestly it was one of the toughest decisions ever and one that we let Tyler make himself,” said Tyler’s dad, Dustin Shindo. “He started the NTIS process a few years ago and this was something he really wanted to do.”

And if all that isn’t enough, Tyler isn’t just any player: he is an ambidextrous pitcher and a switch hitter, throwing as both a left-hander and right-hander on the mound as well as hitting from both sides of the plate.

The process started when Tyler was four after his mom bought him a toy to throw balls at. He started throwing into the net with both his left and right arm and by the time he got onto the mound between ages eight and nine, he was already comfortable pitching with both. As you would expect, it’s not an easy thing to do and he says it has just been within the last year that he’s started to throw for strikes on both sides. 

Honing in on this skill comes with plenty of advantages that Tyler uses to give himself an upper hand on batters. “It was so hard at first but now being able to use the breaking ball to break a certain way, it helps make things a lot easier,” he said.

When he’s on the mound, Tyler uses a specially made glove with webbing that is split down the middle, allowing him to easily switch between hands from batter to batter.

After realizing he could throw with both arms, the leap to hitting from both sides of the plate wasn’t a tough one to make. Again, it gives him a chance to adjust his approach based on the situation of the game.

And it’s all working for him in Cary, as Shindo has hits from both sides of the plate through his team’s first two games of the weekend at the NTIS and the tournament’s task force is taking notice of not only his skills, but also his desire to be here.  

“It’s like having four players in one with Tyler being able to hit and throw from both sides,” said Andy Rojo, the regional director for the South and Southwest, who initially identified Tyler at a tryout in Hawaii. “It’s a credit to him and his family for sticking to their original commitment to come here and it also shows a tremendous amount of maturity on Tyler’s part that he wanted to be here.”

When Shindo’s not playing at the NTIS and on ESPN or switching from lefty to righty on a baseball field, though, he spends his free time like most 12-year-olds in his hometown of Honolulu: enjoying time with friends and playing other games and sports, like soccer. Where, of course, he’s an ace at kicking the ball with both feet.

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What’s Your Favorite Part About Playing Baseball?

12U NTIS participants share what they love about the game
August 19, 2021
CARY, N.C. – For many of the 12U athletes at the National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup, this week provides an opportunity to play the game they love at the highest level of their young careers. The players at this week’s event come from all over the country and

CARY, N.C. – For many of the 12U athletes at the National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup, this week provides an opportunity to play the game they love at the highest level of their young careers. The players at this week’s event come from all over the country and love the game for many different reasons, but each of them has something that stands out as their favorite thing and why they want to keep playing.

Many players enjoy the fundamentals of the game like hitting or fielding. The 12U Northeast Stripes have both sides of the field covered as Parker Klug’s favorite part of the game is, “barreling up the baseball and going yard.” His teammate Justin Sawchyn plays second and shortstop and most enjoys, “fielding a ground ball up the middle and getting a guy out at first.”

Isiah Williams, the catcher for the 12U Southeast Stripes, also likes fielding his position, saying blocking and being the backstop for his pitcher and team is his favorite part about playing.

Other players enjoy different aspects of the game that are less fundamental and more about the intangible parts of the game.

Elijah Davis from the 12U Southeast Stars is looking forward to his favorite part of the game this weekend which is the competition the sport provides. “Getting the chance to go against other good players and see who wins is the best,” he explained.

The competition will certainly be on full display this weekend as players were fired up to get things going at Thomas Brooks Park on Thursday. Similar to how the 15U and 16U teams had to come together quickly last week, the 12U players and coaches were meeting for the first time on Thursday morning during their photoshoots and by the end of the day had two games together as a team under their belts.

For one player on the 12U Midwest Stripes, playing on a new team is something he looks forward to as a part of playing baseball.

“Getting to meet new people and playing with the guys is probably my favorite part about this,” said Dewey Young. “You get to learn about new people that all like to play baseball and it’s really fun.”

But it goes beyond just new teammates for a lot of these players as they meet and play with new coaches, in front of the task force, and get to interact with other USA Baseball staff.

“It’s all of the people that are around the game,” said Landyn Singh, a member of the 12U Northwest Stripes this week. “The photographers, the grounds crew, everyone that makes this happen is a part of the game to me and I appreciate it.”

Aside from the fundamentals, competition, and comradery, plenty of the players this week put it simply when asked what their favorite part about playing baseball is: “hitting dingers.”

And that’s a surefire way to make your mark at the NTIS.

