MARICOPA — A local middle school baseball player is about to take his dream of playing against the best in the world a step further by playing for a national team.
Brody Matcuk, an eighth-grader at Maricopa Wells Middle School, is among only 34 players his age from the Southwest region who have been selected for the USA Baseball camp that will take place in Cary, North Carolina, beginning Aug. 7.
There, he will be competing as an outfielder against the best of the region for one of 14 spots in USA Baseball’s under-14 development team, which would put him on the path to eventually join the under-15 team that travels around the world playing other countries.
Matcuk has been going through a tryout process throughout the month, traveling to California on multiple weekends to put his name out there.
“All of them were like me, they wanted to be great,” Matcuk said. “They wanted to make it far in life in baseball, so it was exciting being around them.”
Last week, he got the call that he was going to be heading to North Carolina, which his father, Steve, said was a great reward for all the hard work his son had put in to get to that point. Since starting to play the game at the age of 5, Brody had shown talent, Steve said, but it’s been a long journey to turn that into a real baseball player.
“You could see he had the ability from a young age, but he’s really worked hard at it the past few years,” Steve said. “He’s really become more serious, more focused, and just enjoyed playing baseball. The more success he’s had, the more work he’s put into it.”
Neither Matcuk knows much of what to expect once Brody gets to North Carolina. This is a first-time experience. However, Brody knows he will be facing the best of the best, including pitching the likes he has never faced before, and a level of competition that will push him harder than ever.
Despite that pressure, he said everyone involved in this process needs to have a positive attitude, taking what they can get out of it and not being too hard on themselves if things don’t work out.
“I hope to become a better teammate,” Matcuk said. “I’ll be around players who are just as good as I am, so I can learn a lot of stuff while I’m there from the other players.”
Of course, Matcuk still has a life back in Maricopa to look forward to, including playing club ball for the Mound Magic team, and deciding where he’s going to go to high school. He said he participated in the summer program at Maricopa High School, which allowed him to compete against the varsity team.
“I think there’s more to come,” Steve said. “If he just keeps focusing, I think he has a real bright future.”