ROCKINGHAM — There isn’t much that could make the Ransom family quiet for a two-hour car trip, but a phone call they received in the middle of June did the trick.
As the Ransoms were pulling out of the driveway to take Jake to a showcase baseball tournament at N.C. State in Raleigh, the call silenced everyone in the car. The person on the other end of the call was inviting Jake, a rising freshman, to represent the Atlantic region in the USSSA All-American Games in Orlando, Florida. The event starts Monday with team practices.
“I forgot all about it,” Jake said. “We knew they would call in June, but we forgot about it.”
Jake was among nearly 50 players last Halloween in Greensboro vying for 15 spots on the Atlantic team for the week-long event at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Players were graded on their hitting, running, throwing, fielding and pitching. The Atlantic region includes North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.
After the tryouts, Jake put it in the back of his mind, as did his mother, Christy.
“We forgot about it,” Christy said. “The announcement of the teams was streamed online, but we just forgot about it.”
The phone call, nearly eight months after Jake tried out for the team, helped jog everyone’s memory. The excitement the family felt for having one of 120 players at this national tournament caused them to be speechless for the rest of the drive.
“We saw it was someone calling from Atlanta, but we didn’t know who it was,” Jake said. “We didn’t speak the whole rest of the trip to Raleigh.”
In addition to Jake, the Atlantic team coaches selected six other players from the Greensboro tryout. Despite his extensive travel ball participation, Jake said he was only familiar with one player — Kobe Slate — at the tryout.
Rounding out the Atlantic team are six players who went out for the team in Atlanta. There were two selected from the Kissimmee, Florida tryout.
“It is mind-blowing and exciting for me,” Jake said.
Jake added it will be fun to be able to practice and play on the same fields that the Atlanta Braves use during spring training.
“Just to see the competition down there and see the players is going to be a great experience,” Jake said. “It doesn’t matter how many innings or at-bats I get, I’m going to play as hard as I can, just as my parents taught me.”
Players will begin arriving Sunday afternoon and practice the next day. The round-robin competition will begin Tuesday morning and wrap up Wednesday afternoon. The 14U teams will get Thursday off before starting their tournament Friday morning.
The All-American Games will wrap up a busy spring and summer for Jake. He was a member of the Rockingham Middle School baseball team, played on Richmond Senior’s junior varsity summer team and played on the Richmond Rockies team coached by Henry McDuffie as well as the Rock Solid squad based out of Wilmington.
Reach managing editor Shawn Stinson at 910-817-2671 and follow him on Twitter @scgolfer.