USA Baseball Announces Indy League Based Team For World Cup


Complete Coverage of USA Baseball World Cup Team

By John Manuel and J.J. Cooper

October 1, 2003

The Olympic qualifying tournament isn’t the only international baseball action on the schedule this fall.

Cuba will be playing host Oct. 12-25 to the 35th edition of baseball’s World Cup, and the United States is sending a team to the tournament, one separate from the prospect-filled unit that will attempt to qualify the U.S. for the 2004 Olympics in Athens. This club will be the fourth indy league team USA Baseball has fielded, joining those from the 1999 Intercontinental Cup, 2000 Pan Am Cup and the 2002 Americas Series Championships and there are veterans of those clubs on this team.

A number of the best players in independent ball this season were signed or sold to affiliated clubs in the final weeks of the season, which meant that several top catchers (Frank Charles, Josh Loggins and Charles Alley) were no longer candidates for the team, but of the remaining players, Team USA did a solid job of bringing in a number of the top players in indy ball.

The team includes Atlantic League MVP Rolo Avila, who hit .329-3-45, perennial indy league all-star Harry Berrios (.312-15-73 for Winnipeg) and Northeast League MVP Vic Davilla (.337-20-74 for Allentown). Berrios is one of three Team USA alumni on the team, joining infielder Brian Ward and lefthander Jake Whitney.

And though shortstop was a weak spot on most independent teams this year, Alex Eckelman (.321-4-36 for Camden) should give Team USA a solid starter at the position; the team’s other shortstop, Robbie Kison, hit only .200-1-23 in two indy league stops this season.

With 11 pitchers, Team USA brought in a strong bullpen, with righthanders Conor Brooks (1-4, 2.31 with 21 saves for Brockton) and D.J. Johnson (7-2, 2.25 with 17 saves for Kansas City), lefthander Mike Guilfoyle (7-3, 1.90 with 40 saves for Bridgeport).

The starting staff will include lefthander Jon Cannon (7-6, 1.86 for Long Island), and righthanders Ryan Creek (10-4, 2.66 for Jackson) and Hank Thoms (6-2, 2.42 for two teams).

The team will be managed by Marty Scott, who has managed three of the four Team USA indy entries. He’ll be joined by former big league manager Terry Bevington (Shreveport), Doug Simunic (Fargo-Moorhead) and George Tsamis (St. Paul) on his coaching staff.

Cuba will use its best team in the 16-team field and is considered the favorite in the tournament, and Asian teams such as Japan, Korea and Taiwan are reporting to be sending their best to the World Cup as a tuneup for their Olympic qualifier beginning on Oct. 31. China also is sending a team, which is currently in training at the Mariners’ spring-training facility in Arizona.

Canada is sending a team of indy-league players similar to Team USA, and the roster includes players such as ex-big league righthanders Mike Johnson and Chad Ricketts. Other teams competing in the tournament include Brazil, France, Guam, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Nicaragua and Panama.

Team USA World Cup Roster

Player

Pos

B/T

H/W

Team

Hometown

Brooks, Conor

RHP

L/R

6-1/210

Brockton

Brockton, MA

Creek, Ryan

RHP

R/R

6-1/210

Jackson

Canton, MS

Johnson, D.J.

RHP

R/R

6-3/215

Kansas City

Seattle, WA

McMurray, Heath

RHP

R/R

6-3/205

Winnipeg

Splendora, TX

Sansom, Trevor

RHP

R/R

6-4/200

Fargo-Moorhead

Winfield, WV

Thoms, Hank

RHP

R/R

6-3/225

Fargo-Moorhead

Newton, MS

Woodman, Hank

RHP

R/R

6-4/215

Schaumburg

Ft.Myers, FL

Cannon, Jon

LHP

R/L

6-3/200

Long Island

Los Altos, CA

Christman, Tim

LHP

L/L

6-0/190

St. Paul

Oneonta, NY

Guilfoyle, Mike

LHP

L/L

5-11/210

Bridgeport

Bridgeport, CT

Whitney, Jake

LHP

L/L

6-2/220

St. Paul

Minnetonka, MN

Jones, Brian

C

L/R

6-4/225

Elmira

Mytrle Beach, SC

Rumfield, Toby

C/IF

R/R

6-3/240

Fargo-Moorhead

Temple, TX

Davilla, Vic

IF

L/R

6-0/200

Allentown

Allentown, PA

Eckelman, Alex

IF

R/R

6-1/185

Camden

Broadview Hts., OH

Kison, Robbie

IF

R/R

5-11/165

Jackson

Bradenton, FL

Patton, Josh

IF

L/R

5-10/178

Lincoln

Lincoln, NE

Sachs, Brent

IF/OF

R/R

6-1/190

Winnipeg

Elkhart, IN

Ward, Brian

IF

R/R

5-8/180

Fargo-Moorhead

Orlando, FL

Avila, Rolo

OF

R/R

5-8/170

Bridgeport

Paramount, CA

Berrios, Harry

OF

R/R

5-11/220

Winnipeg

Grand Rapids, MI

Blakely, Darren

OF

B/R

6-0/190

Brockton

Pensacola, FL

Warner, Bryan

OF

L/L

5-9/200

Lincoln

Lincoln, NE

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