INAUGURAL USA BASEBALL 14-U NATIONAL TEAM HEADED TO PAN-AMERICAN QUALIFYING EVENT
January 19, 2007
18 Players Assemble in Phoenix to travel to Guatemala City, Guatemala
PHOENIX, AZ - For the first time ever, USA Baseball will send a 14-and-Under National Team to an international competition. The Pan-American 'A' Regional Qualifying Event will take place in Guatemala City, Guatemala, from January 20th-27th and will feature 8 teams from North and Central America.
USA Baseball has enjoyed enormous success with its 16-Under, 18-Under, College, and Professional level teams, including numerous World Championship titles and Olympic Gold Medals in 1988 and 2000. The 14-U National Team is the capstone of the new Champions Program launched by USA Baseball in the fall of 2006. After hosting five tournaments between October and November, a USA Baseball technical committee chose 18 players to compete in the event in Guatemala City.
The 14-U National Team assembled in Phoenix, AZ on January 18th for a day of preparation and training at Brophy College Preparatory high school. With notice of the tournament coming only a month in advance, Thursday was the first opportunity for the team to get together. Led by head coach Tom Succow (Phoenix, AZ), and assistant coaches Tim O'Brien (Columbia, MD), George Sanchez (Gilbert, AZ), and Dave Webb (Gilbert, AZ), the inaugural team includes players from Washington, Oregon, Utah, California and Arizona. After listening to an inspiring speech by USA alumnus and 2000 Olympic Gold Medalist Ernie Young, the team worked on defensive schemes and took its first full round of batting practice. "We're in a rather unique situation in trying to evaluate, instruct, and prepare these players in such a short window," said Coach Succow. "Bottom line though, I think we'll be headed down there with a very talented team."
The squad will depart for Guatemala City on Friday, January 19th, with either round-robin or pool play games scheduled to start on the 20th.