Bedford North Lawrence`s Cal Gates gets invite for USA Baseball 16U tryouts
Tuesday, August 2, 2022
Bedford North Lawrence's Cal Gates gets invite for USA Baseball 16U tryouts
Jeff Bartlett - The Times-Mail
BEDFORD − Cal Gates has baseball ingrained into his lifestyle, and the Bedford North Lawrence sophomore loves the opportunities he's afforded to play and compete in the sport. Much of that comes naturally because his dad, Nick, was an Indiana All-Star during his senior year at BNL, and his mom, Anna (Green), was a softball standout for the Stars.
The diamond isn't completely all-consuming because the 16-year old also enjoys playing football and basketball, but it's safe to say that baseball is the butter on his bread. He started in right field as a freshman for the Stars, and he's grown up performing with the Indiana Bulls organization in travel baseball.
Now his due diligence with the glove and bat is taking him to extremely lofty levels.
USA Baseball comes calling
A strong history in travel action, along with the rookie stardom with the Stars garnered serious attention, along with All-HHC Honorable Mention honors. And now a superb summer with the Bulls has earned Gates USA Baseball Midwest NTIS (National Team Identification Series) All-Region honors, and with it an invitation from USAB to compete for a spot on the 16U National Team.
"I got a call from the guy who is the recruiter in the Midwest and he asked me to come to North Carolina to try out for the National Team," Gates explained. "He had watched us over the summer, and he picked out the players that he felt would be the best fits for the Midwest team.
"It's a big honor to be selected for it, and it's very exciting."
It isn't a big surprise that Gates received the selection and invitation. In 38 games for the Indiana Bulls this summer, he batted .413 with seven doubles, six triples and a home run. It added up to a .552 on-base percentage, .652 slugging percentage, and a 1.204 on-base-plus-slugging percentage. He also pitched 5.1 innings of relief, facing 22 batters. Gates gave up just three hits and three walks with eight strikeouts.
Gates is currently playing for Team Indiana just outside Atlanta in the Prep Baseball Report Future Games, another very prestigious tournament that he has gotten to participate in for the past couple of years. These accolades he's accumulating are coming about because of talent, but also through immense desire and hard work. Gates credited the time he put in prior to the BNL season with helping him achieve the invite from USA Baseball.
"I've worked very hard to get ready for my high school baseball career, and I put in a lot of time getting ready for this freshman season," he said. "I really think it helped me prepare for my travel ball season this summer, and when that went as well as it did the recruiter took note of it. So it definitely helped me receive this invitation.
"And I was pretty happy with my BNL season. I thought it was a pretty decent freshman season (he hit .333 with six doubles and a team-best 11 stolen bases).
On the road again
Cal and his family won't have long at home before they head out to put several more miles on the ol' wagon. The USA Baseball tryouts are slotted for August 10-14 in Cary, N.C., the home of USA Baseball's training facility. That's where Cal will play for the Midwest against three other regions. Evaluators will select the 16U National Team after observing the action on the field.
"How it works, they told me, is there will be four teams of select kids from four different regions of the country who will go to North Carolina, and we'll play each other in a series of games," Gates said. "There will be some guys evaluating all of the players and the USA National Team will be the guys that they select after watching us play.
"It will be great competition, that's for sure, but I feel like they invited me for a reason, so I think I have as good a chance as anybody to make the team. I feel that it's always going to go to the guy who works the hardest, and I know I work as hard at it as I can. My dad and I are always working on something to try to improve."
A well-rounded athlete
Gates has always been a multi-sport athlete and was a football and basketball star at Bedford Middle School before turning to Boys Club and travel ball during the summer. He wants to maintain that well-rounded approach as much as possible, knowing that a selection to the USA National team could cut into some more of his time. Yet, baseball does have a special place in his realm.
BNL sophomore Cal Gates fires a pitch during a relief stint this summer for the Indiana Bulls travel ballclub.
"I am going to play football and I'm actually really excited for it to start," said Gates, who plays quarterback and defensive back. "I love baseball. It's always been close to my heart since my dad taught me how to swing a bat at age 3. It's a stress reliever for me, but you still tired sometimes of all the travel and stuff, so playing other sports gives me a break from it for just a little while.
"No matter how much you love it sometimes you need a little break. But I'll be ready to get back into it real soon. I'm really looking forward to my sophomore year at BNL."
Contact Times-Mail Sports Writer Jeff Bartlett at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @jeffbtmnews.