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Austin Bode has an interesting perspective on his recent tryout for the Junior Olympic National baseball team.
The 10-year-old Columbus resident wasn’t one of the 16 players from the nearly 200 attendees to make the U.S. 12-and-under squad. But as Bode points out, current major-league stars Prince Fielder and Mike Trout didn’t make it their first year, either.
Last month’s trip to Cary, N.C., for the National Team Identification Series capped a big summer of baseball for Bode. The fifth-grader at White Creek Lutheran led the Indiana Bulls to a 59-10 record and the Bluegrass World Series title in Elizabethtown, Ky.
Bode also played for Team Indiana for the second consecutive year in the Junior All-State Tournament and helped lead the Hoosier contingent to a runner-up finish among Great Lakes states.
This summer, Bode hit about .700 for the Bulls while batting third in the order.
“He is one of the best pure hitters that I’ve ever seen in this age group,” said his coach, Jeremy Holt. “I would not consider him a power hitter, although he does have power. He is a pure hitter. He hits it where it’s pitched. He keeps his hands inside the ball and does a really nice job with it.
“I told Austin in a game one time this year if there were two outs and a runner on base and I could choose any 10-year-old, I want Austin Bode at the plate,” he said.
Although he primarily plays behind the plate, Bode also has done a little pitching and has played in the infield.
“I like to throw people out when they’re stealing,” Bode said.
“Austin is a complete player,” Holt said. “He understands the game, no matter where you put him, beyond his years. A lot of kids can play multiple positions. Austin Bode can have success at multiple positions.”
Bode has been playing baseball since age 4 in Bloomington, when he participated in Tee-ball with Sport Shorties. He played with the Indiana Blazers the past two years before joining the Bulls in 2013.
“As a parent, you have a boy that wants to play sports, you just hope he makes the varsity in high school,” said his father, Max Bode. “But this is pretty cool to be able to do something like this.
“We’re very proud of him with how much he’s accomplished. It’s been a blessing. With everything he’s been offered this year, it’s like the sky has opened up for him.”
Austin Bode also plays basketball for White Creek Lutheran and for the Columbus Revolution. His classmates at White Creek gave him a big sendoff to the National Team Identification Series with cards and a posterboard, with kids signing their names and writing messages.
“It was a great experience,” Austin Bode said. “There are a whole bunch of great baseball players here in Columbus, so it was a great honor just to be there and try out for the national team.”
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