From a Planet Baseball Press Release:
Ben Becker, a Greenville senior, is traveling to the Czech Republic and Germany later this month to play with Planet Baseball, an international touring baseball team. Becker was invited to join the team following last summer’s Stanford All-stars Camp in California.
The Planet Baseball team is set to compete in Prague Baseball Week (Europe’s biggest baseball tournament) and will face the national teams of Great Britain, Germany, two teams from Czech Republic and a European Pro All-Star Team. This year the games will be carried live on Czech Television.
Following the tournament, the team will travel to Regensburg, Germany, to play three games against the Regensburg Legionäres, Germany’s best team, in Armin-Wolf Arena which seats over 10,000 fans.
Made up of 10 college and 12 high school players from the US, Mexico and Canada, the team will play as many as nine games during the twelve-day trip plus have time to enjoy some of the sites of the two great cities.
Planet Baseball’s founder and general manager, Jay Quinn, is excited about this year’s team, “We’ve been taking teams to Europe for the last two years…but this year’s team is the most talented group that we’ve had. I expect that we will do very well.” Quinn said, “For some of our players it will be their first time overseas. I’m looking forward to sharing the experience with them.”
In addition to founding Planet Baseball, Quinn has been working with prospects in Europe and South America since leaving his coaching position at Columbia University in 2012. Having been a player and then a college coach/recruiter and an MLB scout, Quinn understands both sides of the recruiting/scouting process and uses his traveling teams to help players get more exposure. Quinn and his coaching staff also hold sessions during the trip to help prepare the players for their next step up in baseball.
Quinn has assembled an experienced coaching staff for this year’s team. Coaches include former MLB player and 2014 HOF nominee, Jacque Jones; Georgetown University Head Coach, Pete Wilk; and Holy Cross Assistant Coach, Jeff Miller. “We will be playing against some great European team, but most important, we have an incredible coaching staff who will work with these players to bring out their best, on and off the field.” Quinn said.
Returning pitcher Andrew Bruss, who plays for Denison University, couldn’t agree more. “I developed great relationships with the coaching staff last year. Our head coach was Stephen Larkin, Barry Larkin’s brother, and it was amazing to be able to talk to him and spend a lot of time with him.”
This year’s pitching staff also includes righthanders Jorge Tress, an 18-year-old from Mexico City; Collin Gabel, a sophomore from Paradise Valley Community College in Arizona who averaged just under 11 strikeouts per game during his freshman season; and Ryan Chipman – a 2015 HS graduate who will play for Susquehanna University next year. From the left side of the mound will be Matthew Logan, whose HS team won the Florida 7A State Championship this spring and is set to wear a Seminole State College uniform; and Zak Zavera, a 22-year-old southpaw who just graduated from Manhattanville College. Zavera threw two shutouts his senior season and was awarded Freedom Conference Pitcher of the Week in March.
Becker, who doesn’t turn 17 until July said, “I’m looking forward to meeting the team. I know I’m the youngest, but I think I can hold my own.”