USA BASEBALL NEWS

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Southeast Stars Knock Off South Stars to Win 15U NTIS Champions Cup Title

Gold medal is the second in three years for Southeast region
August 13, 2023
CARY, N.C. – The Southeast Stars held on to beat the South Stars, 3-2, in the title game of the 15U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup on Sunday at the National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina. The win gives the Southeast region its second 15U NTIS title

CARY, N.C. – The Southeast Stars held on to beat the South Stars, 3-2, in the title game of the 15U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup on Sunday at the National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina.

The win gives the Southeast region its second 15U NTIS title in the past three years.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Two consecutive walks began the Southeast half of the first, opening the door for the Alejandro Cabral to scamper home on a throwing error to open the scoring and give the Southeast a 1-0 lead.
  • The Southeast drew three walks to open the bottom of the third, but only mustered one run across when States Farr was plated on a wild pitch to extend the Southeast advantage to two.
  • Michael Chin started the top of the fourth with a double to left and eventually scored on a throwing error, putting the South on the scoreboard and trimming its deficit to 2-1.
  • Chris Brown smoked a one-out triple to right center field in the bottom of the fourth and came around to score on an RBI groundout by Chance Blackmon, growing the Southeast lead to 3-1.
  • The South got back within a run in the top of the fifth when Austin Smith drew a walk and scored on a sacrifice fly by Jordan Albarado as the Southeast lead shrunk to one.
  • Nomar Torres led off the top of the seventh with a walk and eventually advanced to third to put the tying run 90 feet away with two outs, but Caleb Lear induced and caught a game-ending pop out to clinch the gold medal victory.

NOTABLE STATS

  • Brown and Farr had the only two hits on the day for the gold medalists, who capitalized on wild pitching and a few errant throws to pick up the win.
  • Albarado, Chin, and Cole Dunlap registered a hit each for the South. Chin and Smith scored the only two runs of the day for the squad.
  • After Junior Lopez tossed 4.1 solid innings on the mound for the Southeast, Lear took over and turned in 2.2 hitless frames to earn the win.
  • Ethan Armbruster was solid in relief for the South despite suffering the loss, pitching 3.1 innings and allowing one run.
  • The gold medal is the second in the past three years for the Southeast, who also earned a gold medal in 2021.
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USA Baseball Reveals 2023 National Team Identification Series Selections

Seventy-two athletes earn spots in 2024 national team programming
September 25, 2023
CARY, N.C. – USA Baseball today revealed the 72 athletes selected from the 2023 National Team Identification Series (NTIS) for its 2024 national team programming, following the conclusion of the NTIS Champions Cup, which was held from August 9-27 at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina.

CARY, N.C. – USA Baseball today revealed the 72 athletes selected from the 2023 National Team Identification Series (NTIS) for its 2024 national team programming, following the conclusion of the NTIS Champions Cup, which was held from August 9-27 at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina.

Additionally, USA Baseball announced that the Southwest region won the 2023 NTIS Champions Cup for the fourth consecutive summer.

The NTIS is the most comprehensive player identification program offered by USA Baseball. Using a six-region system for the initial player identification process, the NTIS holds tryouts in each region of the country for players to be identified and selected for their regional teams, and invited to the NTIS Champions Cup in Cary, North Carolina.

The NTIS Champions Cup consists of tournament-style play, with more than 1,200 of the country’s top players competing in 144 games in addition to skill testing and on-field evaluations run by the USA Baseball Task Force and national team coaches.

“We are excited to reveal the seventy-two athletes who have been selected out of the National Team Identification Series for next year’s national team programming,” said USA Baseball Director of Baseball Operations Ann Claire Roberson. “As anticipated, the event was full of talent in every region and age group, which made the selection process extremely difficult for our Task Force and national team coaches. We look forward to watching the selected players continue to develop within our programming and can’t wait to see the future impact they have on our organization.”

Twelve athletes from each age group were invited to compete in the following year’s age-appropriate national team programming events in 2024, including the 12U National Team Training Camp, 13U/14U Athlete Development Program (ADP), the 15U National Team Training Camp, and 16U/17U National Team Development Program (NTDP.

In total, the 72 athletes selected represent 25 different states and all six regions from across the U.S.

The 2023 National Team Identification Series selections for 2024 national team programming are as follows:

Name; Position; Hometown; Region

2024 12U National Team Training Camp invitees:
(from 11U NTIS)

  • Sevastian Bojorquez; OF/LHP; Santa Clara, Calif; Southwest
  • Christian Cicero; C/INF; Orange, Calif.; Southwest
  • Noah Fountain; INF/OF; Willowbrook, Ill.; Midwest
  • Jack Gamble; INF/RHP; Downingtown, Pa.; Northeast
  • Kellen Gee; INF/RHP; Anacortes, Wash.; Northwest
  • Adam Gonzalez; INF/RHP; Canyon Country, Calif.; Southwest
  • Ahmi Hale; C/OF; Springfield Ill.; Midwest
  • Bronx Holbron; INF/RHP; Waianae, Hawaii; Southwest
  • Gavin Klovstad; INF/OF; Orange, Calif.; Southwest
  • Austin Percival III; OF/INF; Prairieville, La.; South
  • Jayden Portes; INF/RHP; Fort Myers, Fla.; Southeast
  • Luke Upton; INF/C; Los Angeles, Calif.; Southwest

2024 13U/14U Athlete Development Program invitees:
(from 12U NTIS)

  • Brantley Baskin; INF/RHP; Aledo, Texas; South
  • Jackson Coffey; LHP; Gloster, La.; South
  • Austin Coleman; RHP/OF; Spring Hill, Tenn.; Midwest
  • Mason Diggs; INF/RHP; Bossier City, La.; South
  • Jedrek Elliott; RHP/OF; Stockton, Calif.; Northwest
  • Blake Hoover; OF/RHP; Wadsworth, Ohio; Midwest
  • Dylan Hottle; INF/RHP; Irvine, Calif.; Southwest
  • Kolotau Koka; OF/INF; Kapolei, Hawaii; Southwest
  • Cody Lashlee; RHP/OF; San Diego, Calif.; Southwest
  • Deeyon Roundtree; OF/INF; Homestead, Fla.; Southeast
  • Jason Spray, Jr.; OF/INF; Murfreesboro, Tenn.; Midwest
  • Dylan Tucci; C/OF; Newport Beach, Calif.; Southwest

2024 13U/14U Athlete Development Program invitees:
(from 13U NTIS)

  • Anthony DuFour; INF/RHP; Holbrook, Mass.; Northeast
  • Steven Garneau Jr; OF/RHP; Hicksville, N.Y.; Northeast
  • Mason Harris; INF/RHP; Rocklin, Calif.; Northwest
  • Levi Kerr; INF/RHP; Holly Springs, N.C.; Southeast
  • Mason MacKay; INF/OF; Catawba, S.C.; Southeast
  • Eli Martinez; RHP/INF; Beaumont, Calif.; Southwest
  • Cristian Matos; C/RHP; Belleville, N.J.; Northeast
  • Gavin Poteet; INF/LHP; Suwanee, Ga.; Southeast
  • Brady Rallo; OF/LHP; Chesterfield, Mo.; Midwest
  • Damian Rivas; RHP/OF; Wahiawa, Hawaii; Southwest
  • Peyton Tarlton; OF/LHP; Indian Trail, N.C.; Southeast
  • Ayden White; RHP/INF; Corona, Calif.; Southwest

2024 15U National Team Training Camp invitees:
(from 14U NTIS)

  • Brody Costantine; OF/RHP; Deltona, Fla.; Southeast
  • Chase Cotton; RHP/INF; Lincoln, Calif.; Northwest
  • Rory Funke; OF/LHP; Needham, Mass.; Northeast
  • Samuel Garcia; INF/RHP; Desert Hot Springs, Calif.; Southwest
  • Jackson Maddix; LHP/INF; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Midwest
  • Julian Martinez; C/INF; New York, N.Y.; Northeast
  • Dexter McCleon Jr; OF/RHP; Hoover, Ala.; Southeast
  • Brett Paciorek; INF/C; Franklin, Tenn.; Southeast
  • Denzell Posey; OF/RHP; Lexington, S.C.; Southeast
  • Julian Rodriguez; C/INF; Boca Raton, Fla.; Southeast
  • Ryder Sowa; INF/RHP; Rosedale, Md.; Northeast
  • Isaac Vidal; INF/RHP; Miami, Fla.; Southeast

2024 16U/17U National Team Development Program invitees:
(from 15U NTIS)

