Jordan Kron knew he was a little fish in a big pond when he went out for the under-14 Team USA baseball squad last year.
Despite the fact that he was a year younger than almost all of the other kids that were there, Kron still made it to the final round before being told to come back next year, igniting a fire that has kept him focused on the task of one day representing his country.
By this time next month, he might be doing just that.
Kron, a freshman at East Union High School, was named one of the 24 finalists for Team USA’s under-14 squad that will carry 18 players when they depart for Ecuador midway through October once the roster is finalized.
Earlier this month, the up-and-coming Kron, who is able to play almost any position on the field, made the initial cut during a try-out in North Carolina where he found himself matched up with the best baseball players in the country.
And while his career is still in its infancy, Kron can’t help but take in the reality of possibly representing his own country on foreign soil while doing something that has become so much of his life.
“It’s one of the biggest honors that anybody could ever ask for – to represent your country while playing a sport that you love and cherish,” Kron aid. “I’m truly blessed for the opportunity to be in this position because this is something that every athlete dreams of being able to do.”
While he still had a year to grow when he tried out for the squad last year as an 8th grader, Kron was looking forward to the experience and getting the necessary framework to prepare him for the position that he currently finds himself in.
Even with the knowledge and the experience he gained, it provided little leverage against the crop that he found himself amongst on the diamonds in North Carolina, taking advantage of the unusually mild weather of the region while the Central Valley baked in late summer heat wave.
Each day was spent going through a variety of position stations where his skills were tested, and the week eventually wrapped up with full nine-inning games overseen by the assortment of Team USA coaches that evaluated each player to determine who would proceed.
“Everybody out there was on the same level – only the great players were the ones who were going to stand out,” he said. “I was out there and thinking to myself that some of these guys are going to be the real deal one day, and we were following in the footsteps of Team USA and its Hall of Famers.
“It’s something that I’m still in shock from, and I can’t wait to get on that plane and go to Florida and give it my all to make that final 18.”
Even though he hasn’t even seen his first high school pitch, Kron is already taking the legitimate formal steps to prepare him for international play.
Last week the family submitted the necessary paperwork to get his minor passport approved so if selected he’ll be able to depart with the team on Oct. 15 – bound for Guayaquil, Ecuador for a two-week stint.
Don’t, however, expect to hear gloating from the wide-eyed 14-year-old that is still processing the possibility that he is only weeks away from finding out if he’ll be able to wear the same uniform that legendary shortstop and Team USA Captain Derek Jeter donned during the World Baseball Classic.
His reasons for pursing the game with such fervor rest not in selfishness but rather the ability to learn more about himself through a game that he has spent his entire life admiring and wanting to pursue.
“Baseball is a game of failure – you’re going to fail, and how you handle that failure is going to determine what kind of a player you’re going to be,” Kron said of why he loves the game so much. “It’s a game that allows you to grow as a person through those trials and tribulations and come out a better person, and that’s something that’s special.”
To contact Jason Campbell e-mail email@example.com or call (209) 249-3544.