12-year-old Cooper Kinney with chance to play for Team USA in World Cup
Dayton’s Cooper Kinney will fly to Los Angeles tomorrow to compete for a spot on Team USA, the nation’s top 12 and under baseball team. Cooper earned the opportunity last fall when his performance turned heads at the 2014 USA Baseball National Identification Series.
You've got a kid from Cottonport Road heading to Los Angeles for the first time.Mike Kinney, Cooper's Dad
“We have known this was coming since last fall but now it is getting REAL,” says Lori Kinney, Cooper’s mom. “No matter what happens, we are very proud of what he has accomplished. We’re praying he will be able to relax and do what he knows how to do.”
Cooper will take an early flight in the morning and prepare for a grueling evaluation process during the next few days. He will be competing against 34 of the nation’s top players. Of the 34, only 18 will be selected to help Team USA defend their title in the 2015 WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup™ to be held in Tainan, Taiwan – July 24 – August 2.
“You’ve got a kid from Cottonport Road heading to Los Angeles for the first time,” says his dad, Mike Kinney.
“He’s been pretty calm about it. We’ve been prepping for this about a year. We want this to be fun despite the seriousness of the competition. Last year we went to the Team USA Camp to enjoy some father and son time. That’s how it all got started.”
The evaluation process will begin with running and throwing tests during a three-hour session. Then players will be split into two teams of which will play each other several times.
“If he goes and has a great week with his bat, he’ll be a Team USA member,” Kinney says. “That’s something no one will ever be able to take away from him – just being a part of that.”
Since qualifying, Cooper has played with the East Cobb Astros (Marietta, GA) – one of the premiere baseball teams in the nation. Every weekend, teams travel from across the country to play them.
Cooper is currently batting over .400 this season and hopes his bat will continue to shine this week in L.A.
For his father, he’s staying focused on the things that matter most in life.
“This whole week will be about the bond that you build with your son,” says Kinney who looks to make the most of this once in a lifetime experience.
The final selection will be announced online during a live streaming broadcast at 9:00 PST this Saturday (midnight for us).