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 USA  USA  USA

 by Mark McDermott

{Editor's Note: Following are the biographies of 15 ballplayers from the greater Sacramento area who have represented our country on one of the three USA Baseball teams: 18 and under (18U), 16U and 14U.}

 

LARS ANDERSON  

Date of birth: 09/25/1987.     Position: 1B.

Local connection: Jesuit High School.

USA Baseball Experience: Anderson played on the 18U National Team in 2005. At the Pan Am Championships in Mexico, the USA went 7-1 and he hit .464 in seven games with 11 runs batted in. The USA lost to Cuba 2-1 in the gold medal final.

About Anderson: In 2006, the Jesuit Marauders first baseman hit .423 with 14 home runs and was selected by the Sacramento Bee as the area’s Player of the Year. The Boston Red Sox drafted the 6-foot-4, 215-pound slugger in the 18th round and signed him for $825,000. He made his Major League debut with the Red Sox on Sept. 6, 2010. In 18 career major league games, he is 7-for-35 (.200). The 23-year-old is currently in his sixth minor league season.

Current whereabouts: Anderson is playing for the Pawtucket Red Sox, Boston’s Triple-A minor league affiliate in the International League.


  

ZACK AUKES 

Date of birth: 01/05/1995.     Position:  LHP.

Local connection: Pioneer High School.

USA Baseball Experience: Aukes was the starting pitcher for the gold medal winning 14U National Team that won the 2009 Pan Am Championships in Portoviejo, Ecuador. In beating Puerto Rico 4-3 in the final, he pitched two and two-thirds innings, allowed three hits and one earned run, walked one and struck out five. Overall, he was 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA and threw six and two-thirds innings and struck out 13. The USA went undefeated in six games.

About Aukes:  As a sophomore at Pioneer this past season, the 5-foot-11, 170-pounder was 4-2 with a 2.16 ERA. One win was a five-inning no-hitter against Natomas. He was a member of the Hard 90 Rival Premier team in 2009 and the Northern California Stars in 2010. The lefthander registered 89 mph on the radar gun pitching for Central Valley in the Rawlings Norcal World Series this summer.

Current whereabouts: The 16-year-old is preparing for the USA 16U National Team Trials August 7-17 in Cary, N.C. (Update: Aukes did not make the team.)


  

ERIC BERGER 

Date of birth: 04/22/1986.     Position: LHP.

Local connection: Woodcreek High School.

USA Baseball Experience:  Berger made two relief appearances on the 18U National Team that lost 8-4 to Cuba in the gold medal game at the 2003 Pan Am Cup in Curacao, Antilles. The USA went 7-1 in the tournament and the 6-foot-2, 205-pounder pitched two innings, allowed one unearned run, walked two and struck out three.

About Berger: In 2002 at Woodcreek, he was named to The Bee’s All-Metro second team. He tied a Sac-Joaquin Section record for strikeouts in a game with 20 and was named to The Bee’s All-Metro first team. In 2004, the lefty was named All-State, All-American and The Bee’s Player of the Year after a 9-2 record and 0.97 ERA and a .409 batting average. Because of his financial demands prior to the draft, every major league team passed on him. After announcing he would attend the University of Arizona, he pitched for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox in the Cape Cod League during the summer. At Arizona, he pitched and was used as the designated hitter. Tommy John surgery forced him to re-shirt his junior year but was still drafted by the Oakland A’s in the ninth round. In 2008, he posted an 8-4 record with a 4.34 ERA for the Wildcats, was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the eighth round and signed for $125,000.

Current whereabouts: The 25-year-old Berger is pitching for the Akron Aeros, the Indians Double-A affiliate in the Eastern League. 


  

JUSTIN CHARLES 

Date of birth: 06/18/1991.     Position: 2B.

Local connection: Elk Grove High School.

USA Baseball Experience:  In 2007, Charles was the tournament MVP for the gold medal winning 16U World Championships team in Barquismeto, Venezuela. He led all hitters with a .688 batting average (11-for-16) and 11 RBIs in leading the USA to a 6-0 record. He went 3-for-4 in the title game, an 8-2 victory over Brazil.

About Charles: As a sophomore at Fresno State University this past spring, the 20-year-old started five games and hit .300 (9-for-30). In his senior season at Elk Grove, he hit .417 and was named to The Bee’s All-Metro first team. 

Current whereabouts: Charles is playing for the Marysville Gold Sox in the Horizon Air Summer Series.


 

DAN CHILD 

Date of birth: 07/24/1992.     Position: RHP.

Local connection: Jesuit High School.

