Phoenix - By the time pre-tournament workouts were in full-swing Friday, temperatures climbed to 107 degrees in Phoenix on the first day of the USA Baseball 14U/16U West Championships.
All 108 teams in the tournament ran 60-yard dashes and took a defensive workout Friday at either the Padres or Mariners complex in Peoria. The teams will spread throughout the Northwest suburbs of Phoenix over the next week to play games in Peoria, Surprise and Glendale. Games begin at 8:00 a.m. Saturday morning.
During the event, the approximate 2,000 players here will be competing for invitations to the 14U and 16U National Team Trials. At the same time, a similar event will take place on the East Coast in Florida. From both events, USA Baseball will choose 40 players from each age group.
The 14U will compete in the COPABE “A”/14U Pan American Championships July 23-August 1 in Nicaragua. The 16U team will try to win gold at the COPABE “A”/16U Pan American Championships Oct. 8-17 in Mexico.
Early Buzz for New Team
This is the inaugural year for the 14U division at the USA Baseball Championships in both Arizona and Florida.
On the first day of workouts in Arizona, there was already an early “buzz” for Team CalTex, a new team that combines eight top players from both California and Texas. The team took an impressive defensive workout at the Padres Complex Friday.
Coach Mike McNeil’s squad could send a large amount of players onto the 14U National Team Trials. We’ll follow them over the next few days and report back with highlights of their top prospects.
The team includes 10 members of the Class of 2014 (rising freshman) along with six players in the Class of 2015 (rising 8th graders).