Local players join Team USA in Latin American Baseball Classic
September 6, 2012
Justin Tucker (of Renton, seventh grade, McKnight Middle School) and Torey Anderson (of Newcastle, eighth grade, Maywood Middle School) recently returned from the Dominican Republic, where they represented the United States in one of Latin America’s biggest baseball tournaments, the Latin America Baseball Classic.
The Classic annually draws teams from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, Aruba, Cuba and Mexico. Former major league pitcher Jim Parque, founder of Big League Edge in Auburn, was beaming about Team USA’s performance.
“I’ve done this for seven years now and this year was something special,” he said. “We had great kids who were great baseball players. The youngsters’ families showed great support and truly valued the cultural and baseball experience. Two firsts, a second and a third speaks volumes for where USA baseball is at. The youngsters can be proud of their accomplishments.”
Team USA fields teams ranging in age from 12 to 18 years old and handpicks its players from several tryouts held across the country.
Justin was an instrumental player on the 12U USA team, pitching 15 innings and winning three of the team’s four games on their way to the tournament championship. He pitched the last five innings of an extra inning win by Team USA in the 12U championship game against Club Banco Central, a Dominican Republic team.
Justin was named 12U MVP by the LABC Tournament officials, and was also named Team USA 12U MVP by the 12U Team USA coach Cody Ryckman.
Torey was named 13U Best Offensive Player by the LABC Tournament officials and pitched a complete game in the 13U USA semi-final 15-3 win over Enrique (“Quique”) Cruz. The 13U USA team’s only loss in the tournament came in the 13U championship game against the Dominican Republic team Los Vecinos. The 13U USA team fought back and tied the game in the last inning, but fell short in extra innings, losing 6-5.
The tournament included both opening and closing ceremonies where teams from all countries and age groups intermingled and traded uniforms and gear. The games were played at various locations in Santo Domingo and Boca Chica, including Baseball City, a complex of MLB academies where more than 1,600 prospects ages 16 to 20 live and train.
Both Justin and Torey played youth baseball in the Newcastle Baseball Pony system and have played for Eastside Select Sports for the past three years. They were joined on the USA teams by several other Eastside Select Sports players.
Other Eastside Select 12U players included Zane Baker (of Bellevue), Tony Brookbank (of Seattle), and John Buscher (of Bellevue). Other Eastside Select 13U players included Kenny McCormick II (of Seattle), Alex Nelson (of North Bend) and Clayton Stultz (of Maple Valley).