Satterwhite Splendid for Team USA

Cody Satterwhite knelt on the Regions Park infield and had a fun and lighthearted chat with four young boys before facing China. Familiarity eased the atmosphere since the boys were named Bianco; but then again, Satterwhite has made everything seem easy all summer.

The right-hander has assumed the closer role for Team USA and is thriving against international competition with a 0.82 ERA and club-high four saves in 11 innings. Satterwhite has struck out 12 hitters, while getting rid of the late-game funk that occurred over the last half of this past season at Ole Miss.

The rising junior has impressed his head coach, who is amazed with anything but success from Satterwhite.

"Satterwhite has been good," Mike Weathers said. "He has been our most energetic guy out of the bullpen. He has been nails and developed a better downward plane (on his fastball) lately. I know he blew some saves during the school year. That is kind of hard to believe."

Health was an issue this time last year for Satterwhite, but he is happy about how his arm feels. He says that throwing multiple innings on back-to-back days has bred confidence during the summer.

"It is going good, and I am throwing well," said Satterwhite. "What can I say? I feel good so it is all about staying healthy. It has been an interesting summer and been good for me to come over here and be successful."

The favorable experience hasn't just been for the Jackson native. Team USA is currently sporting a 20-7 record and captured a silver medal in the Pan American Games in Brazil.

Satterwhite and Ole Miss teammate Lance Lynn enjoyed their time in South America, but said that the experience makes one appreciate the differences in countries and their adjoining cultures.

"Brazil was interesting and a lot different from where we come from," Satterwhite said. "It makes you humble that we are in the United States and going down there. They really support their country and love sports. The atmosphere was fun."

Team USA wasn't expecting a welcoming environment but opposing fans were cordial to the American college players.

"It was different in that you have to adapt to their culture," Lynn said. "We didn't get as many boos as we thought we would, but it was enjoyable, and we had a great time."

Satterwhite said respect was tougher to come by from the players than the fans.

"They didn't expect us college boys to compete with all the professional athletes down there," he said. "It's exciting to wear USA on your chest and face great competition."

The National team may not have had respect on arrival, but it was earned throughout the tournament. USA advanced to the championship game without a loss and after Satterwhite completed saves in both the quarterfinals and the semis.

Thanks to being undefeated, Cuba didn't look down on the younger Americans.

"They respected us because of the way we were playing," Lynn said. "We were 4-0 going into that game so they knew we could play a little bit. "They have been together a long time and have pickoff signs and things that we don't. It was kind of fun just to watch them play."

Cuba secured gold with a 3-1 win, but Satterwhite was quick to learn from facing the stiff opposition. It is things that he can take back to Oxford.

"Every hitter is different with their approach because it is international play," Satterwhite said. "You have to really pitch when you play those guys because they made a lot of adjustments at the plate. I have learned what to throw in certain counts and what not to throw."

Most college athletes are honing their skills in wood-bat leagues across the country, but Satterwhite and until recently Lynn, have taken their talent worldwide. The pressure isn't the same as a super regional, but it isn't a Saturday scrimmage either.

"There is pressure because the game is always close when I pitch, and you always want to win," Satterwhite said. "Also, you don't want to lose for your country. I try to work on things because it's the summer, but our goal is to win."

That is a goal shared by Team USA and Ole Miss.

And a healthy and confident Satterwhite gives both a better chance.

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