MICHAEL CHOICE BATTING .448 FOR UNDEFEATED TEAM USA
July 6, 2009
ARLINGTON, Texas - The USA Baseball National Team (Collegiate) is 10-0 this summer and a main element to the team's success has been UT Arlington's junior-to-be Michael Choice. In 10 games played (eight starts) this summer, Choice is batting .448 (13-for-29) with five multi-hit games, three doubles and nine RBI. Team USA has now won 34 straight games dating back to last summer, and the team is coming off a four-game series sweep over Guatemala and a victory against the New England Collegiate League All-Stars on Sunday.
One of the major changes for all Team USA players is using wooden bats throughout the trials (June 15-25) and now during the summer. All of Team USA's players played collegiately this past year at NCAA Division I programs where they used aluminum bats.
Choice's adjustment to using wooden bats was extremely smooth, considering he started the summer leading the team with a .615 average after the first five games of the season.
"At first it was a little bit different since the guys were throwing so hard," Choice said. "You just tried to not break your bat on the first swing. I have gotten used to it now. But I have been swinging a wood bat throughout the year. I used a wood bat every single day throughout the college season, the only time I would use metal was in games."
Team USA outscored Guatemala 61-2 in a four-game series sweep this past week. Choice was the designated hitter for two games against Guatemala, a position that is new to the Mavericks starting center fielder - who has also played left field four times and started in center field once for Team USA.
Choice hit cleanup for Team USA on Friday, July 3, against Guatemala where he went 2-for-6 with a single, double and three RBI.
"I don't look at it as any different," Choice said about being the designated hitter. "The only difference is I'm not going out onto the field. We have had a rotation, we pretty much rotate the corner outfield spots and if you don't start that game you are going to come in within the last three innings and finish it up. I like the DH, it kind of gives me a rest sometimes, and it gives my legs a rest."
In Team USA's most recent victory - 4-1 win over NECBL on Sunday - Choice hit seventh in the batting order while starting in left field and went 3-for-3 with two singles and a double.
Team USA's next two games will be against collegiate summer teams in Massachusetts before embarking on an 18-hour plane trip to Japan, where Team USA will be in action July 10-16, which includes playing at the Tokyo Dome on Monday, July 13, against Japan.
On team's success and their dominating series against Guatemala...
On adjustments he has made using a wooden bat while playing with Team USA...
On what is working for individuals on the team and what leaders on the team are doing to have success with Team USA...
On playing in front of 9,534 fans at the Durham Bulls' Stadium on the 4th of July...
On upcoming trip to Japan...