USA Baseball Experience:  In 2008, Child played on the 16U gold medal winning National Team that Brazil 7-3 at the Pan Am Championships in Veracruz, Mexico. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound right-hander was the starting pitcher in a 12-1 victory over Brazil earlier in the tournament. However, wildness forced him from the game after two and one-third innings. He allowed no hits, one run, walked five and struck out five.

About Child: The 20-year-old will begin his sophomore season at Oregon State University this fall. This past spring, he appeared in four games, compiled a 0-1 record and 9.00 ERA and allowed seven hits and six earned runs in five innings. In his 2010 senior season at Jesuit, he was named to The Bee’s All-Metro first team and an Under Armour All-American after going 6-1 with a 1.87 ERA, striking out 67 batters in 52 and one-third innings and allowing 30 hits. Opponents hit .159 against him. He was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 48th round. Unsigned, he played in the Tournament of Stars and Rawlings NorCal World Series during the summer.

Current whereabouts: Child is playing in the collegiate summer league for the La Crosse Loggers (Wis.) of the Northwoods League.


 

DWIGHT CHILDS 

Date of birth: 07/23/1988.     Position: C.

Local connection: Elk Grove High School.

USA Baseball Experience:  Childs was a backup catcher on the 18U National Team that lost to Cuba 2-1 in the 2005 Pan Am Championships gold medal game in Villahermosa, Mexico. The 6-foot-3, 175-pounder played in eight games and had one hit in six at-bats (.167).

About Childs: In his 2006 senior season at Elk Grove, he hit .330 and was named to The Bee’s All-Metro first team. After high school, he attended the University of Arizona and was selected in the 18th-round of the 2009 draft by the Cleveland Indians.  

Current whereabouts: The 22-year-old Childs is on the disabled list of the Columbus Clippers of the International League with a broken hand.


  

DOUG DENT 

Date of birth: 03/23/1977.     Position: RHP.

Local connection: San Juan High School.

USA Baseball Experience:  Dent was a member of the 18U National Team that earned a gold medal at the 1995 World Championships at Fenway Park in Boston. In compiling an 8-1 record and beating Chinese Taipei 10-0 in the gold medal game, the right-hander pitched six and two-thirds innings of relief, had a 1-0 record and 0.00 ERA, allowed one hit and struck out seven.

About Dent: In his senior season at San Juan, the 6-foot-8, 225-pounder was named to The Bee’s All-Metro second team in 1995. The Toronto Blue Jays drafted the right-hander in the 18th round of the draft, but he did not sign. Instead, he went on a three-year mission to the Philippines. On his return from overseas, he signed a free agent contract with the Atlanta Braves. He spent five seasons (1998-2002) in the minor leagues with four different teams, compiled a 32-29 mark with a 4.05 ERA and never played higher than Double-A ball.  

Current whereabouts: Unknown.


  

ZACH GREEN 

Date of birth: 03/17/1994.     Position: SS.

Local connection: Jesuit High School.

USA Baseball Experience:  Green played shortstop for the gold medal winning 16U National Team at the 2010 Pan Am Championships in Lagos de Moreno, Mexico. The USA posted a 9-0 record and in those nine games the 6-foot-3, 185-pounder hit .500 (5-for-10) with two home runs and five RBIs. The 16U team has won 40 consecutive games.

About Green: The 17-year-old still has a year of high school to go. As a junior, he hit .430 and was third in the Sacramento area in hits (40) and home runs (6) and fifth in runs batted in (33). The Oregon State University recruit was named to the exclusive BaseballSacramento.com All-Capitol Team and The Bee’s All-Metro first Team. He will play in his second Area Code Games set for August 5-10 at Blair Field in Long Beach. In He plays for the Texas Sun Devils under-17 team this summer.

Current whereabouts: Green just finished playing for the Sun Devils in the Perfect Game WWBA 17U Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Finals in Fort Myers, Fla. 


  

JOE HORGAN 

Date of birth: 06/07/1977.     Position:  LHP.

Local connection: Cordova High School, Sacramento City College.

USA Baseball Experience:  Horgan earned a gold medal with the 18U National Team at the 1995 World Championships at Fenway Park in Boston. Horgan and local-product Doug Dent combined to win three games as the USA compiled an 8-1 record and beat Chinese Taipei 10-0 in the gold medal game. The 6-fot-1, 200-pounder was 2-0 with a 0.84 ERA in 10 and two-thirds innings.

