For the second time in the last five years, the Fayetteville SwampDogs will play host to the nation’s collegiate baseball team, Team USA. On July 13 at “The Swamp,” fans will have the chance to watch their beloved SwampDogs in action against the premier collegiate players in the nation. The Fayetteville-Team USA contest will be presented by Family Foods Taco Bell and first pitch is at 7:05 for what guarantees to be an exciting night of baseball.
“The SwampDogs have always been great hosts for our National teams and our International opponents,” said Team USA General Manager Eric Campbell. “We are excited about coming back to Fayetteville, as we know there will be a good buzz in the stadium and, as always, a competitive opponent on the field. Fayetteville is a good baseball town with passionate, supportive and educated fans.”
The talent that has donned the red and white USA jerseys over the years has been impressive. Among the current Major Leaguers that played for the Team USA collegiate team are Philadelphia Phillies slugger Ryan Howard, New York Yankee Mark Teixeira, Colorado Rockies veteran Todd Helton and Washington Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg. Strasburg played for the Team USA Collegiate team in 2008, along with Mike Leake, who currently pitches for the Cincinnati Reds. USA Baseball had 195 of their former players on MLB Opening Day rosters in 2010.
USA Baseball invited 38 college players to the 2010 USA Baseball Collegiate national team trials, which are being held right now. A selection committee is formed to select players for the trials. The 2010 USA Baseball Collegiate national team manager, Bill Kinneberg (Utah), and his three coaches, Dave Serrano (Cal-State Fullerton), Ed Blankmeyer (St. John’s) and Nino Giarratano (San Francisco) along with a former athlete from the national team program form the committee. The list of roster-invitees for Team USA in 2010 includes players from college baseball powerhouses South Carolina, Clemson, TCU, UCLA, Cal-State Fullerton, LSU and Rice.
The SwampDogs are one of two Coastal Plain League teams that will square off against Team USA. On July 12, Team USA will be taking on the Gastonia Grizzlies in Gastonia, N.C., at Sims Legion Park. Team USA’s stop in Fayetteville on July 13 is game two on their schedule leading up to the World Baseball Championships on July 30.
“We are extremely excited about this great opportunity,” said SwampDogs head coach/Director of Operations Darrell Handelsman. “Our players get to take on the best in the nation at the collegiate level and our fans get to see future major leaguers in action. It doesn’t get much better than that.”
The matchup will mark the second time in the last five years the two teams have played each other. The SwampDogs also took on Team Japan three years ago.
For tickets, call the SwampDogs front office at (910) 426-5900.