By Steve Breazeale
Following a 12-game selection process that stretched over two days, 40 players from around the country were selected to be on the USA Baseball 18U National Team Trials roster with a chance at making the final 20-man team in September.
Hans Crouse, a soon-to-be senior pitcher at Dana Hills High School, was one of the 40 players who survived the first round of cuts and is eyeing a spot on the elite-level squad.
Crouse, along with 107 other ballplayers, descended upon Cary, North Carolina, on June 24 to compete in USA Baseball’s Tournament of Stars. The tournament served as a scouting and selection process for the 40-man roster.
Crouse and the players who made the 40-man roster will head to Houston, Texas, on Sept. 11 to compete in the National Team Trials. Players who land a spot on the final 20-man roster will travel with the team to compete in the COPABE Pan Am “AAA” Championships in Monterrey, Mexico, in September.
California is well represented on the team’s 40-man roster. Crouse is one of nine Californians that made the team, the most of any state in the country. Orange County was also well represented, as Hagen Danner (Huntington Beach), Royce Lewis (JSerra Catholic) and Nick Pratto (Huntington Beach) also made the 40-man roster.
At the Tournament of Stars, Crouse was a pitcher for Team Free, which ended up placing second. Crouse appeared in the tournament’s championship game and tossed three scoreless innings as his team’s starting pitcher.
Crouse made his first appearance in the tournament on the first day of competition. He threw three shutout innings, allowed one hit and struck out four.
Crouse proved to be a dominant force on the mound in his junior year at Dana Hills. The 6-foot-4-inch right-hander led the Dolphins in ERA (1.15), wins (five), innings pitched (73) and strikeouts (96). Crouse tossed four complete games, highlighted by a no-hitter on April 13.