Archive | June, 2009

2009 Little League World Series TV Coverage

USA – The schedule of games and pool assignments for the 63rd Little League Baseball World Series were announced recently by Stephen D. Keener, President and Chief Executive Officer of Little League Baseball and Softball.

Williamsport, Pennsylvania has been the home of Little League since it was founded there in 1939, and the final game of the tournament is traditionally on the weekend before Labor Day.   This year Labor Day falls on Sept. 7 and during the 2009 season, Little League is celebrating the 70th anniversary of the program’s founding.

The 2009 World Series will be the third televised under an eight-year television contract with ESPN/ABC that provides for coverage of all 32 games in the Little League Baseball World Series and the championship games of Little League’s seven other divisions.

Five games, including the Little League Baseball World Series championship, will be televised on ABC. Since the tournament expanded from eight to 16 games in 2001, every team has had games on national television as ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 continue to team up to bring Little League Baseball into millions of homes. All games will again be televised in high definition.

“The Little League World Series resonates with people, whether they’re involved with Little League or not,” Mr. Keener said. “Each summer, our partners at ESPN and ABC, afford Little League the opportunity to present our program on a grand stage. To showcase the talent and ability of the players is wonderful, but equally significant is the opportunity to inform and educate TV viewers on what Little League has to offer local communities throughout the world.

“The Little League World Series has had a presence on television since the 1950s, and beginning in 1963, every world championship game has been aired,” Mr. Keener said.

“Little League has grown and evolved, but it too has remained true in its commitment that a community-based program, supported by children and adults together, can become a cornerstone for neighborhoods, families and friends the world over.”

The world championship game of the Little League Baseball World Series (for 11-12-year-olds) can be seen live on ABC at 3:30 p.m., on Sunday, Aug. 30. Preceding the final game beginning at 2 p.m., ESPN will be televising its popular Little League Baseball World Series “Webgems” show, followed by a pre-game show.

ABC also will televise the International Championship Game on Saturday, Aug. 29, at 12:00 p.m., followed by the United States Championship Game at 3 p.m.

Fifteen World Series games will be televised on ESPN and 11 will be televised on ESPN2. ESPN360.com also is scheduled to provide simulcast coverage via the Internet.

In addition, the ESPN family of networks will carry all eight of the U.S. Regional Championship finals in the Little League Baseball division. The U.S. regional finals have been televised by ESPN and ESPN2 every year since 1997.

Photo courtesy of roadtowilliamsport.com

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USA Collegiate Squad Routs Canada

USA – Eleven different players registered a hit for Team USA on Sunday and the USA Baseball National Team (Collegiate) beat Team Canada 20-3 at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park for its fourth consecutive win of the summer.

Former World Series-Winning Manager Jack McKeon saw Tyler Holt reach base safely six times, hit two doubles and lead the USA Baseball National Team (Collegiate) to a 14-5 come from behind win over Team Canada at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, Saturday.

Team USA (4-0) jumped out to an early 2-0 lead after Christian Colon (Cal State Fullerton) hit an RBI fielder’s choice to score Tyler Holt (Florida State) from third base. After Canada starting pitcher, Jerome Werniuk, a 20th round selection by the Texas Rangers, issued two walks to load the bases, Michael Choice (UT Arlington) lined a ball up the middle that hit the pitcher for the second run of the game.

USA starting pitcher Cody Wheeler (Coastal Carolina) surrendered two runs in the bottom of the inning after he gave up three walks to Canada. One walk brought in a run and a sacrifice fly to right field scored the other and the Canadian National Team (0-4) tied the game two apiece.

But the tie did not last long. Team USA then scored runs in the second, third, fifth, sixth, seventh, and ninth innings.

Rick Hague (Rice) hit a single to right field for his second hit in as many innings and Christian Colon slugged a two-run shot over the Blue Monster, hitting the infamous Bull in left field for a 4-2 lead.

Michael Choice (UT Arlington) and Yasmani Grandal (Miami) each hit a sacrifice fly to score 2 more runs for the U.S. in the third inning and Matt Newman (Arizona State) and Holt collected RBI singles in the fifth for a commanding 8-2 lead.

Team USA continued its offensive outpouring in the sixth inning behind two doubles by Blake Forsythe (Tennessee) and Rob Segedin (Tulane), and another RBI single for Tyler Holt.

Wheeler settled in on the mound for the U.S. after struggling in the first inning. Following the two-run first, Wheeler surrendered only two more hits on the day before being relieved with two outs in the sixth. He struck out eight batters on the day.

Another four runs crossed the plate for Team USA in the seventh inning. Colon and Forsythe got on board with a single and double, respectively, and Andy Wilkins (Arkansas) and Casey McGrew connected for RBI singles. The U.S. then instantly plated another two runs on a single by Segedin to extend its lead to 17-2.

Canada got on the board again in the eighth inning after Rowan Wick hit a double down the left field line on reliever Sonny Gray (Vanderbilt). After Wick advanced to third base on a passed ball by catcher Jeremy Schaffer (Tulane), Wick scored on a routine ground out to the pitcher for Canada’s third and final run of the game.

Bryce Brentz (Middle Tennessee State), Schaffer, Kolten Wong (Hawaii), and Holt each picked up hits in the ninth inning for the final tally of 20-3.

Wheeler (1-0) got the win for Team USA as he pitched five and two-thirds inning, allowed two runs on three hits. He fanned eight and walked four batters on the day. Starter Jerome Werniuk (0-1) of Canada was struck with the loss.

Nick Pepitone (Tulane), Gray and Chad Bettis (Texas Tech) finished the game for the U.S., allowing only two hits combined in relief.

Game notes:

• Attendance for Friday’s game was counted at 2,760.

• With the win, the USA Baseball National Team (Collegiate) has won 28 consecutive games dating back to last summer.

Photo courtesy of Brian Fleming Photography.com

Posted in College, News, Tournaments0 Comments

Pittsburgh Pirates Sign Taiwanese Prospects

TAIWAN – The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed Taiwan prep outfielder Chi Ping-Hung to a professional contract. The speedster was signed by Pirates Asia scout Chiang Fu-Chun who was impressed by Chi’s work habits.

The 5’7″ Shiyuan High School product gets to first from the batters box in 3.9 seconds, makes good contact with the bat, and has good range defensively due to his speed. However, the dimunitive prospect has a poor throwing arm.

Chi, who will join current minor leaguer Cheng Chi-Hung in the Pirates’ farm system, signed for less than $100,000 and will begin his pro career in the minor leagues in Australia.

The Pirates also signed 17-year-old 1B/LHP Chi-Wei Hsu. The 5’11” southpaw was converted to a pitcher two years ago. He reportedly throws in the low 80’s and has a slider and a changeup combo.

Data/Photo courtesy of Taiwan Baseball

Posted in Asia0 Comments

Erik Bakich Named Maryland Head Coach

USA – The University of Maryland has hired Vanderbilt assistant coach Erik Bakich as its new head coach. Bakich, who joined the Commodores staff age the age of 24, had previous coaching stints at Clemson and East Carolina.

“We will miss his energy and tenaciousness at Vanderbilt. That combination is what made him so successful at Vanderbilt. He will carry that to Maryland,” Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin told the Associated Press.

WASHINGTON FIRES VETERAN SKIPPER

The University of Washington announced recently the firing of long-time baseball coach Ken Knutson. The Huskies’ all-time leader in wins, Knutson was 584-399-2 with a 240-189 record against Pac-10 foes.

Washington finished the season 25-30 with a 13-14 conference mark. Knutson, who won two Pac-10 championships in 17 seasons at the helm, has spent the last 27 years as a player, assistant coach and head coach at the university.

