Power Player: Hard-hitting La Jollan to play on national teams

La Jolla Youth Baseball star Michael Campagna, 14, a student at All Hallows Academy, was selected to not one, but two national teams this year. This summer, he will play

for one of the USSSA All American Teams and participate in the USA Baseball National Team Identification Series (NTIS) program. Michael is the son of Mike and Michelle Campagna.

Players on the eight USSSA teams represent the best from eight regions across the country, and regional teams compete against each other in the nationally televised All American Games. Michael was one of 15 players selected for the Far West region 14U team comprised of players from Nevada, Utah, Arizona and Southern California. The USSSA All American Games will be held in August in Florida.

The NTIS program also has teams comprised of the best players from their respective regions — with Michael having been selected for the Southern California team. This summer, he will play in North Carolina with the hopes of being selected for a national team — representing the best in the country. NTIS national team players are often asked to participate in the Junior Olympics.

“I started playing baseball when I was 4 years old playing t-ball at the Cliffridge Park YMCA,” Michael said. “When I was 7 years old, I started playing travel ball (a recreational tournament team) and La Jolla Youth Baseball PONY ball, and have been playing ever since.”

His father, Mike Campagna, added, “He represents La Jolla, he’s a local boy, born and raised here. The PONY coaches are really happy for him because he came from PONY and not a lot of kids get this opportunity.”

A power hitter, Michael also plays third base, catcher and pitcher. This season, he led the league in home runs season and was crowned Home Run King. Although unsure of his batting average, Michael often bats

third in the lineup — a position reserved for a team’s slugger and one able to keep an inning going facing a third out, or advance runners already on base.

“It becomes more fun every time you play, and it gets to be even more fun when you get good at it,” Michael joked. “Plus I’ve made a lot of friends playing on different teams.”