Author Archives: Josh Fitzgerald

USA wins in extras over VEN, 18-17

USA has clinched a spot in the championship game

AGUASCALIENTES, Mexico–The 16U National Team beat Venezuela Friday, 18-17 (10 inn.), on a walk off sacrifice fly to clinch a spot in the gold medal game at the IBAF World ‘AA’/16U Youth Championships.

Venezuela was in control early after it used a big top of the second inning to take a 5-0 lead. In the inning it had five hits and capitalized on three U.S. errors. The U.S. would get a couple of those runs back in the bottom of the third. In the bottom of the frame it also took advantage of a couple errors mixed in with three hits, including an RBI single by Willie Abreu, to make it 5-2.

Venezuela would quickly extend the lead back to five, 7-2, in the bottom of the next inning when it once again took advantage of a Team USA error. However, the U.S. would storm back to within one run, 7-6, when it scored four runs on two hits in the bottom of the fourth. In the inning, the U.S. would benefit from a walk, a batter hit by a pitch, an error, and three wild pitches.

After the two teams exchanged runs in the fifth inning to make it 8-7, Venezuela used its second five-run inning of the game to go up six, 13-7. The lead would be trimmed to four in the bottom of the seventh, 13-9, when Austin Meadows, who earlier blasted an RBI triple down the left field line, scored on a wild pitch.

Team USA got its first lead of the night in the bottom of the eighth when it had a five-run inning of its own to take the lead, 14-13. In the inning, four hits and a pair of walks led to the runs. Zack Collins and Meadows each had two-RBI singles. The U.S. couldn’t nail it down in the ninth and allowed Venezuela to regain the lead, 15-14, after a couple of runs. However, Team USA forced extra innings when Bryson Brigman slapped a single through the left side, scoring Hunter Mercado-Hood.

In extras, the two teams used the international tie-breaker rule where runners are placed on first and second. Venezuela scored two runs in the top of the tenth to put the pressure on the 16U National Team, but it would respond with a pair of runs of its own before a sacrifice fly by Abreu, that scored Meadows, gave the U.S. a walk-off win.

Winning for the U.S. was Jordan Sheffield. Sheffield came in during the tie-breaker inning and only allowed two unearned runs to give the U.S. the chance to win in the bottom of the inning. Taking the loss for Venezuela was Victor Ramirez. Team USA had seven players with multi-hit games: Brigman, Riley Unroe, Meadows, Collins, Abreu, Arden Pabst, and Jake Jarvis.


GOING FOR GOLD:With tonight’s win, the U.S. has clinched a spot in the IBAF World ‘AA’/16U Youth Championship Game. The game will be Sunday at 4:00 p.m. ET in Lagos de Moreno, Mexico.

MIGHTY JOE THE YOUNG:Joe DeMers, who has not even started high school, came into the game in the top of the sixth inning with two outs and a runner in scoring position. He did not allow the runner to score and went on to pitch 2 2/3 innings in relief.

COMEBACK KIDS:The U.S. was in unfamiliar territory tonight. After the bottom of the second inning it was trailing. It has not been trailing after the bottom of an inning since it trailed going in to the top of the fifth inning in the first game against Australia.

ON DECK: Team USA will continue with second round play against the #3 seed from Group-B, Japan, Saturday at 8:00 p.m. ET. The game will be at Lagos de Moreno.

Bend South Little League Ready for Big Shot – News Story – KTVZ Bend

BEND, Ore. — “Troy Viola on the hill, gets the grounder to second baseman Cam Davis. A snap throw over to first — and it’s Oregon, Bend South Little League beating Washington 4-3! And Oregon is headed to face Montana in the Northwest Region final on Saturday!” called the ESPN announcer during their live broadcast on Thursday night.


And with that, the 11- and 12-year-olds had clinched a berth in Saturday’s championship game against Big Sky, Mont., at the Little League Northwest Regionals at San Bernardino, Calif.


Darryl Firstedt was playing center field in that game.


Bend South Little League Ready for Big Shot – News Story – KTVZ Bend.

Kearney little league team is hoping to make history –

The Kearney Little Leaguers have the pitching and the defense. If they can find a three-run homer, look out.

Saturday night, the Kearney youths will face Harney Little League of Rapid City, S.D., in an attempt to become the first Nebraska team to participate in the Little League World Series at Williamsport, Pa.

“They definitely know” Nebraska has never had a World Series participant, Kearney coach Mike Koski said. “The kids know a lot about this stuff. … They’re pretty excited about it.”

Kearney little league team is hoping to make history –

Southern Cal Ends Washington Little League’s Run

by Develon Isom Kcsg Television

(St. George, UT) – Twelve-year old Braydon Salzman of the Southern California-Ocean View team closed the door on the upset-minded little leaguers from southern Utah in a 5-0 victory Friday night at Al Houghton Stadium.

The team from Utah (2-3) captured much buzz in their home state by earning the right to play in a game broadcast nationally on ESPN2. News outlets throughout Utah reported stories about the team’s rare opportunity.

Though excitement for the team’s success and the television appearance grew in Utah, the outlook for Washington in defeating a powerhouse team from southern California was less than favorable.

Salzman led his Ocean View team in victory and performed like a favorite, controlling the southern Utah team by his throwing and hitting, thus keeping the form of a favorite.

He pitched a complete game (six innings), allowed two hits and struck out 11 Washington batters. Salzman broke open a 0-0 tie in the top of the fourth inning with his bat when he drove a low and outside pitch from Washington starting pitcher Seth Corry down the right field line, bringing home two runners. The triple put So Cal up 2-0 and was the beginning of the end for Corry and Washington.

