6 Compton YA players commit to D-1 colleges

6 Compton YA players commit to D-1 colleges

COMPTON, Calif. -- The future is bright for six amateur baseball players who signed National Letters of Intent to play NCAA Division I college baseball during a ceremony Saturday afternoon at MLB's Youth Academy in Compton.

"This is what it's all about," said Tony Reagins, MLB's senior vice president of youth programs.

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Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Stroman holds youth clinic on Long Island

Gold Glove winner hosts free program in hometown as part of 'Players Going Home' initiative

Stroman holds youth clinic on Long Island

NEW YORK -- Four days after winning his first career Gold Glove, Marcus Stroman was back on Long Island, telling a crowd of eager young listeners all about it, and showing them how they could follow in his footsteps to a big league pitcher's mound.

The Blue Jays right-hander, who grew up on Long Island and attended Patchogue-Medford High School, spent Saturday morning hosting a free youth baseball clinic organized by Pro Camps at Hofstra University, part of MLB's "Players Going Home" program.

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David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB Youth Academy duo commit to colleges

Burns, Williams -- alumni of the New Orleans program -- sign with Tulane and Mississippi State, respectively

MLB Youth Academy duo commit to colleges

NEW ORLEANS -- For Collin Burns and Basiel Williams, Saturday capped off years of hard work and marked the start of a new journey, as they signed collegiate letters of intent.

Seated at a table on the field at the New Orleans Major League Baseball Academy, Williams and Burns signed to play collegiate baseball at Mississippi State and Tulane, respectively. It was at Wesley Barrow Stadium where the two spent four years training and improving their baseball skills.

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Joshua Thornton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kids enjoy Play Ball event at Fall Stars Game

Prospects Bellow, Almonte provide encouragement before activities

Kids enjoy Play Ball event at Fall Stars Game

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- As Arizona Fall League director Steve Cobb stood in front of approximately 250 kids Saturday, he made it clear there was only one requirement for the afternoon.

"That you have fun," Cobb said.

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Justin Toscano is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kids enjoy Play Ball event before G4 action

Kids enjoy Play Ball event before G4 action

HOUSTON -- There was no Houston Astros Youth Academy in this space the last time the local Major League Baseball team hosted World Series games back in 2005. On a bright and breezy Saturday morning, it was the center of attention as legends and top baseball executives gathered with about 500 kids for a Play Ball event before the Dodgers' 6-2 win over the Astros in Game 4, which evened the Series at 2-2.

World Series Gm 5: Tonight, 8 p.m. ET on FOX

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Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com and a baseball writer since 1990. Follow him on Twitter @Marathoner and read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com/blogs hub. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

At youth tourney, unique rules transform game

MLB, Perfect Game address pace of play with new measures

At youth tourney, unique rules transform game

EMERSON, Ga. -- Over the weekend, 16 teams gathered at Perfect Game Park South-LakePoint for a tournament that pitted some of the top travel teams from across the country against one another.

From the outside, it looked like a normal tournament, but it was far from it. Take the fifth inning of the semifinal game between Canes National and the Upstate Mavericks. With two outs in the top of the fifth, Mavericks outfielder Austin Hunter saw a no-strike, backdoor curveball that caught the edge of the plate. His knees locked, and as the umpire signaled strike, the Canes left the field and Hunter feigned a swing. The swing, coming several seconds late, drew laughs from the crowd and even the home-plate umpire. The inning ended on that pitch, a strike-one curveball.

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Cody Pace is contributor to MLB.com based in Atlanta. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Play Ball in Houston a positive outlet for kids

MLB, Astros organization teach fundamentals to area youth

Play Ball in Houston a positive outlet for kids

HOUSTON -- Hundreds of children took advantage of a sunny and warm Saturday morning to learn how to play baseball. The Houston Astros Foundation and Astros Urban Youth Academy teamed up with USA Baseball, USA Softball and Major League Baseball to bring Play Ball to the Spring Spirit Baseball Complex.

The Play Ball initiative is an effort to encourage youth to participate in baseball or softball related activities, including formal leagues, events and casual forms of play. Play Ball is MLB's signature youth engagement activity during the professional and amateur baseball and softball calendar, including key dates throughout the MLB offseason, regular season, postseason and the World Series.

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Cameron Brock is a contributor to MLB.com based in Houston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

D-backs aim to recapture offensive groove

Arizona just 1-for-8 with RISP entering Game 3 of NLDS

D-backs aim to recapture offensive groove

PHOENIX -- The D-backs have scored 10 runs against solid Dodgers pitching in the first two games of the National League Division Series presented by T-Mobile, yet that good news is obscured by the fact they enter tonight's game at Chase Field one loss from elimination.

