DURHAM, NC (WJHG/WECP) - Over the course of the last month, Lucas Dunn's baseball dreams have blossomed into something out of this world (figuratively).
Literally, they're about to blossom into something that takes him out of the country.
Fresh off a strong sophomore season at Louisville in which he bat leadoff at the College World Series, the Arnold alum is joining the U.S. collegiate national team.
Dunn had been spending the summer in Massachusetts, playing the Cape Cod Baseball League with the Hyannis Harbor Hawks. An injury and a connection created a roster spot and opportunity with Team USA.
"Our coach at Louisville, Coach [Dan] McDonnell, he got voted to be the head coach of the collegiate national team this year. so that definitely helped me out just because in the phone call he said that I know the system and coming in that I'd be less behind," Dunn said prior to boarding his flight to Durham. "I've already been shown a lot of the videos a thousand times, things like that. I think that's part of why I was chosen. They like my versatility as well. I can play the infield and the outfield if anyone else gets hurt."
Dunn made 33 starts in centerfield, 13 at second base, one at shortstop and one in right field lat season. He hit .309 with 25 RBIs and a home run in February against UCONN.
Although Dunn is "super duper excited," he wasn't at first glance when his coach reached out.
"He texted me and asked if I could call him. I was a little nervous, I was worried about what I did wrong! But he said their centerfielder hurt his foot or his leg or something and he was in a boot and wasn't going to be able to make it. He told me on the flight back from Omaha that I was an alternate, but I kind of ruled it out. But he gave me the call and he asked me if I wanted to come out. I didn't really hesitate."
Dunn traveled from Boston to Durham on the Fourth of July for the team's third game of a five game series against Cuba, which the USA won 8-0 to stay undefeated (Dunn went 0-for-1 in a pinch hit situation). Next week, the team heads to Taiwan for five games, followed by a five game series in Japan.
This actually is not Dunn's first overseas experience on the diamond, but it's his first representing his home country.
"I've been watching Team USA and the college team since I was little and it has always been a dream of mine. For it to finally be a reality is pretty awesome, kind of hard to believe. Culturally, it's super cool. I played in Japan when I was like 15. I used to play for Team Germany because my mom was born in Germany so I've actually played in Japan before, but I'm excited to go back."
Copyright 2019 WJHG. All rights reserved.