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Salamanders shine versus USA Baseball

Photo by Thad Carroll.
From left: Chris Crabtree, Coach Kevin Soine, John Michael Faile, John Gaddis.
Photo by Thad Carroll. From left: Chris Crabtree, Coach Kevin Soine, John Michael Faile, John Gaddis.

In front of dozens of scouts, Monday, at the USA Baseball National Training Complex, three Holly Springs Salamanders excelled against the USA Collegiate National Team.

Playing for the Coastal Plain League Select Team, John Michael Faile and Chris Crabtree combined for two hits in three at-bats while John Gaddis tossed a scoreless frame.

Obviously, it's a lot bigger game [than normal] because you just look behind the catcher and you see stands filled with scouts," Gaddis spoke of the opportunity, "I was extremely nervous, I'm not even gonna lie."

Channeling his nerves, Gaddis pitched the fourth inning for the CPL's All-Star Squad. The sophomore from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi struck out his first two batters faced and induced a pop-up from the third. It was one of two three-up-three down innings for the CPL pitching staff.

"That was awesome. I couldn't have drawn it up any better than that. Just getting to play against the best dudes in the country… that was a great experience."

Meanwhile, Faile got the offense started, ripping the CPL's first hit of the game. The catcher drove an 0-2 pitch into the left-center gap for a double off Boston College pitcher Mason Pelio.

"That last pitch was a changeup, I just saw it good and it felt awesome," Faile said.

He would groundout to short in his second at-bat and later cut down the only USA stealing attempt.

In his lone at-bat, Crabtree lined a single back through the middle against University of Tennessee pitcher Garrett Crochet, the CPL's second hit, and highlighted his day with a stolen base against USA catcher and former Salamander teammate, Patrick Bailey.

"I pride myself on being a sneaky fast guy. I've got a little bit bigger frame, but that doesn't mean I don't have wheels," Crabtree said, "so swiping that bag against an old teammate was pretty exciting."

The CPL Select Team lost to Team USA 4-0, but the Salamanders definitely went home happy.

"Getting this opportunity to play against Team USA is second-to-none," Crabtree said. "This environment is great and the opportunity to get this exposure with so many people watching is special."