About Horgan: At Cordova, he was a two-time Bee All-Metro second-team selection in 1994 and 1995. Following his senior season, the New York Yankees picked the lefthander in the 42nd round. Rather than sign, he went to Sacramento City and improved his draft status. The Cleveland Indians selected him in the 11th round of the draft. It took a while, but Horgan made his Major League Debut on June 12, 2004 with Montreal Expos. In two seasons and 46 innings in the big leagues, he was 4-1 with two saves and a 5.48 ERA. As an 11-year minor leaguer, he was 50-53 with 17 saves and a 4.68 ERA.

Current whereabouts: Horgan is working in the oil industry in Louisiana.


 

J.P. HOWELL 

Date of birth: 04/25/1982.     Position: LHP.

Local connection: Jesuit High School.

USA Baseball Experience:  Howell earned two silver medals playing on the 18U National Team in 2000 and 2001. At the 2000 World Championships in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, he was 1-0 with a 2.89 ERA in nine and one-third innings. The USA went 6-2 in the tournament, losing to Korea 6-2 and 9-7 in the gold medal game. At the Pan Am Junior Championships in Camaguey, Cuba in 2001, he had a 0.93 ERA and struck out 18 batters in nine and two-thirds innings. The USA went 9-2, losing to Cuba 4-1 and 3-2 in the gold medal game.

About Howell: As a junior at Jesuit, he was a Bee All-Metro first teamer with a 7-1 record and 0.67. After posting a 10-0 record and miniscule 0.09 ERA, he garnered all the top high school awards. He was named the California Player of the Year by CalHiSports, The Bee’s Player of the Year and an All-American. He was drafted in the second round by the Atlanta Braves, but passed on signing and accepted a scholarship to USC where he went 3-4 with a 6.32 his freshman season. He left USC the following year in favor of the University of Texas where he flourished on the mound. In 2003, he went 10-2 with a 2.52 ERA. A year later, the 6-foot, 189-pounder was 15-2 with a 2.13 ERA and led the Longhorns to an appearance in the 2004 College World Series where he had a tournament-best 0.77 ERA. The Kansas City Royals paid him $1 million dollars as their first-round pick that year. Howell made his Major League Debut on June 11, 2005. After being traded to the Tampa Bay Rays, he pitched in the 2008 World Series and in the World Baseball Classic in 2009. He missed the entire 2010 season because of shoulder surgery.

Current whereabouts:  The 29-year-old is pitching in the major leagues for the Tampa Bay Rays.


 

JOHN KAYE 

Date of birth: 03/17/1994.     Position: 1B.

Local connection: Granite Bay High School.

USA Baseball Experience:  Kaye was a member of the 18U National Team that captured the bronze medal at the Junior Pan Am Tournament in Caracas, Venezuela in 1999. The USA went 7-1, losing to Panama 8-4 in the semifinals and beating Venezuela 6-1 for third place. Kaye hit .111 (1-for-9).

About Kaye: In 1998, the Granite Bay pitcher/first baseman was the lone Grizzlies’ player named to the All-Sierra Foothill League first team. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound junior led the first-year program in doubles, home runs, RBIs, wins and ERA. After graduating from Granite Bay, the left-handed hitter accepted a scholarship to Rice University and then transferred to Vanderbilt University in 2001 for his final three years. He hit .316 with three home runs and 21 RBIs his senior year. In the summer of 2001, he played for the Outer Banks Daredevils (Kill Devil Hills, N.C.) in the collegiate Coastal Plain League and was named to the North All-Star Team. He never played professional baseball.

Current whereabouts: Unknown.


 

STEPHEN NOGOSEK 

Date of birth: 01/01/1995.     Position:  RHP.

Local connection: Woodcreek High School.

USA Baseball Experience:  In 2009, Nogosek was on the gold medal winning 14U National Team that won the gold medal at the Pan Am Championships in Portoviejo, Ecuador. The USA went 6-0 and beat Puerto Rico 4-3 in the final. The youngster pitched one inning and struck out two and went 0-for-3 at the plate.

About Nogosek: In his two years at Woodcreek, he hit .411 as a freshman and .387 as a sophomore. He is a two-time All-Sierra Foothill League first-team selection. In the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II Playoffs this year, he threw a one-hitter and struck out 16 against Casa Roble. The 16-year-old played for the Hard 90 Rival Premier team from 2003-2009 and the Northern California Stars in 2010. A 6-foot-3, 175-pounder, he was named to the Rawlings Norcal World Series All-Star Game this summer.

Current whereabouts: The quarterback/receiver has been preparing for the upcoming football season at Woodcreek.


 

MATT RILEY 

Date of birth: 08/02/1978.     Position:  LHP.

Local connection:  Sacramento City College.

