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Senior Max Wotell and 18u USA Baseball Team Win Gold in Mexico, Survive Storm

Traveling to Mexico, winning a gold medal, and surviving a hurricane don’t seem like three activities that belong together, but they are exactly the order of events that concluded Marvin Ridge senior Max Wotell’s summer.

A three year varsity starter for the Mavericks, Max was selected as a member of the USA Baseball 18u National Team in late August. After training in Houston, the team traveled to La Paz, Mexico to compete in the COPABE 18u Pan American Championship from September 5 through September 14. They would compete against teams from Canada, Cuba, Venezuela, and Mexico.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Odile formed off the west coast of Mexico.

The USA Baseball 18U National team compiled a record of 12-0 during the championship tournament. Max pitched a total of 4 and 1/3 innings for the team giving up no runs, 2 hits, and 8 strikeouts. He was part of a 4 pitcher combo that threw only the second no-hitter in team history.

According to his father, Gene Wotell, “Max was also called on to get the final out of the 8th inning against Cuba with the tying run on base. He struck that batter out.”

And then the storm struck, literally, during the Team USA gold-medal game against Cuba. They were winning 1-0 when the game was called. Team USA was awarded the gold medal as they were undefeated and had beat Cuba two days earlier.

The storm came ashore overnight as a Category 3 Hurricane. 100-mile an hour winds knocked out power and running water to the team hotel. Max and his parents, along with the rest of the team and their families, were stranded.

Three days, two hotels, and a night in an old sports complex later, military C-130 planes began flying the players out of La Paz. Unfortunately, Max was separated from his parents, traveling to Tiajuana then to LA before making it home to Waxhaw on Thursday. Max’s parents stayed another night in Mexico and were able to fly home on Thursday as well. Both sets of luggage took an even longer route.

The ordeal over, and his gold medal in tow, Max has put the whole experience in perspective as one he won’t forget. “The team got a long fine, we came together and had one goal,” says Wotell. He is also looking forward to his senior year as a Maverick, leading the team, and focusing on their goal of winning a state championship.

Max has committed to play college baseball at the University of Arizona. He is also projected as a draft choice for MLB in June of 2015.




Written by: Lisa Justice, Assistant Principal
Posted: Sep 28, 2014 by Lisa Justice

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