Jordan Kron calls the final round of cuts for the USA Baseball 14-and-under baseball team “nerve-wracking.”
He also says it’s a “vacation.”
The nerve-wracking vacation resumes today in the third of three intrasquad scrimmages on the campus of St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens, Fla.
Kron, an East Union High freshman, is one of just 24 remaining following a nationwide search for the country’s best ballplayers in the age division, and the final cut for the 18-man roster will be announced after a workout Wednesday morning.
The 24 players have been split up into two squads — Team Red and Team Blue — that began the final selection process, which consists of both practices and games, Sunday.
“It’s kind of nerve-wracking around here,” Kron said via phone from his room at the Don Shula Hotel in Miami. “A lot of guys here have bonded real well together, so it’s going to be hard to let six guys go.”
Northern California is well represented.
Kron said a close-knit relationship has been forged amongst the Northern Californians, a group that includes Zack Aukes (Woodland), Charles Byers (Salinas), Dempsey Grover (Modesto), Ryan Kirby (Livermore), Stephen Nogosek (Roseville) and Alex Martinez (Union City).
The all-expenses-paid trip has been a blast, but Kron said that every move made is being taken under consideration by the coaching staff.
Everybody is working under intense pressure, but the friendships help the players relax.
“We take six or seven vans to the field, and all the Northern California guys sit in one van just laugh it up and have fun,” Kron said. “We get along great. It’s good to have that because things get crazy and stressful when we get there.”
Kron left his mark for the Red Team Sunday and Monday.
The Red Team won the opener, 8-4. Kron, playing at left field, was 0-for-2 but walked once, stole two bases and scored a run on a sacrifice fly.
Kron was the winning pitcher in Monday’s 8-3 victory, throwing two scoreless innings (fourth and fifth) and giving up just one hit in relief while rapping one knock in three at-bats.
“I was a little disappointed in myself, I felt like I could have done a lot better,” Kron said. “I did OK, but it was not what I expected. I wasn’t truly satisfied. I just want a second chance, which I will get (today).
Kron tried out for USA Baseball’s 14-and-under squad last year as a 13-year-old and made it to the third stage of the National Team Identification Series at the Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy in Compton.
Kron advanced to the final state in his second shot at it Sept. 18-20 in Cary, N.C. His impressive showing there got him to this point.
After the roster is finalized Wednesday, USA Baseball will compete in the 2009 COPABE Pan Am “A” Championships in Portoviejo, Ecuador from Oct. 17-24.
“I’d be a little disappointed if I didn’t make it,” Kron said. “I’ve gone through so much so far, and to come up short, I would hate to let people down. I know I can do it, but I also realize that to be considered in the top 24 is a great accomplishment.”
To contact Jonamar Jacinto, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (209) 249-3538.