A year ago, the highlight of the year for Kody Cardoza was a perfect game in the first week of the Los Banos Little League majors division.
This year, he took another step, earning a selection to the Northern California 13U team to compete in the USA Baseball National Team Identification Series in late August at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C., the headquarters of USA Baseball.
“We’re extremely proud as parents,” said Dave Cardoza, Kody’s father and an assistant coach for Merced College baseball. “Kody’s worked real hard, and he’s played a lot of baseball the last two years. He’s had to give up a lot to not just make this team, but he’s had to give up a lot to put the time in to play baseball. He’s missed parties, vacations, hanging out with his buddies – yeah, I’m a baseball coach, but Kody made it happen.”
Kody played this year for the Valley Devils, a travel team that plays out of Turlock. The initial tryout in Manteca for the NTIS Northern California team attracted about 300 players, by Dave Cardoza’s estimate. The top 30 were selected for an all-star game in late June, played at Santa Clara University.
“At the tryout in Manteca, he touched 75 miles per hour, which was the third-highest at the event,” Dave Cardoza said. “At the all-star game, they moved it back to 50 feet, 6 inches, and he hit 75 again. For a 13-year-old, that’s impressive. As a coach, I’m very impressed with what he’s done. I don’t think he realizes it, but to be a part of team USA at this age, this could open some doors for him. Coaches and scouts could keep him in their databases.”
Kody Cardoza also notched a fourth-best infield-throw velocity at 70 miles per hour. While Dad rambled on, as baseball coaches have a tendency to do, Cardoza – who sprouted to 5 feet, 10 inches this year – kept his thoughts succinct.
“I’m really excited,” he said. “I think it’s going to be fun.”
The series features 16 teams from different regions around the country.