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Ankeny Centennial's McKinney earns spot on Team USA baseball team


1:00 AM, Aug. 22, 2013 EDT

Ankeny's Keaton McKinney pitches to a Clinton batter during the Hawks' 10-8 loss in the quarterfinals of the Class 4-A state tournament Wednesday at Principal Park. McKinney compiled an 8-0 record this season with a 0.61 ERA. / DAN HOLM/ANKENY REGISTER & PRESS CITIZEN PHOTOS

Before Keaton McKinney ever dons the silver-and-black jersey of Ankeny Centennial, the hard-throwing pitcher and slugging first baseman will get a chance to wear the red, white and blue colors of Team USA. McKinney found out Wednesday night that he had made the 20-man roster for Team USA's 18-and-under squad that will compete in the International Baseball Federation (IBAF AAA) World Cup in Taiwan. The team will depart early Saturday morning from Los Angeles, where McKinney spent the last week earning a spot on the team. "I'm really excited," said McKinney, an Arkansas recruit. "I can't wait to start playing." McKinney was among 144 high school players who were invited to try out for the squad. He survived the first round of cuts to 40 players last month in North Carolina, then withstood the final round of cuts this week. "It was kind of up in the air," McKinney said. "There are a lot of good players here, and I knew every single player could have made this team." McKinney was named to the all-state super team by the Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association after leading Ankeny to a berth in the Class 4-A state tournament this summer. He posted an 8-0 record with a 0.61 ERA on the mound while also batting .392 with eight home runs and 39 RBIs. McKinney showed off his versatility during the tryouts, helping him to make the squad. "I pitched 5 2/3 innings in one game, and my changeup was working really well," he said. "But I played in the field, too, and I hit. I'll just do whatever for the team. "I can't wait to wear the USA jersey," he added.

 

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