For Marshall County’s Chase Shelton, the month of August brought many opportunities to further his future in baseball.
The sophomore attended the National Team Identification Series (NTIS) in Cary, North Carolina, for USA Baseball’s Midwest Region 16U team during the week of Aug. 11-15. And by the end of the month, Shelted was selected to play for Team 270 during the 24 State Games hosted by Prep Baseball Report (PBR).
“It was a great honor to be chosen to represent the Midwest,” Shelton told The Paducah Sun, which is a sister newspaper of the Tribune-Courier. “And playing at USA Baseball’s National Training Complex for a spot on the 16U USA team.”
The NTIS utilizes a six-region system for initial player identification with the Midwest, Northeast, Northwest, South, Southeast, and Southwest. Each region is managed and operated by a USA Baseball-appointed Regional Direction, responsible for planning and processing the player identification.
With less than 200 young athletes from across the country selected, the program only selects 32 per region. That gave Shelton, who had limited varsity playing time as a Marshal during the 2021 season, an opportunity to show who he is as a player.
When given the opportunity last season, Shelton, a right-handed pitcher and shortstop, scored seven times and stole two out of four bases.
“USA Baseball is more than just baseball. It’s about pride, honor, integrity, and being a good all-around person,” Shelton said. “To even be considered to represent the United States in Tokyo next year is both amazing and awesome. I am truly honored and blessed.”
As Shelton said, those who are selected and participate in USA Baseball’s NTIS program have the opportunity to make the organization’s Team USA.
Shelton’s week in North Carolina featured 12 teams per age group, allowing athletes to participate in workouts and a championship-style tournament while being evaluated by national team coaches and scouts.
“Knowing that I played on the same fields as Olympians and Major Leaguers, it was inspiring,” Shelton said. “It gave you goosebumps to walk into the complex.”