In the first game action for the 2007 YNT, the team won the front end of a doubleheader, 7-1, against the Davidson Copperheads. Currently, as the visiting team in game two, the YNT is trailing the Dirtbags, 2-1, in the bottom of the fourth. We apologize for a lack of updates so far but we had no internet connection until now.
CARY, N.C. ? USA Baseball announced the 18-man roster for the 2007 Youth National Team on Friday night after a week of trials. Team USA will remain in Cary for four days of training before departing for Barquisimeto, Venezuela to compete in the IBAF World Youth Championships August 17-26.
The 18 players named to the Youth National Team hail from five states, with California, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Texas being represented. Download 2007_youth_national_team_roster.xls
The state of Florida led the way with seven selections as A.J. Cole (Winter Springs), Nolan Fontana (Winter Garden), Nick Franklin (Longwood), Nate Gonzalez (Clermont), Austin Maddox (Jacksonville), Steven Rodriguez (Miami) and Jacob Tillotson (Lake City) were named to the team.
California had six players named to Youth National Team as Andrew Aplin (Suisun), Justin Charles (Galt), Matt Davidson (Yucaipa), Robert Refsnyder (Laguna Hills), Max Stassi (Yuba City) and Zach Vincej (Saugus) all earned their way onto the 18-man roster.
Colton Cain (Waxahachie), Randal Grichuk (Rosenberg) and Zach Lee (McKinney) represent the state of Texas, while Luke Bailey (La Grange) is the lone representative from Georgia and Richie Shaffer (Charlotte) will represent the state of North Carolina.
The eight right-handed pitchers include A.J. Cole, Matt Davidson, Nolan Fontana, Nick Franklin, Zach Lee, Austin Maddox, Richie Shaffer and Jacob Tillotson, while the two left-handed hurlers are Colton Cain and Steven Rodriguez.
Three catchers, Luke Bailey, Nate Gonzalez and Max Stassi, were named to the team. Stassi is the lone returning member of last year?s YNT Team, which captured the gold medal at the 2006 COPABE Youth Pan American Championship in Barquisimeto, Venezuela. Stassi played in eight of the nine games in the Pan Am Championship last year and batted .310 with one home run, two doubles, nine RBI and 10 runs scored.
Justin Charles and Zach Vincej were named to the team as infielders, along with two-way players Cain, Davidson, Fontana, Franklin and Shaffer.
The three outfielders named to the Youth National Team were Andrew Aplin, Randal Grichuk and Robert Refsnyder.
Head Coach Gary Hatch
Head Coach Gary Hatch
Youth National Team Coaching Staff
Youth National Team Coaching Staff
Team USA Training Preview
Team USA Training Preview
Saturday will be an exciting day for the squad with team pictures and a baseball card photo shoot scheduled for the early afternoon. The team will then practice for the first time as a group of 18 Saturday night.
Team USA will then have a pair of training games on Sunday. Game one will see Team USA take on the Davidson Copperheads at 1:05 p.m., while game two will be played against the Dirtbags at 5:05 p.m.
Monday brings the final training game as Team USA will face the Cary Bulls at 6:35 p.m. in their final tune-up before the IBAF World Youth Championships.
Team USA will have their final practice on Tuesday morning before packing their bags in preparation for the trip to Venezuela. The team will also take in a Durham Bulls-Charlotte Knights game at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park on Tuesday night at 7 p.m.
The YNT will then fly to Venezuela early Wednesday morning.
USA Baseball is the National Governing Body of amateur baseball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. The organization selects and trains the USA Baseball National Team, the USA Baseball Junior National Team (18-under), the USA Baseball Youth National Team (16-under), the USA Baseball 14U National Team (14-under), and the USA Baseball Women?s National Team which participate in various international competitions each year. For more information on USA Baseball please log onto http://www.usabaseball.com/
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Despite giving up three runs in the opening inning, the Blue Team defeated the Red Team, 8-4, on Friday night in the final Youth National Team Trials game at the USA Baseball National Training Complex. Download trials_game_four_box_score.pdf
The Youth National Team coaches will announce the team roster later tonight. Following the announcement of the squad, Team USA will remain in Cary for four days of training before departing for Barquisimeto, Venezuela to compete in the IBAF World Youth Championships August 17-26.
After three innings, the Blue leads the Red, 4-3. Each sided traded 3-spots in the top of the first. Randal Grichuk pounded a two-run double off the wall in left center in the top of first off Blue starter Colton Cain. Cain helped himself in the bottom of the frame by launching a towering, three-run shot off the batter’s eye in center a few minutes later. James Ramsay gave the blue the lead in the next inning plating Andrew Aplin with a single up the middle.
We got started about 20 minutes late today because of a little rain. The red team pulled the tarp on the field, and the blue team (left) pulled it off. The red just got off to a quick lead on the first two pitches of the top of the first after a leadoff triple by Ty Forney and an RBI groundout to third by Eric Brady.
Here are the starting lineups for the final Youth National Team trials game. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m.
1. Ty Forney, 2B
2. Eric Brady, SS
3. Nick Franklin, 3B
4. Austin Maddox, 1B
5. Randal Grichuk, CF
6. Luke Bailey, C
7. Robert Refsnyder, RF
8. Brian Ragira, LF
9. Eric Buckland, P
1. Zach Vincej, SS
2. Justin Charles, 2B
3. Nolan Fontana, 3B
4. Max Stassi, C
5. Colton Cain, P
6. Richie Shaffer, 1B
7. Andrew Aplin, RF
8. Tyler Miller, CF
9. James Ramsay, LF
2006 YNT HEAD COACH GARYE LaFEVERS REMINISCES ABOUT LAST YEAR’S CHAMPIONSHIP RUN
As the final day of the 2007 YNT Trials wraps up, I want to congratulate all of the trials players and coaches on their accomplishments. Currently, the national coaching staff has the hardest job in the world — selecting the best 18 players to travel to Venezuela to battle for the Gold Medal in the World Championships. All 36 players are extremely talented individuals and there is no doubt about this. I know this from personal experience after helping to select the 18 trials representatives from JO East this past June. It was a difficult task and I know the same was true of the JO West this year.
