Germantown Friends School sophomore Garrett Melby spent his holiday break in a climate much warmer than that of his native Wyndmoor. He was one of 77 young baseball players on three different age-group teams to represent the United States and pro baseball’s Cincinnati Reds at the Goodwill Series of Baseball in Australia.

As the starting centerfielder for the U.S. 16-and-Under team, Melby did not commit a single error during the Down Under tour. A speedy lead-off hitter, his on-base percentage was up around the .500 mark, and he led the team in stolen bases.

Most of the American athletes who took the trip hailed from Sunbelt states, and Melby was the only native of the Northeast. Germantown Friends head coach Tim Gunn, who coached the younger “Rookies” U.S. team for the Goodwill series, recommended Melby, who plays travel team baseball with the Maplezone Muckdawgs, an organization based in southern Chester County. He was one of just two freshmen to earn a varsity letter on the 2014 GFS squad.

On the 15-day Goodwill Series tour, the American side played against official state teams in Australia. Since there are only six states in the country, these squads were the equivalent of regional all-star teams. The U.S. athletes got an up-close look at the local lifestyle and culture, as they lodged with host families throughout the trip.

Past participants in the Goodwill Series include former Phillies Jimmy Rollins and Jayson Werth; some 8000 players have taken part since the endeavor was launched in 1983.