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Rocklin teen packs bat, glove for trip to Mexico

By: Cecil Conley, Sports Editor
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Zach Green is in his third year of Spanish classes at Jesuit High School in Carmichael, but the 16-year-old Rocklin resident would not go as far as to say he can speak the language fluently. Green can talk baseball, however. That will have to do when he travels to Mexico today to play for the United States in the 2010 COPABE AA Youth Pan-Am Championships in Lagos De Moreno. Twenty players were selected by USA Baseball to the 16U National Team. The tournament begins Saturday, and the gold-medal game will be Oct. 17. Green’s Spanish studies will be on hold. This will be his first trip to a foreign land. Green was the only Northern California player and one of just four in the state picked to the team, which features players from across the country. Forty players were invited to the tryouts at College Park High in The Woodlands, Texas. Green plays shortstop at Jesuit High, but he has been working out at first base and in the outfield. If nothing else, his time with the national team has been an opportunity to develop his versatility. The roster was announced last Friday, and Green called his parents shortly after he was selected. “I can’t explain the feeling. I was teary-eyed,” Green said. “This has been my goal for the last year. Green’s parents, Jesse and Kym, were overcome with emotion when their son called with the good news. “What an amazing honor. I can’t quantify it with words,” Kym said. “This has been one of the things he’s really wanted to do. It was so emotional for me when he called. I was spilling over with joy.” His friends tease Green occasionally because he does not play at Rocklin High, but Kym said her son will be presenting the city with the national team. He will also be playing for his country. “This means you’re the best,” Green said. “I’ll be representing my country on and off the field.” His selection to the national team also means Green will miss three weeks of school. He expects to have his hands full with homework once he returns. After all, he has a 3.4 GPA to maintain. “I can get some assignments online, and my friends to get stuff for me my teachers,” he said. “I’ll have to do some catching up after school. I’m sure I’ll have to taking some makeup tests.” Green’s teachers have been supportive, Kym said, because they realize this is an “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” “They’re not letting him cut any corners,” Kym said, “but they have been accommodating.” One goal remains for Green now that he is playing for the national team. “We just want to win the gold,” he said. That would be oro in Spanish.