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Friday, October 24, 2014

Cecchini, Hensley make first cut for U-18 Team USA

BLOG: Ole Miss was well represented at this weekend’s Tournament of Stars baseball tournament held at Thomas Brooks Park, Team USA’s training complex in Cary, N.C.In addition to Ole Miss verbal commitments Gavin Cecchini and Stryker Trahan, highly sought after pitcher Ty Hensley was also on one of the eight prospect teams.

Both Cecchini and Hensley made the first round of cuts for the Under-18 Team USA squad, while Trahan was named an alternate.

“It would mean everything,” Cecchini said during a brief phone interview this afternoon. “It’s always been a dream of mine — always been a dream of mine since I was a little kid.”

There will be two more rounds of cuts before the official lineup is set.

Like Cecchini, Hensley raved about his experience.

“It was a blast, getting to play the best competition from around the country,” he said. “There’s nothing better than competing your talents versus the best out there. It was a great time, got to meet a lot of cool people. They did a great job putting on a great tournament.”

Cecchini hit .437 in four games for team “Dixie” with nine RBIs, one home run, one double, one triple, three runs scored, two sacrifice hits and one stolen base. He also committed one error while playing shortstop, left field, second base and third.

Hensley was 2-0 for team “National Amateur Baseball Federation,” scattering three earned runs on five hit and two walks in six innings on the mound. He also struck out six and walked two. As a first baseman Hensley was 0-for-7 with two strikeouts.

Trahan didn’t fare quite as well at the plate for team “PONY,” going 2-for 11 with two runs scored, one RBI, one walk and two strikeouts.

GETTING CROWDED: As was reported earlier this week by RebelGrove.com, the 6-foot-5, 220-pound right-hander has had three more suitors enter the sweepstakes for his services: Texas, LSU and Stanford.

Originally, when Ole Miss, Arkansas and Arizona State were the front runners, Hensley had planned on making a decision by July 1.

Now that three new schools have popped into the picture, he said he doesn’t expect to make a decision until around late July or early August.

Hensley wanted to make it clear that he hasn’t been seeking out more schools, but just the opposite.

“There’s been a few other schools showing interest and a few other things I may want to look into,” he said. “In the end I just want to make the best decision that’s right for me. I’m trying to explore any new options or look for anything else, but it just happened that way.”

CHAVEZ EXPECTS TO BE IN OXFORD IN AUGUST: I had the chance to exchange text messages earlier with Ole Miss signee Dylan Chavez. The American River left-hander is currently playing summer ball in Sacramento for the Scorch.

I asked him if there was any progress with the Minnesota Twins, who drafted him in the 32nd round of this year’s MLB Draft. This is what he had to say: “Nope. Nothin really goin on there.”

He added that instead of attending summer school, “it looks like” he’ll instead be in Oxford in time for the fall semester.

JUDON DOING WELL: Redshirt freshman Jimel Judon continues to swing it well in the Cotton States Baseball League based in New Albany.

Judon went 1-for-4 today with a run scored and is hitting .400 in nine games thus far for the Tippah County Tribe.

The former Myrtle standout credited his added strength for his success this summer.

“I’m going to say it’s the weights,” he said. “I’ve never been able to use a weight room and it’s really helped me out with getting stronger.”

Judon said he hasn’t met new Ole Miss hitting coach Cliff Godwin, but hopes to soon.

Check Monday’s edition of the EAGLE for more from the Tournament of Stars, Chavez and Judon. (June 26, 2011)

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