USA Baseball announced the U-18 National Team coaching staff, highlighted by the return of Jack Leggett as manager. USA U-18 National Team will travel to South Korea looking for a record fifth consecutive world title at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup, slated to be played from 30 August to 8 September in Gijang City.
Scott Bankhead and Gregg Ritchie will also return to the staff as the team’s pitching coach and hitting coach, respectively, and Gerald Laird will round out the staff as an assistant coach.
“USA Baseball is thrilled to welcome Jack Leggett back as the manager of the 18U National Team this summer after leading the 2018 18U team to a record-setting performance in the COPABE U-18 Pan-American Championships,” said USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO Paul Seiler. “His baseball knowledge and ability to motivate and mentor athletes are remarkable qualities that has led to a career of successes unmatched by many. As this year’s team looks to make a run at a feat never before achieved at the youth level in international baseball history, we are confident that we have assembled a strong coaching staff that can lead a group of tremendous young athletes to new heights.”
2019 will mark Leggett’s second consecutive year as the 18U National Team manager after he led the 2018 U-18 National Team to a gold medal at the COPABE U-18 Pan-American Championships in Panama.
The inaugural Prospect Development Pipeline League, the 2018 U-17 National Team Identification Series and 2019 U-17 NTDP, will serve as the identification events for the 2019 U-18 National Team. The PDP League is an invitation-based development opportunity for approximately 80 of the top high school baseball players ahead of the 2020 MLB Draft and will run from mid-June through early-July at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, to begin the U-18 National Team schedule for 2019.
Leading into 2019, the USA U-18 team has won eight straight international tournament titles dating back to 2011, including winning the last four WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cups in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2017. Currently, the U.S. and Cuba are the only two countries to win four-consecutive world championship titles at the U-18 level.