Linfield College baseball coach Scott Brosius, moonlighting as the skipper of USA Baseball’s 18-under team, recently guided Team USA to the International Baseball Federation World Championship in Seoul, South Korea.
With Brosius at the helm, the Americans defeated Canada 6-2 in the gold medal game, clinching their first IBAF world title since 1999.
Team USA won seven of nine tournament games, avenging an early round 10-inning loss to Canada.
Last fall, Brosius guided the Americans to a gold medal at the Pan American championships in Cartagena, Colombia. Based on his experience as professional player and college coach, as well and coaching success in international competition, Brosius was again chosen by USA Baseball to mold a collection of young all-stars to compete in the 2012 World Championships.
With only two players returning from the squad that won the Pan American title, the former Linfield and major league star of the Oakland A’s and New York Yankees faced the daunting task of quickly determining each player’s role and developing cohesion with a virtually new roster.
“One of the challenges is in a situation like this is, you don’t get a lot of time to figure things out once the team is set,” he said. “It was important to get all the players pulling in the same direction and understanding our team expectations and team play.
“In college, a coach has an entire preseason to bring those things together. Our challenge was getting everyone playing like a true team, rather than just a collection of all-stars, in a short amount of time.”
With many 18-year-old players already committed to playing baseball in college or professionally, Brosius’ 18-under team was comprised mostly of 17-year-old high school juniors and seniors.
Team USA faced adversity on its way to winning the gold. Two days of rainouts caused the tournament schedule to be shuffled, forcing USA and Canada to play a split day/night doubleheader. Fellow semifinalists Korea and Japan were instead rescheduled to play one midday game for the opportunity to advance.
Instead of using the scheduling disadvantage as an excuse, Team USA “wanted to go out and prove that we could win anyway. From that point on, we played some great games. After we lost to Canada 1-0 in extra innings, we needed to win every remaining game to win the championship. That’s when our guys played their two best games and really showed they owned some toughness.”
Now with three World Series titles, Pan American and World Championships crowns, as well as four conference championships as a Linfield player and coach, Brosius has made a career of being a winner.
“We walked away feeling very satisfied with the result,” he said. “At the Pan Am games, we were considered the favorites. But in the World Championships, we were not favored to win. We had to be able to go out and prove ourselves and answer some questions.”
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