by Mike Potter
Just got back from Durham Bulls Athletic Park, where I interviewed USA Baseball's CEO Paul Seiler for a story in the Indy's print edition later this month.
Training camp for the National Team, made up of collegians with eligibility remaining, starts on Sunday, while the U-18 Tournament of Stars runs from June 23-28, all at the National Training Complex in Cary.
The Tournament of Stars matches eight national all-star teams from major youth baseball organizations, with Little League Baseball the best-known outfit electing not to participate. The tournament is expected to feature 16-year-old Bryce Harper of Las Vegas, who has been called baseball's answer to LeBron James and has already been on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Tulane's Rick Jones is the National Team's skipper, while Elon's Mike Kennedy is the pitching coach. Elon right-hander Tom Girdwood is on the 37-man camp roster along with four ACC players - Virginia's left-hander/first baseman Danny Hultzen and outfielder Jarrett Parker, Miami catcher Yasmani Grandal and Georgia Tech right-hander Deck McGuire.
The National Team will eventually be cut down to 22 players for the annual challenge series with Japan (on the road this time) and the World Baseball Challenge in British Columbia, both in July.
The Nationals will play a public Blue-Red intrasquad on June 19 in Cary, then take on Canada in a five-game series in Cary and Durham June 25-29 and Guatemala in a four-game series with the last three in Cary or Durham July 2-4.
USA Baseball's official website has much more info.