DURHAM, N.C. – USA Baseball announced on Thursday that it will host the Cuban National Team in the sixth annual friendship series between the two international baseball powers in North Carolina in 2017. The U.S. hosted the friendship series in 2013 and 2015 while Cuba hosted the U.S. in 2012, 2014, and 2016.
The 2017 series will be co-hosted by the Charlotte Knights and the Durham Bulls, and will be contested entirely in the state of North Carolina. The series begins at the USA Baseball National Training Complex (NTC) in Cary, N.C., on July 2, followed by a game at Durham Bulls Athletic Park (DBAP) on July 3. BB&T Ballpark in Charlotte will host the Fourth of July game before the series closes with two games at the National Training Complex on July 6 and 7.
“We are ecstatic to host the Cuban National Team for the sixth annual international friendship series in 2017,” said Paul Seiler, Executive Director and CEO of USA Baseball. “Bringing in this level of opponent is special and fans can expect an incredibly high-caliber, hard-played series between two international baseball powers.”
The international friendship series with Cuba restarted in 2012 after a 16-year hiatus. Since its reinstatement the U.S. leads the series 3-2 and holds a 13-12 edge in head-to-head record. In 2016, the U.S. won the first series on Cuban soil in its history when Keston Hiura (UC Irvine) hit a pinch-hit solo home run in the eighth inning to give the U.S. a 2-1 win in the rubber game on July 27.
The Collegiate National Team will play three games of the friendship series at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C., which opened in 2007. The U.S. sports a 22-8-1 all-time record at the NTC including a 2-0 victory over Cuba in 2015 after Tanner Houck (Missouri), A.J. Puk (Florida) and Ryan Hendrix (Texas A&M) combined with catcher Chris Okey (Clemson) to no-hit the Cuban National Team for the first time in its history.
“The USA Baseball National Training Complex and the Town of Cary have provided a tremendous home for USA Baseball for the past 10 years,” continued Seiler. “The National Training Complex sets the standard for athletic training facilities in the country and a great deal of our success in international competition is directly related to the tremendous facility that we call home.”
USA Baseball’s official partner, the Town of Cary, recently received the National Gold Medal Grand Plaque Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management. The award honors U.S. communities that demonstrate excellence in parks and recreation through long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, program development, professional development and agency recognition.
The Collegiate National Team also boasts a 47-8 all-time record at the DBAP and a 1-0 record at BB&T Park. The Fourth of July game at BB&T Park will be part of the 41st Annual WBT SkyShow, which includes the largest fireworks show in the Southeast.
Tickets for the games at the USA Baseball National Training Complex will go on sale after the New Year. Individual tickets for the July 3 game at the DBAP will go on sale on Friday, March 3, meanwhile group packages are available now and can be purchased by calling 919-956-BULL, ext. x 2.
Single-game tickets for the Fourth of July game and 41st Annual WBT SkyShow in Charlotte will go on sale at a later date and will be available for purchase online at charlotteknights.com, by phone at 704-274-8282, or in person at the BB&T Ballpark Ticket Office.
UCLA Bruins’ Head Coach John Savage was recently announced as the Manager for the 2017 Collegiate National Team. The remainder of the coaching staff and players invited to the Collegiate National Team will be announced in early 2017 at USABaseball.com.