Baseball Factory Alumni Look Towards Omaha
Returning to TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb., the 2012 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I College World Series will begin on June 15 and continue until the final game, scheduled for June 26. After many close-scoring games in the Regional and Super-Regional rounds, only eight teams remain and will fight for the title of College World Series Champions: University of California, Los Angeles; University of Florida; Florida State University; Stony Brook University; Kent State University; University of South Carolina; University of Arkansas; and University of Arizona.
Dispersed among these eight team rosters are 49 Baseball Factory alumni, which calculates out to be almost one in four players participating in the 2012 CWS. Ranging from freshmen to seniors, these 49 elite athletes have excelled throughout their career and have helped their respective teams achieve the ultimate goal of playing for the CWS title this June.
One such Baseball Factory alumnus, Mike Zunino, was a participant in the Under Armour Southeast Tournament in 2008. A Cape Coral, Fl., native, Zunino graduated from Mariner High School in 2009 and currently plays for the University of Florida. In 2011, Zunino was named Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, a feat only achieved by one other Florida Gator in the school’s history. Most recently, he was selected third overall in the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft.
Karsten Whitson, also a Florida Gator and Baseball Factory alumnus, was a 2009 Under Armour All-American (Check out video of Karsten from Wrigley Field). Whitson graduated from Chipley High School in his hometown of Chipley, Fl., in 2010, and went on to lead successful freshman and sophomore years at Florida. In the 2011 season, Baseball America and Louisville Slugger recognized the right-handed pitcher as an All-American Freshman.
Another Florida native and Baseball Factory alumnus, Jayce Boyd, is a standout infielder for Florida State. A rising senior, the former Under Armour All-American led the Seminoles in batting average and RBIs this year. In addition to the 2008 Under Armour All-America Game, Boyd has also participated in five other Baseball Factory events, including three consecutive years of the Under Armour Showcase- Team One South, from 2006 to 2008 (Check out video of Jayce at Team One South in 2009).
Fellow University of South Carolina teammates Michael Roth and Colby Holmes are not only Baseball Factory alumni, but they’ve also led the Gamecocks as the top two starting pitchers on the team this season. Roth, a senior this year, led the team as captain for two consecutive years and accumulated a total ERA below 2.00 by the end of the 2011 season. Starting 13 out of 18 games in the 2011 season, Holmes earned 7-3 record and an ERA just below 4.00. During his high school career, Holmes was ranked the No. 9 best high school prospect by Baseball Factory in the 2009 Under Armour Pre-Season All-America Tournament. Similarly, Roth was named a Louisville Slugger High School All-American in 2006 and 2007.
While Baseball Factory is widely represented on the East Coast, stellar baseball players who have participated in the program can likewise be found throughout the country, including California. UCLA catcher Tyler Heineman is one of these Baseball Factory alumni who calls Pacific Palisades home. After graduating from the Windward School in 2009, Heineman pursued his education and baseball career at UCLA. A junior this year, he earned the second highest batting average on the UCLA squad. Heineman’s younger brother Scott also continued his baseball career at the collegiate level, having competed this season as an infielder for the Oregon Ducks (Oregon was eliminated from the NCAA Super Regional rounds in this year’s tournament). In 2006, both Heineman brothers participated in an Under Armour Baseball Factory National Tryout.
These highlighted athletes are just few of thousands who have participated in Baseball Factory events. As the CWS approaches, their teams will prepare both physically and mentally for a baseball experience that will forever change their lives. Whatever the outcome, the final team will be home to at least one Baseball Factory participant who Built His Way To Greatness.
For a full list of Baseball Factory alumni playing in the 2012 CWS, please click here (PDF).