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The Art of the Batting Stance at the NTIS Champions Cup

13U players discuss the origin of their batting stances at NTIS
August 19, 2021
CARY, N.C. – When a baseball player steps up to the plate, they typically have some type of routine. Some dig into the box, some may tap their helmets, and others tap home plate. And after all of that is done, there’s one thing left to do: get into a

CARY, N.C. – When a baseball player steps up to the plate, they typically have some type of routine. Some dig into the box, some may tap their helmets, and others tap home plate. And after all of that is done, there’s one thing left to do: get into a batting stance.

Batting stances are unique, with many different factors at hand. While one batter might open his feet and put his hands low, another might stand with closed feet and high hands. It’s about finding the balance between comfort and results, which typically looks different from one batter to the next.

For the players at the 12U/13U National Team Identification Series in Cary, North Carolina, it’s no different. Some of the players have stuck with the same stance all their lives, while others switch it up regularly. A handful of players try to mimic Major League hitters, and some create their own distinctive stance. But at the end of the day, each player has one, and many of them have stories behind them.

Junior Lopez is at the NTIS Champions Cup with the 13U Southeast Stars. A few months ago, Lopez was playing around with his batting stance and decided to try to emulate one of his favorite MLB players, Aaron Judge. He tried it once and it worked, so Lopez has been mimicking the Yankees All-Star ever since.

“I like my batting stance a little wide, like Judge,” Lopez said. “I really try to do that because he has a lot of power and contact at the same time. I thought if I started putting my feet wide like Aaron Judge, I’d have a little more contact with the bat and more follow through.”

Lopez isn’t the only player at the NTIS who bases his stance on Judge’s. Finnian O’Loughlin, who plays for the 13U Northeast Stripes, also factors Judge’s stance into his when he’s at the plate.

“I used to have all my weight back and it wasn’t really working for me,” O’Loughlin said. “Now, when I put my bat on my shoulder, I’m able to get it up quicker. As I started to understand and get better a few years ago, I changed my stance. Sometimes, I try to mimic Judge.”

Andrew Talbert also tries to emulate the stance of an MLB All-Star – and a USA Baseball alum. Talbert, who is playing for the 13U Midwest Stars, bases his stance on Mike Trout’s, but without the leg kick. His mindset at the plate is to expect the fastball, and adjust to any other pitch.

“My coach showed me this stance about a year ago,” Talbert said. “I try to model it after Trout. My stance has probably changed about five times since I was younger. I’ve tried open, closed, not loading, but this stance works for me because if you’re ready for the fastball, you can hit any other pitch.”

While many of the athletes try to mimic the players they watch on television, others create their own stances or learn them from a coach. As the players have continued to grow and develop, their stances have done the same.

“My stance has changed at least once a year,” said Lincoln Boyle, who is playing for the 13U South Stars. “I just go with what I’m comfortable with and what my coaches have taught me, and I try to continuously repeat it. I think my current stance works well because I keep my hands level with the ball and I’m able to drive the ball better.”

Unlike Boyle, Archer Horn has maintained his stance for his entire baseball career.

“My stance doesn’t really come from anywhere specific,” Horn said. “I just try to keep it simple, with a limited leg kick. My stance has never changed.”

While all the players at the NTIS have different batting stances, they’re all coming to the plate with the same goal in mind: earning a chance to play for Team USA on the international stage.

So, whether their process is complicated or simple, uniquely their own or an homage to one of the greats, what matters is that it works for them as they fight to make an impression on the USA Baseball Task Force.

Because if they do, who knows? Those stances might even help them win a gold medal.

 

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Players and Families Arrive for 12U/13U NTIS Champions Cup

August 18, 2021
CARY, N.C. – It didn’t take long to realize something was going on at the USA Baseball National Training Complex on Wednesday evening. The line to get into the recently renovated USA Baseball Team Store stretched out into the parking lot as families gathered for the Opening Ceremony of the

CARY, N.C. – It didn’t take long to realize something was going on at the USA Baseball National Training Complex on Wednesday evening. The line to get into the recently renovated USA Baseball Team Store stretched out into the parking lot as families gathered for the Opening Ceremony of the second week of the National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup.

This week brings the 12U and 13U age divisions from the six NTIS regions to Cary, North Carolina, to compete in a championship-style tournament and participate in workouts while being evaluated by national team coaches and scouts.

