MCKINNEY, Texas – A hand-picked team of 16-year-old high school players that comprise the inaugural team of Strike Zone Team Foutch have qualified for the AABC (American Amateur Baseball Congress) World Series that began yesterday in McKinney, Texas.
The team is coached by Mt. Morris coach Ben Almasy and owned by longtime Flint area coach and Greater Flint Hall of Fame member Roger Foutch. Lapeer High coach Larry Grumley is one of several area high school coaches working as assistants under Almasy.
Foutch’s team is playing in its inaugural season as Foutch’s Strike Zone out of Flint Twp. after a lot of work since the past winter to put together the best 16-year-old players from the local high schools. The team is comprised of 18 kids from high schools in Genesee and Lapeer counties that finished with a 28-6- 1 record, won league and state championships and won a regional title over the weekend to qualify for the Mickey Mantle World Series. Foutch’s Strike Zone is just the second travel baseball team from the Flint area to qualify for the World Series.
Foutch’s 16-under baseball team includes the local high school coaching staff of Almasy and Grumley, Craig Healy of Clio and Robert Oginsky of Flushing. Players include: Colin Vandergrondin, catcher, Montrose; Jawanza Edwards, utility, Carman- Ainsworth; Jonathan Kocks, outfield, Grand Blanc; Mackenzie McGough, utility, North Branch; Tristan Dean, third base, Clio; Zack Takacs, pitcher, Clio; Cooper Betancourt, infield, Carman-Ainsworth; Kevin Thompson, outfield, Lapeer; Jacob Lucius, outfield, Kearsley; Ian Reinhart, outfield, Montrose; Dominick Bruce, pitcher, Montrose; Jake Palinsky, pitcher, Montrose; Kyle Combs, first base, Lapeer; A.J. St. John, second base, Kearsley; Garrett Oginsky, shortstop, Flushing; Conor Faught, outfield, Linden; Landin Mitchell, designated hitter, Goodrich and Jacob Duplanty, pitcher, Mt. Morris.
“Kyle and Kevin get a once-in-a-lifetime chance to go to the World Series,” said Grumley. “I can’t go because of work obligations, but they’ll travel with some of the other coaches and it should be an outstanding experience for them to get to play with 10 teams for a national title. I’m pretty thrilled for them.”
Team Foutch opened play yesterday in Texas. The Championship game is Sunday.