Former Florida player Mark Kolozsvary stars for Team USA

Special to Gatorsports.com
This is a 2021 photo of Mark Kolozsvary of the Cincinnati Reds baseball team. This image reflects the Cincinnati Reds active roster as of Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021 when this image was taken. (Jennifer Stewart/MLB Photos via AP)

Cincinnati Reds minor league baseball catcher Mark Kolozsvary starred for Team USA over the past week as they qualified for the 2021 Summer Olympics.

Kolozsvary, a seventh-round pick in the 2017 MLB Draft out of Florida, went 5-for-11 with two homers, five runs and three RBI in four games.

“He always stood out to us in spring training, just the way he went about his work,” Reds manager David Bell said. “He's a well-liked teammate and he has a good personality and everything, but he also had an intent to everything he did. He had a seriousness that you see with a lot of future big-leaguers, so he did stand out to me in that way. The progress that he's made in the last year offensively has been remarkable.”

Kolozsvary, 25, was crushing the ball at Double-A Chattanooga before he was selected for the Team USA roster, which included former Reds Homer Bailey, Todd Frazier and Matt Kemp. Kolozsvary had a .349 batting average and .417 on-base percentage in 12 games at Chattanooga with eight doubles, two homers and 10 RBI.

Perhaps, a sign of his breakout was a home run against Shane Bieber in a spring training “B” game in early March.

“I know it's one at-bat and it seems crazy, it can give you a confidence that, wow, I can do it,” Bell said. “I think that kind of coincided with a lot of the work he was doing offensively. Since then, it's been fun to watch his progress. The same thing happened to me as a player one time. Mike Mussina was on a rehab assignment in Double-A and I had a good day off of him. It was like, all of a sudden, 'wait, maybe I can do this.' Even though it's one game or one at-bat, sometimes it does make a difference.

“He's more than put himself on the radar of a guy that can catch and play in the big leagues at this point.”

Todd Frazier and his American teammates celebrated, dousing each other as if they had won the World Series in Port St. Lucie.

“Playing for your country, it's the coolest thing in the world,” the 35-year-old third baseman said.

The United States qualified for the Olympic baseball tournament on its second try, beating Venezuela 4-2 Saturday behind Frazier’s 4-for-4 night that included a solo homer, RBI double and two singles.

The U.S. finished 4-0 to win the Americas qualifying tournament and joined Japan, Israel, Mexico and South Korea at Olympic baseball, to be played in Japan from July 28 to Aug. 7 in Fukushima and Yokohama.

Japan, which is stopping the Central and Pacific League seasons to make its top players available, is considered the Olympic favorite. Major League Baseball doesn’t allowed its big league players to participate and MLB general managers often discourage the use of top eligible prospects.

Teams can change their roster before heading to Japan.

Baseball is returning to the Olympics after being dropped for 2012 and 2016. Cuba won the gold medal in 1992, 1996 and 2004, the United States in 2000 and South Korea in 2008.