 While some of the athletes here this week have been here for other USA Baseball events like the National Team Championships or Futures Invitational, many are playing at the National Training Complex for the first time. To be able to play at these world class facilities at such a young age is an honor for both these players and their families. 

A lot of parents stopped to take photos of their athletes with the field in the background or next to signage around the complex – like those that feature USA Baseball alumni Chris Archer and Mike Trout. These athletes may be just 12 and 13 years old but their aspirations are to one day be like the MLB All-Stars that are highlighted on these signs and flags.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited to play baseball in my life,” said one player as he checked in and received his jersey and hat before the evening’s ceremony. “These are like the nicest fields ever and I know some of the best players ever have come through here.”

As families got checked in and settled before the festivities, they had the opportunity to shop in the team store, grab a bite to eat from food trucks, and just take in the electric atmosphere. With the stands packed at Coleman Field, several speakers addressed this week’s participants, including USA Baseball Assistant Director of Baseball Operations Ann Claire Roberson.

“It’s exciting seeing these players and their families come into the Complex each week and the 12U and 13U groups are no different,” said Roberson. “We’re looking forward to another great week of competition and providing these young athletes with a once in a lifetime experience.” 

The experience continues tomorrow with photo day, Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) testing, and the first games of the tournament for each of the 12 teams at each age group. Games will be taking place this weekend at both the National Training Complex and Thomas Brooks Park and the action will be plentiful as the USA Baseball task force searches for the future of America’s pastime.

“The fact that you are here today means you have already been identified as a potential candidate for USA Baseball programming,” 2021 12U National Team Manager RJ Farrell reminded athletes in his closing remarks. “When you put into perspective how many athletes play this game, remember what an honor it is to be a part of the group here.”

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Northeast Stars and Southwest Stars Crowned 16U NTIS Champions Cup Co-Champions

Game called in the ninth due to inclement weather
August 15, 2021
CARY, N.C. – The Northeast Stars and Southwest Stars were crowned co-champions of the 2021 16U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup on Sunday at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina, after the gold medal game was called in the bottom of the ninth due

CARY, N.C. – The Northeast Stars and Southwest Stars were crowned co-champions of the 2021 16U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup on Sunday at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina, after the gold medal game was called in the bottom of the ninth due to inclement weather. 

The Northeast Stars got on the board first when Josh Knoth sent a two-RBI single up the middle with two outs in the first for an early 2-0 lead.

The Southwest Stars responded in the bottom of the frame, though, when Ryder Dykstra and Bryce Navarre scored after drawing a pair of walks and taking advantage of some Northeast errors, tying the game at two apiece.

Neither team would score again until the ninth but the Southwest threatened, loading the bases in both the second and third innings. Each time, Northeast starter Gregory Bruno was able to escape the jam, first with a punchout in the second and then inducing a popout to end the third.

After a quiet few middle frames, the Northeast bats got going once again when Gabriel Tirado sent a 3-0 pitch to the wall for a leadoff double in the fifth. While they were eventually able to get runners on the corners, the Northeast wasn’t able to capitalize and the game remained tied at two.

The Southwest Stars again made a push in the bottom of the seventh, putting runners on first and second but couldn’t bring the game-winning run across, sending the championship game to extra innings.

After an inning and a half of extras, the game went into a lightning delay in the ninth with one out and a runner on first. The game was then called because of the impending inclement weather, officially ending in a 2-2 tie with the Southwest Stars and the Northwest Stars named co-champions of the 16U NTIS Champions Cup.

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Southeast Stripes Claim Gold at 2021 15U NTIS Champions Cup

Southeast scores 14 runs to top Midwest Stripes
August 15, 2021
CARY, N.C. – The 2021 15U NTIS Champions Cup gold medal belongs to the Southeast Stripes. The Southeast put the finishing touches on an undefeated weekend, beating the Midwest Stripes, 14-1, on Sunday morning at Coleman Field in Cary, North Carolina. “This is surreal,” said Southeast head coach JP Lisk. “Playing for

CARY, N.C. – The 2021 15U NTIS Champions Cup gold medal belongs to the Southeast Stripes.

The Southeast put the finishing touches on an undefeated weekend, beating the Midwest Stripes, 14-1, on Sunday morning at Coleman Field in Cary, North Carolina.

“This is surreal,” said Southeast head coach JP Lisk. “Playing for the name on the jersey on this platform, it means everything. We played for something at a higher cause, something bigger than ourselves.”

