HiToms play host to Team USA this weekend

Jun. 27, 2013 @ 09:38 PM

One of the best teams to visit the area will take the field this weekend for a pair of games.

USA Baseball will face the HiToms on Saturday and Sunday at Finch Field, as Team USA continues its preparation for series against Japan and Cuba in July. Game times are 7 p.m. Saturday and 5 p.m. Sunday.

“It’s very thrilling,” said Greg Suire, president of the HiToms. “I had the pleasure of watching Team USA in Wilson on Tuesday night. And just seeing that caliber of player and the national coaches coming here was extremely exciting. 

“It was exciting seeing those guys because they are the country’s best players. And we’re the only location, luckily, that has them for two days. So, we think it’s a pretty big feather in our cap to host them for the weekend.”

Team USA’s roster comprises some of the best players from many of the country’s best college teams. Six players are top 100 prospects while 13 come from teams that finished ranked 19th or better.

Names immediately recognizable include N.C. State’s Carlos Rodon and Trea Turner; North Carolina’s Skye Bolt and Trent Thornton, plus LSU’s Alex Bregman, who was named Collegiate Baseball’s freshman of the year.

“These guys are known nationally and internationally,” Suire said. “The number of first-round draft picks from USA Baseball is staggering — and there are guys from this team who will be drafted.

“So, these are names who, in the draft in two years, are going to be first-rounders. And Rodon might be the first pick next year. So, to come to High Point, to come to Thomasville, we think it’s a pretty big deal.”

Through Wednesday, Team USA was 4-0 in games against Coastal Plain League foes Peninsula, Morehead City, Fayetteville and Wilson. It played Wilmington on Thursday and plays Florence tonight.

The HiToms will be the final CPL team it faces before heading to Japan for six games — including five against the national team — July 5-11.

Later in the month, Team USA will host Cuba for the first time since 1995 for five games, including games July 22 in Cary and July 23 in Durham.

“So, this is in preparation for those two big series,” Suire said. “And the bigger component is trying to get baseball back in the Olympics. That’s why Major League Baseball and USA Baseball are pushing so hard for this barnstorming tour.”

The HiToms, through Wednesday, were 13-13 and will end first-half play tonight at home against Wilmington. Following the two games with Team USA, they will open second-half play at home against Martinsville on Monday.