New Mexico head coach Ray Birmingham and LSU shortstop Alex Bregman both spent the summer as members of the USA Collegiate National Team. Birmingham served as an assistant coach this summer while Bregman served as the everyday shortstop. Bregman and Birmingham though had a connection together as Bregman is from New Mexico.
Bregman was named MVP of the eight-game Honkbal Week tournament after hitting .367 with two RBIs, eight runs scored, six stolen bases and a .441 on-base percentage.
Bregman is the fourth player from the United States to win the Jacques Reuvers Award, given to the Honkbal Week MVP.
“I just love Alex, he just makes me proud that the best shortstop in college baseball is from New Mexico,” Birmingham said. “Alex stood out, he’s a baseball player, he knows how to play.”
This was Bregman’s third stint on a national team but he did get one first-time experience this time: playing for Birmingham.
“It was something I’ve always wanted to do,” Bregman said. “Growing up, he was a big influence on my baseball career and he’s a great coach. It was a tremendous experience and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Team USA also had a frightening experience when Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over the Ukraine on July 17. Flight 17 departed from the Amsterdam Airport just six days after Team USA arrived in the same airport.
“It was crazy, we were in the Netherlands when the plane took off from Amsterdam and was shot down,” Bregman said. “They had a lot more security at the airport when we were leaving than when we got there. It was a different experience with everything going on in the world. It was a good learning experience.”
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