E.A. Sports Today

Campbell makes it

Oxford seventh-grader earns a spot on USA 12U national team headed to Mexico, Pan-Am Championships (UPDATES with manager’s comments)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Dawson Campbell will fulfill a dream of representing his country later this summer after making the USA Baseball 12U National Team.

Campbell, a 12-year-old Oxford Middle School seventh grader, was among 18 players selected for the team Saturday night in California. After three more days of practice at the Urban Youth Academy in Compton, the team will fly to Mexico to play in the COPABE Pan Am A Championships, July 29-Aug. 7.

“I’m very excited,” he told East Alabama Sports Today shortly after the final cuts were made. “We were all in one room and they announced the 18. It was a very exciting moment because I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it or not. When I heard my name I was very excited.”

Campbell is a left-handed pitcher who can locate both fastballs and throws two different types of breaking balls. He’s also an outfielder who can hit to all fields.

He was “pretty sure” his hitting and outfield skills earned him the roster spot because, he said, “I didn’t pitch great” at the trials. But Team USA manager Eric Borba values Campbell’s versatility.

“Dawson is a very exciting player who can do a lot of things to help his win,” Borba said. “We expect him to play the outfield for us, hit somewhere in the middle of the lineup and help us out on the mound. He could be a frontline pitcher. He’s fun to watch play the game because he has so many tools.”

Oxford High School coach Wes Brooks has followed Campbell’s progress in the USA Baseball program. He said Campbell hits the ball “with good pop” for a 12-year-old and being left-handed will give him an edge over certain opponents in the upcoming tournament.

“His attitude, effort, knowledge of the game and all of the controllables are the best that I have seen a 12-year-old display,” Brooks said. “At this level all of the guys are good and have lots of baseball talent, so the USA Baseball Task Force members look to select guys with not only great baseball talent, but to represent their country in front of several thousand fans.

“You might not can control whether you get a hit or not or make every play. You might not be able to control the weather, the umpire or other things, but you can control your effort, hustle, energy level and enthusiasm. Dawson has those characteristics.”

Keith Campbell said the opportunity to represent his country was a big reason his son entered the USA Baseball program. Now that he has a roster spot, that dream is fulfilled.

“It means a lot to me,” Dawson said. “It’s a big responsibility to have ‘USA’ across my shirt and wearing it playing for my country. It’s definitely going to be exciting.”

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