The 16U National Team Trials are officially underway as the Blue Team knocked off the Red Team, 9-7 in 8 innings tonight at FIU. The kids have waited a long time to get on the field to try to make the National Team between the original Panama delay and then the Mexico delay, and you could tell that they were anxious to play some baseball.
Blue starter Philip Pfeifer threw three perfect innings with 5 K’s and was supported by two hits a piece from Blue hitters Nick Castellanos, Marcus Littlewood, and Zach Davies, while catcher Bryce Harper came off the bench and drilled a shot over the wall in right for the trials’ first home run.
Red centerfielder Mitchell Shifflett had a double and a triple out of the leadoff spot, while catcher Will Allen scored twice in a losing effort.
The first couple of days have been great, just a bit wet. If they didn’t know how to pull tarp before reporting to trials, they do now, as we’re averaging about 2 tarp pulls a day.
The setup is great at FIU. Their players and coaches have vacated their lockerroom for us and that has provided us with a real professional feel. The hotel is just as good and we’re about 4 minutes away by minivan. The covered cages came in very handy the other day when the outer reaches of Hurricane Gustav paid us a visit on Sunday morning and forced us off the field.
Everyone is playing hard and handling the long, strenuous days well. We’ve got a couple of guys banged up and we were short on pitching to begin with after we lost a few kids before trials started when they couldn’t get miss school to come to trials, so we’ve had to juggle things a little on the mound, but making adjustments is something we’ve preached to the kids from the start and they’ve done a good job with what we’ve asked of them.
We’re still working out the kinks on the media side of things and we’ll have a full box and recap on the website tomorrow after some computer difficulties tonight prevented us from getting that out to this point. As well, we plan to make frequent updates to the blog to give you a little more insight into the goings on at trials, and if we get an internet hookup in the pressbox (hopefully tomorrow), we may even be able to do some in-game updates.