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Huntington Beach’s Jared Grindlinger makes Team USA 12U baseball squad

Mesa View Middle School baseball champ Jared Grindlinger, 12.
(Spencer Grant)

Jared Grindlinger is a Los Angeles Angels baseball fan with a goal to play in Major League Baseball himself one day.

Who knows? The Angels may need a new outfielder when Mike Trout retires.

Grindlinger said he realizes that plenty of hard work is ahead, but he’s certainly on the right path.

The Huntington Beach resident, 12, recently made the USA Baseball 12-and-under national team.

Grindlinger, a seventh-grader at Mesa View Middle School, is one of four players from California on the 18-kid roster. He got to celebrate with his fourth-period science class and teacher Sarah Barry last Friday.

“I was so happy,” he said of finding out he was on the team. “Not many people get to do that, and it was so fun, [being with] my teammates. It was probably the most fun I’ve had.”

The 12U national team, managed by RJ Farrell, just played three games in Texas last weekend.

Grindlinger is a left-handed pitcher and batter, though he said he primarily made the team as an outfielder. It’s his hitting that he’s most proud of at this point.

Beau Amaral, a Huntington Beach High and UCLA baseball graduate who recently finished playing a season with the Mariachis de Guadalajara in the Mexican Baseball League, is Grindlinger’s hitting coach. Amaral said Grindlinger is a bit different from most players his age.

“Most kids are up there just looking for a fastball and hoping they get it,” Amaral said. “Jared is in the dugout watching the pitcher, seeing what he has, seeing his tendencies. Once he gets up there, I know he’s got a plan. He looks for off-speed pitches in certain counts. It’s pretty cool; nobody does that at that age. Even at the high school level, coaches are just starting to talk about those things.”

Grindlinger credits his parents Adam and Karen for helping his development, as well as older brothers Brad and Trent. Brad is a junior pitcher for Huntington Beach High, while Trent is a freshman catcher who recently committed to Long Beach State.

Team USA 12-and-under member Jared Grindlinger, 12, with Huntington Beach High School brothers Brad, 16, left, and Trent, 15.
(Spencer Grant)

Jared said his athleticism comes from his mom, who played softball while growing up in New Jersey. Now she takes her sons around the country to play the national pastime, while Jared’s brothers also play a role in his development.

“Brad helps me a lot with pitching,” Jared Grindlinger said. “If I’m doing something wrong, he’ll tell me. Trent, he helps me a lot with hitting. They help me a lot with the mentality part.”

Jared’s competitive nature definitely helps him. He strives to be the best and puts in the time, said his fielding coach Andrew Bynum, a former Ocean View High baseball star who played at Orange Coast College and Valparaiso.

“He’d compete against me in anything and everything, whether it’s ping-pong, basketball, baseball, doesn’t matter,” Bynum said. “That’s something that’s hard to teach, that competitive nature and willingness to also bring up people around him.”

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