Photo courtesy of Mike Rapp/VandySports.com

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Corendon Kinheim Halts DOOR Neptunus Win Streak

NETHERLANDS – Corendon Kinheim continued their climb back towards the top of the Dutch Major League with a two games to one series triumph against league front-runner DOOR Neptunus this past weekend. With the pair of victories, Kinheim moved within 3 1/2 games of the top spot.

Kinheim (21-12) opened the three-game set on Thursday with a 2-1 win to snap DOOR Neptunus’ 15-game winning streak. Bryan Engelhardt swatted his fifth home run of the season and American shortstop Josh Renick added three hits for the Haarlem club.  Raily Legito drilled a solo shot for Neptunus.

Former Dutch League Pitcher of the Year David Bergman (6-4) scattered a run and six hits over eight innings to get the win, while closer Michiel van Kampen registered the final three outs to notch the save.

Southpaw Diegomar Markwell (7-2), who pitched for seven years in the Toronto Blue Jays farm system, was tagged with the loss despite allowing just two runs and seven hits in eight solid frames.

Neptunus (24-8-1) used a three-run second and then survived a late rally by Kinheim to even the series with a 4-2 win on Saturday.

Ex-big leaguer Eugène Kingsale – who played in the majors with four teams – drove in a pair of runs, and Legito and Matt McGraw each had an RBI apiece to help Kevin Heijstek (8-3) pick up the win.

Berry van Driel earned the save despite allowing one run and two hits in only one inning of work, while Patrick Beljaards (6-1) was pinned with his first setback of the year.

In the series finale on Sunday, Neptunus Australian starter Dushan Ruzic retired the first 18 batters he faced before surrendering three runs in the seventh in a stunning 3-1 loss to Kinheim.

Neptunus strung together a trio of singles in the third to go on top, 1-0. Andy Leer reached on a one-out hit off Kinheim starter Duko Jansen, and scampered to third an out later on Benjamin Dille’s single. Legito followed with an RBI base hit to break the scoreless deadlock.

Meanwhile, the 6’8″ Ruzic was chasing history with six perfect innings on the hill before a forgettable seventh frame ruined the historic hunt.

Kimheim leadoff man Danny Rombley opened the inning with a double, and scored moments later when Renick drilled a run-scoring single. Ruzic sat down Dirk van ‘t Klooster on a flyout before Engelhardt slugged his sixth long ball of the year to make the score 3-1.

Jansen (6-2) allowed one run and struck out six in eight solid innings to pick up the win, and van Kampen worked the ninth to register his second save of the weekend.

Ruzic (5-2) was the tough-luck loser despite a splendid three-hit outing that featured seven 1-2-3 innings.

L&D AMSTERDAM SPLITS WITH KONICA MINOLTA

The Pirates outhit Konica Minolta 14-7 in the series opener on Thursday at Amsterdam but had to settle for a 4-4 tie after 11 innings. In the Dutch League, no new inning can begin after 11:00 PM.

Maikel Benner and Zaïr Koeiman each had three hits apiece for the home team, while Jos de Jong pitched the final seven innings allowing two runs on three hits with seven strikeouts.

Pioniers’ reliever Jan Rehacek also pitched well with three perfect innings to end the game.

Konica Minolta scored two late runs to capture a 2-1 victory in the second game on Saturday afternoon to grab the series lead.

Two of the league’s top pitchers, Adam Blackley and Ryan Murphy, traded goose eggs until the sixth. Wesley Connor singled off Murphy to start the frame and scored later on an error to give Amsterdam a 1-0 lead.

The Pioniers knotted the score in the eighth off the Australian southpaw, and chased Blackley with another score an inning later to claim the comeback win.

The Pirates salvaged a series split with a 1-0 win in the rubber match on Sunday in a low-scoring affair at Hoofddorp.

Amsterdam scored the lone run of the game in the seventh when Kenny Berkenbosch crossed the plate on a RBI single by Zaïr Koeiman.

Frank van Heijst limited the Pioniers to four hits in seven scoreless frames to get the win. Raban Schalm worked a 1-2-3 eighth and closer Pim Walsma retired the side in order in the ninth to register the save.

ADO SURPRISES MEDIAMONKS

Jurrian Koks scattered four hits over nine innings and Koen Meershoek had three hits to help ADO slip past MediaMonks RCH 3-1 in 10 innings on Saturday at Heemstede.

The MediaMonks went ahead 1-0 in the second on Giovanni Valmont’s RBI double. The score remained unchanged until the ninth when ADO tagged RCH closer Dave Draijer for the tying run, and plated a pair of runs in extra innings to seal the victory.

Koks allowed one run in a solid outing to get the win while McQueary earned the save.

RCH starter Chris Mowday was dealt the loss despite pitching 7 2/3 shutout innings.

René Verbrugge and Shurty Tremus went a combined 6-for-8 with a pair of triples and three RBIs to lead ADO to a 6-3 victory against MediaMonks RCH last Sunday at The Hague.

ADO starter Ludwin Obispo, who fanned seven, took a shutout into the ninth before running out of gas. British reliever Aeden McQueary recorded the final three outs to notch the save.

SPARTA/FEYENOORD REMAINS IN PLAYOFF HUNT

Gregory Gustina threw eight strong innings and Eugene Henson delivered a key two-run hit as Sparta/Feyenord beat Mr. Cocker 3-1 Friday night at Rotterdam.

Leadoff man Nick Eppinga doubled and tripled, and Percy Isenia added two hits for the home side.

Sytze Visbeen and Adrian Anthony had two hits apiece for HCAW.

Randy Daal’s three-run bomb in the seventh broke a 1-1 deadlock and Mr. Cocker HCAW edged Sparta/Feyenoord 4-3 Saturday at Bussum.

Eldrion Regina put the visitors ahead 1-0 in the third with an RBI single, but HCAW pulled even in the sixth on Michael Pluijmers’ run-scoring hit. Daal tagged Tim Roodenburg with the game-winning homer the following inning.

Sparta/Feyenoord closed the gap to 4-3 in the eighth on a pinch-hit, two-run double by Leon of reliever Rutger Zwaal.

Herman Gaarman tossed 6 1/3 scoreless innings of four-hit ball and six different players collected two hits as Sparta/Feyenoord routed Mr. Cocker 10-0 on Sunday to capture the three-game series, two games to one.

The Rotterdam club rocked HCAW starter Joey Eijpe for five runs in the second and added two more runs in the third en route to the easy win. Leadoff hitter Dimitri Leon drove in three runs while the bottom half of the order combined to go 8-for-15 with six runs scored.

STANDINGS

Team Won Lost Tie
Neptunus 24 08 01
Amsterdam 23 09 01
Kinheim 21 12 00
K-Minolta 19 12 02
Sparta/Feye 19 13 00
Mr.Cocker 10 22 01
ADO 07 25 01
MediaMonks 05 27 00

Photo courtesy of Henk Seppen/L&D Amsterdam Pirates

Posted in Europe, News0 Comments

Batangas Bulls Clobbers Manila Sharks

PHILIPPINES – Erickson Eguia stole the limelight from the team’s pitching staff as he drove in six runs in leading the Batangas Bulls to a 13-4 domination of Manila Sharks in the Baseball Philippines Series V Finals Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.

Batting fifth in the batting order, Eguia went four-of-five at bat (two singles and two doubles) as he led the team to a high 18 hits against four Sharks pitchers, allowing the Bulls to claim a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three Finals series. Eight of the starting nine recorded a hit for Batangas, which moved a win away from bagging a second title after previously topping Series III.

