Three Tampa Bay baseball players received invitations to the USA Baseball 18-and-under national team trials.
Plant first baseman Pete Alonso and Hernando infielder 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 pitcher 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 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.
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, and from there the team will close out Games 3 and 4. After a six-week break, the remaining players will travel to California to conclude the next phase of trials, which runs Aug.18-27.
* * *
Ex-Gulf star picks USF
Two days after personally receiving a scholarship offer from Skip Holtz, Robinson two-way lineman Bruce Hector has taken USF's coach up on it.
Hector (6-2, 260 pounds) said he has committed to the school perched atop his wish list. A left guard on offense and a defensive end, Hector received the offer at the end of USF's annual Super Bull summer camp Saturday. He said Bulls coaches told him he projects as a defensive tackle.
Hector, who transferred from Gulf last summer after starting as a sophomore, collected 31 tackles and three sacks as a junior while helping provide lanes for a running game that averaged 187 yards.
He said the fact that USF's team grade-point average has risen each of the last five years was another factor in his choice.
"I think I can learn a lot more when I go to their school," he said.
* * *
7-on-7 league in limbo
Tropical Storm Debby has washed out at least one of the sites for today's weekly 7-on-7 North Suncoast passing league, coordinator Chris Taylor said late Monday afternoon.
The games at Central have been canceled because of the weather, Taylor said. Teams scheduled to compete were: Central, Fivay, Land O'Lakes, Nature Coast, Hernando, Springstead, Pasco and River Ridge.
The league will still try to play games at Anclote beginning at 5:30. That could change if the forecast of up to 2 inches of rain and 37-mph wind gusts hold true.
"We'll play it by ear," Sharks coach Matt Wicks said.
Anclote is scheduled to host Hudson, Zephyrhills, Gulf, Mitchell, Wiregrass Ranch, Wesley Chapel and Sunlake.
Staff writers Joey Knight and Matt Baker contributed to this report.