Although the weather can’t seem to decide between late-summer balmy and mid-fall crisp, it must feel like the early days of spring for two south Charlotte athletes, who recently picked up a pair of prestigious invitations to showcase their baseball skills on a national scale.
Charlotte Catholic first baseman Chase Arnold and Charlotte Country Day middle infielder Jordan Greene have been named 2013 Under Armour Pre-Season All-Americans for the upcoming baseball season. As a result, each was invited to a three-day showcase tournament Jan. 18-20 in Tucson, Ariz.
Each player made strides last year in his first season on the varsity level. As a junior, Arnold batted .295 with 19 RBIs and seven doubles as a designated hitter and first baseman for the Cougars. Greene, as a freshman, ranked among the top three Charlotte Country Day hitters in several offensive categories for the Bucs, including runs scored, hits, doubles, RBIs, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and batting average as a second baseman.
Greene said he earned his way to the honor after participating in a weeklong camp last June in Omaha, Neb. Greene said he had an inkling he could receive an invite to the event, organized by Baseball Factory, after earning top infielder honors at the camp in Omaha. But he was still “shocked,” he said.
“I was ecstatic,” Greene said. “I was so happy. I don’t know how to describe it. When I found out Chase got it, too, it was a whole (different) level.”
The two players have been teammates since they were youngsters playing with the Charlotte Megastars, and each is pleased there will be a familiar face in the crowd.
“It takes off the nerves, I guess,” Greene said. “It makes me a little more comfortable knowing that, if I go with (Arnold), we’ve been playing together forever. We know each other’s limits and how to help each other on the field.”
Arnold, who also attended the tournament last season, agreed.
“Last year it was hard not knowing many people, but this year will definitely be fun because we’ve been playing together for so long,” Arnold said. “To get to go play together in something like this at a national level and get to both show what we’ve got, it will definitely be fun.”
Arnold said the three-day camp will be filled with several showcase-style events, including various hitting, running and fielding drills. The players also participated in three simulated games over the three days. In addition, the players will be evaluated and placed within a database of prospects for college recruiters. Past attendees include Major Leaguers David Wright, B.J. Upton and Gavin Floyd.
Arnold said that while his invitation last year was special, being asked to return served as an affirmation that he held his own the first time around.
“That was great because that means they saw something in me that they liked,” Arnold said. “The first time it was exciting, but then the second time, I definitely felt like I should be there and I know they wanted me back for a reason. I’m going to take it as more of a business trip (than last year) and try to get more exposure.”
Arnold, who also is an offensive lineman for the Cougars football team (Greene is a member of the Bucs’ football team), said the event is the ideal way to get a jumpstart on the baseball season, especially as a two-sport athlete.
“It was great (last winter), especially coming off football, just to get back into (baseball),” Arnold said. “It was really good to start off against some good competition and see some good pitching at the beginning of the year. That really helped me out for getting ready for varsity baseball, which I hadn’t played before.”