CLARK, NJ – Fourteen-year-old Joe Greenbush will be a freshman at Arthur L. Johnson High School in September, but he’ll represent the United States in the 2017 Latin American Baseball Classic first.
Greenbush pitches and plays first base. He’ll bring his talents to the Dominican Republic in August, where he’ll play with teams from Venezuela, Dominican Republic, British Virgin Islands, St. Croix, St. Thomas, Cuba, Mexico and Nicaragua
“I’m nervous, but it’ll be fun,” Greenbush said.
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Between 4,000 and 5,000 athletes try out for the event annually, according to the USA-LABC website. Approximately 130 athletes were selected by proving themselves to be the best of the best. Greenbush will be one of 22 athletes in his age division.
“I’m proud, excited and nervous for him,” Greenbush’s mom, Christine Greenbush, said. “I told him he had to keep his expectations real because it’s a big team, they expect a lot and they don’t take just anybody. When we got the letter, it was just pure excitement and we’re extremely proud of his efforts.”
Greenbush is competitive by nature and always tries to best himself, according to his mom. His batting average last year was .535, he said.
“If I’m pitching and I do better than I think I will, if I strike out more kids than I thought I would, I surprise myself,” Greenbush said.
Greenbush plays basketball and football as well, but he prefers baseball and wants to play Division I in college. When he’s not playing sports, he likes to watch his favorite team, the Yankees.
“Joe’s never satisfied with his performance,” his mom said. “He’s competitive in school, on the field and in general. He went to the states with wrestling two years ago, but it was time to move on, so he did basketball.”
Greenbush will travel to the Dominican Republic with his dad on August 2, where he’ll enter tournaments, attend tours, team dinners, ceremonies and more. He’ll arrive home on August 8 and start high school in September.