What was expected to be a tight contest ended in a lopsided win for the Bulls. After the Sharks leveled the count at 3-all in the third inning, Manila’s bid crumbled as relief pitcher Mick Natividad allowed six hits and seven runs in the pivotal fifth inning.

Eguia blasted a two run double off Natividad while Carlo Banzon had a three-bagger and also drove two more runs to lead the Bulls to a 10-3 lead. It was a big letdown for Natividad, who starred in the team’s 11-10 win over Alabang Tigers in a 14-inning semifinal encounter.

Natividad took over the mound from Joseph Albindo, who allowed six hits and three runs in four innings. He pitched for just an inning for this game and ended up as the losing pitcher.

“The players were very much focused for this game. Our pitchers playedBatangas Bulls celebrate a recent playoff win. their usual game while we got our hitting game going. We hope to close the series out in Game 2,” said Emerson Barandoc who temporarily filled in the team manager’s role in lieu of Randy Dizer who is in Jakarta, Indonesia for the Asia-Pacific Little League tournament.

Erickson’s brother Vladimir started out at the mound and allowed four hits and three runs in four innings. He was relieved by Jasmin after Eguia, who also had five strikeouts, allowed three runs at the top of the third that iced the count at 3-3.

Jasmin did a better job with a hit, a run and a strikeout in the next three innings and was replaced only after he twisted his right foot. De Leon came into the picture and hurled a two-hitter with two strikouts in the last two innings.

Aside from poor pitching, the Sharks also lost slugger Romy Bumagat right in the first inning to injury.

In his first time at bat, Bumagat tried for a bunt but the ball went straight and hit his right eye upon hitting his bat. That resulted into a big cut in his right eyebrow and he was immediately rushed to the

hospital for treatment.

Courtesy of GMANews.TV/Baseball Philippines

Posted in Asia0 Comments

NPB Seeks To Replace Asia Series

JAPAN – Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) is seeking a one-game showdown between the league champions from Japan and South Korea. The proposed matchup, which will replace the Asia Series, will be held at a regional stadium in southern Japan in mid-November.

The Asia Series (officially known as the Konami Cup until 2008) was an international baseball tournament in East Asia that was first held between November 10 and November 13, 2005, in Tokyo. It was played among the champions of the Japan Series, the Korean Series, the Taiwan Series, and the championship of China Baseball League of the People’s Republic of China. Prior to last year, the China Stars – an all-star team of China Baseball League – participated in the series instead of the champion from China.

The Asia Series reportedly lost US$2 million last year.

Both Asian baseball powers used to battle in an All-Star series similar to the NPB-MLB All-Star series back in the 90’s. However, due to a lack of fan interest, the series was shelved.

NPB will ask the Korean Baseball Organization to hold the game after the conclusion of both countries’ seasons.

2005
Lotte Marines (Japan) 5, Samsung Lions (S. Korea) 3

2006
Nippon Ham Fighters (Japan) 1, La New Bears (Taiwan) 0

2007
Chunichi Dragons (Japan) 6, SK Wyverns (S. Korea) 5

2008
Seibu Lions (Japan) 1, Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions (Taiwan) 0

Photo courtesy of isplus.joins.com

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USA Baseball 18U Trials Invitees

USA – USA Baseball (USAB) has announced a group of 34 players who will be considered for inclusion on its 2009 18U National Team for international competition. The 34 players, along with 10 alternates, were selected from those who participated this week in the 17th Annual Tournament of Stars, presented by Major League Baseball, at USAB’s National Training Complex in Cary.

“I think we have an excellent blend of very talented ballplayers each of whom have outstanding character,” said Gary LaFevers, Head Coach of the 2009 18U National Team. LaFevers was the associate head baseball coach this past year and a former head coach at Buckeye Union High School in Buckeye, Ariz. He will be the pitching coach at Phoenix (Ariz.) College next spring.

“The players selected have a high knowledge of baseball and a good aptitude about how the game is played,” LaFevers added. “This will make the coaches’ jobs easier once we get to the Trials as far as getting everyone on the same page with what we want to do. Going into the Trials, we have more overall team speed than what I expected to find. We have selected 34 outstanding players who will compete and push each other to the next level. ”

Following the announcement of the 34 invitees and alternates, the athletes will return to their respective homes. The group will reassemble in Cary on Sept. 12. Player evaluation then will continue via practices, intrasquad scrimmages and exhibition games. Following evaluation during the Trials, a final 20-player 18U National Team roster will be selected Sept. 17. After a Training period, the team will depart Sept. 24 for Barquisimeto, Venezuela, where Team USA will compete Sept. 25-Oct. 4 in the COPABE “AAA” Pan American Junior Championships. The 18U National Team competes in two major events in bi-yearly cycles – the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) World Junior Championships and the COPABE Pan American Junior Championships. The Pan Am Championships serve as a qualifier for the ensuing year’s World Championships.

The USA Baseball 18U National Team is a perennial power on the international baseball scene. Only once in the 24-year history of the IBAF World Junior Championships has the United States failed to capture a medal. During this time, the program has earned five gold medals, 11 silver medals and seven bronze medals.

LaFevers will be a member of his fifth USA Baseball coaching staff. He served as an assistant coach for the 16U National Team in 2004 and 2005. As head coach of the 2006 and 2008 16U squads, he guided Team USA to back-to-back gold medals at the IBAF “AA” World Junior Championships in Barquisimeto (2006) and in Veracruz, Mexico (2008).

Joining LaFevers on the 2009 18U National Team coaching staff will be assistants Bill Krejci, Willie Romay, Matt White and auxiliary coach Robert Craven. Like LaFevers, Krejci will be making his fifth appearance on a USA Baseball coaching staff. He was head coach of the 16U National Team in 1999 and directed the 18U squad to a silver medal at the 2000 World Junior Championships in Edmonton, Canada. Romay, making his Team USA coaching debut, is a former professional player and now a scout for the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau. White, who also will be in his first USA Baseball coaching assignment, played for Team USA on 18U National Teams in 1995 and 1996. Craven, former coach at LaQuinta (Calif.) High School, will be in his third stint as an auxiliary coach for USA Baseball.

Click here for a complete list of Trials invitees.

Photo courtesy of 16u.mlblogs.com

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Joakim Soria Launches Website

USA – Kansas City Royals closing pitcher Joakim Soria has launched his personal website, http://www.joakimsoria48.com. The website, written in both English and Spanish, offers fans a variety of information about baseball and Soria’s charities. Fans also have the opportunity to communicate with the “Mexicutioner” through the website in a variety of ways.

Soria’s website focuses on pitching and conditioning tips, as well as the inside scoop on the Kansas City Royals 2009 season. The website gives fans the option to email Soria with questions, follow him on Twitter or join his Facebook fan page. “I’m excited to get closer to my fans and to promote my charity,” Soria said. Each article on the website can also be shared to link on your favorite social networking sites.

Soria is in the process of developing a charitable foundation to build baseball fields in Mexico in underprivileged neighborhoods. The foundation has yet to be named.

In 2008, Soria became an All Star closing pitcher, ranking second in the American League with 42 saves. He grew up in Monclava, Mexico and made the move from the Mexican League to Major League Baseball in 2004. The Kansas City Royals signed Soria in 2007.

Photo courtesy of elpinerodelacuenca.com.mx

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Moscow Wins Prague Baseball Week Title

CZECH REPUBLIC – Moscow foiled the Czech National Team bid to become the first squad to capture three consecutive tournament titles at the Prague Baseball Week with a slim 3-2 win in the championship game last Saturday. The Russian team, which finished the week-long competition with a 5-1 record, avenged a 5-4 loss to the two-time defending champion earlier in the week.