The Southeast scored early and often to pull away. They nearly opened the scoring in the top of the first, putting a pair of runners on with two outs in the inning before Midwest starter Trevor Geis escaped the jam to keep it scoreless. Dennis Butler led off the bottom of the inning with a single and eventually reached third base but the Midwest was unable to get the run across.

In the top of the second, the Southeast loaded the bases on a single, hit-by-pitch, an error with only one out. Logan Zavala drew a walk to get the first run in before Aiden Poe made it 2-0 with a sacrifice fly and Landon Hawkins added a two-run single to make it a four-run inning for the Southeast. The Midwest got a run back in the bottom of the second on an RBI-single by Connor Essenburg to make it 4-1, Southeast.

The third inning proved to be pivotal for the Southeast, as it added five runs to pull away. Sam Schwamb got the scoring started with a bases-loaded walk before Drake Della Ratta drove in two runs with a single to make it 7-1. A fielder’s choice added another run before the Southeast tacked on one more to take a 9-1 advantage.

Southeast starter Cooper Moss and the bullpen kept the Midwest off the board after its run in the second. In the top of the fifth, Landon Hawkins hit a two-run double and scored on a wild pitch in a four-run inning, extending the Southeast’s lead to 12. The Southeast tacked on another run in the top of the seventh to make it 14-1.

“All week, I’ve just tried to stay back and let the barrel do the work,” Hawkins said. “That’s when good things happen. I tried not to be too big for the moment, and just tried to be the man.”

Moss, Jalon Page, and Braegan Cravey combined to allow just one run on three hits in the win. The trio held the Midwest scoreless across the game’s final five innings.

“I was just trying to throw strikes and let them hit it,” Moss said. “I have one of the best defenses behind me and I just wanted to let them hit it. My mindset was to just pitch to contact and see what happens.”

While the Southeast Stripes claimed gold and the Midwest Stripes earned silver, the bronze medal went to the Northwest Stars, who topped the Midwest Stars, 3-1, in the bronze medal game.

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Midwest Stripes Set to Battle Southeast Stripes in 15U NTIS Champions Cup Gold Medal Game

Brandt's solo homer wins it for Midwest, Southeast scores 10 in win
August 15, 2021
CARY, N.C. – The 15U 2021 NTIS Champions Cup Championship Game is set. The Midwest Stripes and Southeast Stripes will play in Sunday morning's title game after both teams earned semifinal wins on Saturday at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina. Nick Brandt cranked a walk-off homer in the

CARY, N.C. – The 15U 2021 NTIS Champions Cup Championship Game is set.

The Midwest Stripes and Southeast Stripes will play in Sunday morning's title game after both teams earned semifinal wins on Saturday at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina.

Nick Brandt cranked a walk-off homer in the bottom of the eighth inning, helping the Midwest Stripes knock off the Northwest Stars, 4-3, and advance to the final.

The Stripes clinched their spot after going undefeated in pool play, knocking off the Northwest Stripes and the Southwest Stars.

They took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning against the Northwest. Antonio Fawcett led off the second inning with a single and eventually scored on a wild pitch to make it 2-0, before the Stripes added another to make it a 3-0 advantage.

The Stars battled back in the top of the fourth. Myles Bland and Aidan Hall led off the inning with hits before Carlos Hernandez drove them both in to trim the deficit to one run. The Stripes nearly added on to the lead in the bottom of the inning, putting two runners on base, but were unable to score and widen the margin.

The Stars put runners on second and third with two outs in the top of the fifth. Charles Meister struck out the batter to seemingly escape the jam, but a wild pitch plated the tying run to eventually send the game to extras.

In the bottom of the eighth, Brandt turned on a fastball and sent it over the wall in left field for a walk-off home run to secure his team’s spot in the 15U title game.

“I was hoping to just put the ball in play and get on base,” Brandt said. “He threw me a first pitch slider, so I thought he was going to throw me a fastball next, and he did. I turned on it and it went out.”

Midwest Regional Director and Stripes head coach Rich Janor was proud of his team’s effort and is excited to play for a championship.

“I thought our guys showed a lot of resilience,” Janor said. “We showed a lot of character, and really came through when it counted in the end.”

The Midwest Stripes will take on the Southeast Stripes, who topped the Midwest Stars, 10-4, on Saturday night at Coleman Field to remain undefeated in the event.

The Stars took an early lead, plating the game's first run on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the first. They nearly added more to the lead, but a strikeout with runners on the corners ended the threat.

