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Hillsborough County baseball trio chosen for national development program

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Thu. July 18, 2013 | Joel Anderson

Plant rising junior outfielder Kyle Tucker leads a contingent of three Hillsborough County players selected for the Team 17U USA National Development Program.

Tucker and Panthers teammate Jake Woodford and Hillsborough rising senior Diamond Johnson were among 40 players chosen for the program. They were selected for the development program following the conclusion of the 17U East and West National Team Championships in Florida and Arizona.

The program will take place Aug. 12-16 at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C.

Tucker and Woodford, both 6-foot-3, were previously named two of the nation’s top 50 sophomores in the class of 2015. Tucker, in particular, lived up to that designation by leading the county with a .556 batting average and tying for the county lead with nine homers.

Woodford went 2-1 with a 1.04 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 33.2 innings.

Meanwhile, Johnson was a Tampa Bay Times all-Hillsborough outfielder after hitting .328 with 16 RBIs and four triples and stealing 21 bases. He was also, arguably, one of the county’s top gloves in the outfield.

Johnson, Tucker and Woodford were three of 10 players from Florida chosen for the program, which USA Baseball said is used to “better prepare and develop the athletes for a future USA Baseball National Team experience.”

Joel Anderson can be reached at janderson@tampabay.com or on Twitter @jdhometeam.

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