Prague Baseball Week was the final preparation for the Czech National Team (4-2) before the 2009 IBAF Baseball World Cup later this year. Head coach Arnošt Nes?al divided playing time for 33 players during the tournament, who are vying for roster spots for the World Cup event.

Final Standings
1. Moscow Club Team
2. Czech Sr. National Team
3. Czech Jr. National Team
4. Swedish National Team
5. Austrian National Team
6. Croatian National Team

The Czech Junior National Team, consisting of players 21 years-old and younger, finished a surprising third with a 3-2 record. The Swedish National Team (3-2) placed fourth followed by the Austrian National Team (1-4) and the Croatian National Team (0-5).

TOURNAMENT RESULTS

Saturday, June 27
Swedish National Team 11, Czech Sr. National Team 1
Swedish National Team 12, Croatian National Team 0
Czech Sr. National Team 5, Czech Jr. National Team 0

Championship Game
Moscow Club Team 3, Czech Sr. National Team 2

Friday, June 26
Czech Jr. National Team 12, Austrian National Team 4
Moscow Club Team 7, Austrian National Team 3
Moscow Club Team 12, Croatian National Team 2

Thursday, June 25
Swedish National Team 16, Austrian National Team 5
Moscow Club Team 11, Czech Jr. National Team 6
Czech Sr. National Team 12, Croatian National Team 0

Wednesday, June 24
Czech Sr. National Team 5, Moscow Club Team 4
Moscow Club Team 12, Swedish National Team 5
Czech Jr. National Team 9, Croatian National Team 1

Tuesday, June 23
Czech Jr. National Team 3, Swedish National Team 0
Austrian National Team 13, Croatian National Team 9

Photo courtesy of thepraguepost.com

Posted in Europe, News, Tournaments0 Comments

Obama To Toss First Pitch At 2009 MLB All-Star Game

USA – President Obama will be the fourth U.S. President to throw out the first pitch at the Midsummer Classic joining John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, and Gerald Ford. President Obama will be the seventh U.S. President to attend the All-Star Game. The first U.S. President to attend an All-Star Game was Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937.

The 80th Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, with pre-game ceremonies beginning at 8 p.m. ET, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and televised in more than 200 countries and territories by Major League Baseball International. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage.

On April 22, Major League Baseball dedicated its 2009 All-Star Game and surrounding events to raising funds and awareness for charitable initiatives and celebrating the importance of community service. The charity and community service initiatives, which are themed “Going Beyond,” will be the most extensive in Major League Baseball All-Star history. In addition, Major League Baseball is supporting President Obama’s call for community service through “United We Serve,” a program which encourages Americans to engage in sustained and meaningful community service. President Obama is encouraging all Americans to visit www.serve.gov to find service opportunities in their area.

“Major League Baseball is truly honored that President Obama will be in attendance to throw out the first pitch at the 80th All-Star Game on July 14 in St. Louis,” said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. “The central theme of the 2009 All-Star Game is community service, celebrating the extraordinary work being done by ordinary people. We are thrilled that we can come together with President Obama, who has encouraged a renewed spirit of national service, and illustrate a call to action in our communities. President Obama will continue a great tradition that joins our nation’s leader and the national pastime.”

Following is a list of Presidential appearances at the MLB All-Star Game:

1937 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt

1962 – President John F. Kennedy threw out the Ceremonial First Pitch

1970 – President Richard Nixon threw out the Ceremonial First Pitch

1976 – President Gerald Ford threw out the Ceremonial First Pitch

1978 – Former President Gerald Ford threw out the Ceremonial First Pitch

1989 – Former President Ronald Reagan

1991 – President George H.W. Bush with Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney

1992 – President George H.W. Bush with President Carlos Salinas de Gortari of Mexico

About 2009 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 80th Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be played on Tuesday, July 14th in St. Louis and will feature the best of the American League taking on the top players of the National League.

Taco Bell All-Star Sunday on Sunday, July 12th

– XM All-Star Futures Game
– Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game

Gatorade All-Star Workout Day on Monday, July 13th

– State Farm Home Run Derby.

Fans will have an opportunity to experience All-Star Summer through a variety of special events including Major League Baseball All-Star FanFest, the five-day interactive fan festival; the MLB All-Star Charity Concert presented by Pepsi benefiting Stand Up To Cancer, a free concert for fans under The Gateway Arch featuring Sheryl Crow; the All-Star Charity 5K & Fun Run presented by Sports Authority and Nike, a charity run on a baseball-themed route to benefit three cancer organizations; and the All-Star Game Red Carpet Show presented by Chevy, a free parade of All-Stars leading into Busch Stadium.

For more information about 2009 All-Star Summer, visit www.allstargame.com.

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USA 2009 16U Trials Roster Announced

USA – USA Baseball announced Friday the 36 invitees to the 2009 USA Baseball 16U National Team Trials to be held on the campus of Cal State Fullerton University from August 1-7.

Players will participate in daily practices and drills at the trials, as well as in four ten-inning intrasquad Blue vs. Red games. The final 18-man roster will be announced on August 7.

The 2009 16U National Team Trials roster features players born January 1, 1993 or later who were among the over 2800 players competing in the USA Baseball 16U Championships. Half of the players were selected out of the 16U Championships – West tournament held this past week in Peoria and Surprise, Ariz., while the other half came out of the 16U Championships – East tournament held simultaneously in Palm Beach County, Fla.

Several members of the Trials roster have previous USA Baseball experience. Dylan Davis, Zach Davies, and Evan Powell are all returning for their second straight 16U Trials. All were invited as 15 year olds last summer but were not selected to the final team. Albert Almora, Rio Ruiz, and Davies have all played on two 14U National Teams, while Dante Flores, C.J. Hinojosa, Chris Rivera, and Davis have been a part of one previous 14U National Team.

The Houston Banditos in the East had the most Trials invitees selected off of their roster with three. Cory Geisler, Courtney Hawkins, and Hinojosa all played together for the Banditos in Florida, while Apopka teammates Francisco Lindor and JoMarcos Woods have led their team into Saturday’s semifinal action. In the West, former 14U National teammates Davis and Davies played together again for AZ Select.

Other items of note include Timmy Lopes, whose brother Christian was the starting left fielder for the 2008 Pan Am Champion 16U National Team, and Alex Santana, whose father Rafael played in the Major Leagues for seven years and was the shortstop for the 1986 World Series Champion New York Mets. Also, Deshorn Lake will attempt to become the first member of the 16U National Team from the US Virgin Islands.

Once the final roster is announced, the 16U National Team will have one day of domestic training before flying to Taiwan on August 9 to compete in the IBAF ‘AA’ World Youth Championships to be held August 15-23 in Taichung, Taiwan.

Photo courtesy of USA Baseball

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Lithuanian Baseball Team Completes USA Tour

SWITZERLAND – The top Lithuanian baseball players have now traveled to the heartland of America for a 16 day tour to ramp up their game. The players are part of Club team Kaunas Lituanica that is part of the nation’s top group of players forming the Lithuanian Baseball League.

The team brought their ‘pirstines’ and ‘lazdos’ (baseball gloves and bats) ready to sink into some intense matches comprising a seven game schedule against local summer amateur baseball teams. They are on a learning curve to glean all they can to up their game skills.

The objective of the tour is formation training for the younger players and for the team to learn more about the game after their disappointing 3rd place finish in 2008 league play. The Kaunas Lituanica’s goal is to aim towards winning the Lithuanian Baseball League title in 2009.

The main objective is to take Lithuanian baseball to the Olympics one day.Kaunas Lituanica players learning from the Detroit Tigers. Having baseball back on the Olympic program is crucial for many countries for funding and training purposes.