  • Ethan Armbruster; RHP/C; Austin, Texas; South
  • Judson Dowell; OF/RHP; Houston, Texas; Southwest
  • Cole Dunlap; C/RHP; Choctaw, Okla.; South
  • Sean Evans; RHP/INF; Maple Valley, Wash.; Northwest
  • Cason Fletcher; INF; Hahira, Ga.; Southeast
  • Andrew Gette; RHP/INF; North Oaks, Minn.; Midwest
  • Tyler Kenast; INF/LHP; Winter Springs, Fla.; Southeast
  • Genis Lopez, Jr.; OF/LHP; Simpsonville, S.C.; Southeast
  • Tyson Moore; C/OF; Buffalo, Minn.; Midwest
  • Nathan Rapp; RHP/INF; Eagle, Idaho; Northwest
  • Noah Spalding; RHP/INF; Campbellsville, Ky.; Midwest
  • Jack Woda; C/INF; Arlington, Va.; Northeast

2024 16U/17U National Team Development Program invitees:
(from 16U NTIS)

  • Mason Braun; OF/INF; South Bend, Ind.; Midwest
  • Devin Diaz; C/OF; Yorktown Heights, N.Y.; Northeast
  • Ezra Essex; C/OF; Chicago, Ill.; Midwest
  • Ethan Grim; RHP/INF; Mohnton, Pa.; Northeast
  • Jackson Hoyt; LHP; Brooksville, Fla.; Southeast
  • Joshua Jannicelli; RHP/INF; Santa Rosa, Calif.; Northwest
  • Emmanuel Lantigua; INF/RHP; Boca Raton, Fla.; Southeast
  • Brandon Lorenzo; INF; Hialeah, Fla.; Southeast
  • Hogan Nelson; OF/INF; Fort Worth, Texas; South
  • Jesse Rusinek; LHP/OF; Brock, Texas; South
  • Tyler Spangler; INF; Danville, Calif.; Northwest
  • JD Stein; INF; Carmel, Ind.; Midwest
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Southwest Stars Down Southwest Stripes in 11U NTIS Champions Cup Gold Medal Matchup 

Squad claims fourth title at event since 2018
August 27, 2023
CARY, N.C. – Southwest Stars scored two or more runs in three of the first four innings en route to an 8-2 victory over Southwest Stripes to take gold at the 11U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup at Thomas Brooks Park in Cary, North Carolina. The Southwest region

CARY, N.C. – Southwest Stars scored two or more runs in three of the first four innings en route to an 8-2 victory over Southwest Stripes to take gold at the 11U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup at Thomas Brooks Park in Cary, North Carolina.

The Southwest region has now won four titles at the 11U event in the last five editions. Additionally, it is the region’s 10th gold medal in the history of the NTIS Champions Cup.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Southwest Stars took a 3-0 lead in the first inning on a wild pitch, stolen base, and RBI single by Ruben Elias.
  • Southwest Stars extended its lead to 5-0 in the third inning. Jovan Lamas reached on a one-out double and scored on a Southwest Stripes error, then Bronx Holbron scored on Luke Upton’s RBI single to left field after reaching on a single and stealing second.
  • In the fourth, Southwest Stars made it 7-0 thanks to run-scoring singles by Cooper Hutton and Jaxon Anderson.
  • Southwest Stripes got on the board in the sixth with its only two runs of the contest. After a one-out single, hit-by-pitch, and double steal put runners in scoring position, a Leonardo Villalobos RBI groundout followed by a Joshua Park RBI single to the shortstop brought the runners across.
  • Southwest Stars added insurance in the seventh when Holbron drove in Anderson with a double to left field after he started the inning with a double of his own.

NOTABLE STATS

  • Anderson led all players with a 3-for-4 outing at the plate, while Lamas, Holbron, and Elias all tallied two hits apiece.
  • Seven different players across the two teams recorded an RBI.
  • Southwest Stars’ Elias tossed six strong innings and surrendered just two earned runs on three hits to earn the win.
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Midwest Stripes Hold Off Southeast Stars to Win Gold at 13U NTIS Champions Cup

Team secures first gold medal for Midwest region at 13U level
August 27, 2023
CARY, N.C. – With the game-winning run at the plate and two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Midwest Stripes’ Kipton Allen induced a swinging strikeout to hold off Southeast Stars, 5-2, in the gold medal matchup of the 13U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup at the

CARY, N.C. – With the game-winning run at the plate and two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Midwest Stripes’ Kipton Allen induced a swinging strikeout to hold off Southeast Stars, 5-2, in the gold medal matchup of the 13U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup at the National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina.

It marks the Midwest region’s first gold medal at the 13U level, and third overall top three finish at the event. Additionally, it is the Midwest region’s fourth gold medal in NTIS Champions Cup history.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Midwest Stripes got off to a hot start, capitalizing on a couple of Southeast Stars errors to take a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Brady Rallo led off the game with a walk, and after Bennett Kono’s double to left field put runners in scoring position, a two-base error brought the runners home to make it 2-0. Then, with Kanon Baxley on second, a passed ball and error brought him across home plate to extend the Midwest Stripes lead to 3-0.
  • Southeast Stars responded in the bottom frame thanks to Jayden Bibby’s 2-RBI double to left field, driving in Tre’ Lawrence and Cooper Parman after they reached on a walk and infield single, respectively, on two outs.
  • After five scoreless innings, Midwest Stripes added insurance in the seventh with a pair of runs to take a 5-2 lead. Kono led off the inning with an infield single, stole second, and scored on Baxley’s hard-hit ball up the middle to bring the first run in. With Baxley at second after advancing to second on the throw in the previous play, he managed to steal third and then home to plate the other run of the frame.
  • In the bottom half of the inning, Southeast Stars managed to load the bases up on a pair of walks and outfield single on two outs, bringing the game-winning run to the plate, but relief pitcher Allen induced a swinging strikeout to end the game.

NOTABLE STATS

  • Midwest Stripes’ starting pitcher Ty Pohl earned the win after surrendering just two earned runs on three hits in 4.2 innings.
  • Allen was credited with the save as he tossed two scoreless innings to close out the game.
  • Kono led all players with a 2-for-4 outing, while Baxley and Bibby drove in two runs apiece for their respective teams. Nine other players tallied a hit in the contest.
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11U/13U NTIS Champions Cup Semifinal Roundup

The round featured a walk-off win and offensive outburst, along with two tightly-contested back-and-forth games.
August 26, 2023
CARY, N.C. – The semifinals of the 11U/13U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup featured a walk-off win and offensive outburst, along with two tightly-contested back-and-forth games. Southwest Stripes and Southwest Stars will meet in the gold medal game of the 11U event, while Midwest Stripes and Southeast Stars

CARY, N.C. – The semifinals of the 11U/13U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup featured a walk-off win and offensive outburst, along with two tightly-contested back-and-forth games.

Southwest Stripes and Southwest Stars will meet in the gold medal game of the 11U event, while Midwest Stripes and Southeast Stars will match up in the 13U title game. Both games are set for an 8:15 a.m. first pitch on Sunday at Thomas Brooks Park and the National Training Complex, respectively, while the bronze medal matchups and final consolation games will be played simultaneously.

Follow along with all the latest by following @USABaseballNTIS on Twitter and @USABEvents on Instagram. All NTIS Champions Cup games at the National Training Complex are streamed live on USABaseball.TV.

SOUTHWEST STRIPES WALK IT OFF TO SECURE SPOT IN 11U TITLE GAME

Southwest Stripes secured a 3-2 victory in walk-off fashion over South Stripes in the 11U NTIS Champions Cup semifinals. South Stripes struck first with a run in the fifth, but Southwest Stripes answered with a pair of runs in the bottom frame to take its first lead of the game at 2-1. South Stripes knotted the score at 2-2 in the sixth, but an RBI single with a runner in scoring position in the seventh gave Southwest Stripes the win.

SOUTHWEST STARS CRUISE TO 12-1 WIN TO EARN SPOT IN 11U GOLD MEDAL MATCHUP

Southwest Stars scored a combined five runs across the first three innings and never looked back as it cruised to a 12-1 win over Northwest Stars to reach the gold medal game of the 11U NTIS Champions Cup for the second time in the last three years. Southwest Stars plated two runs in the second and three in the third to take an early 5-0 lead. Although Northwest Stars scored a run in the top of the fourth, Southwest Stars extended its lead to 7-1 in the bottom frame with a pair of runs, and then to 12-1 in the fifth with a five-run burst.

MIDWEST STRIPES TOO MUCH FOR SOUTHWEST STRIPES IN 13U SEMIFINALS

Midwest Stripes brought across six runs in the first four innings of the game, which proved critical for the squad in its 7-3 defeat of Southwest Stripes to move on to the gold medal matchup of the 13U NTIS Champions Cup. After Midwest Stripes took its 6-0 lead through the first half of the contest, Southwest Stripes cut its deficit in half with three runs in the fifth. In the sixth, Midwest Stripes brought a run across to make it a four-run game, then managed to keep Southwest Stripes off the board in the final two frames despite there being runners on base.

