Cartersville senior catcher Anthony Seigler went down the road to LakePoint to be crowned a national champion earlier this summer at the 17U WWBA National Championships. He had to go a little bit further to claim a world championship.
From Cartersville to Canada, Seigler was part of a USA Baseball 18U national team that went 9-0 at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup in Thunder Bay, Ontario, last week to claim the United States’ fourth-straight title in the competition.
“It feels great,” Seigler said. “It’s awesome to be a world champion. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience, definitely. I’m honored to be one of these 20 to play for this team.”
The Americans beat Korea, 8-0, in the championship game Sunday after dominating the competition for nine games, outscoring their opponents 61-5.
This year’s team was one of only two American teams in history to go undefeated, after the 1989 team, which went 7-0. The lack of suspense didn’t dampen the celebration.
“No words could describe it,” Seigler said. “You’re just like in awe, in the moment, and then right when it happened, it was just hurry up and get to the dogpile, that way we can jump and celebrate.”
Seigler hit .182 in 22 at-bats for the U.S. at the tournament, driving in four and scoring three.
He walked a team-leading eight times against just seven strikeouts, giving him an on-base percentage of .400.
The Auburn commit started at catcher, reached base three times and drove in a run with a single in the championship game.
He also had two hits, two runs and an RBI against Cuba on Sept. 5.
The World Cup is the most prestigious youth international baseball competition in the world. It is held in alternating years with the Pan-American Championships.
International competitions give the brightest American stars the chance to play with each other in prestigious competition, and the 18U year is the biggest of them all.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that the 20 players on Team USA are 20 of the best high-school-aged players in the world.
Most of them will be high picks in the MLB Draft next summer.
“It was amazing, because everybody’s the best at their school and then the best in the nation, so you’re playing with the best players,” Seigler said. “And then they all want what you want, to bring home the gold, so we’re all fighting against every team, playing hard every play, and then having fun at the same time too.”
The team was selected through a months-long process that started at the Tournament of Stars in North Carolina in late June.
That event is a typical invitational showcase, with top prospects divided into teams, but it also served as the first data point for the national team evaluators.
A month and a half later, 40 players were invited to Minnesota for the national team trials, and over five more days of evaluation, were cut to the 20 that went to Canada.
Seigler’s versatility—he’s a switch-hitter and can play every position on the field, including pitch with both hands—proved crucial in making the final cut.
Despite a long list of accomplishments that included the prestigious 17U WWBA championship, won with his travel team, Evoshield Canes, making Team USA was a little bit of a shock to Seigler.
“I looked down the list, and you see all these big names and you see how good they’ve done,” Seigler said. “I was just like, well hopefully I’m lucky enough to go to the trials, but I never thought I’d be playing for Team USA.”
The shock eventually wore off for Seigler. The memories, though, and the honor of being a world champion, will never fade.
“In the moment, you don’t know what you’re feeling, but now that I look back at it, you’re just like, ‘Wow, did I really just do that,’” Seigler said. “It’s a blessing. I just can’t even explain it right now, it’s hard to explain.”