Boldt draws praise at USA Baseball tryoutsFULLERTON, Calif. — Ryan Boldt is adjusting to his role as leadoff hitter with Team USA Baseball at its tryouts this week.
By: Chris Harrell, The Republican Eagle
FULLERTON, Calif. — Ryan Boldt is adjusting to his role as leadoff hitter with Team USA Baseball at try-outs this week.
It’s a change of pace for the soon-to-be senior from Red Wing High School but 18-and-under manager Scott Brosius needs someone with the ability to stretch defenses at the top of the order and Boldt’s speed provides USA with a needed spark.
“Certainly his speed is one of his biggest assets,” Brosius, 1998 World Series MVP with the New York Yankees, said. “He can really disrupt a team offensively.”
Boldt’s performances in the first two games of the final phase of 18U National Team Trials were a “how-to” manual for pressuring defenses.
Against the Dodgers Scout Team, which is a team filled with top high school players from the area, Boldt went 0-for-1 but reached base three times, scoring three runs and stealing two bases in an 11-2 victory.
In Sunday’s game against the Red Sox Scout Team, which is also a team of top area high school players, Boldt again finished 1-for-4 but scored a run, stole a base and had an RBI as Team USA won 11-5.
Through two games he had just one hit but had an on-base percentage of .571.
“You have to have on-base guys,” Brosius said. “When you’re building a team, you’re looking for a balance of speed and middle of the order guys. … Ryan, when he’s at his best, he can provide all of that.”
Brosius said he sees Boldt as a No. 1, No. 2 or a No. 9-hitter with Team USA, spots best suited for his speed. Boldt won’t be asked to hit home runs but rather get on base with line drives, something he’s done up to this point.
Against the Red Sox, Boldt singled to start the game, stole second base and scored on a single to left field. He came to bat with the bases loaded in the fifth inning and after falling behind 0-2, he delivered an RBI ground out to second base on a full count. Boldt saw at least five pitches in three of his four at-bats Sunday.
The days are long for Team USA as it prepares for international competition, first against Chinese Taipei in Taichung, Taiwan, Aug. 25-27, and then the International Baseball Federation Junior World Championships in Seoul, South Korea starting Aug. 30.
Brosius said the players are being pushed, putting them through two-a-days, but so far they are keeping up. He also praised Boldt’s work ethic.
“You can see that he enjoys the game but he’s all business,” he said. “He has a strong desire to make this team. … We’ve been asking a lot of these guys.”
Boldt wasn’t afraid to acknowledge the rigors of this phase of training but the opportunity to wear a USA jersey is worth the grind, he said.
“You got to stay mentally prepared,” he said. “You got to ignore what your body is telling you.”
The final Team USA 18-and-under selection process took place after press time at Goodwin Field on the campus of Cal State Fullerton. If Boldt is selected, along with Coon Rapids’ Logan Shore, they would be the first pair from Minnesota to make the final team since Chris Weinke, of Cretin-Derham Hall, and Tom Nevers, of Edina, in 1989. The last Minnesotan to make the team was Joe Mauer in 2000.
“The greatest thing I can think of right now … is just getting to Korea and winning that gold medal,” Boldt said. “That’s the main goal right now.”