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Friday, Aug. 26, 2016

Oran native plays for U.S. National team

Tuesday, August 28, 2001

ORAN - Matt Bucher, a 17-year-old senior at Oran High School, was invited to participate for a U.S. National baseball team in Europe earlier this month.

Bucher was contacted and was sent an invitation to come to a meeting in reference to the team.

After filling out an application, Bucher was contacted and interviewed over the phone. He was then given a skills assessment in Spokane, Wash.

He was then contacted and informed that he made the team and that they would be leaving for Holland on July 29.

"We left Sunday evening and arrived Monday morning," said Bucher. "We traveled for about four hours on a bus to Dusseldorf, Germany. The next three days we practiced together. There were 24 of us so they split us up into two teams. My team took fifth and the other team got second. There were eight or nine in the whole tournament, mostly from Holland and Germany."

Bucher's team went 2-2 in their four games. He performed well though, batting .350 with a double, triple and five RBIs.

Normally a second baseman, Bucher got to play some catcher.

The age group was 16 to 20-year-olds. It was really competitive over there. There were two national teams in our age group that had been playing together for a long time.

They were really good, but I didn't feel out of place. I felt like I belonged. I thought I performed okay -- it could've been better."

Bucher played for Oran's baseball team this past spring where he batted .313 with 21 RBIs, including a home run.

Bucher said his favorite part of the trip was the shopping in the different towns.

"It was a blast," said Bucher. "We visited the nearby towns, we got to see the different cultures. We ate a bunch of their original food. It was really neat to see that side of the world."

Bucher, of course, had numerous sponsors for the trip, which lasted until Aug. 8. Without them, the trip may not have been possible.