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2017-09-13 / South Texas Living

Have bat and glove. Will travel.

Garrett Baumann earns a spot on Team USA
By Jeff Valcher
Wilson County News


Poth’s Garrett Baumann sends in a pitch against the Dominican Republic’s top baseball team during the Aug. 2-4 Latin American Baseball Classic semifinals game. Baumann played for Team USA’s Blue squad, going on to win the tournament. 
BAUMANN FAMILY/Courtesy Poth’s Garrett Baumann sends in a pitch against the Dominican Republic’s top baseball team during the Aug. 2-4 Latin American Baseball Classic semifinals game. Baumann played for Team USA’s Blue squad, going on to win the tournament. BAUMANN FAMILY/Courtesy “He’s been playing since he could hold a bat,” said Michael Baumann about his son, 13-year-old Garrett, who recently competed in the 2017 Latin American Baseball Classic in the Dominican Republic on Team USA and got first place.

It was a high-powered team that he joined on the trip to the Dominican Republic — made up of players from across the country

— but this Three Oaks native and Poth student first got his start locally.

“He started with Poth Little League, playing T-ball, but his dad played ball with him from the minute he was born,” said his mother, Anna.

Garrett also played soccer and basketball, but his main sport remained baseball. By the time he was 9 years old, he was bugging his parents constantly to go to the field. That summer, he tried out with his first select team, the Phantoms, in San Antonio, and began playing baseball year-round.


Garrett Baumann gives a grin as big as Texas after winning the semifinal game at the Latin American Baseball Classic. 
BAUMANN FAMILY/Courtesy Garrett Baumann gives a grin as big as Texas after winning the semifinal game at the Latin American Baseball Classic. BAUMANN FAMILY/Courtesy He joined up with the Phenoms the following year — traveling to Florida to play in Disney’s International Salute to Baseball tournament, where they won second place. He played for the Young Gloves the year after.

In the summer of 2016, he started taking pitching lessons at the Texas Pro United (TPU) Baseball Academy from former professional pitcher Luis Villarreal, while working on his batting with former college coach, Kevin Ziesman.

“He’s what you call a coach’s dream,” Villarreal said. “If you tell him to jump 3 feet, he’ll jump 4.”


Garrett Baumann and his coaches, Marc Kennedy and Luis Villarreal, are all smiles after taking home the gold. 
BAUMANN FAMILY/Courtesy Garrett Baumann and his coaches, Marc Kennedy and Luis Villarreal, are all smiles after taking home the gold. BAUMANN FAMILY/Courtesy With this experience and training under his belt, the Wilson County player felt confident enough to try out for TPU’s 14U team — one year above his true age bracket — and made the team last fall under Villarreal.

It was former White Sox pitcher Jim Parque — now owner of Big League Edge player development — who contacted Villarreal’s team about hosting San Antonio tryouts for the Latin American Baseball Classic — one of 35 tryouts held across the country for Team USA. More than 5,000 athletes contended for the 22 available spots.

“Everybody from San Antonio went to that tryout,” Garrett said.

He was one of only four players at his tryout to make the 13U team.


Proud parents Michael and Anna Baumann join their son, Garrett, after his team earned gold in a tournament in the Dominican Republic. 
BAUMANN FAMILY/Courtesy Proud parents Michael and Anna Baumann join their son, Garrett, after his team earned gold in a tournament in the Dominican Republic. BAUMANN FAMILY/Courtesy “Garrett was pulled aside during the tryout and told to look for an email,” his mother said.

Garrett and his family landed Aug. 2 in Santo Domingo. Besides the clear water at the beach after the tournament, the main thing that struck him about the country was the traffic — lots of traffic. It took the bus two hours to get from the hotel to the tournament 20 miles away.

“There’s no stoplights — people on both sides weaving through traffic,” he said.

Once at the tournament, the 22 players were split into Red and Blue teams, with Garrett on Team Blue, under his TPU coach Marc Kennedy, who was chosen to lead the team.

There they played against teams from several countries, including the Dominican Republic, the Virgin Islands, and Venezuela. The Blue team lost its second game against the Dominican Republic’s top team, but came back to beat them in the semifinals. Garrett played well on third base, and as starting pitcher during the tournament, Villarreal said.


Garrett Baumann celebrates with his grandmother and grandfather after his team won the tournament. 
BAUMANN FAMILY/Courtesy Garrett Baumann celebrates with his grandmother and grandfather after his team won the tournament. BAUMANN FAMILY/Courtesy “Garrett doesn’t carry his emotions on his sleeve,” he said. “He’s very even-keeled, which is a good thing for a baseball player.”

The final game ended up being between the two USA teams, with Garrett’s Team Blue flying home with the gold.

Garrett returns to a busy schedule this year. In addition to select and Little League baseball, he also plays football and basketball, and runs track for Poth Middle School. All that on top of keeping good grades in school!

While his ultimate goal is to play in the Major Leagues one day, he’s just as excited about the chance to play college ball. But even before that comes his career with the Poth Pirates in front of his hometown fans, which should make for some great memories.

jvalcher@wcn-online.com

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