tampabay.com

Local baseball players on USA team's radar

By JOEY KNIGHT
Published July 25, 2007


TAMPA - Riverview junior Chris Knott and Brandon sophomore James Ramsay are among 36 players invited to next month's USA Baseball's Youth National Team trials (ages 16-under) in Cary, N.C.

The local pair was selected from a pool of more than 2,500 candidates competing at Junior Olympic Championship tournaments in Arizona and Palm Beach County in June. Knott and Ramsay will vie for one of 16 roster spots while in Cary.

Knott, a right-hander who made the all-Saladino Tournament team as a sophomore last season, posted a 2.07 ERA and won both of his decisions in '07. Ramsay was a .300 hitter who also pitched for the Eagles.

The Youth National Team will compete in the IBAF World Youth Championships in Venezuela in August.

Two other locals - Plant junior shortstop Mychal Givens and senior infielder Preston Tucker - are among 43 players who will vie next month in Missouri for a roster spot on USA Baseball's Junior National 18-under team. Givens is among 32 finalists; Tucker is an alternate.

GOING FAR IN FARGO: Three Brandon Wrestling Club members earned top-eight finishes in the Greco-Roman half of the USA Wrestling National Championships in Fargo, N.D.

Action is ongoing in freestyle competition, which features a trio of BWC competitors.

Leading the Greco-Roman entrants was 98-pounder Rossi Bruno, a 13-year-old Tampa Bay Christian student who placed third with a 7-1 record in the cadet class.

In the juniors class, sophomore prep state champion Joey Cozart (135) finished fourth with an 8-2 record; and two-time state champ Tommy Timothy (152) finished seventh with a record of 6-2.

Timothy, a 2007 graduate, dropped from his prep state championship weight of 160 to give Team Florida an opportunity for more points. A stronger freestyler, he has not wrestled in Greco-Roman for more than a year.

Nick Hutchinson and Kevin Timothy, both Brandon juniors in the fall, had solid efforts but did not place. Hutchinson won his first two matches.

"They all had great tournaments for Greco-Roman and still have freestyle to compete," said Brandon High and club coach Russ Cozart. "They all faced some of the best wrestlers in the country and did well."

Tommy Timothy and Cozart each won his first two freestyle matches Tuesday. Bruno also is set to compete in freestyle.

TAMPA TWINS HONORED: Following their successful stint at the Olympic Development Program Regional III Camp in Alabama, 14-year-old identical twin sisters Shelby and Sydney Payne recently were named to the U.S. Soccer '93 girls youth national pool.

Shelby and Sydney, members of local soccer club RSL Florida's under-17 team, will leave Monday for California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, where they will train for a week and compete for a spot on the '93 youth national team, also known as the under-14 squad. Selections for the U14 team will be made in November.

"It's fantastic for them, and it's great for our club," RSL Florida general manager Adrian Bush said. "For such a young club to have some players make it to that level is a credit to our staff, and it's a credit to the mentality and work ethic that these two talented players have."

The twins, who were two of 25 players from across the Southeast named to the youth national pool, moved with their family to Tampa a year and a half ago from Colorado. They will enter their freshman year of high school in August and play locally for Sickles.

Times correspondents Bryan Burns and Terry Jones contributed to this report.