Local 10-year-olds Kahl Malott and Sam Walker were chosen to the Oregon Select Baseball team and are off to Disneyland
One year ago, Kahl Malott and Sam Walker were selected to the 10U Oregon Select Baseball team, a hand-picked squad of some of the top young baseball talent from across the state.
The two Powell Butte residents competed in the Crook County Little League, played for the Redmond Panthers all-star travel team, and were then selected to appear in a tryout among a handful of players for the OSB team before being selected to play for the 10-man OSB team.
Needless to say, it is elite.
But the two friends couldn't go last year to compete as members of the squad. As so many other things in their lives are similar - same town, same class in school, same birthday - both players were going on vacation at the same time. Malott was heading to Disneyland and Mexico while Walker was off to Shasta Lake in Northern California.
This year, the two will both be heading to Disneyland as members of the OSB team. The team will be competing at the California Competitive Youth Baseball World Series in Anaheim, Calif. from August 5-12.
"For those kids to be on the team, I think it's a neat thing," OSB coach Mark Malott said. "Both those kids are great ball players and they'll go on to compete against other kids of equal caliber."
Walker, a third basemen, and Malott, a shortstop, said their goal was to make it back to the team since they didn't get to compete last year.
"It's an honor," Walker said about the selection. "Just to go down there and play, that's what I am most excited about. We have a really tight team, a tight infield, and I think we're going to do pretty good."
Along with playing six games in eight days at the CCYB World Series - eight games if they compete well enough - the boys, along with the rest of their team, will be attending two baseball camps: one at California State University at Fullerton, and another with the personal trainer of Barry Zito, the ace of the Oakland Athletics' pitching staff. The team will also be competing at an AAU regional tournament at Delta Park in Portland on Labor Day weekend.
"These kids should be very proud," Mark Malott said. "Do you know how many 10-year-old baseball players there are (in the state)? We're very proud. I'm very proud."
Malott said there were about 30 players selected for the tryout with only 10 making the team. Along with the Metro Baseball Academy, also based in Oregon, the OSB team picks 10 players for each age group.
"We'll get to go to California to play clubs that have been together for two to three years," Malott added. "It will be good competition for them."
Kahl Malott said that the competition at the tryout was some of the best.
"It was really hard and really competitive," he said. "People from all over Oregon came to Redmond to try out. But we look pretty good, pretty stout."
With practices ongoing this week, and the team's full schedule in the upcoming months, don't expect Malott or Walker to get sick of baseball anytime soon.
"They both are pushing each other," Mark Malott said. "They get together and hit. It might be a snowy day in December (and they'll hit). They work at it. Those kids work hard."
And, if given a choice, don't expect to see them on any family vacations during baseball season.