Lithuania is targeting young player development as the priority for future of the game in Lithuania and throughout the European continent.

Already two players on the US Tour have caught the attention of MLB scouts, 17 year old pitcher and outfielder Edvardus Matusevicius and 16 year old pitcher Dovydas Neverauskas, and they have been invited to Major League Baseball’s European Academy taking place in August in Italy.

The father of Matusevicius, Edmuntas, is the General Secretary of the Lithuanian Baseball Association and is overseeing the tour.

MLB Scouting Bureau staff recently ran 80 tryout and selection sessions evaluating over 250 of the top promising European players as part of their grassroots program.

US TOUR

The kick off of the tour was a visit to study the Major League Baseball teams of the Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers head off at Chicago’s US Cellular Field.

Strong competition hit them to up their game and they fell 11-0 in their first game against the Chicago Wildcats a league considered by many as one of the best amateur leagues in the US.

Tony Huntley of the Wildcats commented on the potential of the younger players and the fact that they hung into the game in spite of the high score.

Photos courtesy of Kaunas Lituanica

Kaunas Lituanica players learning from the Detroit Tigers.

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Rockford RiverHawks Ink Russian Pitcher

USA – The Rockford RiverHawks continued their tradition of international acquisitions on Friday when they signed Russian pitcher Slava Vasilyev.

Vasilyev is a right-handed 24-year-old from Moscow with many accolades from his native country. He won the Russian Baseball League’s Most Valuable Player award in 2007 and helped lead the Russian club team MGPU to the league championship title in 2008. Vasilyev also played outfield. He is a graduate of Moscow City Pedogogical University.

“We are very pleased to have Slava in the league,” Frontier League commissioner Bill Lee said. “He demonstrates that the Frontier League has grown to attract players from all over the world. I personally wish him the best of luck to become successful and attain his dreams in professional baseball.”

Vasilyev has no prior professional experience.

Vasilyev is the third foreign player on the Rockford roster this year. Injured pitcher Jose Mateo is from the Dominican Republic, and Tanner Watson, the team’s all-time wins leader, is a Canadian national. Catcher Robert Sabates, a native of Cuba, is now a resident alien in the U.S.

The RiverHawks almost missed out on the Russian prodigy. Vasilyev was initially discovered by scouts for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the spring of 2008. The Dodgers liked what they saw and wanted to sign him, but Vasilyev had university course requirements to complete in Moscow. This winter Vasilyev impressed RiverHawks manager Bob Koopmann and Director of Baseball Operations Dave Ciarrachi during practice sessions. Koopmann soon dubbed Vasilyev the “Russian Rocket.”

Vasilyev arrived to Rockford with limited English skills. In order to improve his abilities, he has brokered a lingual exchange in the Hawks’ locker room.

“We plan to have Russian class in the clubhouse,” RiverHawks clubhouse manager Alex Sagas said. “He will teach me Russian and I will help him with his English.” Sagas also said he will distribute Russian phrases to teammates to help them communicate with Vasilyev.

The RiverHawks are members of the Frontier League, a 12-team independent professional baseball league that will play its 17th season this summer. The RiverHawks host the 2009 Frontier League All-Star Game at 7:05 p.m. on July 15. Advertising and season-ticket information is available by calling (815) 885-2255. Fans can also visit the RiverHawks online at www.rockfordriverhawks.com. Most games are broadcast live on ESPN 1380, and on the team website.

Photo courtesy of leaguelineup.com

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IBAF: Baseball Continues Global Growth

SWITZERLAND – Baseball’s global growth at the highest professional level continued this week with the announcement that up-and-coming players from 12 nations will play in the 2009 XM Satellite Radio All-Star Futures Game, which will be held in St. Louis, Missouri ( USA) on 12 July as part of Major League Baseball All-Star festivities.

The twelve nations – the United States, Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Cuba, Italy, Chinese Taipei, Korea, Japan, Panama, the Dominican Republic, and the Netherlands Antilles – is among the most diverse in the eleven year history of the game, which will be televised in over 200 countries.

The diversity in the Futures Game, which will feature the rising stars of baseball, coupled with the latest global fan voting for the All-Star game (which has players from five different nations leading at their respective positions), further shows the sport’s global growth at the Major League level in North America.

“Every week there is another example of the rapid international growth that baseball is witnessing, whether it is a large increase in Little League participation in Europe, new school programmes in Africa or Asia, or new sponsors in Latin America,” said IBAF President Dr. Harvey Schiller. “The diversity in nations that will be represented during the Major League Baseball All-Star festivities is further proof that the game at the highest level is also growing quickly, with many of these younger stars already exposed to international play through the Olympics, the World Baseball Classic and other events. This will help baseball gain even more exposure in emerging nations, and it shows that the future of the sport on a global basis is very bright.”

As of this week, over 30 nations from six continents are now represented in professional major and minor league baseball in North America, the highest amount of nations in the sport’s history.

About the International Baseball Federation (IBAF)
Founded in 1938, the International Baseball Federation is a non-governmental organisation recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as administering men’s and women’s baseball at the world level. Located in Lausanne, Switzerland – the Olympic Capital – and counting 125 National Member Federations, the IBAF organises the IBAF Men’s and Women’s Baseball World Cup, the AAA (18U) and AA (16U) World Championships, the Olympic Games Baseball Tournament, and it sanctions the World Baseball Classic, among other international baseball tournaments. The IBAF works to develop and grow the game of baseball around the world. For more information, please visit www.ibaf.org.

Photo courtesy of survivinggrady.com

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Lincoln Saltdogs Pitcher Tosses No-Hitter

USA – Lincoln Saltdogs starting pitcher Jarrett Gardner tossed the American Association’s second no-hitter in three days, fanning four and walking one en route to a 4-0 win. Gardner faced the minimum in the game, 27 batters, on his way to the first no-hit bid in the nine-year history of the Saltdogs. Lincoln’s offense meanwhile, had no trouble hitting the baseball. The team collected 12 hits, led by CF Josh Burrus who was 2-for-4 with a solo home run. Four other Lincoln hitters collected two hits, including 1B Phil Hawke who was 2-for-2 with three walks and a RBI.

Attendance: 3,011

W: Jarrett Gardner (5-3) L: Josh Neitz (1-1) S: None HR: LS-Josh Burrus (8)

WICHITA 2, SIOUX CITY 1

The Wichita Wingnuts got a good outing from starting pitcher Brad Davis en route to a 2-1 win against Sioux City and giving them a sweep of the series. Davis allowed one run on five hits in eight innings to earn the win and improve to 4-2 on the year. Leading the way at the plate for Wichita was DH Dustan Mohr, who was 3-for-3 with a RBI. The win for the Wingnuts was the team’s 26th of the season. Wichita reliever Justin Young recorded the last out in the ninth to earn his first save.

Attendance: 2,079

W: Brad Davis (4-2) L: Trevor Fox (3-1) S: Justin Young (1) HR: None

PENSACOLA 7, GRAND PRAIRIE 6

Trailing 6-5 entering the bottom of the ninth inning, the Pensacola Pelicans rallied for two runs on Grand Prairie reliever James Morrison to earn a walk-off win by a score of 7-6. Pensacola SS Luis Guance had a big game at the plate going 3-for-4 with three RBI to lead the Pelicans. Pensacola 2B Antoin Gray also had a nice game offensively. Gray was 2-for-4 with a run scored and two RBI. Pelicans reliever Hunter Davis allowed one hit in a scoreless ninth inning to earn his second win of the season.