In my 3 years as member of the YNT coaching staff, and having the responsibilities of being the head coach last year, I know many difficult decisions are being made in North Carolina today. Coach Hatch and his staff have worked very hard at organizing the practices and at building a team atmosphere where individuality comes second and what is good for the team comes first. Many excellent players have been left off the final Youth National Team rosters in the past, and this year will be no different.
However, each of the players has a part in the success of the program and hopefully has pushed each other so that the final selection is difficult. One of the biggest points I tried to emphasize last year was the idea of belonging to a family ? the USA Baseball Family. Just getting to wear the USA uniform is a proud moment, and remember that only 18 of 36 will be selected to travel but that all 36 impact the success of the program. Baseball is a great game of cycles; even the great ones have bad weeks, but their attitudes and hustle nev er change. The only thing each player can control is how hard they are playing and hustling. The second point I tried to make to everyone was to ?Focus on the White Ball.? Don?t get caught up with the process, don?t worry about the things you cannot control, just focus on why we are here; playing the game to the best of t heir ability and the white ball.
All 36 players should be very proud of the fact that they have had the opportunity to wear a uniform for USA Baseball. There is no greater name to have on the front of your shirt than the one that is a symbol of our country. Being given the opportunity to lead the 2006 YNT as the head coach was the greatest responsibility ever bestowed on me professionally. I took it very serious and was determined to represent my country and the USA Baseball Youth National Team Program with the respect that it deserved. As a staff, we had to make difficult decisions on the roster and then achieve our practice goals in 4 days before leaving the country for Venezuela.
Getting on the plane in Miami was easy, landing in a foreign country and having to deal with a new culture and many distractions was the difficult part. The 2006 YNT was a very special group, never were they distracted for our goal of qualifying for the 2007 World Championships and giving this year?s team a chance to play for the IBAF World Championship. I can?t imagine being part of a USA Baseball team that does not carry on the tradition established by the many others preceding them.
We needed to finish in the top 4 of 8 countries to qualify for the 2007 Worlds, and it seemed very attainable, but you never know. The players of the 2006 YNT stepped up and supported each other, believing that they would do their jobs while focusing on the white ball. Each player knew that we did not have to depend on one individual to make things happen and that the team came first. After going 7-0 in the round robin format of the Pan American games, and outscoring our opponents 94 ? 8 (with victories over Cuba and a no-hitter against Venezuela), we had accomplished our main goal.
Now it was time to get something for ourselves ? the gold medal. Obviously, we were going to be matched up with teams we had already played. The second time you play any opponent, it is going to be more difficult. Our semi-final game was against Mexico, which we defeated 8-1 in the first game. After a very interesting and heated early couple of innings, our boys were in the gold medal game with a 12-2 victory. Surprisingly, Venezuela had defeated Cuba and they were determined to get after us. In our first match up, we had defeated Venezuela 14-0. Not only had we scored 14 runs, but Venezuela was no-hit by our starting pitcher. Another interesting aspect of the gold medal game was that fact that we would have the same pitcher on the mound. Something that was unexpected; everyone thought we would see Cuba in the finals.
The feeling of accomplishment and seeing the excitement in your players and coaching staff during the top of the 7th with a 13-3 lead in the home country of your opponent is one I will never forget. I get the chills and a smile on my face every time I think of this moment: watching our players and coaches burst out of the dugout and celebrate as a team.
After having 2 silver medals in the previous years and having to listen to a different national anthem, hearing the Star Spangled Banner over speakers brought tears to my eyes. Although we had soundly defeated the Venezuelan team, the crowd was very respectful of our ability as a team and our achievements. That is truly a statement about athletics and the impact that it has on our world today. No matter what the political condition of our countries might be at a given time, athletics can bring two different cultures together.
It is an experience that I wish everyone could be a part of. I am so proud of everyone who helped us achieve the gold medal. Particularly the hard work of the task force involved in the JO Tournaments, the trials coaches, and especially the 18 individuals who did not make the team. These 18 team members that we had to leave behind were gifted baseball players and helped to prepare us for our trip. I want you to know that all of you are part of my USA Baseball family and I thank you. I did not mention individuals from the 2006 team because I truly believe of us a one. Now I could tell you about all the individuals and their contributions, but that would be a very long story.
To the YNT 07 ? good luck and believe in each other, and most importantly ? Focus on the white ball.
Watch Coach LaFevers’ pregame speech from last year’s gold medal game. It may take awhile to load, but it is well worth it: Download pregame_usa.MPG
Red Catcher Luke Bailey (left) hit a solo HR to left in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game at 7 a piece, and that’s where it ended. Bailey finished up going 2-3 with a double, HR, and 4 RBI. He also threw a runner out trying to steal second. Tomorrow, the Red and Blue square off for the fourth and final time at 6pm before the final YNT is named later that night. A boxscore can be found here: Download trials_game_three_box_score.pdf
The Blue Team has increased its lead to 6-3 through 6 innings. Andrew Aplin beat out a suicide squeeze bunt while scoring Nolan Fontana from third, and Colton Cain contributed a deep RBI double to CF.