Although the obvious problem has been starting pitching -- with Taijuan Walker and Robbie Ray giving up a combined eight runs on eight hits and six walks in 5 1/3 innings -- Arizona's offense is looking for ways to do just a little more.

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Thomas Harding has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Shannon Ford

Youngsters come out for Play Ball in Portland

MLB initiative encourages kids to learn the game

Youngsters come out for Play Ball in Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Mayor Ted Wheeler opened Saturday's Play Ball event by declaring Oct. 7 an annual Play Ball Day in the community. While Portland may not be home to a Major League team, the city is rich in baseball history and the 100-plus kids who came out to play ball at Walker Stadium proved that the appetite for the game has never wavered.

"What's great about this event is that I think it takes away some of the structure or barriers that maybe are invisible and says come play baseball, come have fun, come learn some baseball activities and games. But don't worry if you don't have the right gear, you're on a team, you're in the right league, just come out and play and have fun," said Nova Newcomer, Executive Director of Friends of Baseball.

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Shannon Ford is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @Shannon__Ford. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inspiring NJ teen wins Boys & Girls Clubs honor

Carlos Polanco named Youth of the Year, will participate in World Series, ASG events

Inspiring NJ teen wins Boys & Girls Clubs honor

Carlos Polanco has been named the 2017-18 Boys & Girls Clubs of America National Youth of the Year, a distinction that comes with special perks from Major League Baseball. Polanco will participate in pregame ceremonies at this year's World Series and at the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard in Washington, plus possible other MLB events over the next year.

Tom Brasuell, MLB's vice president of community affairs and a BGCA alum, was in Washington this week to present the six finalists with BGCA blue Louisville Slugger bats while attending the awards ceremony of MLB's official charity partner. All six finalists serve as role models for the four million youth served by BGCA across the U.S.

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Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com and a baseball writer since 1990. Follow him on Twitter @Marathoner and read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com/blogs hub. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Granderson returns to Urban Youth Academy

Dodgers outfielder imparts wisdom to kids in second visit to facility

Granderson returns to Urban Youth Academy

While playing for the Tigers in 2009, Curtis Granderson held a baseball clinic at the Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy in Compton, Calif., which was then 3 years old. About 50 kids, wearing their own baseball clothes, turned out to work with the young outfielder that day.

Fast forward eight years and Granderson, fresh off celebrating clinching the 2017 National League West title with his new Dodgers teammates, returned to Compton, this time dressing more than 160 young players in shirts emblazoned with "Curtis Granderson's Grandkids," provided by the veteran's foundation.

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Ben Platt is a national correspondent for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bronx Play Ball event a celebration of stickball

Local youth learn basics of game as NYESL partners with MLB, Yankees

Bronx Play Ball event a celebration of stickball

NEW YORK -- Slowly, the blacktop field came together, one chalk baseline at a time. By the time the lines were drawn, River Avenue had been transformed.

Draped with murals and soaked in history, this South Bronx street has flanked the eastern edge of the Yankees experience for nearly 100 years. On game day it becomes a block party, with fans spilling out of Yankee Stadium -- from the first-base gate at the old version, the right-field gate at the new -- onto the neighborhood's main strip of bars and souvenir shops.

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Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tournament 12 features top Canadian talent

Tournament 12 features top Canadian talent

TORONTO -- Tournament 12 was back in action on Saturday at Rogers Centre in Toronto as the top young Canadian amateur baseball players showcased their talent for college and professional scouts.

After a scouting day on Friday, Saturday featured a slate of six games, with eight teams taking the field. After the final two games of the preliminary round are played Sunday morning, the top two teams from each pool will play in the semifinals for a spot in the championship game at 6:00 p.m. ET.

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Keegan Matheson is a reporter for MLB.com based on Toronto. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Naylor cherishes lessons of Tournament 12

Brother of Padres prospect is creating buzz in amateur circles

Naylor cherishes lessons of Tournament 12

TORONTO -- Tournament 12 means different things to different players. Some of the young Canadian amateurs at Rogers Centre this weekend are looking to put their name on the map for the first time, while others, like Noah Naylor, are padding an already-stacked resume.

Even in his third T12 and coming off a year of high-profile baseball experiences, the 17-year-old Mississauga, Ontario, native still cherishes the opportunity to take the field in Toronto.