Attendance: 1,309

W: Hunter Davis (2-0) L: James Morrison (2-1) S: None HR: None

SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER 7, FORT WORTH 4

Trailing 2-1 entering the third inning, Shreveport-Bossier rallied for six runs to take a 7-2 lead and never looked back en route to the win. Captains starting pitcher Logan Williamson allowed four runs, two earned, on eight hits in six innings of work to earn his third win of the season. Shreveport-Bossier CF Jonathan Reynoso led the way at the plate, going 2-for-3 with three RBI. Fort Worth C Kelley Gulledge hit a solo home run and was 1-for-3 in the losing effort.

Attendance: 2,591

W: Logan Williamson (3-2) L: Joel Kirsten (4-2) S: Justin Dowdy (2) HR: FW-Kelley Gulledge (6)

SIOUX FALLS 4, ST. PAUL 3

Sioux Falls got a solid outing from starting pitcher Ryan Ford who earned his first win after allowing three runs on five hits while striking out seven in six innings of work. Four different Canaries hitters had two hits in the game, including 3B Trevor Lawhorn who was 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Sioux Falls closer Kris Regas struck out a batter in the game’s final 1 2/3 innings on the way to his 13th save of the season.

Attendance: 5,818

W: Ryan Ford (1-5) L: Mike Bille (0-4) S: Kris Regas (13) HR: SP-Todd Self (4)

NORTH DIVISION

Team Won Lost
Wichita 26 13
St.Paul 20 18
Sioux City 19 20
Sioux Falls 16 23
Lincoln 15 23

SOUTH DIVISION

Team Won Lost
Ft.Worth 27 11
G.Prairie 19 20
Pensacola 18 21
El Paso 17 22
S-Bossier 16 22

Photo courtesy of baseballinfortwayne.com

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Chicago Cubs Ink Taiwan Prospect

TAIWAN – The Chicago Cubs have signed Nan-Ying Vocational High School second baseman Chen Ping-Chieh to a professional contract. Chen, who received a $300,000 signing bonus, becomes the fifth prospect from Taiwan signed by the National League franchise.

The 5’11” and 160 pound infielder is an above average runner whose best tool is his speed reports the Taiwan Baseball website. The 17-year-old, a left-handed swinging hitter with little to no power, will need to improve his strentgh as he matures.

Chen joins Wang Yao-Lin as the second player on the 2009 Taiwan Junior NT to sign with a U.S. major league team.

CUBS TAIWAN PROSPECTS
1. HW Chen
2. YL Wang
3. CH Wen (has been released)
4. HH Tsai (had his contract voided)

Data and Photo courtesy of Taiwan Baseball

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USA National Team Routs Canada

USA – Christian Colon (Cal State Fullerton) and Andy Wilkins (Arkansas) both hit a two-run home run and Team USA pieced together a 12-4 victory over Team Canada, Thursday, in the first game of the friendship series at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C.

Tyler Holt (Florida State) drew a lead off walk to start the game for the United States and Kolten Wong (Hawaii) moved him over on a first-pitch single up the middle to put runners on the corners with no outs. Colon immediately put the U.S. on board when he tallied an RBI on a routine double play, plating the first run for Team USA on the summer.

With the 1-0 lead and Michael Choice (UT Arlington) on second base, Rick Hague (Rice) placed a perfect bunt for a single that forced an errant throw by the third baseman to advance him to third. But an errant through from the right fielder attempting to catch Hague out at third sailed past the baseman and allowed Hague to score, putting the U.S. ahead 3-0.

Team USA capped its scoring in the third with a towering two-run home run to left field by Colon for the five-run lead.

Starting pitcher Drew Pomeranz (Mississippi) ran into a jam in the fourth inning when Canada got on the board with three consecutive hits, bringing the score to 5-1. Pomeranz walked the next batter to load the bases with only one out but struck out the next two batters to end the threat.

Wilkins’ two-run homer to right field highlighted the five run bottom of the fifth and the U.S. picked up another run in the bottom of the sixth inning due to a Canadian error, extending its lead to 10 before Canada threatened again.

Canada picked up three runs in the top of the eighth inning on reliever Bryce Brentz (Middle Tennessee State). Brentz surrendered five walks and one hit in the top half of the inning for all three of the Canadian runs and left the bases loaded for reliever Sonny Gray (Vanderbilt), who pitched Team USA out of trouble.

Rob Segedin hit an RBI triple to right-center in the eighth to score Team USA’s final run of the game.

Drew Pomeranz (1-0) received the first win for the U.S. on the summer as his predetermined four innings resulted in one run scored on four hits and 10 strikeouts. Jake Eliopolous (0-1) took the loss for Team Canada.

Colon went 3-4 with four RBI and four runs scored on the day. Hague and Wilkins chipped in by going 2-3 for the USA Baseball National Team (Collegiate).

Team USA and Team Canada will face off again Friday at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, N.C. for the second game of the five-game series. For tickets, visit USABaseball.com or the Durham Bulls web site.

Photo courtesy of hogwired.com

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2009 MLB All-Star Game Picks

USA – Voting for the 2009 Major League All-Star Game is winding down and fans are making their choices for the starters at each position. BaseballdeWorld’s Marvin Moore takes a look at who is the leading choice of the fans, and who he believes should be starting in baseball’s mid-season classic.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Catcher

Vote Leader: Joe Mauer, Twins
BaseballdeWorld: Mauer has returned from the disabled list in a big way and should be a landslide winner for the starting nod.

First base

Vote Leader: Mark Teixeira, Yankees
BaseballdeWorld: It’s a three-horse race with Teixeira, Bosox Kevin Youkilis and the Twinkies Justin Morneau. The Yankee slugger is the favorite but my choice is Morneau.

Second base

Vote Leader: Ian Kinsler, Rangers
BaseballdeWorld: Kinsler and Boston’s Dustin Pedroia are the favorites but Aaron Hill of Toronto is also deserving. I’m a native Texan and Rangers’ fan so my choice is surprise…Kinsler.

Shortstop

Vote Leader: Derek Jeter, Yankees
BaseballdeWorld: Tampa Bay’s Jason Bartlett is having a great year with his glove and bat and is my choice over the widely popular Jeter.

Third base

Vote Leader: Evan Longoria, Rays
BaseballdeWorld: George Brett and Mike Schmidt were once All-Star fixtures at the hot corner, and so should Longoria.

Outfielder

Vote Leaders: Jason Bay, Red Sox; Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners; Josh Hamilton, Rangers
BaseballdeWorld: Bay is deserving of a starting slot and while Hamilton has been hampered by injuries, it is always nice to see some guys from Arlington in the All-Star gala. I like Ichiro but Toronto’s Adam Lind is my choice for the final spot.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Catcher

Vote Leader: Yadier Molina, Cardinals
BaseballdeWorld: Molina has the defensive skills but Atlanta’s Brian McCann is the better all-around choice and my pick for the starting backstop.

First base

Vote Leader: Albert Pujols, Cardinals
BaseballdeWorld: Both Prince Fielder (Brewers) and Adrian Gonzalez (Padres) are All-Star-caliber players, but Pujols is simply the best hitter in the game. A no-brainer.

Second base

Vote Leader: Chase Utley, Phillies
BaseballdeWorld: Duh! Perhaps in a few years a minor league stud will appear to challenge for Utley’s annual All-Star game starting nod?

Shortstop

Vote Leader: Hanley Ramirez, Marlins
BaseballdeWorld: Houston’s Miguel Tejada has found his stroke and passion for the game, again, but Ramirez is my choice by a wide margin.

Third base

Vote Leader: David Wright, Mets
BaseballdeWorld: Some would say the number of quality third baseman in the National League has dwindled. I agree.  Wright is the right choice.