The Stripes jumped in front in the following half inning. After tying the game on an error, a two-run single by Cooper Moss gave the Stripes a 3-1 lead. They tacked on another run in the top of the third, increasing the lead the three.

The Stars cut into the deficit in the bottom of the third on an RBI-groundout by Caden Stern, but the Stripes got the run back in the fourth to make the score 5-2.

The teams continued to trade runs in the middle innings. The Stars cut it to 5-3 before the Stripes made it 6-3 in the following frame. In the bottom of the fifth, Griffin Kelly's RBI-single put the Stars down, 6-4.

The Stripes pulled away in the top of the seventh, scoring four runs to take a 10-4 lead into the bottom of the inning. They secured the win with a scoreless seventh to advance to the title game.

"Every single one of these young men want it," said Stripes coach JP Lisk. "That's what I like about this group. Anything in your life, you've got to want it."

The Midwest Stripes will battle the Southeast Stripes on Sunday morning at 8 a.m. ET from Coleman Field. Watch all of the action on PlaySight and follow along on Twitter at @USABEvents.

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Southwest Stars and Northeast Stars Earn Spots in 16U NTIS Championship Game

August 15, 2021
CARY, N.C. – The Southwest Stars and Northeast Stars clinched their spots in the 16U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup gold medal game with semifinal wins on Saturday at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina.  The Southwest Stars were the first to punch their

CARY, N.C. – The Southwest Stars and Northeast Stars clinched their spots in the 16U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup gold medal game with semifinal wins on Saturday at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina. 

The Southwest Stars were the first to punch their ticket into Sunday’s championship game with a 5-1 win over the Southeast Stars. Both teams were 2-0 coming into the game as the Southwest Stars earned wins over the Northeast Stars and Northwest Stripes during Friday’s pool play. 

In Saturday’s game, the Southeast Stars jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, but the Southwest Stars got it right back in the bottom half of the inning, taking a 2-1 lead that they would hold onto for the rest of the game. The team added two more runs in the second and added another insurance run in the fourth to get the 5-1 win.

“Work as a team. Pick each other up. If someone makes a mistake, move past it and lift them up,” said Bryce Navarre, who threw four efficient innings for the Southwest Stars in the win, talking about what the team did well today and needs to replicate in tomorrow’s championship game. “If we keep doing what we need to do, I think we’ll be successful.” 

Southwest Stars Coach Chris Hernandez echoed his starting pitcher’s sentiments saying, “The message is to just take it one pitch at a time, one inning at a time.” He hopes they carry the momentum they’ve built this week into tomorrow’s title game. “These guys have done a fantastic job these first few games so we just need to stay consistent with what we’ve been doing.”

The Northeast Stars claimed the second spot in Sunday’s championship game, knocking the Southwest Stripes out with a 3-0 win. In a game that featured just six hits and a several hour rain delay, the Northeast Stars were able to find a way to win.

Like their championship game opponents, it was the team’s third win of the week after defeating the South Stripes and Midwest Stars in pool play on Friday.

All three of the team’s runs came in the top of the first inning and it would be all they needed as several pitchers combined to toss the two-hit shutout.

Josh Knoth pitched the final three frames for the Northeast Stars and put it simply when asked what the team needs to do to get the job done tomorrow – “We just have to play as a team and be studs. Roll Northeast.”

“We’re going to come out with the mentality to grind it out and have tough at bats,” said Northeast Stars Coach Angel Lugo. “We’re going to come get it tomorrow. We’re excited.”

The Southwest Stars and Northeast Stars will do battle for the 16U NTIS Champions Cup at 10:45 a.m. ET on Coleman Field at the USA Baseball National Training Complex on Saturday. The game can be streamed live on Playsight.

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ChemistryStory

Teams Develop Quick Chemistry on First Gameday at NTIS Champions Cup 

August 13, 2021
CARY, N.C. – With this week’s 15U/16U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup, many of the athletes are playing as teammates for the first time. Unlike a traditional tournament, this week’s event brings together some of the best talent from across the country to play on teams with other

CARY, N.C. – With this week’s 15U/16U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup, many of the athletes are playing as teammates for the first time. Unlike a traditional tournament, this week’s event brings together some of the best talent from across the country to play on teams with other individuals from their regions.

While a few regions have multiple players from the same travel teams, most of these athletes are meeting and playing with each other for the first time. Having been strangers going into photo day just over 24 hours ago, they’ve now played two games together by the end of the day on Friday.

