Durham, N.C. -- USA Baseball has announced a group of 36 players who will be considered for selection to the final 18-player roster for the 2008 16U National Team. The 36 players were selected out of the recently completed 16U Championships: 18 from the 16U Championships East in Palm Beach County, Fla. and 18 from the 16U Championships West in Peoria & Surprise, Ariz.
2008 16U National Team Head Coach Garye LaFevers spoke highly of the group of players selected. "There was a very high talent level at the two tournaments, and it was difficult for our staff to get down to the final 18 kids [at each site]. Based on that, the trials should be very competitive."
Thirteen of the invited players hail from the state of California, while Florida supplies the trials with eleven players. Texas sends three players and Tennessee sends two, while seven other states have one representative each.
Five players have had previous USA Baseball experience of some sort. From the east pool, A.J. Cole is the lone returning member of the World Championship gold medal-winning 2007 16U National Team, and Dylan Davis was a member of the 2007 14U National Pan Am Qualifying Team. From the west, Zach Davies was on two 2007 14U National Teams, Peter Tago was at last year's 16U National Team Trials as a 15 year old, and Marcus Littlewood played in the 2008 Tournament of Stars in Cary, N.C. just one week ago.
The 36 players are scheduled to convene in Miami, Fla. in early August in preparation for the COPABE (Confederation of Pan America Baseball) "AA" (16U) Pan Am Youth Championships, which is the continental qualifier for the 2009 "AA" (16U) IBAF World Championships.
Over the past two years, the 16U National Team has compiled a record of 15-0 while winning the 2006 COPABE "AA" Pan Am Youth Championships and the 2007 IBAF "AA" World Youth Championships in convincing fashion.
This year's team will be led by LaFevers, the associate head coach at 2008 Arizona state baseball champion Chaparral High School. He was also the head coach for the 2006 Pan Am Championship squad. This will be his fourth appointment to a 16U National Team coaching staff overall.
Joining LaFevers on the coaching staff will be assistants Darrell Don, Ernie Padron and Charlie Spivey. Don, the head coach at The First Academy in the Orlando area, has been involved for several years with USA Baseball at the 16U Championships and as a trials coach, while Padron (Florida Christian; Miami, Fla.) and Coach Spivey (Lee County High School; Sanford, N.C.) will be contributing to USA Baseball for their first time this summer.
USA Baseball is the National Governing Body of amateur baseball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. The organization selects and trains the United States Olympic Baseball Team (and all other USA Baseball professional teams), the USA Baseball National Team (collegiate); the USA Baseball 18U, 16U, and 14U National Teams; and the USA Baseball Women's National Team, all of which participate in various international competitions each year.