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Turlocks Kramer survives hellish week to achieve a dream
Kevin Kramer, a Turlock High junior, will spend a good chunk of time in August playing for USA Baseball after making the roster last week. - photo by Photo Contributed
Imagine if you were told to think and do just one thing, with just a 50-percent chance of making it all worthwhile.
For Turlock High’s Kevin Kramer, that was his predicament last week. The junior participated in the USA Baseball Trials in Southern California. He lived that cliché life of eating, sleeping and breathing baseball for a chance to be one of 18 players named to the 16-under national team.
But there was a huge obstacle: A total of 36 players were trying out, and these boys were considered the best in America.
Kramer survived.
He managed to survive a week’s worth of waking up early to practice baseball, playing all day and getting little sleep. Yes, he was named a member of the under-16 team that is currently playing in the IBAF AA World Youth Championships in Taichung, Taiwan — as the squad is scheduled to be there until Aug. 23.
That means Kramer will miss a week of school. It also means he’ll miss a good chunk of preparation for the Turlock High football season, though the expected starting quarterback will be back in time for the Bulldogs’ Sept. 11 season opener at Oakdale High. Bulldogs football coach James Peterson has expressed understanding.
“It’s a pretty amazing feeling,” Kramer said before his first-ever flight across the ocean to another continent. “It’s great to represent my country in something I love to do. It’s like no other feeling.”
This is also a rare feeling, as making a national baseball team doesn’t happen often to Turlock natives. It is believed that the last time something like this has happened to a local player was when Turlock High graduate Tom Mendonca, fresh off a College World Series title run, played for Team USA in Europe during summer 2008.
And really, Kramer didn’t know he was going to make it until USA Baseball officials announced the 18-man roster late Friday night at the team’s hotel in Fullerton. He was relieved to hear his name called early — somewhere in the top 10 — while others cried because they were sent home.
Again, he was never certain. Sure, he started all four trial games as the second baseman or shortstop, and even went 4-for-5 with two RBIs and a run scored to lead the Red Team in a 6-4 rout over the Blue Team in the opening game. But Kramer had less-than-stellar performances in his final two showcases.
His worries, however, quickly went away after his name was called late Friday night.
“I had some doubts,” Kramer said. “If I didn’t make it, I don’t know what was I going to do.”
Well, he has plenty to do now. On top of being the starting quarterback for the Bulldogs, he was also the starting shortstop for the school’s varsity baseball team last season. But now, he’s enjoying a pretty sweet gig.
To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.