Corry had pitched a dominant game up until then. He had only allowed two hits before Salzman did his damage, but his pitch count (69) was creeping close to the little league limit of 85. Corry got out of the fourth inning but his pitch count was at 81. The situation was clearly on Corry’s mind and he was visibly frustrated.

Salzman backed up his offense with his pitching and set down three Washington batters in the bottom of the fourth on only seven pitches.

With only four pitches left on his limit, Washington’s Corry took the mound in the top of the fifth and got tournament-hitting leader Hagen Danner to strike out on four pitches. Hitting the 85-pitch limit, Corry had to leave the mound. He tallied eight strike outs in his quality outing but had to move over to first base for the rest of the game.

Southern Cal (5-0) tacked on another three runs in the top of the sixth and Salzman picked up another strike out making his total 11 for the game. His pitching numbers were dazzling. Salzman only had to throw 61 pitches, 52 of which were strikes.

Box Score

Read more: KCSG Television – So Cal Ends Washington Little League’s Run

14U team arrives in Venezuela

First game is set for Saturday at 9:30 ET against Panama

SAN FELIPE, VENEZUELA — The 14U National Team arrived in San Felipe, Venezuela, late Thursday night after a full day of traveling from Raleigh, N.C.Due to scheduling difficulties, the original schedule has been modified and the 14U team will play its first game Saturday morning at 9:30 ET against Panama. Friday morning was used as a training day for the club as they practiced at a local baseball field near the team hotel accompanied by the parents who made the trip to Venezuela.

Friday night the team will participate in the opening ceremonies for the COPABE Pan Am 14U Championships held at Yaracuy Stadium. Saturday morning the club will play its first game against Panama, and it will have an off day Sunday.

For updated information during COPABE Pan American 14U Championships please visit or follow us on twitter at @USABaseball14U.

Everything Is ‘Tracked’ At Area Code Games

 by Conor Glassey/BA

LONG BEACH, Calif. — Everything players did at the Area Code Baseball Games presented by New Balance was being dissected—and not just by the mass of scouts behind home plate.

The players were also being measured by an eye in the sky—a radar system mounted behind home plate that records all kinds of information about how the baseball is moving around the field and turns it into useful data for major league teams. The company behind the information is called TrackMan.

“It’s actually a Danish company,” TrackMan’s manager of baseball operations and data Josh Orenstein said. “It was founded in 2003 and the radar is a 3-D Doppler radar system and it’s actually a military-grade technology.”

This is the company’s second year at the Area Code Games, but TrackMan’s roots are on the golf course.

“Our founders are golfers,” Orenstein said. “Our CEO was the top amateur golfer in Denmark and they built the radar in a garage to measure how far the ball went, they could measure club speed and other numbers that you see here. They took it to golf manufacturers and it was an immediate success. We’re the leader in ball-flight technology in golf. We work with the PGA Tour, individual players have the radar and there’s one radar at every PGA event.”

Baseball has been slower to adapt—currently, just a handful of major league organizations have TrackMan systems installed in one or more of their parks—but the company is growing quickly as more teams realize the differences between TrackMan and the industry standard, PITCHf/x.

“It’s similar in scope, but theirs is camera-based, while ours is radar,” Orenstein said. “And we do some things that they don’t. We measure extension—how far the pitcher’s hand is when he releases the ball, how close he is to home plate. And we also measure the spin rate in revolutions per minute.”

TrackMan shared its data with Baseball America so, first off, let’s look at which pitchers showed the highest velocity at the event. . .

But velocity doesn’t tell the whole story, as Orenstein explains.

“With extension, what we’re able to do is kind of redefine velocity,” Orenstein said. “What we’ve found with extension is that the closer the pitcher is to home plate, the faster the ball gets there—and I think that’s something that people knew—but now it’s something we can measure. So there are some players here, like a Brady Bramlett, who’s releasing the ball seven feet from the mound. He may be throwing 88-90 (mph), but it looks 90-92 because it’s getting there just as fast as a guy throwing 92. What we’ve seen with extension is that guys with more extension tend to get more strikeouts and more swinging strikes.”

Here are the pitchers that showed the most and least extension to the plate. . .

What about spin rate?

“We’ve looked at spin rate a lot on breaking pitches and what we’ve found is that players that have more spin on their curveballs tend to perform better,” Orenstein said. “The average major league spin rate (in RPM) is about 2,450 on curveballs and we’ve seen some guys here spin it up to 3,000 rpm and that seems to translate pretty well to who scouts think have the best curveballs here—the numbers line up pretty favorably.”

Here are the pitchers that showed the most spin on their breaking balls. . .

TrackMan also measures the speed of the ball off hitters’ bats. Obviously hitters want to hit the ball as hard as possible. Let’s take a look at which hitters produced the most consistent hard contact this week. . .

Dodgers Sign First-Rounder Reed

Posted Aug. 12, 2011 1:54 pm by Jim Callis
The Dodgers have signed 16th overall pick Chris Reed for $1.589 million–$77,000 above MLB’s recommendation for his draft slot. He becomes the 10th of 33 first-rounders in this year’s draft to sign.

A Stanford lefthander, Reed has a low-90s fastball that tops out at 96 mph and will flash a hard slider and plus changeup. Though the Cardinal used him almost exclusively as a reliever, he may get a chance to start in pro ball.