USA Baseball announced the 22 members of its 2009 Collegiate National Team; including two players with Northwoods League ties. T.J. Walz (pictured) from Kansas, played for the Duluth Huskies in 2008 and Tony Zych (Louisville) was signed to play with the Madison Mallards this summer. The USA Baseball National Team is comprised of the top non-draft-eligible college players in the United States.
In 2008 with the Huskies, Walz, a right-handed pitcher, posted a 1-4 record with a 2.34 ERA. In 50 innings he allowed just 44 hits and struck out 65 batters. Zych, a freshman right-handed pitcher, never arrived in Madison and will now be placed on the Northwoods League Protected List to free up a spot on the Mallards’ roster while he competes around the world.
The Team USA roster consists of five outfielders, six infielders, 10 pitchers, and one utility player. Two additional players will stay with the team to serve as alternates. The National Team was selected after 10 days of trials that included eight intrasquad games and practices at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C. Current Rochester Honker Tony Thompson (Kansas) competed at the trials as well as Duluth Huskies signee Preston Tucker (Florida) but were not named to the final roster. Thompson played in six games with the Honkers and was hitting .348 with three doubles before leaving for the trials. He is scheduled to rejoin the Honkers within the next week. Tucker had yet to report to the Huskies and it is still to be determined as to if or when he will join the team.
In 2009, the National Team will play in two international friendship series in North Carolina against the Canadian National Team and the Guatemalan National Team before heading to Japan for the 37th Annual USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Series and the World Baseball Challenge in Prince George, British Columbia, Canada.