By Cory Edwards
Matt Carson is leaving June 16 to try out for the USA Baseball National Team…again.
Last year, as one of Cougar baseball”s rising freshman stars, Carson was invited to the same team trials. Of all the college players in the nation, he was given the opportunity to represent the United States.
“I remember looking at other teams and their players and I was surprised,” Carson said.
After playing the first few games with Team USA last season, he was released.
Although disappointed, Carson looked forward to his next opportunity – now.
“I feel my chances are a little bit better this season,” he said.
He is one of a total of 29 players in the nation who have been invited to participate in the tryouts held in Tucson, Arizona June 16-19. Of those 29, approximately 20 will make the team and play baseball around the world.
“We”re pleased,” said Eric Carson, Matt Carson”s father. “Matt has worked hard for a long time.”
As a high school player, he was named MVP of the California All-Star Game. At nationals in Oklahoma, he was selected to the All-Tournament Team.
Coming out of high school, he was projected to be a fourth or fifth round MLB draft pick, said Carson”s father. But instead of opting for the big leagues, Carson chose to attend college at BYU, the same place his father played water polo.
At the end of his junior year, Carson will turn 21 and once again will become eligible for the Major League draft.
Carson finished this year at BYU with a .335 batting average, and led the team in home runs (18) and RBIs (70).
Carson said his most memorable game this season was against Oklahoma State. In that game, Carson had a couple of great plays in the outfield. He threw out runners trying to advance extra bases, hit a home run and had five RBIs.
The 6”2 sophomore from Yucaipa, California, said this year”s invitation to try out for Team USA is an honor.
“If I make the team I can represent BYU and then perhaps we”ll get a little more attention,” he said.
When Carson returns to playing BYU baseball next spring, he”ll come having more experience. He will return to wearing the Cougar blue and having more family support with him than ever. His little brother, Clayton, will begin playing with BYU next year.
If Carson makes Team USA, he will participate in the games slated on the Red, White and Blue Summer Tour from July 2-30. The team begins with the USA v. Japan Collegiate All-Star Series in Tokyo and Okinawa, Japan on June 22.
Past USA Team members include Mark McGwire, Tino Martinez, Nomar Garciaparra and Alex Rodriguez.