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.
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.
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.
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Jesuit WR picks UM
Three days after publicly whittling his choice of colleges to 10, Jesuit rising senior WR Travis Johnson has narrowed it a bit further.
Johnson confirmed on his Twitter account Monday evening that he has committed to Miami, his boyhood favorite college. He attended a one-day camp in Coral Gables over the weekend.
"Truly Blessed To Say I Have Committed To Play Football At The University Of Miami!" Johnson tweeted.
A 6-foot-3, 241-pound football-basketball standout, Johnson is No. 77 on the ESPN150 list. He had 48 catches and a team-best seven interceptions as a safety last season, and enters his senior year with 107 total receptions, 1,574 yards and 14 TDs.
On Friday, he told the Times that Miami was among the final 10 colleges he was considering. He projects as a tight end/slot receiver for the Hurricanes and becomes the third tight end prospect to commit to UM, joining St. Petersburg's Jeremy Kerr and New Orleans' Standish Dobard.
"It was a tough decision," Jesuit coach James Harrell said. "He liked USF a lot; it was close to home. I guess football-wise, he figured it afforded him an opportunity to play in the ACC and be a part of the tradition of Miami."
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Knight becomes a Bull
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-foot-2, 260 pounds), a left guard on offense and a defensive end, received the offer at the end of USF's annual Super Bull summer camp. He said coaches told him he projects as a defensive tackle. Hector collected 31 tackles and three sacks as a junior while helping provide lanes for a run game that averaged 187 yards.