By: Austin Alexander - June 7-8, 2017
When any one of us thinks of June or any form of summer baseball, extreme heat and stong storms usually pops to mind quite quickly. On Wednesday & Thursday, friendly skies and unimaginably comfortable temps graced River Bluff High School, their insanely lush athletic facilities and Diamond Prospects' 12th Annual Summer Showcase. To help you further, we even spotted jackets and blankets during segments of the event! Morale was very high among the 40+ scouting contingent on hand, DP Staff too, as this event typically launches the summer evaluation season for college coaches/pro scouts, and this year was no different. Per usual, new names emerged as we set the stage for them, that's the beauty of our 'open' showcases!
A solid mix of classic rock tunes continued to ring 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 Hump Day afternoon right at 4:00.
The theme of this showcase, after being awe-struck at the River Bluff campus yet again, was of all of the names unknown (or unseen) to us and most scouts when we all arrived on Day 1. A heavy dose of rising sophomores and rising juniors (left top, Crescent 2019 Jake Lewis) forced themselves into claiming "legit follow" status, some with bonafide upside that had us very excited... there were some accomplished rising seniors (right, Abbeville's Bryce Jackson) that enhanced their stock too! A couple dozen or more even forged themselves into the Palmetto Games, which made this a very productive couple of days!
Below we have chronicled what occurred between the lines over the 36 hours on the luxurious campus of River Bluff...
DP Fist Bump I: River Bluff was a gracious host providing their immaculate 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 and we look forward to returning!
DP Fist Bump II: DP hit a snag in a Day 2, Game 1 that lasted 3:33 minutes, forcing Games 2 & 3 to begin later than scheduled...a DP first when weather was not an issue. We thank the college coaches that day that stuck it out with us past the time you are accustomed to a DP event ending. Much-appreciated, we will do better next time!
Senior Note of the Day: Longtime MLB Bureau guru and present NY Mets scout Gary Randall kept his DP streak alive in attending all of our 49 events over the past 12 years, tip of the cap to our favorite tall friend and highly, well-respected scout...And the collegiate elder, USC Sumter skipper Tim Medlin made appearances around local meetings, he may remain the most appreciative college coach when it comes to DP events, he can certainly attest to what it was like chasing talent while scouring the countryside in a horse and buggy, just a few years before the internet, cell phones and DP!