Team USA Junior Roster Takes Shape

USA Baseball has picked the 20-man roster for the junior national team that will compete in the COPABE Pan Am junior championship Sept. 2-11 in Villahermosa, Mexico. The event serves as a qualifier for the 2006 World Junior Championship.

team was selected from the pool of players at the Tournament of Stars
in Joplin, Mo. A group of 26 players participated in team trials and
played six exhibition games in Atlanta before the final roster was set.

“I feel good about this team,” said junior national team coach
Jerry Dawson of Chaparral High in Scottsdale, Ariz. “I like the
chemistry of this group.

“We are trying to build a club on speed, defense and pitching.
So we have to coach to the style of players that we have. With our team
speed, we cause stress for other teams when we play them. Defensively,
we have made only three errors during our six exhibition games here in
the Atlanta area. That’s pretty solid. With four shutouts in six games,
our pitching has turned out to be what we expected. That is a credit to
our assistant coaches who identified that strength early in the player
evaluation process.”

Because the age requirements stipulate players be born in 1987
or later, the team features three players slated to play college
baseball this spring. Lefthanders Jeremy Bleich and Sean Ratliff will
attend Stanford and righthander Tyson Ross will play at California.

The junior roster also features players with interesting
connections to professional and college baseball. Infielder Marcus
Lemon is the son of former big leaguer Chet Lemon. Lefthander Brett
Anderson’s father Frank is head coach at Oklahoma State. Righthander
Josh Thrailkil played at T.C. Roberson High with Cameron Maybin, the
10th overall pick in June.