Trevor Clifton is really going places. Next stop, Mexico.
The Heritage junior was one of 17 top high school prospects named to the USA Baseball 16-under junior national team late Friday night in Cary, N.C. The team will take part in the IBAF World 16-under Youth Championships Aug. 19-28 in Lagos de Moreno, Mexico. Clifton was one of only two players from Tennessee to receive an invitation to the junior national tryouts.
Forty of the nation’s best high school-age players took part in the weeklong tryout. Friday evening, the USA Baseball staff assembled the players in a hotel ballroom, with parents prohibited from entering, as the list was whittled to the final 17 players. One by one, the selection committee announced the names of those who’d made the cut, each player leaving the ballroom for a separate room to be officially welcomed aboard.
“I was so nervous,” Clifton said. “I was the 10th name called.”
The Mountaineer right-hander said the week didn’t begin like he would have liked, sending him into his final start at the tryout camp with something to prove.
“I gave it all I had that game and pitched my heart out,” Clifton said. “I just kept on working and playing.”
It’s a comforting to know he’ll have Clifton as the ace of the staff for the next two seasons, Heritage coach Robbie Bennett said.
“That’s awesome,” Bennett said of Clifton’s selection. “He’s the man. When he has confidence and knows he’s the man, he’s almost unhittable. He’s got that kind of talent.
“When you make that team, you’re one of the top high school prospects in the country. That’s ‘Top Gun.’”