Baseball: Providence alum Sam Travis a big hit with Team USA
After his sophomore season at Indiana, things couldn’t have been going much better for Providence graduate Sam Travis.
He had been one of the key players who led the Hoosiers to their first-ever trip to the College World Series, and the first Big Ten team to get to Omaha, Neb., since Michigan in 1984.
But one decision after the season has given Travis yet another invaluable opportunity.
He’s in the midst of a summer playing with the Team USA Collegiate National team, which recently made a stop in Geneva at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark for two exhibition games before starting a series against Cuba.
“Right after the season was over in Omaha, my head coach told me that if I had the opportunity to try out for Team USA, I should do it,” Travis said. “I was all for it. It’s a big opportunity to represent your country. When they told me that I’d be sticking around for a little bit, I couldn’t be happier.”
Travis’ numbers at Indiana — a .316 average with 22 doubles, 10 home runs and 57 RBI — put him on the list of hot prospects for the amateur draft in June 2014. He also caught the eye of TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle, the coach of the Team USA Collegiate National team.
“He really wanted to be a part of it,” Schlossnagle said. “For me, that really meant a lot. No matter who we have, they’re going to be good players. I thought he was tough. I thought he was competitive. He really wanted to be here.”
Schlossnagle said another factor that made Travis such a fit for the team was his right-handed power bat on a roster that leans more to the left side. He hit a home run against the Crystal Lake Cardinals in his first exhibition game in Geneva in front of several friends and family members.
Travis has played a little bit of outfield for Team USA, but he has spent most of his time playing first base, the same position he’s played for the Hoosiers. Even with all that he has going on with Team USA this summer, Travis couldn’t help but look back at the magical run Indiana made to Omaha.
“It was an awesome experience,” Travis said. “We knew we would have an opportunity to play there. We knew we were good. But you have to believe and put your mind to it. That’s what we did. We’re best friends who went out there and had fun. That’s why we were successful.”
Now, he’s pulling the stars and stripes on every day.
“It’s a great opportunity to play for Team USA any day you can put the jersey on,” Travis said. “You just can’t take any moment for granted. You’re representing your country.”