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Stewart Excited to Represent the USA



July 1, 2014


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By Brian Rice
UTSports.com

CARY, N.C. - Christin Stewart was planing on spending his summer wearing the bright red of the Orleans Firebirds in the prestigious Cape Cod League.

Instead, the rising junior added a couple of other colors - white and blue - to the summer wardrobe after being selected to the 2014 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team.

"It's a great honor," Stewart said of the announcement, which came at the conclusion of the team's training camp that paired the roster down to the 24 players that will represent their country this summer. "All I was trying to do was to go out there and play to the best of my ability and give 110% every day."

Stewart may be slightly underselling his performance. He led the team in nearly every offensive category in the seven-game tour against Coastal Plain League teams as Team USA went 6-1. Stewart topped the squad with a .500 (14-28) batting average while also setting team-highs in doubles (7), home runs (2) and RBI (11). He was tied for second on the team in walks (5) and stolen bases (3) while serving primarily as the team's designated hitter.

"Not trying to do too much at the plate," said Stewart of his approach. "Just find a pitch I could do something with and put a good swing on it. See the ball, hit the ball and try help the team win, whether it was moving runners, getting on base or scoring runs."

And he did all three to perfection, much like he did in the the impressive sophomore season he just concluded at Tennessee. Stewart became the 11th Vol in program history to record the team "Triple Crown," leading UT in average, HRs and RBI. He also led the team with 45 runs scored, 72 hits, 19 doubles, six triples and a .541 slugging percentage while playing all 54 games.

The CNT has a distinctly SEC feel to it. Including Stewart, eight players from the conference will suit up for the Red, White and Blue. Stewart will be joined by Trey Killian of Arkansas, LSU's Alex Bregman, Nick Banks and A.J. Minter of Texas A&M, and Vanderbilt's Carson Fulmer, Bryan Reynolds and Dansby Swanson. The squad is coached by Arkansas skipper Dave Van Horn.

"It's really cool playing with those guys after playing against them," Stewart said of his new teammates. "Just building relationships with other guys that love the game of baseball and go out there playing the game to win every day."

After games against Chinese Taipei and Japan in North Carolina, the team will travel to The Netherlands for the Honkbal - Haarlem Baseball Week and to Havana, Cuba for a Friendship Series against Cuba.

"I'm really excited to get to The Netherlands," Stewart said. I've never been overseas before so I had to get my passport. It's exciting to represent my country in Amsterdam and Cuba, it's amazing. I'm excited to travel to those places and see different things."

Stewart is equally excited to return to Knoxville to build on the experiences and successes of his summer in international competition as he prepares for his junior season as a Volunteer.

"I want to carry the momentum here into next season," he said. "I'll keep on working hard and going out there playing every game like it's my last."


 

 

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