Tennessee outfielder Kentrail Davis received good news Tuesday when he was informed that his strong all-around performance during the 2008 USA Baseball National Team Trials resulted in a spot on the elite club’s final summer roster. Davis started all 12 games during the trials period, led the team in nine different offensive categories and was perfect in the field.
The Freshman All-America selection from Theodore, Ala., hit .450 (18-for-40) with 11 runs, six homers, 19 RBI, a .925 slugging percentage and a .542 on-base percentage. He was 2-for-2 on stolen-base attempts and is one of five players from the Southeastern Conference to make the team.
“I’m excited,” Davis said. “I think I played pretty well the last couple weeks, but it was still a relief to finally hear that I made the team. It’s a great honor to be able to represent my country and the University of Tennessee. I’m just going to keep working as hard as I can and hopefully help lead this team to a lot of wins.”
Comprised of the top non-draft-eligible college players in the United States, the National Team opens a six-game series Wednesday against Chinese Taipei that will take place at various cities in North Carolina and South Carolina. During the month of July, the National Team will travel to The Netherlands and Germany before taking part in the IV FISU World Collegiate Baseball Championship in the Czech Republic July 17-27.
“I’ve never been out of the country before,” Davis said. “So this summer is going to be a lot of fun.”
Davis’ fellow Tennessee teammate Bryan Morgado did not make the final cut. The left-handed pitcher from Miami, Fla., posted a 1-1 record with 10 strikeouts through three appearances that spanned seven innings during the trials period.
The Tennessee program has a rich and longstanding history with the USA Baseball National Team. Including Davis and Morgado, 15 Vols have taken part in the trials since 1992.
Tennessee’s all-time National Team alumni include Todd Helton (1993, 1994), R.A. Dickey (1994, 1995, 1996), Augie Ojeda (1995, 1996), Chris Burke (2000), Javi Herrera (2001), Luke Hochevar (2004), J.P. Arencibia (2005, 2006) and Julio Borbon (2006). Five of those elite players advanced all the way to the Major Leagues later in their careers, while three (Herrera, Arencibia and Borbon) are currently working their way up the minor-league ranks.
In two of the last three years, Team USA’s top hitter has been a Vol. Arencibia led the team in hits in 2005, while Borbon led the 2006 club in hits.
NOTE: The USA Baseball National Team and the USA Baseball Olympic Team are separate squads. The Olympic Team is comprised of the top professional players not on a 25-man roster; that squad will be announced July 16.