USA Baseball has long been the premier team representing the United States in International tournaments. After all, as the organization puts it, these athletes are “Our Pastime’s Future.” The Organization has been around since 1984 when they fielded players like Mark McGwire and Barry Larkin, and more recently fielding players with great potential like Bryce Harper.
Whether you are a fan of the existing Hall of Famers or the potential Hall of Famers, one can easily see the significance of making a team with such great heritage. The statistics are clear, 98 percent of Team USA players go on to play collegiate and/or professional baseball according to Team USA baseball.
The Yalobusha Giants organization had 14 players invited to the NTIS this year in Cary, North Carolina. Making Team USA baseball team is a multi-step process. The first step is to make one of the 16 Regional teams. After being selected for a regional team, the second step is to compete in the National Team Identification Series, NTIS, in Cary, North Carolina. There are 16 regional teams comprised of 18-20 players. These tryouts consist of four games, agility drills, and other various evaluations. There are usually 10-12 players selected for each age division. The third step is the final evaluation, selection of the Team USA. The final evaluation takes place the following year.
“The opportunity for our players to compete with kids from California, Texas, and all over the country is just great,” said Russ Pratt, manager and cofounder of the Yalobusha baseball organization.
“I was able to take four of the kids this year and it was a phenomenal experience for these kids,” said Yalobusha coach, Jason Jenkins. “We are excited we were invited to bring so many kids from our organization. What a testament to the hard work, dedication, and commitment the Yalobusha Giants Organization: coaches, parents, and players put in on a daily basis!
The Yalobusha Giants had two players selected this year. Peyton Puckett was selected in the 14U NTIS as one of only 12 players selected. Peyton was the only person from Mississippi selected for his team. He will compete for a final spot on the 15U Team USA next August.
Collin Reuter was selected for the 2015 Team USA 12U team. He played in the Pan American Games in Taiwan. He started in every game behind the plate as Team USA took the Gold Medal by beating China in the championship game in front of 11,000 people.
Another recognition received by the Yalobusha Giants organization went to Kemp Alderman who was selected the Travelball Select National Player of the year for the 11U as a Pitcher/1B and Kemp was the only 11U player who also made the 12U team.
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