“I knew one guy on my team before we got here, but now I’ve got everyone’s name down,” said Dillon Wong, a member of the 16U Northwest Stars. “We started meeting each other a little bit at the second-round tryouts, so it was nice to get out here and play together.”

Like the players, the coaches are also meeting their teams for the first time. Some NTIS Champions Cup coaches have returned each summer since the event’s inception and know the tournament well, while others are coaching here for the first time. Bringing together teams in this way comes with its challenges, but players and coaches alike are excited about it.

“It’s a unique opportunity to get to work with a group like this – meeting them for the first time and jumping right into games the next day,” said Jason Slaughter, who is coaching at the NTIS Champions Cup for the first time and is leading the 15U South Stripes. “We’ve just been telling our guys to bring the energy and it’s working, they’re already starting to cheer each other on which is what we like to see.”

And that’s not unique to the 15U South Stars. On every field and in every dugout on Friday you could hear players cheering on teammates, not just by number or ‘kid,’ but by each player’s name.

“We realized pretty quickly that we’re all here for the same reasons with the same goals,” said Gabe Gonzalez, a member of the 15U Southeast Stars team. “Everyone has something to bring to the table and offer to the team, so we want to pick each other up and be good teammates for one another.”

This is also the message that Joey Gomes, who is coaching the 16U Northwest Stars this week, shared with his team.

“Accountability. Do your job. Everyone run hard through first base, everyone play the game the right way,” said Gomes, who is coaching in his eighth NTIS Champions Cup. “And through that the team aspect starts to organically grow.”

Now that these teams have games under their belt, it’s time to up the ante even more with semifinal action on Saturday. Because regardless of where they come from, they’ll all be playing with the same intention.

“We are all from different backgrounds but the language of baseball, we all speak,” said Gomes.

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ArticleMW

Regional Pride on Display at 2021 NTIS Champions Cup

Players proudly representing their hometowns, states, and regions
August 12, 2021
CARY, N.C. – As all six regions making up the National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup – Midwest, Northeast, Northwest, South, Southeast, and Southwest – gathered at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina, this morning for photo day and Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) testing, there

CARY, N.C. – As all six regions making up the National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup – Midwest, Northeast, Northwest, South, Southeast, and Southwest – gathered at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina, this morning for photo day and Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) testing, there was a sense of pride – regional pride.

Each region’s teams are different based on both the jersey color they are wearing and where they come from. Players from each of the different teams represent more than just themselves – they represent their hometowns, states, and regions, and bring a unique background to this week’s NTIS Champions Cup. And representing where they come from is something these players don’t take lightly.

“It’s a huge honor and I’m just really happy to be here,” said Ryder Rutledge (New Braunfels, Texas), a member of the 16U Southwest Stars team. “I’m just trying to take in every moment of this opportunity.”

Gregory Bruno (Staten Island, N.Y.) echoed Rutledge’s sentiments. The infielder for the Northeast Stars takes pride in the area he grew up in, and is looking forward to proving that Northeasterners belong on the national stage.

“A lot of baseball players that make it big come from Florida and California and all those places,” Bruno said, “I’m proud of being from New York and having the talent to come out here and represent the Northeast. I love my country and I love to represent my region.”

Leighton Harris (Lexington, Ky.) is also ready to prove that the Midwest is full of talented and motivated players.

“It’s nice that we get to represent our cities, our states, and obviously our regions,” he said. “Hopefully we can come out and get some wins and show everyone we play some good baseball in the Midwest.”

With the honor of representing their region also comes the desire to make their hometowns proud. These players take pride in where they come from, and are constantly working to put their regions on the map.

The athletes – who don’t take this responsibility lightly – are quick to share their favorite parts about where they come from.

Some players enjoy spending their free time outdoors, like Will Oberson (Nashville, Tenn.) who is playing with the Midwest Stars this week.

“My favorite part about living in Nashville is fishing,” Oberson said. “I probably go three to four times a week, and I’m usually out there for two or three hours a day.”

Other players enjoy different outdoor activities.

“The beaches and the weather are my favorite part of living in San Diego,” said Addison Klepsch (San Diego, Calif.), who is playing on this week’s Southwest Stars. “The weather doesn’t really get bad out there. It never rains, and games are never cancelled.”

While the players are coming from different regions across the country, they are all here with one thing in common: baseball.

And when they take the field for the first day of games on Friday morning, they will all be playing with the same end goals in sight: representing their regions and winning.

“It means a lot to have the opportunity to show what our region is made of,” Oberson said.

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