Local teen to play in world baseball championships

A local student-athlete will trade the cold, brutal Ohio winter weather for a bit of warm temperatures in the Sunshine State this weekend.

Christian Hoskins, 16, of Wapakoneta, will be playing in a world baseball championship this weekend in Florida on a team of 15 players from throughout the United States, as he will be competing for Team Avenue Baseball in the Winter Wood Bat World Championships from Dec. 28-31. Each team is guaranteed to play a minimum of five games.

Hoskins is a junior at Botkins High School.

Hoskins, his mother, Jessica, and sister, Alisia, made the trip to Florida by car beginning at 7:30 a.m. Monday.

Hoskins’ father, who lives and works in Louisiana, will drive to Florida as well to attend the tournament.

The team Hoskins will play on is comprised of 15 players from around the country who are part of the roster by invitation only.

Hoskins has yet to meet any of his teammates, whether in person or through the Internet.

“We’ll get settled in, meet everybody and get to know everyone,” Hoskins said.

Hoskins’ team will be coached by Thomari Story-Harden, a former professional baseball player, who founded a student-athlete baseball development program titled Team Avenue Baseball, which is based in Fresno, Calif.

Story-Harden was an eighth-round June draft pick by MLB’s Los Angeles Dodgers in 1998 and played in the minor leagues until 2006.

Hoskins is not overwhelmed by the opportunity to compete in this weekend’s tournament.

“I just see it as another tournament,” he said. “You just go out there and have fun. It’s not that big of deal I don’t think, personally. It’s what I love to do, and if it’s something you love to do, then it shouldn’t be a big deal.”

Hoskins has traveled out of state at times for tournaments as part of a summer travel team based in Dayton but the trip to Florida for this weekend’s tournament will be the furthest he has traveled to play baseball.

Hoskins’ mother said over 30 professional scouts are likely to be in attendance at the tournament.

Hoskins was a second-team All-Shelby County Athletic League performer this past spring for Botkins, leading the SCAL in batting average at .465.

His performance on the baseball diamond is drawing interest from colleges around the country.

As of right now, he is leaning toward attending The Ohio State University to major in physics and play baseball.

Two other schools at the top of his college list are the University of Louisville and Louisiana State University.

Hoskins has gone to a couple of showcases at Ohio State.

He has played for the travel team in Dayton for two seasons and intends to do so again next summer.