USA Baseball Experience:  Riley was a member of the 18U National Team that went 4-2 at the 1997 World Championships in New Brunswick, Canada. He was 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA in four and two-thirds innings.

About Riley: In 1997, the lefthander was 8-1 his freshman year at Sacramento City, drafted in the third round by the Baltimore Orioles and signed for $750,000. Two years later, he made his Major League Debut with the Orioles on Sept 9. 1999. The next season, he was plagued by arm troubles and it wasn’t until 2003 before he played again in the big leagues. In four seasons with the Orioles and Texas Rangers, he was 5-4 with a 5.99 ERA.  In 10 minor league seasons and 809 and two-thirds innings, the 6-foot-1, 205-pounder was 49-45 with seven saves and a 4.05 ERA. In his career, he had three Tommy John surgeries.

Current whereabouts: His last known whereabouts was playing for the York Revolution of the independent Atlantic League in 2010.


 

JAKE RODRIGUEZ 

Date of birth: 01/24/1992.     Position: 3B.

Local connection: Elk Grove High School.

USA Baseball Experience:  Rodriguez was the cleanup hitter on the 2008 gold medal winning 16U National Team at the Pan Am Championships in Veracruz, Mexico. Batting behind Washington Nationals superstar prospect Bryce Harper, the 5-foot-8, 190-pounder hit .394 (13-for-33) with three home runs and 10 RBIs. The USA team went 7-1 and beat Mexico 7-3 in the gold medal game.

About Rodriguez: He was named to The Bee’s All-Metro first team three times and was selected The Bee’s Player of the Year and Sacramento River Cats high school MVP in 2009. In 2008, he was named the Junior State Player of the Year by CalHiSports. In four years and 123 games at Elk Grove, he hit .462 with 19 home runs and 141 RBIs. After his 2010 senior season, he was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in the 11th round of the draft but did not sign and accepted a scholarship to Oregon State University. This past spring, he hit .320 in 75 at-bats. He missed part of the season with a broken hamate bone in his hand.  

Current whereabouts: The 20-year-old Rodriguez is a catcher for the Falmouth Commodores of the Cape Cod League.


 

MAX STASSI 

Date of birth: 03/15/1991.     Position: C.

Local connection: Yuba City High School.

USA Baseball Experience: Stassi played for the gold medal winning 16U National Team in 2006 and 2007. He hit .310 (9-for-29) with a home run and nine RBI in eight games at the Pan Am Championships in Barquismeto, Venezulea in 2006. The USA went 9-0 and beat Venezuela 13-3 in the final. In 2007, he hit .421 (8-for-19) in the World Championships in Barquismeto. The USA team went 6-0 and beat Brazil 8-2 in the championship game. In 2008, he played for the 18U squad that won the silver medal in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The USA went 7-1 and lost to Korea 7-1 in the title matchup. Stassi hit a buck thirty (3-23) in five games.

About Stassi: In four seasons and 122 games for Yuba City (2006-2009), he hit .514 (170-for-331) with 40 home runs and 162 RBIs, was named to the Sacramento Bee All-Metro first team four times, was named the Sacramento area Player of the Year in 2008 and 2009 and the Sacramento River Cats high school MVP in 2009. Following his senior season, the A’s drafted the 5-foot-10, 205-pounder in the fourth round and signed him for $1.5 million.

Current whereabouts: The 20-year-old Stassi is on the disabled list of the Stockton Ports of the Advanced-A California League after undergoing season-ending right shoulder surgery. 


Collegiate Squad

Several Sacramento-area players also made the USA Collegiate team. Here is a list.

 

Mike  

Tonis 

Cal/Elk Grove 

Col 

1999 

Clyde 

Keller 

Sac City/Del Campo 

Col 

1987 

RHP 

Casey 

Weathers 

Vanderbilt/Laguna Creek 

Col 

2006 

RHP 

Tim 

Cunningham 

Stanford/Rocklin 

Col 

2001 

LHP/Of 

Dustin 

Pedroia 

ASU/Woodland 

Col 

2002 

Inf. 




Final Note: Two other players from the area have been invited to try out for a 2011 USA Baseball Team:

Dom Nunez, junior, infielder, Elk Grove High, 16U team

Nick Madrigal, freshman, infielder, Elk Grove High, 14U team

Update: Nunez and Madrigal were selected to their respective teams. For more read the High School Chat.


For more information about the USA Baseball program, click here. 

To read about the first travel ball team in the Sacramento area, go here.

To return to the main feature story Travel Ball: Where the Elite Meet to Compete, go here.

 

 Uploaded 07/25/11
Updated 08/13/11

All contents © Rick Cabral 2011

 

 

 

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