SOUTHEAST STARS HOLD OFF SOUTHWEST STARS TO ADVANCE TO 13U CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

Southeast Stars held off Southwest Stars, 7-3, in the semifinal round of the 13U NTIS Champions Cup to advance to the championship game of the event. Southeast Stars struck first with two runs in the bottom the first, and then doubled its lead in the third to make it 4-0. Southwest Stars got on the board in the fourth with a run, but Southeast Stars answered with three runs in its half of the inning to take a 7-1 lead. Southwest Stars scored a run apiece in the fifth and sixth to cut its deficit to four, and put a pair of runners on in the seventh to bring the game-tying run to the plate, but Southeast Stars was able to keep the opposition off the board to secure the win.

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Top Moments of 11U/13U NTIS Champions Cup Pool Play

August 26, 2023
CARY, N.C. - The first three days of pool play at the 11U/13U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup featured stellar defensive plays, timely hits, and much more at the National Training Complex and Thomas Brooks Park. Catch up on the action in Cary!

CARY, N.C. - The first three days of pool play at the 11U/13U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup featured stellar defensive plays, timely hits, and much more at the National Training Complex and Thomas Brooks Park. Catch up on the action in Cary!

MIDWEST STRIPES USE SIX-RUN FIFTH TO TOP SOUTH STRIPES

13U Midwest Stripes used a six-run fifth inning to top South Stripes, 8-7, in the opening round of the event. The inning was highlighted by a two-run triple by Carter Landrus.

BRONX HOLBRON BRINGS TWO ACROSS FOR SOUTHWEST STARS

11U Southwest Stars' Bronx Holbron brings two across with an outfield single, ultimately helping his team secure a thrilling 5-4 victory over Southeast Stripes.

KELLEN GEE CLEARS THE BASES IN DOMINANT WIN FOR NORTHWEST STARS

11U Northwest Stars' Kellen Gee clears the bases with a triple to contribute to his team's dominant 15-3 victory over Southeast Stars.

MADDUX GLADE MAKES STELLAR DEFENSIVE PLAY FOR THE OUT

11U South Stars' Maddux Glade makes a stellar defensive play for the out at first in its game against Midwest Stars. The teams battled to a 6-6 tie.

NORTHEAST STRIPES TURN DOUBLE PLAY, KEEP SOUTH STARS OFF BOARD

The 13U Northeast Stripes' defense turned two in its game against South Stars, keeping the opposition off the board.

SOUTHWEST STRIPES DOUBLES UP SOUTH STARS

The 13U Southwest Stripes defense doubles up South Stars on a fly ball to left field to end the inning.

SOUTHEAST STRIPES WALK IT OFF

11U Southeast Stripes' Alejandro Herrera came up clutch with the RBI hit to give his team the walk-off victory over Northeast Stars.

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Q&A: Jason Sekany Connects Gold Medal Experience With 11U/13U NTIS Champions Cup

Sekany is the NTIS Northwest Regional Director and a five-time 12U National team coach
August 25, 2023
There are few people at the 11U/13U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup in Cary, North Carolina, who know more about what it takes to win gold on the international stage than Jason Sekany. Sekany, who is the NTIS Northwest Regional Director, has been a 12U National Team coach

There are few people at the 11U/13U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup in Cary, North Carolina, who know more about what it takes to win gold on the international stage than Jason Sekany.

Sekany, who is the NTIS Northwest Regional Director, has been a 12U National Team coach five times and helped the stars and stripes win gold on four of those occasions. His most recent stint was with the 2023 12U National Team which won gold at the World Baseball Softball Classic (WBSC) U-12 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier in Mexico back in May.

He has been a part of the NTIS for 14 years, and has helped guide the Northwest region to a combined 14 top three finishes since 2017, including gold medals at the 15U and 16U levels in 2019.

USA Baseball caught up with Sekany to talk about his Team USA experience and how it translates to his efforts at the NTIS Champions Cup.

Q: As a regional director, what has your role been these last few weeks at the NTIS Champions Cup?

A: “The primary role as a regional director is to really make sure that the coaching staff has everything that they need in order to be able to give our players the experience and the opportunity that we feel like they deserve while being here. I want to make sure that our coaching staff has anything and everything to be able to give these players the best opportunity possible. The other part of my role is to communicate with the Task Force and those who are a part of the administrative staff as far as maintaining schedules and letting parents know where they're supposed to be at. So, it’s one of those multi-head type positions, but that's the gist of it.”

Q: Can you talk a little bit about the process of identifying players through the NTIS for the Champions Cup? What goes into putting together two teams for six age groups every year?

A: “We run a two-step process in the Northwest region. We have an initial round of what we call ‘section identifier events,’ which are open events for players anywhere in the region, and those run throughout the winter into late spring. Then, we go into our second round where players are selected to move on to round two, and they are put in more of an on-field competitive game type of environment. We do one of those in each of the states that are part of our Northwest region. And then from there, we basically gather up the data, the information, the reports that we've got, and then communicate with those who were at each of those events, to ultimately select players for each of the two teams.”

Q: Is there anything that stands out to you about the character of players who come through the NTIS Champions Cup?

A: “I think there's just a lot greater emphasis on the character component at this event compared to more of the metric-only based environment that exists where players are being ranked solely on their raw tools. The USA Baseball process is understanding that not only are we looking to go be successful in terms of winning gold medals, but it’s how we go about it, how we represent the uniform and our country, and ourselves as a group. It's more than just what is a cliche out there about being a good person and having the character components that allow you to be successful on the field, in terms of wins and losses, and how you go about things.”

Q: You’ve been a 12U National Team coach five times now and have been a part of four gold medals, so you’re familiar with the gold standard at USA Baseball. What does it take it take for a team to win gold on the international stage?

A: “I would love to say it's five out of five, but we're pretty happy with four. But it definitely takes at the 12U level not just talented players, but players who have the ability to understand a role who are used to being in the superstar world. The most difficult thing is that we're bringing young players who have always been the highlighted player wherever they're at, and they have to be able to come in and not only perform, but also understand that they are a part of a unit that really is going to have to work effectively together.

“They probably haven't been on an 18-player team before, and most of them have never been on a team where they didn't play that much. It’s very critical that we have players with that kind of maturity at that age level to not only be able to understand and handle that role, but being in an uncomfortable environment while in a foreign country. Those are hard things to figure out in a short period of time with young players, but they're every bit as critical as the premier athletic ability and skill set of the players on the field.”

Q: What was your most recent experience with the 12U National Team like in Mexico? Does winning gold ever get old?

A: “Absolutely not. That was an incredible experience, as far as being a part of a team that was down 11 runs going into the bottom of the last inning in the gold medal game and still believing they had the ability to come back and win. Those players buying into that was just a remarkable experience. I haven't really been on a team previously where I felt like we were still in the game despite being down 11 runs going into the last inning.

"On top of that, the relationships that are built not only between the coaches and the players, but just the connection amongst the coaches in general was a phenomenal part of the whole experience.”

Q: Is there anything from your time with Team USA that you have been able to relay to the players in your region about what the Task Force is looking for?

A: “A competitive comfort. I think that this environment here creates a stage that's somewhat unusual for the players, even those who play in big tournaments back at home. One of the big things the Task Force is really looking is players who appear to be very comfortable. They’re capable of performing and being themselves and doing what they've done to get to this point in this environment.

“A huge piece for a national team staff is to know that this is what we can expect from a player and the tools that they bring to the table much more so than just looking for peak performance numbers at any given time. One of the more unique and bigger things that the Task Force really is trying to identify is who seems like they feel very comfortable with competing in this type of environment.”

Q: What would your advice be for a player who wants to play for Team USA?

A: “Persistence. It’s the most difficult team to make in the world. It sounds corny, but you hear it spoken about several times in the Opening Ceremonies. We've been fortunate to be very successful from the 12U level all the way up to the Pro team. There's only one team with somewhere between 18 and 25 players who make it, so looking at even the most elite teams out there that these talented players are making, this one is that much more difficult for players to make.

“So don't be discouraged in this process, based on where you make it. We have to have that conversation where players often hear that they only made it to our second round, and they're discouraged because they didn’t make it to the Champions Cup. It's fortunate that this is a multi-year process in where we really try to emphasize to learn what it takes to be able to make it one step further in this process the following year. Ultimately, you may make it all the way to the endpoint, but regardless it's a remarkable process, whether you make it to the finish line or not, and end up being one of 20 players from the entire nation that's on that team.”

