Boldt named to Team USA 18U final teamAt around 11 p.m. Tuesday night, the Boldt family finally got the call they were waiting on. The youngest son of Chris and Mitch Boldt remained calm as he delivered some incredible news. Ryan Boldt told his family he was selected to the Team USA 18-and-under final team, a member of the best high school players in the nation.
By: Chris Harrell, The Republican Eagle
At around 11 p.m. Tuesday night, the Boldt family finally got the call they were waiting on.
The youngest son of Chris and Mitch Boldt remained calm as he delivered some incredible news. Ryan Boldt told his family he was selected to the Team USA 18-and-under final team, a member of the best high school players in the nation.
“We were on pins and needles all night,” Chris said. “It’s not every day your son calls up and says he made a USA national team.”
Chris said she could tell her son was excited but the demeanor of the soon-to-be senior at Red Wing High School remained steady.
“That’s so much Ryan’s personality,” Chris said. “He’s just a steady trotter. He was totally excited, I could read him from the phone but he was so calm about it. He recognizes it’s been a long journey for him.”
That journey began as 2004 when Ryan injured his left elbow at a baseball clinic, leading to four surgeries and forcing Ryan to throw right handed. Now, Ryan’s arm is a strength and he is the first Minnesotan selected to Team USA since Joe Mauer in 2000. Boldt and the other 19 Americans will attempt to bring the USA its first world championship since 1999.
“I was speechless the whole time,” Ryan said of being selected. “I wasn’t sure what my face was like when they told me. Just smiling; I know that all the hard work paid off and hopefully we’ll be able to win a gold medal at the end.”
Ryan spent years dealing with the injury, learning how to throw again with his older brother, Steve, and weathering the expected ups-and-downs.
“I’ll never forget his little face coming back from that clinic,” Chris said. “He started to cry. We knew it was serious because Ryan doesn’t cry. … But God always has a plan for us. (Ryan’s) journey was going to include some tough times and he was never going to give up.”
His persistence was rewarded in a big way this summer as he dashed his way through numerous national showcases.
“It took a lot of guts and a lot of support to get here,” Ryan said. “Being able to have people who support you along the way is something I’m thankful for. The opportunity to go represent the U.S. is pretty special.
Ryan survived three roster cuts for the 18-and-under National Team while also winning the Most Valuable Player award at the Perfect Game All-American Classic Aug. 12 in San Diego and being selected to the 2012 New Balance All-Area Code Team at the Area Code Games in Long Beach, Calif., Aug. 5-10.
“It is all still a little surreal,” Chris said. “To stand there and watch him salute the national anthem is an incredible feeling. I thought to myself, ‘My gosh, Ryan could be doing this in Seoul, South Korea. It certainly gave me goosebumps. You have to be thankful and appreciative for all that he’s been able to accomplish and we know that he has a lot more to accomplish.”
During the latest phase of trials with Team USA, Ryan hit leadoff and started in center field for four of the five games against local high school scout teams. He finished with three hits in 15 at-bats but garnered four walks, a hit by pitch and reached on an error twice. His ability to get on-base was a boon for Team USA’s offense which averaged nearly nine runs per game and saw Ryan lead the team with seven runs scored and four stolen bases.
Team USA is managed by Scott Brosius, former New York Yankee and 1998 World Series MVP, and narrowed the roster from 28 to 20 Tuesday night as it prepares for international competition.
The team will head to Taichung, Taiwan tonight for a three-game series against Chinese Taipei Aug. 25-27 before starting play Aug. 30 in the International Baseball Federation Junior 18U World Championships in Seoul, South Korea.
Logan Shore, of Coon Rapids, was one of the final seven cuts and Chris said Ryan was disappointed he won’t get to spend more time with his fellow Minnesotan but knows they will continue to support each other.
“It’s kind of a shame that you can only have 20 guys on the roster,” Ryan said. “It would have been nice to have him come along. I just wish him the best. He’s a great player and he’s got a bright future ahead of him.”
Ryan’s exploits are piling up but he remains grounded and conscious of the work it took to make Team USA.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for him,” Chris said. “It’s been great to watch the maturity. He does it respectfully and humbly.”
For Ryan, many goals still remain. But getting to play in South Korea and winning a gold medal for Team USA sits at the top of the list.
“That’s been the goal all summer, to make the team and win a gold medal,” Ryan said. “I know that all the hard work paid off and I’ll remember it forever that’s for sure.”