Meridian Star

Sports

July 3, 2014

Local vying for spot on national baseball squad

DECATUR — Kemp Alderman is only 11, but the Newton County Academy athlete has the opportunity to do what few people in the State of Mississippi are doing.

In fact, if Alderman makes the USA 12U National Team, he will be the only person from Mississippi to do so.

Alderman, who pitches, catches and plays the infield, heads to Los Angeles Friday for a chance to take part in Team USA's Pan American games tryouts. If he makes the team, he will be one of less than 20 people from all across the country to travel to Mexico for the games.

"I'm excited, but I'm kind of nervous," Alderman said.

One hundred people from all across the country flew in Tuesday to try out, and only 10 of them will make the team. Alderman, who became eligible for the tryout after attending two tryouts in Birmingham, Ala., and a third tryout in North Carolina last year, will work out with the other 15 players picked out of 220 in North Carolina last year Friday through Sunday. If he makes the team, he'll leave for Mexico July 9.

This past weekend, Alderman was in New York City playing in with a travel team from Utah, and the team placed seventh out of 105. He said playing in a big city this past weekend helped prepare him for Los Angeles later this week.

"It helps ease the nerves, but I still don't know who I'll be staying with," he said. "I'll be the only boy from Mississippi."

But Alderman will know at least one person there — his friend Hunter from Arizona, who tried out with him last year in North Carolina and was on the same travel team in New York with Alderman.

Alderman's mother, Shae Alderman, said it's mind blowing that her son will possibly have an opportunity few people have at his age.

"It's exciting," she said. "We didn't talk about it much until we went to North Carolina last year. It's a neat possibility maybe being able to represent the U.S."

It's also a chance to travel, something Alderman said he enjoys.

"I don't like staying close to home," he said. "Some of the best tournaments I've played in were in Orlando, (Fla.), and Omaha, (Neb.)."

With aspirations to play college and maybe professional baseball, Alderman said he's grateful for the chance to showcase his skills and play around other top players his age.

"I'm lucky," he said. "I just work hard at it. I hit every night with my dad, and I play every weekend with a travel team. I also practice with the (NCA) high school team all the time."

Alderman is also the son of Kelly Alderman.

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