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Keegan Matheson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Shannon Ford

Play Ball joins in for Worldwide Day of Play

Event at Prospect Park encourages youth participation in baseball, softball

Play Ball joins in for Worldwide Day of Play

BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Wiffle balls flew over the fences at MLB's Play Ball event as part of Nickelodeon's Worldwide Day of Play in Prospect Park on Saturday morning, leaving only smiles and the sound of elated cheers in their dust.

"We think it's important to connect with the community, and being here at Prospect Park and partnering with Nickelodeon's Worldwide Day of Play event is hugely successful," said Tony Reagins, MLB's senior vice president of youth programs. "We expect about 3,000 kids coming through our Play Ball Park feature here today."

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Shannon Ford is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @Shannon__Ford. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Abram shows growth in Tournament 12

17-year-old pitcher goes four strong for Ontario Green

Abram shows growth in Tournament 12

TORONTO -- It's hard to miss a 6-foot-8 pitcher like Dellin Betances or Doug Fister standing atop a 10-inch Major League mound. When that towering right-hander is a 17-year-old Canadian who throws strikes, heads really turn.

Ben Abram, one of the premier young arms at Tournament 12 in Toronto this weekend, threw four strong innings in Ontario Green's 5-3 win over Ontario Black on Friday night at Rogers Centre. The Georgetown, Ontario, native allowed one run on three hits with three walks and six strikeouts. His velocity sat in the mid-80s and touched 87 mph multiple times. Abram understands those numbers will continue to grow into his 235-pound frame.

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Keegan Matheson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tournament 12 showcases Canadian talent

Fifth annual event underway at Rogers Centre this weekend

Tournament 12 showcases Canadian talent

TORONTO -- The fifth annual Tournament 12 got underway Thursday at Rogers Centre in Toronto, showcasing Canada's 160 best young amateur baseball players with college eligibility. The event runs through Sunday.

Eight teams represent every Canadian province and will play a four-game round-robin before the top two teams from each pool advance to the playoff round Sunday. The event, run by Hall of Fame second baseman Roberto Alomar, also features a scout day Friday, during which the players get valuable exposure in front of college and pro scouts.

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Keegan Matheson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

D-backs host National Play Campaign event

Club educates youngsters on health, injury prevention and more

D-backs host National Play Campaign event

PHOENIX -- Hours before the D-backs were scheduled to face off with the Rockies on Wednesday, the outfield at Chase Field was flooded with kids sprinting, jumping and hurdling their way through a series of drills as D-backs head athletic trainer Ken Crenshaw shouted words of encouragement.

Chase Field played host to a National PLAY Campaign event on Wednesday with the goal of educating local kids on everything from healthy eating, injury prevention, strength and conditioning, and education about the dangers of illegal performance and appearance-enhancing drugs as they ran through a series of stations.

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Jarrid Denney is a reporter for MLB.com based in Phoenix. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

U.S. beats Canada behind Casas' 5 RBIs

First baseman goes 3-for-4 at U-18 Baseball World Cup

U.S. beats Canada behind Casas' 5 RBIs

USA Baseball opened the Super Round of the U-18 Baseball World Cup with an 8-3 win over Canada in front of a raucous crowd Thursday in Thunder Bay, Canada, led by five RBIs from first baseman Triston Casas.

Casas wreaked havoc on Canada pitching all night, starting with a bases-loaded single in the first inning to open the scoring. Considered a top prep talent for the 2018 MLB Draft, Casas finished the night 3-for-4 with a homer, double and walk.

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Jack Baer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

USA Baseball 18U team reaches Super Round

USA Baseball 18U team reaches Super Round

The USA Baseball 18U National Team is moving on to the Super Round of the 2017 World Baseball Softball Confederation U-18 Baseball World Cup as one of two undefeated teams in the tournament.

Team USA beat Cuba, 8-1, on Tuesday in its last game of Group B pool play in Thunder Bay, Canada, to improve to 5-0 at the World Cup. Korea, in Group A, is also undefeated. Super Round play begins on Thursday, with the U.S. waiting on the results of two remaining games on Wednesday to have its schedule determined.

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David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Shannon Ford

Top 14U players match up in Perfect Game

Top 14U players match up in Perfect Game

FORT MYERS, FL -- Although a friendly matchup of teen All-Stars, Sunday's 14U Perfect Game Select Baseball Festival has already featured some impressive competition.

Mississippi slugger Blaze Jordan is among the 40 best age 14 and under players who were selected to play in Sunday's game at JetBlue Ballpark, the Spring Training home of the Boston Red Sox  (tonight at 7 ET on FOX Sports and streamed live on MLB.com). One of the leadup events included a Home Run Derby, where Jordan gave fans a sneak preview of the talent pool by knocking five dingers out of the Major League practice field with apparent ease.