Outfield

Vote Leaders: Raul Ibanez, Phillies; Ryan Braun, Brewers; Carlos Beltran, Mets
BaseballdeWorld: I agree with the fans’ choice, really.

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2009 CWS: LSU Wins National Title

USA – Jared Mitchell launched a three-run homer in the opening frame and the LSU Tigers erupted for five sixth-inning runs to capture their sixth national championship with a 11-4 victory over the mistake-prone Texas Longhorns.

LSU (56-17) built a 4-0 lead but Texas (50-16-1) responded by pulling even. However, Mikie Mahtook’s tie-breaking double sparked the Tigers’ outburst in the sixth and coach Paul Mainieri’s squad scored seven unanswered runs to claim college baseball’s top prize.

Mahtook’s two-base hit into center off Brandon Workman to break a 4-4 tie, and LSU capitalized on a pairof walks, two hit batters, a passed ball, a wild pitch and an error in the sixth. Only two of the five runs LSU scored in the inning were earned.

Sean Ochinko, who added a two-run hit in the game-changing sixth, went deep for LSU in the ninth to end the scoring.

LSU senior ace Louis Coleman fanned Kevin Keyes for the second out in the ninth inning, and then struck out Connor Rowe to clinch the national title.the mound.

Anthony Ranaudo (12-3) picked up the win in a subpar outing that saw him surrender four runs and eight hits – including five free passes – in 5 1/3 innings.

Workman (3-5), one of six Texas’ pitchers, was charged with the loss.

MEN’S COLLEGE WORLD SERIES FINALS

Monday, June 22
Game 1 – LSU 7, Texas 6 (11)

Tuesday, June 23
Game 2 – Texas 5, LSU 1

Wednesday, June 24
Game 3 – LSU 11, Texas 4

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F.C. Barcelona Sweeps Marlins Puerto Cruz

SPAIN – Pau Sancho hit a go-ahead two-run double and Homer Baez held Marlins Puerto Cruz to a lone run over the final six innings as F.C. Barcelona snapped the reigning league champion 24-game winning streak with a 7-4 victory last weekend at the former Olympic stadium in Viladecans.

The Marlins (24-2), which have captured four consecutive Spanish League titles, hold a slim lead over Barcelona (22-4) with 10 games remaining on the schedule – including a pivotal two-game set between the two rivals.

Barcelona grabbed a quick lead off Marlins ace Leslie Nacar. J M Salazar ripped a one-out triple to right field in the opening frame, and Felix Isasi followed with an RBI sacrifice fly for a 1-0 lead.

The home team added another run in the second. J Miqueleiz started the inning with a walk, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Sancho, and scored on Emmanuel Febles two-out RBI single to make the score 2-0.

The Marlins bats awoke in a three-run third to take a 3-2 lead. Daniel Sanchez tied the game with a two-run triple to right field off Baez, and scored moments later on an RBI single by Luis Perez.

The score stayed unchanged until the sixth when Barcelona grabbed the lead for good. Miqueleiz’ infield hit plated Victor Lopez, who reached on a walk to start the inning, to knot the score at 3-3. Sancho followed with a two-base hit to the wall in center field to put Barcelona ahead, 5-3.

Sanchez collected his second triple of the game an inning later, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Perez to cut the lead to 5-4. But Barcelona added two runs in the bottom of the same inning on RBI hits by Oscar Roman and Orlando Diaz to seal the win.

Baez (W 10-2) allowed 10 hits and struck out six in a complete-game effort to get the win, while Nacar (11-1) also went the distance but was pinned with his first setback of the season.

Barcelona finished off the doubleheader sweep with a 4-2 victory in the second game to move within two games of the league-leading Marlins.

Sancho, who started the day with four doubles, drove in a pair of runs with another two-base hit in the fourth to erase a 2-1 deficit. Febles added an RBI single in the sixth to end the scoring for both squads.

Pedro Belmonte (11-0) went the distance allowing 10 hits to remain unbeaten on the year, while Marlins southpaw Ivan Granados (9-1) suffered his first loss of the season.

SANT BOI SWEEPS PAMPLONA

Oscar Alvarez (10-3) went the distance with seven strikeouts and Sant Boi routed Pamplona 9-2 in the first game of a twinbill. William Domero drilled his fourth home run of the year and tallied four RBIs for the home team.

Sant Boi (19-7) chased Pamplona starter Daniel Celaya (0-3) in the second en route to a lopsided 11-2 victory in the second game to finish off the sweep. Jose Estebin Cruz (9-4) picked up the win and Javier Jose Flores drove in three runs with a trio of hits.

HALCONES AND VILADECANS SPLIT TWINBILL

Ronny Malave (5-4) outpitched Delio Martinez (8-2) and Michel San Gil and Carlos Millan both had RBI hits to help the Vigo Halcones edge Viladecans 2-1 in their first meeting last weekend.

Pol Llopis (2-3) limited Halcones (13-11) to just a ninth-inning run and Viladecans (13-12) salvaged a split with a 4-1 win the the second encounter. Miguel Catalan had two RBIs and Raul Perez crossed the plate three times for the winners.

SAN INAZIO SURVIVES ASTROS UPSET BID

Fidel Mane (6-3) tossed six strong innings and San Inazio Bilbao trounced the Valencia Astros 13-1 in their twinbill opener. Dirimo Chavez (3-fo-4) led the offensive onslaught with three runs scored, and Asier Izaguirre added three RBIs.

Chavez hit a three-run bomb in the eighth to erase a 5-4 deficit to help San Inazio (13-13) escape with a 7-6 win in the second game over the upset-minded Astros (1-25). Andoni Ortiz (1-3) was credited with his first win of the year, while Luis Galicia (1-4) was charged with the loss.

NAVARRA AND EL LLANO BATTLE TO A DRAW

Jose R. Morales delivered a three-run triple in a five-run ninth to lift El Llano past Baseball Navarra 7-6 in the first game of a doubleheader. Elbis Avila (1-2) allowed one hit in 3 1/3 shutout innings to earn the win.

Navarra survived another late rally by El Llano to claim an 8-7 win in the second game. Juan Miguel Marte (4-4) picked up the win, while Ruben Fente (5-4) was pinned with the loss.

STANDINGS

Team Won Lost
Marlins 24 02
Barcelona 22 04
Sant Boi 19 07
Vigo 13 11
Viladecans 13 12
San Inazio 13 13
El Llano 09 17
Navarra 08 16
Pamplona 05 20
Astros 01 25

Photo courtesy of Diego Lazaro

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DOOR Neptunus Win Streak At 15

NETHERLANDS – DOOR Neptunus extended their winning streak to 15 games with three shutout wins over ADO last week to remain 1 1/2 games ahead of the L&D Amsterdam Pirates in the Dutch Major League.

Neptunus (23-6-1) opened the series with a 4-0 win last Thursday behind a strong outing by Diegomar Markwell. The left-hander scattered three hits and two walks over seven innings with five strikeouts to improve his record to 7-1 with a 1.88 ERA.

Kevin Heijstek (7-3) blanked ADO on four hits and Neptunus scored five runs in the seventh to claim a 10-0 win in the second game on Saturday. The league front-runner capped a dominant three-game series sweep with a 11-0 win in Sunday’s finale.

Eugène Kingsale went 3-for-5 with a double, triple and two RBIs, while Raily Legito also tallied three hits for Neptunus to raise his batting average to .387.

Dushan Ruzic (5-1) worked five scoreless innings with seven strikeouts to notch the win and lower his ERA to 0.72.

