Class of 2019 Clemson commitment Jonathan French was fired up when he made the cut for the 40-man USA Baseball 18-and-Under National Team Trials roster.
But the standout catcher from Lilburn (Ga.) Parkview knows he still has work to do, as the trials roster will be trimmed later this year. Of the 40 players on the roster, only 20 will be selected to represent the United States in the COPABE Pan-Am Championships in Panama City, Panama.
“I was extremely excited for a good amount of time,” French said of making the first cut, “and then I became focused on playing my best ball to push me to my next goal, which is making the 20-man roster.”
Regardless of whether he earns a spot on the 20-man roster, French will get to play for Hall of Fame coach Jack Leggett, who is coaching the USA Baseball 18-and-Under National Team.
Of course, Leggett coached at Clemson for 22 years, led the Tigers to 21 NCAA Tournament appearances and six College World Series appearances, and won 955 games.
“It will be an extremely huge honor,” French said of playing for Leggett.
French’s performances on the summer ball circuit helped him earn a spot on the 40-man USA Baseball roster.
He plays summer ball for Team Elite Prime 17-and-Under with fellow 2019 Clemson commits Mack Anglin (RHP), Nasim Nunez (IF/RHP), Pierce Gallo (SS) and Gavin Collyer (RHP).
Anglin and Nunez made the 40-man USA Baseball roster, as well.
“Summer has been going good so far,” French said. “I’ve been having fun traveling and doing events such as TOS (Tournament of Stars) and the PG (Perfect Game) National. I’m having a lot of fun so far.”
Though focused on his own baseball endeavors, French made sure to keep up with Clemson’s 2018 baseball season.
The Tigers posted a 47-16 record, their best season in terms of wins and losses since 2006, and won the program’s first ACC Regular Season Championship since 2006 before falling to Vanderbilt in the Clemson Regional Finals.
“I thought they had a great year overall,” French said. “Didn’t end how we wanted it to, but it was still good.”
French, who committed to Clemson in May 2017, looks forward to contributing to Clemson’s program in the future.
In the meantime, he has been getting encouragment from Tigers head coach Monte Lee and assistant coach Bradley LeCroy.
“Mainly to just keep doing what I’m doing,” French said of what he’s heard from the coaches, “and focus on what I’m doing now so I can make myself the best player I can.”
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