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Shannon Ford is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @Shannon__Ford. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Japan wins Little League World Series

Japan wins Little League World Series

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Japan overpowered Texas in the Little League World Series championship game, 12-2, on Sunday. The victory marks the fifth time that a Japanese team has won the title since 2010.

Even though the gutsy squad from Lufkin, Texas, came up short of the ultimate prize, the team advanced further than any Southwest region or Texas team ever had.

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Mike McCormick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

LLWS was invaluable experience for Bellinger

Dodgers' rookie star went to US final with Chandler, Ariz., in 2007

LLWS was invaluable experience for Bellinger

Nobody knew who he was at the time, but that sweet, smooth Cody Bellinger swing -- the one that would come to captivate the baseball world -- first hit national television sets 10 years ago.

It was the 2007 Little League World Series, and Bellinger's team from Chandler, Ariz., made it all the way to the U.S. bracket final before losing to the eventual champion from Georgia. But Bellinger made his mark, going 3-for-3 with an opposite-field home run in one of the games.

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Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Texas, Japan to meet in LLWS title game

Texas, Japan to meet in LLWS title game

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Lufkin, Texas', Mark Requena belted a dramatic two-run homer with his team down to its final three outs Saturday, sending the Southwest region champs to the Little League World Series championship game.

In a rematch against Greenville, N.C., for the U.S. Championship, Lufkin again had its hands full, but was able to come back from a 5-0 deficit to win, 6-5.

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Mike McCormick is an editorial director for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rizzos are Little League Parents of the Year

Rizzos are Little League Parents of the Year

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Ice cream if you win. Ice cream if you lose.

That was the philosophy to which the Rizzo family held firm during Anthony Rizzo's Little League days.

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Mike McCormick is an editorial director for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Japan tops Mexico, earns spot in LLWS final

Japan tops Mexico, earns spot in LLWS final

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- The team from Japan started Championship Weekend at the Little League World Series with a bang.

Facing a red-hot Mexico team in the International Championship at Lamade Stadium, the Kitasuna Little League from Tokyo rode a four-run first inning all the way to a spot in the world championship game with a 5-0 win.

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Mike McCormick is an editorial director for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Talented kids are up to Challenge at LLWS

Talented kids are up to Challenge at LLWS

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Playing in front of a raucous crowd made up of parents, friends and several of this year's Little League World Series teams -- including Australia and the Northwest Region's Walla Walla Valley Little League -- the Challenger Division squads from Freehold Township, N.J., and Riverside, R.I., got a chance to showcase their talent, pride and spirit Saturday.

The Challenger Program, according to the league's website, is Little League's adaptive baseball program for individuals with physical and intellectual challenges. 

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Jake Schwartzstein is an editor for Major League Baseball. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Team USA finalizes 18U roster for World Cup

Americans will go for fourth consecutive gold medal in September

Team USA finalizes 18U roster for World Cup

MINNEAPOLIS -- It is a day that outfielder Jarred Kelenic will never forget.

Kelenic, a left-handed-hitting outfielder from Waukesha, Wis., was named to to the Team USA 18U roster following the final intrasquad scrimmage at Target Field on Thursday. But more importantly, Kelenic had a chance to pay tribute to his grandfather, who was a lifelong Twins fan, and ultimately passed away on May 4 of last year while watching a Twins game.

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Shane Jackson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Minneapolis. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

What's in a (nick)name? Ask Little Leaguers

MLB players aren't the only ones with unique monikers

What's in a (nick)name? Ask Little Leaguers

Williamsport is not about to miss out on the inaugural Players Weekend. For every "Boomstick" and "Joey Bats" roaming the Major Leagues, Little Leaguers have their own share of great nicknames.

Since unfiltered fun and creativity dominate the dugouts of youth ball, it comes as no surprise that this year's Little League World Series teams have nearly as many entertaining monikers as there are players on their roster.

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Mike McCormick is an editorial director for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Top 10 championship games in LLWS history

Top 10 championship games in LLWS history

A week of festivities, fun and friendly competition concludes Sunday when the Little League World Series hosts its 71st championship game. Two teams -- Lufkin, Texas, from the United States and Tokyo Kitasuna of Japan from the international bracket -- will battle to become the last squad standing from the 16-team field.

With talented youngsters showcasing their love for the game in a winner-take-all scenario, it's no wonder that the LLWS final has provided some of the most iconic moments in the history of America's pastime. In no particular order, here are 10 championship tilts that made viewers just as excited as the kids who played in these games.

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Dylan Hornik is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.