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Northeast Stripes Cruise Past Southwest Stripes En Route to Gold at 12U NTIS Champions Cup

The squad plated combined 10 runs across final four innings en route to victory
August 20, 2023
CARY, North Carolina – Northeast Stripes scored a combined 10 runs across the final four innings en route to an 11-3 victory and gold medal at the 12U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup on Sunday afternoon at Thomas Brooks Park in Cary, North Carolina. The victory is the

CARY, North Carolina – Northeast Stripes scored a combined 10 runs across the final four innings en route to an 11-3 victory and gold medal at the 12U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup on Sunday afternoon at Thomas Brooks Park in Cary, North Carolina.

The victory is the Northeast region’s first gold medal in the history of the 12U event. Additionally, it marked the region’s fourth overall medal at the NTIS Champions Cup.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Northeast Stripes’ Nolan Marichal led off the game with a walk, then stole second and third, and scored on an RBI groundout by Jaden Godette to put his team on the board.
  • Southwest Stripes knotted the score at 1-1 in the second when Jesse Maddox reached on a one-out single, and then a groundout followed by an error and a stolen base allowed him to cross home plate.
  • A fielder’s choice, an error, and an outfield single with the bases loaded in the fourth inning gave Northeast Stripes a 5-1 lead.
  • Southwest Stripes once again responded in the bottom frame to make it 5-2 when Riley Loggins started the side with an infield single, moved to third on Kolt Hampton’s base hit to right field, and scored on a fielder’ choice.
  • A bases-clearing triple by Braylon Showalter and an RBI single by Deakon Snavely in the fifth pushed four runs across for Northeast Stripes to give the squad a 9-2 advantage.
  • Southwest Stripes’ final run of the contest came in the sixth inning when Hampton scored on Maddox’s triple to right field.
  • Northeast Stripes’ added insurance in the seventh, making it 11-3 thanks to an RBI triple by Showalter and an error which he scored on.

NOTABLE STATS

  • Northeast Stripes’ Showalter (2-for-4), Snavely (2-for-4), and Mason Mercado (2-for-2) all turned in multi-hit performances, and Showalter drove in a game-high four RBIs. Additionally, Marichal, Godette, and Showalter scored two runs apiece to contribute to the team’s 11 runs.
  • Southwest Stripes’ Loggins and Maddox both went 2-for-3 to pace their squad at the plate.
  • On the mound, Mercado tossed 5.2 innings and surrendered three earned runs to earn the win.
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Northeast Stars Hold Off South Stars to Capture Gold at 14U NTIS Champions Cup

Team secures region’s first-ever gold medal at the 14U level
August 20, 2023
CARY, North Carolina – Despite a late surge by South Stars to make it a one-run game in the top of the seventh, Northeast Stars managed to hold off the opposition to secure gold with a 7-6 victory at the 14U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup on Sunday

CARY, North Carolina – Despite a late surge by South Stars to make it a one-run game in the top of the seventh, Northeast Stars managed to hold off the opposition to secure gold with a 7-6 victory at the 14U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup on Sunday afternoon at the National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina.

The victory is the Northeast region’s first gold medal in the history of the 14U event. Additionally, it marked the region’s fourth overall medal at the NTIS Champions Cup.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • South Stars jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first thanks to three consecutive run-scoring singles from Camden Dean, Landon Bonner, and Jerry Brightwell after back-to-back walks started the game.
  • Northeast Stars managed to tie things up in the bottom frame with a Julian Martinez RBI single, an RBI groundout, and a two-base error with runners in scoring position.
  • Northeast Stars took its first lead of the game in the third, plating three runs on a bunt squeeze play, an RBI single by Rory Funke, and a wild pitch to make it 6-3.
  • A bases-loaded single to right field by Jason Verderrosa in the fourth inning extended Northeast Stars’ lead to 7-3.
  • South Stars cut its deficit to 7-4 in the sixth when Mark Rojas came home on a bases-loaded wild pitch.
  • South Stars made it a one-run game at 7-6 in the top of the seventh when Bonner delivered a clutch two-run single to center field, scoring Hudson Brown and Eli Romero after they started the threat with back-to-back outfield singles. With Bonner at third after swiping a bag and two outs, reliever Joesph DiMeo fielded a ground ball right to him and flipped to first base to secure the win.

NOTABLE STATS

  • Northeast Stars’ Ryder Sowa and Martinez tallied a team-high two hits apiece to contribute to the squad’s eight in the contest, while Verderrosa’s two RBIs were a team-best.
  • Bonner, Brightwell, and Lucas Smith each had hits for South Stars, while Bonner’s three RBIs were a game high.
  • On the mound, Max Boehm tossed 4.2 scoreless innings with five punchouts to earn the win, while DiMeo was credited with the save.
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Top Moments of 12U/14U NTIS Champions Cup Pool Play

August 19, 2023
CARY, N.C. - The first three days of pool play at the 12U/14U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup featured a perfect game, triple play, and much more at the National Training Complex and Thomas Brooks Park. Catch up on the action in Cary!

CARY, N.C. - The first three days of pool play at the 12U/14U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup featured a perfect game, triple play, and much more at the National Training Complex and Thomas Brooks Park. Catch up on the action in Cary!

ISAIAH DENZELL POSEY THROWS PERFECT GAME

14U Southeast Stars' Isaiah Denzell Posey throws a perfect game to lift his team to a 1-0 win over Northwest Stars.

SOUTHWEST STARS TURN TRIPLE PLAY

The 14U Southwest Stars flash the leather with an impressive triple play in its 10-2 win over Northwest Stripes.

NORTHEAST STRIPES KEEPS SOUTH STARS OFF THE BOARD

12U Northeast Stripes' Tyler Maus makes the play at home to keep South Stars off the board en route to its 11-5 victory.

EASTON SCHRIVER MAKES CLUTCH SNAG AT THIRD

12U Northwest Stripes' Easton Schriver shows off the hops as he makes an incredible snag at third base for an out against Northeast Stripes.

MIDWEST STARS WALK IT OFF

Cooper Gear and Carson Daugherty deliver the game-tying and game-winning runs in the seventh to help the Midwest Stars secure a 5-4 walk-off victory over the South Stars.

ROWAN DOUGLAS LAYS OUT, MAKES DIVING CATCH

Northwest Stripes' Rowan Douglas lays out in right field to keep the game against Midwest Stripes scoreless after three innings.

AYDEN BAEZ GOES FOR THREE

Southeast Stripes' Ayden Baez laces a clutch triple to right field, helping his team eventually secure an 8-5 win over Northwest Stars.

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Isaiah Denzell Posey Discusses Perfect Game at NTIS Champions Cup

Posey threw his first-ever perfect game in his pitching debut at the 14U event
August 19, 2023
At just 14-years-old, Lexington, South Carolina, native Isaiah Denzell Posey has accomplished what players in the big leagues still yearn to achieve – a perfect game. On August 18 at the 14U edition of the National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup in Cary, North Carolina, Posey needed just 75

At just 14-years-old, Lexington, South Carolina, native Isaiah Denzell Posey has accomplished what players in the big leagues still yearn to achieve – a perfect game.

On August 18 at the 14U edition of the National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup in Cary, North Carolina, Posey needed just 75 pitches to retire 21 consecutive batters and help the Southeast Stars secure a 1-0 victory over the Northwest Stars.

It was his NTIS Champions Cup debut on the mound and his first-ever perfect game.

“It was the best accomplishment of my life, and it probably will be for a long time. I was really proud of myself,” said Posey.

The 6’3” right-hander not only attributed his curve ball and slider to his impressive outing, but credited his teammates’ stellar defense in helping him come away with a moment he’ll always remember.

“I loved how my teammates were happy for me when the game ended. They did a perfect job of backing me up on everything the other team hit. They had my back and I had theirs.”

Leading up to the final outs of the contest, Posey had an idea of what he was about to accomplish on Coleman Field, but managed to focus on the task at hand and retire his opponent in perfect fashion.

“I looked at the scoreboard in the top of the sixth inning and saw the zeroes, and was hoping I didn’t just jinx myself. Going into the seventh, I knew I just had to get three outs. Every time I threw a pitch, I could hear my teammates yelling and cheering for me in the dugout.

“The first out was a pop fly that the guy put a good barrel on, and my teammate was able to catch it. The second batter I struck out, and then on the third batter I remember going off speed for my final pitch to strike him out as well.”

For Posey, throwing a perfect game has just been icing on the cake to his time at the NTIS Champions Cup, as the week has served as a positive experience on and off the field. He able to make new friends and incorporate new things into his game, but also had the chance to prove himself in hopes of earning an invitation to the 15U National Team Training Camp next year.

