E.A. Sports Today

Traveling man

Oxford coach Brooks lends his eye to evaluation process for USA Baseball 12U National Team in California

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

For the last three springs Oxford High School baseball coach Wes Brooks has been helping to identify the top 12-year-old players from this part of the state. This week he’s been asked to bring his eye for evaluating talent to a more national level.

Early Saturday morning Brooks flies out to California to take part in USA Baseball’s National Open, basically the semifinals to identify the National 12U team that will play in the World Cup in Taiwan later this month.

“I’m just blessed and humbled to be with this task force,” Brooks said. “The biggest thing for me being able to evaluate these 108 guys along with 15 of my best friends from around the country who have been involved with USA Baseball the last four or five years. To be able to evaluate talent and sit alongside 15 of the best baseball minds in the country on the high school, college and professional level is just an honor.

“I say all the time it’s all about sailing the right ships. A lot of coaches think about winning the championship; it’s all about fellowshipping, developing relationships and teaching young kids at 12 about sportsmanship. At the end of the day I get to sail the right ship with 15 of my friends and whatever they ask me to do in the future I will make every move I possibly can to reach out and help them.”

Brooks has directed a USA Baseball Open Developmental Camp in Oxford the last three years. In January he was invited to join the task force at this week’s tryout in Castaic, Calif., charged with evaluating the 108 players there and paring the list to 36, from which the coaching staff will pick its 18-man National Team roster.

It’s the road Dawson Campbell took last year on his way a spot on the National Team that won a silver medal in the Pan-American Games in Mexico. Campbell has since moved to Georgia. Huntsville High School coach David Sharp is this year’s team manager; he was a coach on the team last year.

The Oxford ODC has drawn better than the national average of the 35 ODCs each year. This year’s camp in May drew 32 players from which four were selected for California.

Brooks will be in California until Tuesday, when he hopes to get back in time to his varsity pitcher/outfielder Brody Syer play in the Alabama North-South All-Star doubleheader in Montgomery.

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