Ceres High multi-sport athlete Josh Pernetti has earned a roster spot on the USA Softball Under-18 Men’s National Team (MNT).
USA Softball made the announcement in a press release on Feb. 21.
“I was really excited when I found out,” said Pernetti, a left-handed-hitting first baseman. “It’s definitely something I never expected to do because I play baseball. I’m very appreciative for this opportunity. Being able to represent my country is very cool. It’s an honor to wear Team USA on my chest. I don’t know a lot of people that have done this before. It’s pretty special.”
Pernetti was a late addition to the U.S. squad.
He attended tryouts, Jan. 22-26, in Florida.
“My brother (Jimbo) previously played for the U18 Men’s Junior National Team,” he said. “They found out about me and gave me a call. I put my best performance out there. I showed them what I’m capable of.”
Pernetti flew from San Francisco to New Zealand last Thursday to play in the WBSC U-18 Men’s World Cup. The overseas trip lasted 16 hours.
“It was definitely a long flight,” Pernetti said. “They took care of us. We went to a team banquet with all of the other countries when we got there. Everyone was pretty friendly.”
The WBSC World Cup will be held, Feb. 22-March 1, at Colquhoun Park in Palmerston North, New Zealand.
A total of 12 different countries will participate.
USA was placed in Group B, along with Japan, New Zealand, Mexico, Denmark and Guatemala.
Group A consists of Argentina, Canada, Australia Czech Republic, South Africa and Singapore.
Team USA enters the tournament ranked No. 6.
The U.S. squad will face Mexico, New Zealand, Guatemala, Denmark and Japan during the Opening Round.
The top three teams from each pool advance to the Super Round, while the remaining six teams will compete in the Placement Round.
The top two teams advance to the World Championship game.
The U.S. squad will look to improve its eighth-place finish. Team USA took fifth at the 2019 Pan American Championship.
All 50 games of the tournament will be free to watch through the WBSC Official OTT platform Game Time (Gametime.Sport) and the WBSC Official YouTube Channel, per the WBSC.
“Softball is pretty big here,” said Pernetti, who was assigned jersey No. 10. “There should be a lot of people watching. It should be a fun experience.”
Pernetti earned second-team all-league honors while starring on Ceres High’s varsity baseball team his junior and sophomore years.
He batted .290 from the plate with three homers, two doubles, 21 RBIs and 19 runs as the Bulldogs amassed a 15-14 overall record, qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III playoffs and placed third in the Western Athletic Conference (10-4) in 2019.
Pernetti suited up for Ceres High’s varsity boys basketball team for three seasons.
He averaged 7.7 points and 4.1 rebounds during his final year with the Bulldogs.
Ceres High finished 11-7 and tied for fifth place with Johansen in the league standings (5-9).
When asked to compare baseball to softball, Pernetti said: “Softball is faster. The hardest part to adjust to is the hitting. Seeing the ball underhand instead of over the top is different. There are also rise balls.”