Lancers head baseball coach Eric Borba will hit the international baseball circuit this summer, but this time as the manager of a different squad.
Borba was earlier this year named the manager of the USA Baseball 12U National Team, and he will lead the American stars-in-the-making in the COPABE Pan Am "A" Championships in Cuautlancingo, Puebla, Mexico from July 29-Aug. 7.
In 2014, Borba served as an assistant on the same coaching staff.
Borba sat down to answer a few questions about coaching on the international level and what this experience means for the OLu baseball program:
Q: This is your second stint with the National Team, but first time as manager. What will you take from 2014 into 2016, now that you're the top guy on the coaching staff?
A: The experience from 2014 was vital in preparing for this year. Having been my first international experience, I wasn't ready for all of the adversity the 2014 team had to face. Constant rule changes, the use of a different ball, schedule changes, and the hostile environment were things that I honestly wasn't prepared for two years ago. With that experience, I can now better prepare myself and the team for those issues. As Team USA, many people root against and go out of their way to show those emotions. Having 12 year-olds, they can easily be affected mentally. We will spend a ton of time preparing them to handle the constant challenges we will face.
Q: What are you looking forward to most? Is it the actual games, the camaraderie with coaches and kids, or all of it?
A: I am looking forward to the overall experience. I love coaching the kids and developing those relationships. I love baseball, I love to compete, and I have a deep passion for this great country, which are all elements of this opportunity. When you combine all of them together, we are talking about a once in a lifetime opportunity.
I would also say I am excited about the chance to go back to Mexico to claim the gold medal. We took home the silver in 2014, after losing in the bottom of the 7th inning. That feeling has left a bitter taste in my mouth for two years. There are not many days that pass where I don't think about it!
Q: How does coaching the younger kids compare to coaching the guys at OLu? Is there a different approach you know you must take?
A: I don't know that there are many differences in the actual elements of coaching. The biggest difference is that we essentially have three or four days to prepare a group of kids who have never met each other, to go into another country and win baseball games. We have kids that will be playing positions they have never played before and learning them in such a short period of time. Obvioulsy, they are very advanced in their game, making it easier, but it is still a challenge. The starting catcher on last year's 12U National Team had never caught. We had five days with him and he ended doing a great job in leading the team to the gold medal!
Q: In your opinion, what does it mean for you and for OLu to have a coach that is so involved with the USA Baseball program?
A: I think it is a tribute to a lot of hard work put in by a lot of people. I know firsthand that I wouldn't have this opportunity if it wasn't for this amazing school and God's work through it! If OLu wasn't in the Trinity League, I would never have been given this opportunity. It really takes an army to propel the school to the level it is today. Everyone from the founders of the school, to the administration, past and present, has provided the athletics department with the resources to be great! There are so many baseball players and coaches who worked relentlessly at reaching new heights. This opportunity is somewhat of a revelation of that work!