“I’ve enjoyed every bit of it. I’m learning a lot of new things from people who live in different states and I’m learning how to play the game the right way from the coaches. The atmosphere has been great; I’ve made about 10 new friends this week and have loved playing on the fields at the National Training Complex.”

“My goal this week is to be invited back for the 15U (National Team) Training Camp next year. I’m hoping to be able to take all the advice that people have been giving me so that when I go back to South Carolina I can use it to elevate my game and be ready for that chance.”

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Q&A: Mark O’Sullivan Discusses NTIS Champions Cup Task Force Duties

O’Sullivan is the lead Task Force member for the 14U edition of the event
August 17, 2023
The National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup is the most comprehensive player identification program offered by USA Baseball, as it provides an opportunity for all athletes from across the country to compete for a spot on a USA Baseball national team. There are six age groups ranging from the

The National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup is the most comprehensive player identification program offered by USA Baseball, as it provides an opportunity for all athletes from across the country to compete for a spot on a USA Baseball national team.

There are six age groups ranging from the 11U to the 16U levels which compete within the NTIS Champions Cup across a three-week span, and 12 players are selected from each edition to participate in national team programming the following year.

Behind the 12 players who are selected for this opportunity is the Task Force, which is a group of coaches who work together to identify the top players. Heading up the 14U NTIS Champions Cup Task Force is USA Baseball Scouting Director Mark O’Sullivan, who caught up with USABaseball.com to discuss his behind-the-scenes duties this week.

Q: What is your role this week at the NTIS Champions Cup?

A: “I'm the lead Task Force for the 14-and-under NTIS Champions Cup group. We have seven total task force members for the group, and we are scouting 12 players this week to be selected for next year's 15U National Team Training Camp.

Q: How is scouting players this week different than other USA Baseball identification events like the National Team Championships and Futures Invitational?

A: “This week is a little different because we have players from six different regions of the country, which gives us exposure to players who we haven't seen this summer. It's a little different in that you're scouting different regions, and some may be stronger than others, but overall, I think it's a very similar process to what we do at our other identification events.”

Q: What is the process for the week like in selecting which players are going to move on to next year's 15U National Team Training Camp?

A: “The first day we have BP sessions and then games, and after those games the Task Force meets and talks about the things we saw and the players we liked, and come up with a ‘follow list.’ We’ll follow those guys the next few days, and then select 30-40 players to invite to a workout for BP and defensive work on Saturday evening. By the conclusion of the games on Sunday, we’ll hopefully have our 12 players.”

Q: What is the Task Force looking for out of players this week, both on and off the field?

A: “On the field, we're looking for players who are physically mature and can compete with the best 15-year-olds in the country. It's different in that we're projecting a little bit because the players who are selected won't compete until next summer. We’re looking for players who are consistent throughout the week and are versatile on the field. Off the field, we're always looking for players with a really good makeup who are good teammates.”

Q: Aside from a chance to play for Team USA, what kind of opportunities does the NTIS Champions Cup provide for players?

A: “First off, it's an opportunity to play at the National Training Complex. A lot of players haven’t been here before. It’s also a chance for players who may not travel a lot to get some exposure at the national level. For some of these kids, this is their first time playing away from their hometown and local area, so it’s a good opportunity for them to experience this.”

Q: What do you think makes the NTIS Champions Cup special and different from other youth events?

A: In order to get here, they had to try out in their respective regions and were ultimately seen by the Regional Directors as the best players in their age group. So, this week is a chance for them to travel here, get exposed to Team USA coaches, and see how they compare to other players their age. It’s an equal opportunity situation for all these guys this week where they can showcase what they can do.”

Q: For players who want to one day make Team USA, what advice would you give them to accomplish that goal?

A: “To make Team USA, as a baseball player you have to be upper echelon. Kids develop in different stages physically, so if you’re not there at 15-years-old you might be there at 18-years-old. I would say be patient and keep working hard and be a good teammate, and keep working physically and mentally on your game.”

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Castetter's Walk-off Lifts Midwest Stripes to 16U NTIS Champions Cup Gold

Extra-inning classic gives Midwest first 16U NTIS Champions Cup gold
August 13, 2023
CARY, N.C. – Ryan Castetter smoked a walk-off double in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift the Midwest Stripes to a gold-medal game 3-2 victory over the Northwest Stars on Sunday afternoon at the 16U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup. The thrilling victory gives the Midwest

CARY, N.C. – Ryan Castetter smoked a walk-off double in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift the Midwest Stripes to a gold-medal game 3-2 victory over the Northwest Stars on Sunday afternoon at the 16U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup.

The thrilling victory gives the Midwest its first-ever 15U NTIS Champions Cup gold medal.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • The Midwest had a prime scoring chance in the bottom of the second, drawing three consecutive walks to kick off the frame. But Northwest starter Christian Moore punched out two batters and induced an inning-ending groundout to keep it scoreless.
  • An error and single put two on with two out for the Stars in the top of the third before a strikeout halted the threat and maintained the 0-0 tie.
  • The Stripes cracked the scoreboard in the bottom of the third when JD Stein doubled before coming home to score on an error, making it a 1-0 lead for the Southwest.
  • Another scoring chance came and went for the Midwest in the bottom of the fourth; an error, single, and walk put runners on against Jake Sekany, but the Northwest righthander coaxed a groundout and strikeout to end the threat and keep his team within a run.
  • Sekany escaped yet another jam in the top of the bottom of the fifth, loading the bases with one out before notching two straight strikeouts as the score remained 1-0.
  • The Northwest finally got onto the board in the top of the sixth to tie the game. With two out and two on, Tyler Kardy lined a single over the leaping shortstop to plate Chase Nadeau and even the score at one and send the game to extras.
  • Kardy drew a bases-loaded walk in the top of the eighth to bring in the go-ahead run for the Northwest and make it a 2-1 lead.
  • With the bases full and nobody out in the bottom of the eighth, Castetter smoked a walk-off, ground-rule double over the left fielder’s head to secure the 3-2 victory for the Midwest.

NOTABLE STATS

  • Castetter’s walk-off knock gave him a game-high two RBIs in the win. The walk-off hero went 1-for-2 in the win.
  • Six different players picked up a hit for the Midwest, including Stein, who doubled and scored a run.
  • Tyler Spangler had a strong day at the plate for the Northwest, going 1-for-2 while drawing two walks and scoring a run.
  • Seven different Midwest pitchers combined to hold the Northwest to only five hits in the victory, including zero extra-base hits.
  • Sekany was dynamite out of the Northwest bullpen despite the defeat, constantly working around trouble over his three innings of one-run work.
  • The Midwest’s gold-medal victory is its first at the 16U level at the NTIS Champions Cup.
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ART

Two Walk-offs, Pair of Offensive Outbursts Highlight 15U/16U Semifinal Saturday

Stage set for gold medal Sunday at 15U/16U NTIS
August 13, 2023
CARY, N.C. – Semifinal Saturday is in the books at the 15U/16U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup. The 15U age group saw a pair of tightly-contested ballgames resulting in two walk-offs, while a couple of offensive outbursts led to two 10-1 final scores at the 16U level. Catch

CARY, N.C. – Semifinal Saturday is in the books at the 15U/16U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup. The 15U age group saw a pair of tightly-contested ballgames resulting in two walk-offs, while a couple of offensive outbursts led to two 10-1 final scores at the 16U level. Catch up with all the action from the National Training Complex!

SOUTHEAST STARS WALK IT OFF IN EXTRAS TO CLINCH SPOT IN 15U TITLE GAME

In a back-and-forth affair that went into extra innings, the Southeast Stars rallied for a walk-off win over the Midwest Stars to secure a spot in the 15U title game. With the game knotted at three in the bottom of the eighth, the Stars socked a walk-off double deep to left field to pick up the win. The knock put the Southeast in the 15U title game for the second time in the last three years, as the region won gold in the 2021 event.

WALK-OFF WALK SENDS SOUTH STARS TO 15U CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

After falling behind 2-0 in the early goings, the South Stars crawled back to beat the Midwest Stripes, 3-2, and secure a spot in the 15U NTIS Champions Cup title game. The Midwest side took an early lead with a run in the first inning and drew a bases-loaded walk to grow its lead to two, but the South hung around before drawing the walk-off walk to win. The title game appearance will be the first at the 15U level for the South region in its NTIS history.

