CONWAY — Alex Allain is catching the eye of officials from USA Baseball’s National Team Identification Series. He has progressed through two U12 identification camps and has been invited to play for USA Baseball NTIS Team Northeast. He will be traveling to Cary, North Carolina — USA Baseball Headquarters — to compete in the Champions Cup tournament, which runs from Aug. 14-18.
Alex, the son of Gabriela and Greg Allain of Center Conway, can play a wide range of position from shortstop to centerfielder and pitches some, but his calling card might be his impressive bat and plot discipline.
The National Team Identification Series, according to its website, “utilizes a six-region system for the initial player identification process. The six regions consist of the midwest, northeast, northwest, south, southeast and southwest. All six NTIS regions are managed and operated by a USA Baseball-appointed regional director. Each regional director is responsible for the planning and execution of the player identification process for their assigned region(s), and will ultimately name the All-Region teams that move on to the NTIS Champions Cup. …The USA Baseball National Team Identification Series (NTIS) is the most comprehensive player identification program offered by USA Baseball. Launched in 2009, the program was created to provide all athletes from across the United States an opportunity to compete for a spot on a USA Baseball national team.”
Alex attended Round 1 of the NTIS tryout in April. After making the cut, he was invited to attend Round 2 in East Hartford, Connecticut in early July. Round 2 tryouts consisted of 120 players from Ohio up to New England. From there, just 24 athletes were selected for the next adventure.
“He did awesomely,” Greg Allain said. “Gabi and I are very proud of him. We got the word (July 19) that he has made USA Baseball NTIS Team Northeast.”
The NTIS Champions Cup, according to USA Baseball, “features 12 teams per age group and athletes will participate in workouts and a championship-style tournament while being evaluated by national team coaches and scouts. Following the Champions Cup, USA Baseball will invite a minimum of 72 athletes to national team and National Team Development Program (NTDP) events in the subsequent calendar year.”
The site adds: “All participants will compete in a combination of games and on-field skills testing. One on one interaction with USA Baseball Task Force members. Individual skills testing. Competition against top players from across the country. Opportunity to make Team USA programming. Participants will receive a USA Baseball National Team Trials style uniform. College and university coaches and professional scouts will be in attendance.”
In 2013, USA Baseball, according to its website, “launched its first-ever 12U National Team. The team, which was comprised of some of the most talented young players across the county, traveled to Taipei City, Taiwan, and came home with its first IBAF 12U World Cup gold medal. After lengthy pool play, the 12U National Team defeated the host, Chinese Taipei, in the World Cup final, 8-1. The game was attended by over 10,000 home fans and was broadcast throughout parts of Asia and online.”