The 2017 World Baseball Classic is underway, and State College Spikes fans will see some familiar faces on the field representing nations from across the globe. 11 Spikes alums are on the WBC rosters of six different countries.
A quartet of former Spikes will be in uniform for the nations of North America. 2006 Spikes pitcher and current Houston Astros reliever Luke Gregerson will bolster the United States squad, which begins pool play on Friday.
Canada will have erstwhile Spikes slugger turned St. Louis Cardinals relief pitching prospect Rowan Wick on the slab, along with another 2006 Spikes pitcher in the Detroit Tigers' Dustin Molleken. 2012 Spikes third baseman Eric Wood, a Pittsburgh Pirates farmhand, will man the infield under the Maple Leaf banner as well.
The Spikes' Caribbean and Latin American contingent includes a trio of future stars from the Dominican Republic. Pittsburgh Pirates Starling Marte, who appeared for the Spikes in 2012 on rehab assignment, and 2011 Spike Gregory Polanco will both patrol the outfield for the Dominican squad.
2010 Spikes outfielder Mel Rojas, Jr., now in the Atlanta Braves organization, will also join Marte and Polanco in representing their country.
Colombia's Donovan Solano, a 2006 Spikes infielder now in the New York Yankees organization, will be hitting the field. Solano was to have been joined on the Colombian team by another former Spikes infielder in Dilson Herrera, but inflammation in his right shoulder forced the Cincinnati Reds second-base prospect out of the WBC.
2014 Spikes pitcher Trey Nielsen will represent Italy in the event, placing another Cardinals prospect in the tournament.
Rounding out the list of former Spikes will be a pair of pitchers on Team Israel. Jared Lakind, who was an infielder with the Spikes in 2011 and 2012, and 2006 Spikes hurler Tyler Herron will both head to the hill for the Israeli team.
A full list of Spikes in the World Baseball Classic is below.
Mel Rojas, Jr.
WBC roster rules permit a player to represent a nation for which he would fulfill the criteria for citizenship, regardless of whether that player is currently a citizen of the nation.
The first round of pool play for the competition is scheduled to run through March 12, with the second round starting on the same date. Single-game semifinals will take place at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on March 20 and 21, with the winners meeting for the WBC championship on March 22, also at Dodger Stadium.
Fans can see more future baseball stars this summer as the Spikes, Short-Season Single-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, will defend their New York-Penn League championship over 38 games of fun, affordable family entertainment from Monday, June 19 through Thursday, September 7. Season Ticket memberships, Flex Books and an array of group hospitality options for the 2017 season are currently on sale by calling the Spikes at (814) 272-1711. Additional information on all club ticketing options is available by clicking here.