Local Boy Makes National Splash
College Park Senior Joe DeMers
What is the USA National Baseball Team?
The USA National Team plays in one international tournament each year. It alternates between the World Cup, which is held every other year, and the Pan American Championship, which is a qualifier for the World Cup. The 18U team selection process starts in June with the Tournament of Stars at the USA Baseball Training facility in Cary, NC. There were 108 of the top players in the country invited to compete. From there, the coaching staff narrowed the field down to the 40-man Trials Team roster. The Trials team gets together 2 weeks before the tournament for a week-long tryout. At the end, the 20-man roster is announced. This year, Trials were in Houston. After the team was selected, we practiced and held exhibition games for a week before heading to La Paz, Mexico for the Pan American Championship.
How did you manage school with the traveling?
I got assignments from my teachers before I left, or they emailed them to me. We have a 2-hour study hall every day. My teachers have been really cool about it.
Of the countries you have played against, which was the most competitive?
`Cuba is the most competitive. It always feels great to beat Cuba! Japan is also really good.
What was your favorite country to play in?
Taiwan was a great experience because it’s so different and it’s the only time I’ve been to Asia.
Best memory of this recent trip?
Surviving the hurricane, but winning gold never gets old!
How is playing for College Park High School different than Team USA?
With Team USA, you are playing with the best players in the country against the best players in the world. With CP, I get to play baseball with friends I’ve played with since I was 8 years old.
Plans for future?
Right now my plan is to play baseball at the University of Washington. I have received calls from a lot of professional teams.
We asked Joe’s parents, Tom and Lisa DeMers, about their experiences traveling with their son. Tom told me, “We’ve been to every international tournament Joe has played in. We’ve been to places we never would have gotten to otherwise, such as Nicaragua and Taiwan. Lisa’s most memorable team to watch play against Team USA was Cuba. She remarked, “They are always fun to watch because they are beasts and always very competitive. They always put on a good show as well - very dramatic. Playing in Taiwan was a phenomenal experience. The people were so gracious and welcoming! The Asian teams are always very disciplined and very strong.”
When asked about a lasting memory from their baseball travels, Tom replied, “The near plane crash en route to Nicaragua with the 14U team in 2010. Lisa commented, “All the great friends we’ve made from all across the country. Seeing your son take the field with USA across his chest is unforgettable.”
We look forward to witnessing Joe’s continued success and to see where it takes him next!