For just the third time in team history, a member of the Indiana Hoosiers baseball squad has been named to Team USA — a group of players representing the nation in a series of international games.
Alex Dickerson is from California — a state known for producing baseball talent and keeping it at the state’s many powerhouse college programs. But after electing not to sign with the Washington Nationals, who selected him in the 48th round of Major League Baseball’s entry draft in 2008, Dickerson came to Indiana — and promptly won conference Player of the Year honors as a sophomore. This summer, he had collected 17 hits in 34 at-bats in the Cape Cod League, one of the premier summer leagues for college players with professional aspirations. Those successes drew attention from Team USA scouts, who invited him to try out for the 22-player squad. Despite a good batting average during the tryout, the 20-year old outfielder wasn’t sure he’d make the team.
“I felt like I was on the bubble,” Dickerson said. “I didn’t have the best tryout. I did really well in the Cape [Cod League] before I came out here. I had my rough patches while I was out here and I guess they saw something they liked and put me on the team.”
No Big Ten baseball player has played for Team USA since current New York Yankee All-Star Nick Swisher made the team almost a decade ago out of Ohio State. Only two other Hoosiers, including former Phillies and Cubs second baseman Mickey Morandini have ever been so honored. Apart from the baseball accolades which earned him the tryout, Dickerson said representing the country is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“It’s just a real honor to be in the situation I’m in, to be able to represent my country,” he said. “It’s just been an all-around great feeling the last couple days since I made it.”
Team USA is in the midst of a five-game series with Korea and will travel to Taiwan later this month to play a series against a team of all-stars from Taipei. Following that, it’s on to the World University Championships in Tokyo.