SPARTA/FEYENOORD CONTINUE KONICA MINOLTA WOES

The Konica Minolta Pioniers opened the series with a convincing 6-0 win against Sparta/Feyenoord last Thursday to snap a three-game losing skid. 2008 Holland Series MVP Ryan Murphy (8-1) allowed a walk and five hits in eight scoreless innings to get the win and lower his ERA to 0.66.

Sparta/Feyenoord bounced back on Saturday to even the series as Rob Cordemans and reliever Herman Gaarman combined to shutout the Pioniers the final seven innings in a 5-2 win in 11 innings on Saturday.

Infielders Rutger Veugelers and Percy Isenia had two hits apiece, and a pair of errors allowed
Dimitri Leon and Rubinet Koko to cross the plate in extra-innings. Rodney Michel drove in Nick Eppinga with an RBI single to cap the game-winning rally.

Gaarman (4-1) worked three scoreless relief innings allowing two hits and four walks to earn the win.

Gregory Gustina’s RBI fielder’s choice in the 11th inning on Sunday wrapped up the series win with a 6-5 victory. Roy Beems allowed one run in 3 2/3 innings to get the win, while Robin van Doornspeek was dealt his second loss in as many days for the Pioniers.

Citing a lack of team chemistry, Konica Minolta skipper Frank Koene and assistant coach Peter Barentsen both turned in their resignations on Tuesday effective immediately. Assistant coach Theo Geerman was named interim manager by the club.

The reeling Pioniers (18-11-1) have lost five of their last six games.

MEDIAMONKS RCH SURPRISES MR. COCKER HCAW

MediaMonks RCH continued their recent surge with a pair of wins against Mr. Cocker HCAW last weekend. However, the three-game set did not begin well for RCH.

Kevin Miner (3-5) tossed seven dominant innings in the series opener as HCAW rolled to an easy 10-1 blowout win.

RCH capitalized on a pair of late defensive miscues by HCAW to claim a 3-2 win in 10 innings in the second meeting last Saturday. Closer Dave Draijer registered the final four outs to notch a rare win.

The MediaMonks wrapped up their first series win of the year with an 8-3 victory on Sunday.

Floris Morang and Giovanni Valmont went a combined 7-for-10 with two RBIs and four runs scored.

Chris Mowday (2-5) allowed one run in eight innings to get the win and lower his ERA to 2.69, while Kevin Roovers (0-6) was pinned with the loss.

STANDINGS

Team Won Lost Tie
Neptunus 23 06 01
Amsterdam 22 08 00
Kinheim 19 11 00
K-Minolta 18 11 01
Sparta/Feye 17 12 00
Mr.Cocker 09 20 01
MediaMonks 05 24 00
ADO 04 25 01

Photo courtesy of Henk Seppen/L&D Amsterdam Pirates

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USAB Announces 2009 NT Roster

USA – USA Baseball announced Wednesday night the 22 members of its 2009 National Team (Collegiate). The roster is headlined by shortstop and 2008 National Team member Christian Colon (Cal State Fullerton; Capey, Puerto Rico), and consists of five outfielders, six infielders, 10 pitchers, and one utility player. Two additional players will stay with the team to serve as alternates.

The National Team was selected after 10 days of trials that included eight intrasquad games and practices at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C.

The USA Baseball National Team is comprised of the top non-draft-eligible college players in the United States. In 2009, the National Team will play in two international friendship series in North Carolina against the Canadian National Team and the Guatemalan National Team before heading to Japan for the 37th Annual USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Series and the World Baseball Challenge in Prince George, British Columbia, Canada.

“This is the most productive trials period that I have ever been a part of,” said Eric Campbell, General Manager of USA Baseball National Teams. “I would like to congratulate all of the players and the staff for putting together a competitive 10 days in Cary.”

Leading the 2009 National Team is Colon. The sophomore batted .263 in twenty-four games for the 2008 National Team and led the team in hits (T-26) as the club’s starting second baseman. Joining Colon at infielder positions are Rick Hague (Rice; Spring, Texas), Brad Miller (Clemson; Orlando, Fla.), Andy Wilkins (Arkansas; Broken Arrow, Ark.), and utility player Kolten Wong (Hawaii; Hilo, Hawaii).

In the outfield is Bryce Brentz (Middle Tennessee State; Crossville, Tenn.), Michael Choice (UT Arlington; Fort Worth, Texas); Tyler Holt (Florida State; Marion, Ind.), Casey McGrew (Wright State; Delaware, Ohio), and Matt Newman (Arizona State; Phoenix, Ariz.).

The 10-member pitching staff in 2009 will include eight right-handed pitchers and two lefties. The right-handers include Trevor Bauer (UCLA; North Hollywood, Calif.); Chad Bettis (Texas Tech; Lubbock, Texas); Gerrit Cole (UCLA; Santa Ana, Calif.); Sonny Gray (Vanderbilt; Nashville, Tenn.), Nick Pepitone (Tulane; Houston, Texas); T.J. Walz (Kansas; Omaha, Neb.), Asher Wojciechowski (The Citadel; Pensacola, Fla.), and Tony Zych (Louisville; Hazelcrest, Ill.). Drew Pomeranz (Mississippi; Memphis, Tenn.) and Cody Wheeler (Coastal Carolina; Fredericksburg, Va.) are the only left-handers on the 2009 pitching staff.

Blake Forsythe (Tennessee; Memphis, Tenn.) and Yasmani Grandal (Miami; Havana, Cuba) will catch the Team USA’s pitchers in 2009.

“Making the decision on who to select for the 2009 National Team has been the toughest I have ever had to make as a head coach,” said the club’s skipper Rick Jones (Tulane). “I give a lot of credit to my coaching staff. They put together a very organized and productive trials that allowed us to successfully choose the right players for this team.”

Joining Jones are pitching coach Mike Kennedy (Elon), and assistant coaches Rob Cooper (Wright State) and Dan McDonnell (Louisville).

Remaining with the team as alternates are Rob Segedin (Tulane; Teaneck, N.J.) and Jeremy Schaffer (Tulane; Houston, Texas).

The National Team begins its summer season Thursday, opening a five-game series against the Canadian National Team in Cary, N.C. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM ET at the National Training Complex, and Pomeranz will take the mound for the U.S.

Photo courtesy of uta.edu

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SK Wyverns Ink Pitcher Gary Glover

SOUTH KOREA – Korean heavyweight and reigning league champion SK Wyverns, have acquired former MLB pitcher Gary Glover to upgrade their relief corps.

The Cleveland, Ohio, native agreed to a $170,000 contract including a $30,000 signing bonuss. To make room for Glover, the team placed southpaw pitcher C.J. Nitkowski on waivers.

the 32-year-old, who was drafted in 1994 by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 15th round of the Major League Baseball Draft, is an imposing figure on the mound, at 6’4″ with a fastball that reaches 93 miles per hour.

Glover made his debut in the majors with the Blue Jays in 1999 and went on to pitch for six big league teams. He also played with the Yomiuri Giants in the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) league in 2006. Glover recorded 29 wins and 26 losses with a 3.24 ERA.

In his only season in the NPB, Glover was 5-7 with a 4.97 ERA as a starting pitcher. He also played alongside Korean first baseman Lee Seung-yeop and Ken Kadokura, who was signed by the Wyverns earlier this season.

Glover appeared in 104 games for the Tampa Bay Rays during the 2007-08 seasons after returning from Japan.

Glover pitched this season with the Washington Nationals Triple-A affiliate, Syracuse Chiefs, and with Florida Marlins Triple-A affiliate, New Orleans Zephyrs where he was 3-3 with a 4.79 ERA.

Photo courtesy woolis.com

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