USA Baseball ran into trouble the night before it planned to select its final roster, when North Carolina players Dustin Ackley and Kyle Seager backed out of consideration at the last minute after a deep run in the College World Series.
“They were invited to the club, and I’m just disappointed I wasn’t able to bring two more deserving college players into the trials,” National Teams general manager Eric Campbell said. “I feel really bad about two unnamed players that couldn’t come in because of our commitment to those two players.
“People can opt in or opt out. If you’re going to opt out, just tell me. I wish Ackley and Seager were going to put on this uniform and play for their country, but it just wasn’t in the cards. So we move on.”
The National Team announced its final roster on Tuesday with just 20 names, rather than the planned 22. Two additional players will be named later.
The Trials roster finished 8-2, with five consecutive wins to close out the trials period. The team outscored its opposition, which included teams from the New England Collegiate Baseball League, the Coastal Plain League and China, by a 69-23 margin. Its only losses came at the hands of the North Shore Navigators and the Pittsfield Dukes of the NECBL.
Tennessee outfielder Kentrail Davis, who was outstanding at the plate, has been the team’s best player. He batted .463/.542/.945, and was leagues ahead of the rest of the hitters. He hit six home runs (the next closest was Aaron Senne’s three), knocked in 19 RBIs (second place had six), and tied for the lead in runs (11) and walks (seven).
On the mound, Stephen Strasburg (San Diego State) and Mike Minor (Vanderbilt) had been the team’s top options, as expected. A member of last year’s Team USA, Minor threw nine shutout innings and finished 2-0, while Strasburg struck out 14 and allowed just one hit in seven innings of shutout ball.
“Without a doubt, this is an outstanding collection of talent both on the mound and in the lineup,” National Team coach Rob Walton said in a released statement. “We have plus arms, solid defenders and a group of quality hitters with great makeup. We look forward to representing the United States in international competition with this team.”
Team USA’s domestic schedule runs for one more week, with the team playing a series that starts tonight in Greenville, S.C., against Taiwan, with the team also playing games in Kannapolis, Durham and Cary, N.C. In July, Team USA travels to the Netherlands for Haarlem Baseball Week (or Haarlem Honkbal, to use the Dutch term), then plays the German national team on July 15 before traveling to the Czech Republic for the fourth FISU World Collegiate Baseball Championship.
The U.S. has won gold medals in the last two FISU events in 2006 and 2004, played in Cuba and Taiwan.
|USA BASEBALL NATIONAL TEAM ROSTER|
|RHP||Kyle Gibson, Missouri||So.|
|RHP||A.J. Griffin, San Diego||So.|
|LHP||Chris Hernandez, Miami||Fr.|
|RHP/2B||Mike Leake, Arizona State||So.|
|LHP||Tyler Lyons, Oklahoma State||So.|
|LHP||Mike Minor, Vanderbilt||So.|
|LHP||Andrew Oliver, Oklahoma State||So.|
|RHP||Kevin Rhoderick, Oregon State||Fr.|
|RHP/OF||Blake Smith, California||So.|
|RHP||Stephen Strasburg, San Diego State||So.|
|RHP||Kendall Volz, Baylor||So.|
|C||Micah Gibbs, LSU||Fr.|
|C||Ryan Lipkin, San Francisco||So.|
|SS||Christian Colon, Cal State Fullerton||Fr.|
|SS/3B||Derek Dietrich, Georgia Tech||Fr.|
|SS||Ryan Jackson, Miami||So.|
|1B||Hunter Morris, Auburn||Fr..|
|OF||Kentrail Davis, Tennessee||Fr.|
|OF||Matt den Dekker, Florida||So.|
|OF||Josh Fellhauer, Cal State Fullerton||So.|