E.A. Sports Today

Getting closer

Oxford 12-year-old among 36 players looking to secure a roster spot on the USA Baseball 12U National Team

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

The 2024 Olympics in Tokyo are a long way away, but it might not be that far for an Oxford 12-year-old to dream about.

At least he’ll know what the process is all about to get there.

Dawson Campbell, an Oxford Middle School seventh-grader, has made it to the final cut for USA Baseball’s 12U National Team, a forerunner of the future U.S. Olympic team.

A left-handed pitcher, outfielder and first baseman, Campbell made the final 36 for the team that will represent the country in the Pan Am Games in Mexico. The 18-player roster will be picked at the end of four days of workouts in California.

“I’m excited to have a chance to wear USA on my jersey and play for this great country,” Dawson wrote in a text message Wednesday night. “In making the first cut of 36 out of 112 I realize that it’s going to be very tough to earn a spot on the final roster, but all I can do is control the things I can control and not worry about the results.

“I’m very thankful to the coaches of USA Baseball for selecting me and giving me this great opportunity … for believing in me, trusting in my character and abilities, in hopes that I can represent our country.”

The 36 come from the 17 players pared from 112 in California this week and 19 from two other tournaments earlier in the year. They’ll all gather later today in Los Angeles and then practice until Saturday’s roster announcement.

“This is the second year he’s done this and he’s actually giving up a travel-ball World Series this week because this, to him, means more,” Dawson’s father Keith said. “Because he wants to play for his country. He’s been wanting to do this since we first heard about it two, two and a half, years ago.”

On the cover: Dawson Campbell pitches during a USA Baseball developmental camp game in California. The 12-year-old Oxford left-hander is among 36 players vying for a spot in the 12U National Team. (Photo by Keith Campbell)

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