Thursday, June 28, 2012

Macklin invited to USA Baseball tourney

Khalil Macklin
From the Nashville Graphic

CARY - Rocky Mount Coleman-Pitt Post 58 starter Khalil Macklin got a surprise invitation last week.

The rising Nash Central junior was asked to be among the top prep baseball talent in the nation and play in USA Baseball's Tournament of Stars competition held at its complex in suburban Cary. The event ran from Wednesday through Sunday.

USA Baseball's officials got word about Mackin's abilities and he was invited to participate despite being a 16-year-old and playing in the 18-under division.

The Tournament of Stars was made up of 144 of the nation's best ballplayers who were vying for an eventual spot on USA Baseball's 18U National Team. That team would travel internationally and represent the USA. Players were picked for teams representing one of USA Baseball's seven National Member Organizations (AABC, American Legion, Babe Ruth, Dixie, PONY, NABF and RBI) and an "at-large" team selected by USA Baseball. 

"I thought it was a great honor to be selected and named as one of the top 144 high school baseball players in the country," said Macklin, who is currently first or second in virtually every offensive category for Post 58.

USA Baseball and Major League Baseball covered all player costs associated with the event. The eight teams faced each other in pool play throughout the weekend. The event was used to pare those 144 players down to 40.

Fittingly, Macklin played for the American Legion team. He got to play in three of the team's four games while also participating in an all-day skills showcase  for scouts Thursday that was held on all four of USA Baseball's fields.

Unfortunately, Macklin didn't make the cut. But he was seen, and now his name will be on the tongues of the event's organizers for future teams.

"I wasn't necessarily disappointed," said Macklin about not making the top 40. "I just looked at it as another opportunity to get better for next year's tryouts. I was blessed for the experience.

Macklin, who will be suiting up for football in the next month or so for the Bulldogs, thought the whole adventure will help him focus on his talents for the future.

"I actually learned a lot of important tips this past week to help me improve my game," said Macklin, who will return to Post 58's lineup Wednesday evening when it hosts non-divisional foe Johnston County Post 71. " I think I did the best I could do. I think my experience will help me with Legion ball and high school ball because I know what I'm capable of doing, and if i keep working hard and stay hungry and humble, anything's possible."
                                                                                                                       - Charles Alston

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