Three Tampa Bay baseball players received invitations to the USA Baseball 18-and-under national team trials.
Plant 1B Pete Alonso and Hernando INF Christian Arroyo, both rising seniors and University of Florida commits, were two of the 38 players selected from among 144 who participated in last week’s Tournament of Stars in Cary, N.C. Alonso and Arroyo are also joined by Jesuit P John Kilichowski, one of two players who had already qualified for the trials through the National Team Identification Series.
Over the four-game tournament, Alonso went 4-for-13 (.308) with three doubles, three walks, three RBIs and a stolen base as his team won gold. Arroyo, whose squad came in third, went 6-for-15 (.400) with a triple, three RBIs, two runs scored and a walk.
Perfect Game’s David Rawnsley put together a mock 20-man roster for the USA 18U team that will compete in the IBAF Junior AAA/18U World Championships in Seoul on Aug. 30-Sept. 8. Both Alono and Arroyo made the cut.
“Arroyo might be the best present hitter in the 2013 class,” Rawnsley wrote. “He squares up everything and squares it up hard. His run/throw tools will not excite scouts but if you want to win games against the best 18-year-olds in the world, you want him in your line up.”
Arroyo (6-0, 175 pounds) was nominated for Mr. Baseball this past past season thanks to a .305 batting average, a team-high 25 runs scored and excellent defense at shortstop. He was tied for the team lead with eight doubles and helped take Hernando to the Class 5A region finals.
Regarding Alsono, Rawnsley wrote that he was “superb in Cary and in addition to his powerful bat is an outstanding first baseman who will impact games on defense as well as on offense.”
Alonso, a two-time member of the Times’ all-Suncoast team, led all Hillsborough public school hitters with a .485 average and also had 24 RBIs, 11 doubles, six home runs and a .912 slugging percentage for Plant.
Jesuit 3B Adrain Chacon and P Spencer Trayner also turned in noteworthy performances from the Tournament of Stars. Chacon went 2-for-4 with a double in a 4-2 loss in the fifth place game, and Trayner threw four shutout innings in two appearances, picking up a win and a save in the process.
Alonso, Arroyo and Kilichowski will remain in Cary until Saturday for the first wave of trials. The 40 players (and six alternates) will participate in intrasquad scrimmages as well as in Games 1 and 2 of the Prospect Classic.
On July 1, the roster will be cut to 28 players, and from there the team will close out Games 3 and 4 of the Prospect Classic. After a six-week break, the remaining players will travel to California to conclude Phase 2 of trials, which runs Aug. 18-27.
Photo: Pete Alonso