Travel Notebook: Balsis, Eldridge Selected to USA Baseball 15U National Team Trials

July 5 - Two area players, Mason Balsis and Bryce Eldridge, were among the 72 who were named by USA Baseball to participate in Phase I of the 15U National Team Trials in Cary, N.C., from July 26-28.

Balsis, a catcher who has committed to the University of Virginia and who lettered as a freshman this spring at Osbourn Park, earned an invitation after participating in USA Baseball’s National Team Identification Series last fall. Eldridge, a 6-foot-6, 184-pound rising freshman pitcher and corner infielder at Madison, was invited after participating in an identification event last month. 

Balsis and Eldridge will be competing to be among the 34 players selected for Phase II of the Trials beginning on July 29 and ultimately to be selected for the final 20-man roster. The 15U National Team will train in Houston, TX, from Sept. 6-10 before participating in the COPABE U-15 Pan-American Championships from Sept. 13-22 in Mexico. 

Both players are members of the Marucci Stars travel program during the offseason. 

Carroll’s Loaded Stars Club Opens With Win at Perfect Game 16U National Championship

Longtime area travel and showcase coach Carson Carroll has one of his deepest Marucci Stars teams this summer, and his club opened the Perfect Game WWBA 16U National Championship with a 9-4 win over New Jersey’s Sportika Gallagher Elite earlier today in Georgia. 

The team is headlined by two-way standout Nick Lottchea (Westfield), the lone sophomore member of this year’s NOVA Nine Team. Another two-way threat is Casey Cook (Freedom-South Riding), who has committed to play at North Carolina and was 2-for-3 today in his first game back from an injury suffered in the spring. Oakton’s Nick Morgan, the team’s leading hitter this summer, was also 2-for-3 in today’s win. 

Three players who helped key Lake Braddock’s run to the Class 6 state championship - outfielder Ryan Cuadros and left-handers Andrew Schaeb and Mike Weidinger - will also play big roles should the Stars make a run at the week-long tournament. Other pitchers to watch include right-handers Nathan Knowles (Yorktown) and Connor Kolarov (Freedom-South Riding) and lefties Casey Bach (Centreville) and Everett Catlett (Colgan), the lone rising senior on the team. 

Each of the 392 teams at the tournament play seven pool play games, with the 49 pool winners advancing to elimination play. The Stars’ biggest competition in their pool will likely be tomorrow’s opponent, the West Florida Scorpions Select, as well as Team Georgia National, who they will face on Sunday night. 

Eikhoff Helps Canes Win Perfect Game WWBA 17U National Title

Riley Eikhoff (Patriot) earned the win in yesterday’s quarterfinals and his EvoShield Canes National team went on to win the title earlier today at the Perfect Game WWBA National Championship in Cartersville, GA. 

The right-hander scattered three hits and surrendered one run over four innings in a 3-1 quarterfinal win over Rawlings Arkansas Prospects Menard yesterday and finished the tournament with nine strikeouts while allowing one run in eight innings over his two starts. 

Earlier today, the Canes beat Florida’s Ostingers Baseball Academy, 15-0, in the semifinals and Dallas Patriots Stout, 8-3, in the final. They went 12-0 at the tournament and are 29-2 this summer. 

Two teams with several local players, the EvoShield Canes North and Richmond Braves National, advanced through their pools to elimination play before losing in the opening round. 

Rostered with the Canes were Kristian Asbury (Robinson), Justin Bassett (West Potomac), Nathan Cmeyla (Briar Woods), Paul Glenchur (Bishop O’Connell), Wyatt Miles (Woodgrove), Shane Saunders (Osbourn Park), Joey Thomas (Flint Hill) and Aidan Vanvickle (Riverbend). And playing with the Braves were Jake Berry (Bishop O’Connell), Thomas Latham (Chantilly), Vince DiMauro (Brentsville District), Chris Polymeropoulos (Madison), Tucker Sullivan (Stafford) and Jacob Weaver (Briar Woods). 

Photo of Mason Balsis by Bethany Balsis