OFFENSIVE OUTBURST LIFTS NORTHWEST STARS PAST SOUTHEAST STRIPES

The Northwest Stars scored early and often to breeze past the Southeast Stripes, 10-1, in semifinal action at the 16U NTIS Champions Cup. A nine-run first inning set the tone for the Stars, who came out of the gates firing in the victory. After Southeast put a run on the scoreboard in the top of the second, Northwest added another to make it the 10-1 score it would go on to win by. The Northwest returns to the 16U title game for the first time since it took home gold in 2019.

MIDWEST STRIPES KNOCK OFF SOUTHWEST STARS IN 16U SEMIFINAL ACTION

Five runs in the first and more insurance runs throughout helped the Midwest Stripes get past the Southwest Stars, 10-1, and secure a spot in the 16U NTIS Champions Cup title game. The Southwest offense only mustered one run in the sixth inning as the Midwest pitchers held its opponent to just four hits in the contest. The title game appearance will be the first for the Midwest region at the 16U level.

The 15U/16U NTIS returns to action on Sunday, with gold medal and consolation action set to take place in Cary. Follow along with all the latest by following @USABaseballNTIS on Twitter and @USABEvents on Instagram. All NTIS games at the National Training Complex are streamed live on USABaseball.TV.

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Top Moments of Days One and Two at the 15U/16U NTIS Champions Cup

First two days highlighted by homers, walk-off, and more
August 11, 2023
CARY, NORTH CAROLINA – The first two days of action at the 15U/16U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup are in the books, with all six regions battling for a spot in bracket play. The first two days featured many epic moments, including long home runs, a steal of

CARY, NORTH CAROLINA – The first two days of action at the 15U/16U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup are in the books, with all six regions battling for a spot in bracket play. The first two days featured many epic moments, including long home runs, a steal of home, and more. Catch up with all the action from the first two days in Cary!

JADERRYIAN WASHINGTON SHOWS OFF THE SPEED

The Northwest Stars beat the Southeast Stripes by a large margin on Thursday, partly thanks to the wheels of JeDerryian Washington. The speedster kept the offense going for the Stars in their big win, smoking a liner and sliding head first into third for a big triple.

DEUCE JENKINS HITS A BLAST

The Southeast Stars captured a 6-1 win over the Northwest Stripes on Thursday, and Deuce Jenkins played a big part in the victory. Already leading by a run in the top of the first, Jenkins turned on a 2-1 pitch and blasted it over the right field wall for a three-run homer that put his squad up by four en route to victory.

MIDWEST STRIPES WALK IT OFF

It was the at-bat everyone dreams of, as Joshua Campbell came to the plate in a one-run game with the bases juiced and two outs in the bottom of the seventh. Campbell delivered for the Midwest Stripes, smacking a single up the middle to plate the tying and winning runs and hand the Stripes a 2-1 win over the Southeast Stars.

RYAN FLOYD SWIPES HOME

The South Stripes vs. Southeast Stars contest got off to an exciting start on Friday, as the South provided plenty of entertainment in the top of the first. With the bases full and two outs in the inning, Ryan Floyd took off from third on a 1-0 pitch and slid home safely to give the Stripes a quick advantage.

BRADY ARMFIELD GOES YARD

The Southeast Stars went down early in the first inning on Friday, but Brady Armfield made sure that deficit did not last long. The Southeast outfielder clobbered an 0-1 pitch over the wall in left field–just over the outstretched arm of the left fielder–to immediately tie the game at one.

MIDWEST STARS WIN NAIL-BITER AGAINST SOUTHEAST STRIPES

The Midwest Stars picked up a big win over the Southeast Stripes on Friday to cap off the day's action, scoring three in the top of the seventh and holding on to win the contest. The Southeast Stripes put the tying run at the plate in the bottom of the seventh in a strong comeback attempt, but the Midwest Stars picked up a big strikeout to lock down the win.

The 15U/16U NTIS returns to action on Saturday, with semifinal action set to take place in Cary. Follow along with all the action by following @USABaseballNTIS on Twitter and @USABEvents on Instagram. All NTIS games at the National Training Complex are streamed live on USABaseball.TV.

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Q&A: Northwest Stars’ Joey Marasco Discusses the Road to NTIS

Joey Marasco talks 16U NTIS tryout process, representing the Northwest Region
August 11, 2023
For Joey Marasco, 2023 marks the second consecutive year he has represented the Northwest region at the National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup at the National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina. The NTIS is the most comprehensive player identification program offered by USA Baseball and provides all athletes

For Joey Marasco, 2023 marks the second consecutive year he has represented the Northwest region at the National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup at the National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina.

The NTIS is the most comprehensive player identification program offered by USA Baseball and provides all athletes from across the country an opportunity to compete for a chance to play for Team USA.

At the Champions Cup, athletes participate in workouts and a championship-style tournament while being evaluated by national team coaches and scouts.

Marasco, an infielder/catcher from Northern California, was selected for the 15U and 16U teams in consecutive years after attending Northwest region tryouts and being one of 36 athletes selected for the two All-Region teams.

At the 2022 15U NTIS Champions Cup, Marasco and Northwest Stars reached the championship game but fell short to Southwest Stars and earned the silver medal.

In 2023 and now competing at the 16U level, Marasco hopes to once again reach the gold medal game and this year bring the championship home to the Northwest.

Ahead of Northwest Stars’ first game at the 16U NTIS Champions Cup, Marasco spoke with USA Baseball about his journey to playing in the 16U NTIS, his experience at the 15U NTIS last year, and representing the Northwest region once again:

Q: What was the process of making one of the two Northwest All-Region teams like?

A: “It took a lot of hard work and effort. There were multiple rounds of tryouts that we had to go through to get here. I couldn’t have done it without my family and their support. It was something that was a goal for me so I’m proud of myself for reaching this point.”

Q: How did you feel going into regional tryouts?

A: “I felt good. The best thing is to make sure you’re confident in yourself and your ability and I was confident. I just went in and I knew that I could do it.”

Q: What was your reaction to finding out you had been selected to represent the Northwest region for a second time?

A: “I was super stoked to get the opportunity to come back here again. It’s something I look forward to for the whole summer. I was hoping to be able to have the chance to come back here and represent the Northwest and I was super excited to be back with all my buddies and play some more baseball here.”

Q: What is it like to be back at the National Training Complex playing with and against some of the top talent in your age group?

A: “It’s awesome knowing that we’re playing against some of the best kids in the country. The facilities are beautiful so it’s a pleasure just to be out here playing at the complex.”

Q: How do you feel about the Northwest Stars as a team and what do you think of your chances this week?

A: “A lot of us know each other and a lot of us have played together in the past here, especially last year. I think we’re one of the best regions and I think we’re going to get it done this year. Last year we did really well and made it to the championship but came up just short and I think this year we have all the tools to come back and win a gold medal.”

Q: What are your personal goals for the week? 

A: “Just to have fun, first of all, and then have a good tournament and play well.”

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USA Baseball Reveals 2022 National Team Identification Series Selections

Seventy-two athletes earn spots in 2023 national team programming
September 30, 2022
CARY, N.C. – USA Baseball today revealed the 72 athletes selected from the 2022 National Team Identification Series (NTIS) for its 2023 national team programming, following the conclusion of the NTIS Champions Cup, which was held from August 11-28 at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina.

CARY, N.C. – USA Baseball today revealed the 72 athletes selected from the 2022 National Team Identification Series (NTIS) for its 2023 national team programming, following the conclusion of the NTIS Champions Cup, which was held from August 11-28 at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina. Selections were first announced on the USA Baseball NTIS Selection Show, which can be found on USABaseball.com and the organization’s YouTube channel, USABaseballTV.

Additionally, USA Baseball announced that the Southwest region won the 2022 NTIS Champions Cup for the fourth consecutive summer.

The 2022 NTIS Selection Show

The NTIS is the most comprehensive player identification program offered by USA Baseball. Using a six-region system for the initial player identification process, the NTIS holds tryouts in each region of the country for players to be identified and selected for their regional teams, and invited to the NTIS Champions Cup in Cary, North Carolina.

The NTIS Champions Cup consists of tournament-style play, with over 1,200 of the country’s top players competing in 144 games in addition to skill testing and on-field evaluations run by the USA Baseball Task Force and national team coaches.

“We are very excited to reveal the seventy-two athletes who have been selected out of the National Team Identification Series for next year’s national team programming,” said USA Baseball Assistant Director of Baseball Operations Ann Claire Roberson. “As always, the event was full of immense talent in every region and every age group, making the selection process a difficult one. We are eager to watch the selected players continue to grow within our programming and look forward to seeing their impact on the future of USA Baseball.”

Twelve athletes from each age group were invited to compete in the following year’s age-appropriate national team programming events, including 2023 12U National Team Training Camp, the 2023 13U/14U Athlete Development Program (ADP), 2023 15U National Team Training Camp, and the 2023 16U/17U National Team Development Program (NTDP).

