Marcus Littlewood is trading in his Pine View baseball uniform for a more prestigious one this week.
Littlewood, a junior at Pine View, is playing for the U.S. national 16-under team in the Junior Pan-Am Games in Veracruz, Mexico. He is one of 19 players on the roster, and he's believed to be the first player in state history to make the 16-under national team. Spanish Fork's Brock Duke made the 14-under team a few years ago.
"I think the hard work he's put in over the years and being a field rat has kind of paid off," said his father and Dixie State coach Mike Littlewood. "He loves the game, and this is icing on the cake for him."
The U.S. team is 2-0 so far in the Pan-Am Games. It beat Panama 15-0 on Friday, then edged Cuba 3-1 in 11 innings on Sunday. Littlewood went 3-for-4 against Panama and drove in two runs. He went 0-for-4 against Cuba but got on base when he was hit by a pitch in the 11th inning, and he later scored on a wild pitch.
Littlewood is the starting shortstop and batting in the No. 2 spot for the U.S. team. He tried out for the 18-under national team but didn't make it. When he was cut, he was told he was good enough to make the 16-under team, so he hurried to the tryouts and made the team.
"It's exciting for him," said Mike Littlewood. "It's a special honor to wear the USA across your chest."
Because of the time commitment to play on the U.S. team, Littlewood will miss a total of three weeks of school. The players on the team are given a couple of hours to study each day.
Littlewood was named the state's Gatorade Player of the Year as a sophomore. He was named a first-team all-state player for hitting .391 and scoring 29 runs last season. He's a tremendous defensive player at shortstop.
Littlewood has already verbally committed to play at the University of San Diego.
The U.S. team will play six more games in the Pan-Am Games. It faces Puerto Rico today, and concludes play in the Games on Sunday against Mexico.
BUCK PUTTING ON CAMP: Kansas City Royals catcher and former Taylorsville High standout John Buck will soon put on a one-day camp for local players.
The 2008 John Buck Baseball Camp will be held at Gates Field at Kearns High School on Oct. 4. Buck and fellow Major League Baseball players Brandon Lyon, Brandon Duckworth, Mark Teahen, Alex Gordon, Chris Shelton and others will run the camp. High school players will participate from 1-3 p.m., junior high players from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 9-12-year-olds from 9-11 a.m.
The cost of the camp is $14, the same number as Buck's jersey. The MLB players will compete in a home run derby that same day at 5 p.m. with aluminum bats.
For more information, visit gatesfield.com.BOUNTIFUL NEEDS GAMES, ASST. COACH: Bountiful High's girls basketball team is seeking two more nonregion games, preferably in early December but any date and team will be considered. Also, the Braves are looking for an assistant girls basketball coach. Those interested in either item should contact coach Joel Burton at 801-402-3900 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.