Mountain Pointe Coach Brandon Buck applauds the teams win during the baseball game between Mountain Pointe and Corona at Phoenix Municipal Stadium on Tuesday, May 7, 2013.

[David Jolkovski/AFN]

Maybe I should have held out.

I was able to finagle trips to Las Vegas and Southern California to cover football in the fall. If I was smart I would have gone to just one and tried to figure out a way to head to North Carolina for a very cool baseball event the Mountain Pointe baseball team is participating in in March.

The Pride was selected awhile back to play in the 2014 National High School Invitational, March 26-29, at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C.

It’s the third year for event and it has quickly become one of the best events on the diamond in the nation.

"We are excited to continue to host the National High School Invitational," said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball's executive director/CEO. "The quality of competition in the first two years of the event has made this the premier event on the high school baseball calendar, and with the inclusion of some of the best programs in the country, and some of the game's top draft-eligible high school players, this year's NHSI will continue the tradition of excellent competition that has been established."

The 16-team field is impressive: Aliso Niguel (Aliso Viejo, Calif.), Clovis (Calif.), Orange Lutheran (Calif.); Bishop Verot (Fort Myers, Fla.), Coral Springs Christian Academy (Coral Springs, Fla.), The First Academy (Orlando, Fla.), Venice (Fla.), ThunderRidge (Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Regis (Aurora, Colo.), Dyer County (Newbern, Tenn,), Gainesville (Ga.), Parkview (Lilburn, Ga.), Milton (Ga.), Huntsville (Ala.), the Pride and host T.C. Roberson out of Asheville, N.C.

USA Baseball is releasing the first-round matchups every Thursday on their website (www.usabaseball) and so far two games – Venica vs. Gainesville and ThundRidge vs. Clovis – has been made known.

The Pride is expected to be one of the top Division I teams in Arizona this spring with shortstop Cole Tucker and center fielder Ernie de la Trinidad, both of whom spent time at the USA Baseball National Training Complex for various national team tryouts, leading the way.

It should be a great test for Mountain Pointe, which hopes it can match the state title it won in 2011, as they can play free and easy without having to worry about the consequences of a power point loss.

A good performance there and it just might springboard the Pride to a state title so clearly as the guy who covers the team I need to be there when it happens.

Guess I better check my frequent flyer miles to see if I have enough to get a free flight.

Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

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