By: Austin Alexander - November 5-6, 2016
On Saturday and Sunday, weather was immaculate at River Bluff High School and their envious facilities to help us execute Diamond Prospects' 11th Annual Fall Showcase. A full house of participants in the 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 classes were on hand to work out in front of 20+ evaluators. A solid mix of tunes rang out of the PA system as two sessions of players were paraded through 60's, a defensive workout, batting practice and closing with bullpens before the games opened on Saturday afternoon. Special thanks to Mother Nature for covering us in blue skies and comfortable temperatures from beginning to end!
The theme of this weekend, after being awe-struck at the River Bluff campus, was of all of the names unknown to us and most scouts when we all arrived on Day 1. A heavy dose of freshman, sophomores and juniors forced themselves into claiming "follow" status, some with upside that had us very excited...including a rising star in 13-year old Hartsville 2021 Keyshawn McDonald (left)! There were some seniors that enhanced their stock too! (R-Cane Bay 2020 Kristopher Blanco; L-Christ Church 2018 Ben Wetenhall)
Not the Norm: It should be noted that recent LSU 2020 commit Vince Smith chose to attend this DP event, simply becasuse he wanted to to play baseball this weekend.
Extra Mile Men: Two college coaches went above and beyond this weekend at our event and are very deserving of mention in this category. Jeremy Joye ('DJ Jazzy JJ') of Spartanburg Methodist was on top of the sound system in the booth on both days; in between evaluating talent on the field, each half inning he was on cue with the music over the PA system. But on Day 2, he had his own set of legit 90's tunes to frequent the air waves, an extra mile measure...Then there is Winthrop's Clint Chrysler (left), now known as 'CC the CG'er' or just "CG" (baseball expession meaning he started and finished-complete game for the laymen). On Sunday, evaluators grew hungry after a marathon of walks in Game 2. Our own Barry Mabry drew blanks with every pizza joint in the area, that's when 'CCGC' took the reins. He found a place, negotiated a deal and organized the drop-off. But the story does not end there. Coach Chrysler ran up his Fitbit steps as he met the delivery gal in the parking lot and escorted the pizza home to safety and everyone in the press box, even catering us at the backstop, then cleaning up our mess, depositing any scraps to a nearby trash receptacle. Through all this, he only missed three hitters and one great tune from DJ Jazzy JJ. Only regret in this fist bump is that Coach Mabry tried to capture Coach Chrysler delivering the pies in a picture, but the scurrying Eagle recruiting coordinator machine fled the camera upon realizing he was inside a DP lens....For those parents who are ever at a game and see the evaluators having a little laughter, a tad of fun, it is not at the expense of a kid on the mound throwing 72 MPH or anything that happens on the field, it is just bringing levity to a long day and exhausting year among guys that are good friends and share the same passion of baseball!
T.O.'s Tip of the Cap...Then: If you have ever attended a DP event you may have noticed a very hard-working guy running around putting out fires on the field. If you got to know this guy named Tony Osterman, then you realized what an incredible human-being the man is. This weekend marked the first event in our 10-year history that TO was not present. But sadly there is a very good reason. TO has a serious form of bladder cancer and his road to recovery constitutes 14 rounds of chemotherapy a week... FOURTEEN rounds in five days... While he still wanted to come this weekend, he just couldn't, but our veteran MVP was literally on our minds the whole time! One of our team members is Randy Carlson, he had a stylish hat designed and produced to sell as a fundraiser for TO and his family. Our entire staff wore the hat all weekend as a tribute to an incomparable man. Anyone that would like to purchase your own hat and aid this warrior in his fight, click here. In the meantime, we are praying for you TO and cannot wait to get you back on the field!
T.O.'s Tip of the Cap...Now: The 'then' portion of this portion pertained to where we were a year ago...And now, Tony Osterman is now cancer-free and has not missed a DP event since last fall. He was present this past weekend and hustling as always, a true example to all of us of what a will to win means when faith in Christ is present. Somehow one year ago we got through that event without him but never want to do that again, ever.
What does a fox say, Part IV? Well, it is safe to assume that if you came to River Bluff High School this weekend having not heard this song for awhile, you were treated (or bombarded) once again as you entered or exited the ballpark! Our DP staff in the booth found it humorous to play the hit tune endlessly (for the fourth straight year), especially when I was trying to address the players. Trust me when I tell you that it is very difficult to hold a teenagers attention with that chaos playing in the background! Somehow I guess it is also safe to say this is a tradition that began at Lexington HS and may continue, sadly.
DP High Five: River Bluff was a gracious host providing their amazing facility that has set the bar for other prep digs while creating envy from many of the college coaches that attended. The place could not have been a more accommodating site, Coach Mark Bonnette and his support staff were always first-class before, during and after the event; we sincerely thank them for opening their gates to DP for, hopefully, the fourth of many more events to come!