COVINGTON, Ga. — Alcovy’s Ryan Spikes played his way into representing more than his high school team.
The Tigers’ sophomore baseball standout was named to the USA 15u National Team roster announced last Friday after spending a week in Cary, North Carolina with the 15u National Team Trials. And when he found out, he held back no emotions.
"I was on the team, still with the team when they told me, and I started jumping around, screaming," Spikes said. "I contacted my close family members, letting them know I made it."
Spikes qualified for the 20-man roster after successfully matriculating through two phases of trials which began July 28 when 72 players from across the country were split into four teams and spent six exhibition games vying for a chance to represent their country on the baseball diamond.
"Those 72 were split into four teams, and it went in phases," Spikes said. "Once the first phase of games were over, we had a meeting which reduced the 72 players to 34. We had to play two nine-inning games before they met to make the final cuts at the end of the last game, and that's when we knew."
“We are very excited about our 20-man roster,” said 15u national team manager Jason Maxwell, according to a release on www.USAbaseball.com. “The coaches and staff have spent countless hours evaluating these players and feel that we have the right 20 players to go to Panama and compete for the World Championship and bring home the gold medal.”
After the announcement, the team remained in Cary through Tuesday to play three more exhibition games. The 15u team’s games against USA Baseball’s 16u National Team Development Program will be live streamed via USABaseball.com, Facebook Live and YouTube.
Spikes was an all-around contributor for the Tigers as a freshman. He batted .324 last year and won three of the eight games he appeared in as a pitcher.
It was an opportunity Spikes said he set his sights on since before he even got to high school.
“This really means a lot to me, because I get to play for the USA and represent my country while also playing the sport I love,” Spikes said.