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Tate Matheny gets a taste of baseball on the world stage

Matheny 2 Matheny 1Tate Matheny loves to play baseball and he got to see some of the world this summer doing what he enjoys most.

Matheny, a Chesterfield native who will be a junior at Missouri State this fall, played on the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team. The Westminster Christian Academy graduate had a productive summer for Team USA and played not only on the East Coast but also in the Netherlands and Cuba.

The center fielder started in 21 of the squad’s 28 games and played in five others. He finished hitting .288 with two doubles, a home run and 11 RBIs. He had a .350 slugging percentage and a .329 on base percentage. He was a perfect six-for-six in stolen bases and made just two errors in the field.

“I’ve had a quite a summer,” Matheny said. “It was a really fun, humbling experience for me. It was something I’ll never forget. Not too many Americans get to go to Cuba and play baseball in that atmosphere there.”

Team USA finished the summer with an 18-8-2 record, including a 7-1 mark at Honkbal Week in the Netherlands, where it won the tournament title.

Arkansas Head Coach Dave Van Horn recommended Matheny for a spot on the 24-man roster.

“I was the main one that recommended him for a tryout. I was going off how well he hit his freshman year,” Van Horn said.

Van Horn liked Matheny’s defense. He added that Matheny is a productive hitter as well.

“We knew we’d need him against left-handed pitching. If he swung the bat well, he would stay in the lineup for us,” Van Horn said. “He has an inside-out type swing. His power is to right center.”

For his part, Matheny sought to “enjoy” the experience.

“I wanted to play well and play hard,” Matheny said. “I think I did. We all just wanted to win. I think we did a pretty good job, too. The only team we struggled with was Cuba. We could have beaten them five times but it didn’t turn out that way.”

Team USA played Chinese Taipei and Japan in North Carolina before heading to the Haarlem, Netherlands for the double-elimination tournament.

In the opener, Japan won 1-0. Then Team USA ripped off seven wins to capture the tournament. In the finale, Team USA defeated Japan 6-3.

“It was really good competition,” Matheny said.

Now back at school, Matheny said, “I’m going to get ready for a huge season.”

As a junior, he will be eligible for the major league draft and is hoping some team will take him.

“Hopefully,” he said. “That’s the goal.”

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