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

The 2023 National Team Identification Series selections are as follows:

Name; Position; Hometown; Region

2023 12U National Team Training Camp invitees:
(from 11U NTIS)

  • Colton Byrnes; INF/C; Truckee, Calif.; Northwest
  • Tyler Early; INF/LHP; Alexandria, La.; South
  • Kingston George; OF/RHP; Gunter, Texas; South
  • Adam Gonzalez; RHP/INF; Canyon Country, Calif.; Southwest
  • Paris Head; INF/RHP; Chicago, Ill.; Midwest
  • Omar Henriquez; INF/OF; New Milford, N.J.; Northeast
  • Uriyeh Marguth; INF/RHP; Gresham, Ore.; Northwest
  • Jaylen OBannon; RHP/INF; Daly City, Calif.; Northwest
  • Michael Ohman; LHP/INF; South San Francisco, Calif.; Northwest
  • Jett Schoolcraft; OF/LHP; Aloha, Ore.; Northwest
  • Ryder Serna; INF/OF; San Bernardino, Calif.; Southwest
  • JR Waddell; INF/OF; Shreveport, La.; Southeast

2023 13U/14U Athlete Development Program invitees:
(from 12U NTIS)

  • Brooks Blanchard; RHP/INF; Greer, S.C.; Southeast
  • Cameron Jamal Gibson; OF/LHP; Conway, Ark.; South
  • Noah Jarolimek; INF/RHP; Duncan, S.C.; Southeast
  • Cristian Matos; C/RHP; Belleville, N.J.; Northeast
  • Carter Nash; OF/RHP; Moore, S.C.; Southeast
  • Josiah Park; OF/RHP; Fullerton, Calif.; Southwest
  • Caleb Polk; RHP/INF; Forney, Texas; South
  • Jesse Romo; RHP/OF; Vacaville, Calif.; Northwest
  • Eric Shim; INF; Temecula, Calif.; Southwest
  • Cameron Small; RHP/INF; Wake Forest, N.C.; Southeast
  • Nateo Victorio; INF/C; Suisun City, Calif.; Northwest
  • Jett Wilson; INF/OF; Lindsay, Okla.; South

2023 13U/14U Athlete Development Program invitees:
(from 13U NTIS)

  • Jacob Carrasco; C/INF; Lancaster, Pa.; Northeast
  • Noah Clark; INF/RHP; McLeansville, N.C.; Southeast
  • Chase Cotton; RHP/INF; Lincoln, Calif.; Northwest
  • Aiden DeLeon; OF/LHP; Victoria, Texas; South
  • Orion Gonzalez; INF/RHP; Castaic, Calif.; Southwest
  • Andrew Jimenez; INF/RHP; Wildomar, Calif.; Southwest
  • Kegan Johnson; OF; Shelbyville, Tenn.; Southeast
  • Owen Mescall; INF/OF; Irvine, Calif.; Southeast
  • Josh Morgan; OF; Chicago, Ill.; Midwest
  • Blake Ragsdale; INF/RHP; Burr Ridge, Ill.; Midwest
  • Jael Santos; INF/RHP; Paterson, N.J.; Northeast
  • Jacob Seamon; OF/RHP; Waxhaw, N.C.; Southeast

2023 15U National Team Training Camp invitees:
(from 14U NTIS)

  • Michael Chin; C/OF; Houston, Texas; South
  • Trey Ebel; INF/RHP; Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.; Southwest
  • JT Girod; RHP/INF; Independence, Ore.; Northwest
  • Braylon Kolish; RHP/OF; Henderson, Nev.; Southwest
  • Jason Kruczek; RHP/OF; Alexandria, Va.; Northeast
  • Carson Lane; C/RHP; Dandridge, Tenn.; Southeast
  • Oliver Minyard; C/INF; Dallas, Texas; South
  • Kaden Nicholls; INF/LHP; Grass Valley, Calif.; Northwest
  • Kevin Roberts Jr.; INF/RHP; Meridian, Miss.; South
  • Garner Rodriguez; INF/RHP; Nacogdoches, Texas; South
  • Jack Smejkal; INF/RHP; The Woodlands, Texas; South
  • Brandon Washington; RHP/INF; Stanley, N.C.; Southeast

2023 16U/17U National Team Development Program invitees:
(from 15U NTIS)

  • Evan Amos; RHP/INF; Summerville, S.C.; Southeast
  • Jack Boucher; OF/INF; Mission Viejo, Calif.; Southwest
  • Thomas Brown; C/INF; Livermore, Calif.; Northwest
  • Tristan Dalzell; LHP; Long Beach, Calif.; Southwest
  • Brock Foulds; INF/RHP; Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.; Southwest
  • Griffin Loy; RHP/INF; Nancy, Ky.; Midwest
  • Grant Mehrhoff; LHP/OF; Marthasville, Mo.; Midwest
  • Tait Reynolds; OF/INF; Queen Creek, Ariz.; Northwest
  • Luke Ryerse; RHP/INF; Woodbury, Minn.; Midwest
  • Nicholas Terhaar; RHP/INF; Saginaw, Minn.; Midwest
  • Ben Veletean; INF; Lebanon, Ohio; Northeast
  • Miles Young; INF; Cypress, Texas; South

2023 16U/17U National Team Development Program invitees:
(from 16U NTIS)

  • Anthony Brown Jr.; INF/OF; Jacksonville, Fla.; Southeast
  • Patrick (Teddy) Garner III; RHP/INF; Simpsonville, S.C.; Southeast
  • Owen Jenkins; C/INF; Versailles, Ky.; Midwest
  • Cameron Johnson; RHP/INF; Waco, Texas; South
  • Jaxon Miller; OF; Frisco, Texas; South
  • Joe Olson; LHP; Chicago, Ill.; Midwest
  • David Ramirez; LHP/OF; Kemah, Texas; South
  • Edward Rothlander III; RHP/OF; Conroe, Texas; South
  • Cooper Rummel; RHP/OF; Austin, Texas; South
  • Logan Sariga; OF/INF; Houston, Texas; South
  • Landon Schaefer; INF/RHP; Fayetteville, Ark.; South
  • Bricen Smith; INF/OF; Perry, Ga.; Southeast
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Northeast Stripes' Late-Game Heroics Leads to 11U Gold

Maykel Jimenez’s RBI-double in the top of the seventh inning proved to be the game-winner for the Northeast Stripes
August 28, 2022
CARY, N.C. – The Northeast Stripes scored nine runs in the final three frames and Maykel Jimenez came through with the game-winning RBI-double in the top of the seventh en route to a 10-6 victory over the Northwest Stars in the championship game of the 11U NTIS Champions Cup. Trailing

CARY, N.C. – The Northeast Stripes scored nine runs in the final three frames and Maykel Jimenez came through with the game-winning RBI-double in the top of the seventh en route to a 10-6 victory over the Northwest Stars in the championship game of the 11U NTIS Champions Cup.

Trailing 5-1 in the top of the fifth inning, the Northeast Stripes kicked the offense into gear with two outs. Jaydon Alemany walked, Isaac Shulman singled to center, and William Holly walked to load the bases for Grady Wright, who walked in the first run of the inning. Then Jaden Godette followed with a bases-clearing triple over the centerfielder’s head before coming around on an error to take a 6-5 lead. The Northwest Stars tied the game in the bottom half of the inning on a Jedrek Elliott single and a fielding error, but the Northeast Stripes rallied again in the final frame.

With runners on second and third with one out, Jimenez launched an RBI-double to left-center to go ahead 7-6. Two fielding errors by the Northwest Stars plated three more runs in the top half of the inning as the Northeast Stripes closed out the 10-6 victory.

Ryan Lemm was stellar in relief for the Northeast Stripes. Coming on in the fifth inning, he gave up just one hit and struck out five batters over the final three innings of the game to get the win on the mound.

Northwest Stars’ Benjamin Medford led all hitters offensively on the day, going 3-for-4 with a run scored. Colton Byrnes (2-for-3, RBI) also produced multiple hits on the day for the Northwest Stars, meanwhile 10 different Northeast Stripes batters tallied a base knock.

