Virmidas Neverauskas, the Lithuanian national baseball coach, returned from the Little League Senior World Series in Bangor, ME, on Monday with a mixed bag of emotions.
On the one hand, he knows it was a feather in Lithuania’s cap to have qualified for the senior series for the second straight year. And to play competitively, never being 10-runned, was an accomplishment as well. It was the first time in the last 10 years that a European representative had gone to any of the Little League series (majors, juniors, seniors, big league) and not been mercied even once.
But Virmidas also knows that life (in his case, baseball) is all about timing. And he knows that if he’d had two of his best players, his son Dovydas, a catcher, and Edvardas Matusevicius, a pitcher, things could have been different. Those two players were integral in Lithuania having won the European title a few weeks earlier.
But this is where bit got a little tricky for Virmidas the father and Virmidas the coach.
Dovydas and Edvardas were among the 50 players invited to Major League Baseball’s European Tryout camp in Italy. Virmidas asked the MLB folks if there was anything that could be done about the schedule conflict, but it was fish or cut bait.
So Virmidas headed off to Maine and two of his best players headed off to Italy, the first two Lithuanian players ever invited to this tryout’
The Lithuanian senior team went 0-4, but two of those losses came to the two teams that made the championship game.
“And we played seven innings in every game,” Virmidas boasted.
As for Dovydas and Edvardas, they report that things are going well at the 3-week-long camp, which ends Aug. 28.
“Every MLB team is there,” Virmidas said, “and so far, it sounds like the Twins are the most interested in both boys. They really like the strength of Dovydas’ arm, and Edvardas is simply an outstanding overall player..”
And what are the prospects that one or the other might sit across the negotiating table from an MLB team in the next week or so?
Well, about 20%, if you’re a believer in stats. In the first three years of this tryout camp, MLB teams signed 5, then 7, then 9 players.
Players age 16-over can agree to and sign their own deal. Edvardas is 17, Dovydas 15.