Athlete of the Week: Dean proving to be a rising star
By Michael Bower
Kyle Dean has been playing so much baseball this summer he can hardly recall where he was seven days ago. But there has been at least one weekend so far this summer the 15-year-old will remember for the rest of his life.
The soon-to-be sophomore at Poway High participated in the Junior Olympics Showcase with around 2,000 other baseball players a few weeks ago in Arizona. Dean crushed the competition, hitting over .700 with 19 RBIs and a home run.
His performance grabbed the attention of scouts and earned him a tryout for the 15U Junior National USA Team in North Carolina on Aug. 4. Only 40 kids from the showcase were selected to attend the tryout for the Junior National USA Team.
Twenty of those will make the final team and will head to the Dominican Republic on Aug. 12 to participate in a four-game series against a group of prospects selected by Major League Baseball.
“They also did a combine and every team had to run the 60-yard dash and do outfield and infield,” said Dean, who is primarily playing for Team Sklz this summer. “It is just a real honor to be picked. If I make the team, then that is great. But if I don’t, I will learn what I need to work on so in later years I will make it.”
Dean has been soaking up as much baseball knowledge as he could over the past year. He made the most of his opportunity in the spring while playing with Poway High teammate Kevin Newman, who is headed to the University of Arizona to play baseball in the fall.
“Kevin was my mentor,” said Dean, who started for the Titans in left field as a freshman. “I looked up to that guy and he taught me everything. All the different variables of the game he taught me. He has prepared me so much.”
Dean started the high school season slow and it took him a while to adjust to the huge jump in the level of competition he was facing.
“I had to adjust a lot,” he said. “Being the new young kid was tough, but I had to overcome it. It was a good setting point for me now that I can take all that I learned and apply it to next year.”
Dean has already been applying the knowledge. In two games on Monday at the University of Notre Dame, the right-handed hitter went a combined 3-for-6 with a pair of triples. He helped Team California to a 1-1 start in the CABA World Series. For his efforts, he is the I-15 Voices Athlete of the Week.
With the attention picking up on Dean, he still knows he has a long way to go before he starts thinking about college.
“College is three years away,” he said. “I am going to use these tournaments as much as I can to get these colleges out here to look at me, but I am just concentrating on playing baseball and getting better. My junior year is when I will really start looking at it.”
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