HOW IT HAPPENED:

  • Northwest Stars’ Uriyeh Marguth came to the plate in the bottom of the first inning with one out and laced a two-RBI triple to the right-field fence to put the home team ahead 2-0 in the opening frame.
  • Colton Byrnes singled through the left side of the infield to score Uriyeh Marguth from third base to extend Northwest Stars’ lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the first.
  • Asher Fontaine scored the first run of the game for the Northeast Stripes in the top of the third inning on a bases-loaded wild pitch after leading off the inning with a single and moving to third courtesy of a hit-by-pitch and a Henry Bogle bunt single.
  • The Northwest Stars tacked on another run in the bottom of the third with a Jaylen O’Bannon sacrifice fly to center, scoring Colton Byrnes to take a 4-1 lead heading into the fourth inning.
  • Uriyeh Marguth tallied his third RBI of the game with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fourth inning to extend the Northwest Stars’ lead to 5-1.
  • A two-out, bases-loaded walk to Grady Wright brought the Northeast Stripes within three, 5-2, in the top of the fifth inning.
  • Northeast Stripes’ leadoff batter Jaden Godette lined a bases-clearing triple over the head of the Northwest Stars’ centerfielder and came around to score on a throwing error to take the lead, 6-5, in the top of the fifth inning.
  • Jedrek Elliot came through with a pinch-hit single in the bottom half of the fifth inning that moved Benjamin Medford to third base, but the right fielder misplayed the ball, allowing Medford to score and the Northwest Stars to tie the game at 6-6.
  • Jett Schoolcraft and the Northwest Stars escaped a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the top of the sixth inning thanks to a strikeout and an infield flyout to keep the score tied at six apiece.
  • William Holly led off the top of the seventh inning with a single and Grady Wright launched a fly ball to right center for a double to put runners on second and third with no outs for the Northeast Stripes. Maykel Jimenez followed with the clutch hit: an RBI-double to left center to retake the lead, 7-6.  
  • Back-to-back errors by the Northwest Stars shortstop and third baseman allowed three more Northeast Stripes runs to score in the top of the seventh inning, giving them a commanding 10-6 lead.

NOTABLE:

  • Ten different batters tallied hits for the Northeast Stripes in the championship game, led by Jaden Godette with three RBIs.
  • Benjamin Medford led both teams offensively on the day, going 3-for-4 with a run scored for the Northwest Stars.
  • Colton Byrnes went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored for the Northwest Stars and Uriyeh Marguth tallied three RBIs courtesy of a two-RBI triple and a sacrifice fly.
  • Ryan Lemm was stellar in relief for the Northeast Stripes, striking out five batters and giving up just one hit in three innings pitched to earn the victory.
  • Michael Ohman was strong in his start for the Northwest Stars, striking out five batters and surrendering just one run in his four innings of work in the no-decision.
  • Northeast Stripes’ starter William Holly gave up four earned runs in his three innings of work and Isaac Shulman gave up two runs in his sole inning on the mound.
  • Jett Schoolcraft suffered the loss for the Northwest Stars, giving up four runs (three earned) on five hits in 1.2 innings. He struck out two batters.
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Southwest Stars Claim 13U NTIS Champions Cup Gold With Shutout Win Over South Stripes

Southwest Claims first 13U NTIS Champions Cup title since 2019
August 28, 2022
CARY, N.C. - Southwest Stars scored runs in four of the first five innings en route to its 7-0 shutout win over South Stripes on Sunday in the gold medal game of the 13U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup. The squad plated two runs in each of the

CARY, N.C. - Southwest Stars scored runs in four of the first five innings en route to its 7-0 shutout win over South Stripes on Sunday in the gold medal game of the 13U National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup.

The squad plated two runs in each of the first two innings, then tacked on a combined three runs in the fourth and fifth innings while holding South Stripes to just four hits in the contest.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Southwest Stars quickly took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on four hits. Andrew Jiminez and Scott Yuan laced a double and single, respectively, to get into scoring position, and Joel Vargas drove in the first run of the game on an infield single. Owen Mescall then stepped up to the plate and produced a run batted in with a fielder’s choice to the shortstop to double the lead.
  • Southwest added to its lead in the second inning with two more runs to make it 4-0. At first and third with two outs, Lucas Alfaro-Chuan and Jason Taylor pulled off the double steal to plate the first run of the frame. Andrew Jiminez then delivered with a single up the middle to drive home Alfaro-Chuan.
  • Southwest tacked on a run in the fourth inning to extend its lead to 5-0. Orion Gonzalez started the side with a single through the right side, and after stealing second and third he came home on Lucas Alfaro-Chuan’s RBI single to center field.
  • In the fifth inning Southwest plated two more runs to take a 7-0 lead. Owen Mescall and Trevor Rivas started the frame with outfield singles and stolen bases, and then an RBI groundout by Brogan Witcher followed by a wild pitch brought the runners across home plate.

OF NOTE

  • Southwest Stars tallied 14 hits in the contest and held South Stripes to just four.
  • This marked the third gold medal for the Southwest Region at the 13U age group in the last six years, and it was the first since 2019.
  • Lucas Alfaro-Chuan (2-for-4), Andrew Jiminez (3-for-3), and Trevor Rivas (2-for-3) all turned in multi-hit performances to combine for half of Southwest’s hits.
  • Andrew Jiminez was also stellar on the mound for Southwest, as he tossed 5.2 shutout innings with seven strikeouts to earn the win. Orion Gonzalez closed out the game on the bump as he threw 1.1 hitless innings in relief.
  • South Stripes’ Aiden DeLeon was charged with the loss as he allowed four earned runs in 3.0 innings pitched.
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FEATURE: RJ Farrell Uses Gold Medal Experience With 13U NTIS Champions Cup Task Force 

August 26, 2022
Year in and year out, the National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup continues to give the opportunity to 12 players from six age groups to one day compete for a gold medal with Team USA. One person who is at the National Training Complex this week for the NTIS

Year in and year out, the National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup continues to give the opportunity to 12 players from six age groups to one day compete for a gold medal with Team USA.

One person who is at the National Training Complex this week for the NTIS Champions Cup knows exactly what it takes to win a gold medal for the U.S. – 2022 12U National Team Manager R.J. Farrell.

Farrell is fresh off a gold medal at this year’s World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-12 World Baseball Cup in Taiwan. He is in Cary, N.C., this week as a part of the 13U Task Force that is looking for 12 players to participate in next year’s 13U/14U Athlete Development Program (ADP), which is used to determine the players who will be invited to the 15U National Team Training Camp.

“Winning a gold medal with our 12U National Team was an incredible experience. I was on staff three other times as an assistant and we came away with gold twice, but the last time we went we didn’t do as well as we had hoped,” said Farrell. “So going to Taiwan this year and avenging ourselves, watching those boys compete the way they did, and seeing the success that they had was awesome. Bringing back a world championship to the United States of America, there's nothing better than that.”

From training camp to competing on the international stage, Farrell spent several weeks heavily involved with the 12U National Team. His title might have been manager, but his role expanded far beyond that. Farrell, along with the other staff members, had a profound impact on a once in a lifetime opportunity for those young men.

“It's all about trying to get the next generation of baseball players involved with USA Baseball and get those guys who have the talent to go compete internationally for a gold medal. It’s something that is truly special about this organization and what we do. It's gratifying anytime USA Baseball asks me to do anything but being selected as manager and being able to go through a World Cup experience, I really can't think of a better highlight in my career.”

With his experience of serving on staff for a national team on four separate occasions, Farrell understands what defines the makeup of a USA Baseball player when looking for players to invite to next year’s 13U/14U ADP.

“Maturity is the number one thing, and that changes as they grow through the process. It’s a big deal – we need to have kids who can handle themselves abroad because they are representing our country. We know these guys are talented, so really it comes down to character.

“Maybe at age 12 they don't quite understand that yet but at 15 they might, so if we can find a way to instill the USA way into them at a young age, I think that's special.”

Farrell has served on the Task Force at the NTIS Champions Cup numerous times in the past, so that experience combined with being a four-time national team coach helps to provide a valuable perspective when projecting which players move on to ADP.

“Athleticism plays, especially with this age group this week. We're looking for guys with a skill set that we can see now and try and project for next year. There's a lot of changes happening with these young men right now, so it's an intense process when are looking at the physical nature of these guys. If we can find a handful of players who we think have an opportunity to be a national team member one day, that's ultimately what we're looking for.”

Knowing what it takes to not only be a part of Team USA but to be a world champion, Farrell sees there being two important intangible qualities that players need when aspiring to compete on the international stage – playing your game and having good character.  

“First and foremost, I think you need to have fun. When you get to an event like this, you can put so much pressure on yourself or try and change your game. But ultimately, you weren't identified the first time for doing anything different than what you’re doing. Stick with your game and understand that your game has to portray on the field the best it can and don't try and be anybody else.

“The second thing is to be the best person you can be. Decision making is important, especially with young teenage boys. We know mistakes happen, but we never want anything that's going to happen off the field that can take away your opportunity on the field. Understanding that being a good person is very important, because when it comes down to it and you're right in line with another guy who might be the same talent level, character is going to prevail.”

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