Mario Bejarano was slated to attend the National Team Identification Series (NTIS) held by USA Baseball this fall in an attempt to make a national team for 2018 but his plans have been drastically accelerated.
The local eight-grader was able to display his talents to a few USA Baseball coaches last Thursday and it paid off big time.
“I hit 84 miles per hour, threw 85 pitches and 60 of them were strikes plus I struck out nine batters,” Bejarano said. “I was supposed to try out for next year but I guess I made the team already.”
Sure enough, USA Baseball released its 14U National Team Development Program (NTDP) roster Monday and Bejarano’s name appeared on the list as a pitcher and infielder. Joseph Collier of Surprise is also on the list.
The 14U NTDP will take place at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina from July 24-29 according to USA Baseball. In addition, 18 athletes from the 14U NTDP will be selected to the 2017 15U National Team Trials. Phase 1 of 15U Trials will feature 72 athletes and begin on July 30 at the National Training Complex. Phase 2 will begin on August 2 and will feature 34 athletes vying for a spot on the final 20-man national team roster.
“It amazing,” Bejarano added. “I get to represent my state and my town.”
Bejarano will be playing for Tucson High along with Ruben “Kito” Castro. Castro plays for Western Little League and Bejarano plays for Randolph. Castro, also a pitcher, qualified for the NTIS in the 13-and-under division, which will play at the training complex in Cary, N.C., from Aug. 9-13.
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Portions from news release. Javier Morales contributed to this story.
Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014 and he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017 and he has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Contact Andy Morales at AMoralesMyTucson@yahoo.com