By: Jon Helsabeck & Austin Alexander – November 6-7, 2021
After a frantic 2020 where Covid changed many routines, Diamond Prospects was able to keep our streak alive, but at alternate sites. This year returned us to some normalcy as we circled back to the home of the Gators at River Bluff High School. (Pictured, James Island 2022 RHP Owen French)
The 16th Annual DP Fall Showcase boasted clear but cool weather over the weekend which is a rarity if you’ve come to know DP events and this was vital to service one of our largest turnouts for this event as players from all across the state trekked into the ballpark to display their skills in front the DP staff and multiple colleges as well. Both days went off without a hiccup and we would like to give a fist bump to everyone that was instrumental in helping us win the weekend.Now let’s get to the baseball. As always, so many new names emerged with the showcase being open to all kids across South Carolina. With music blasting over the loudspeaker on Saturday, players first started with running the 60-yard dash before a defensive workout and batting practice. Players and scouts would then corral at the home ‘arm barn’ for pitchers to throw their bullpens. The purpose of our events is to give up-and-coming talent the opportunity to showcase their abilities on the diamond and hopefully be the next cast of prospects in the state…this weekend was no different! Per usual, the Fall Showcase gave dp and college guys a ‘cheat sheet’ for the spring, so many household names were noticed first at this same event over the years.
We have rolled out a plethora of information for subscribers to digest…But to whet your appetite, we had six runners cross the finishline with sub-7.0’s, led by Aiken 2022 Connor Couture (left)…The best POP time turned in was Michael Bronco’s (Oceanside Collegiate, 2023) 1.97…Eleven arms were in the mid-80’s or better, as Hartsville freshman Daniel Parker (right) stole the show at 88 MPH! So much more on the way…
Streak Continues - Note of the Day: Longtime MLB Bureau guru and present NY Mets scout Gary Randall (at right with HOF'er Lon Joyce) kept his DP streak alive in attending ALL of our 71 events over the past 16 years, tip of the cap to our favorite tall friend and well-respected scout. "GR", as he is affectionately known, also completed his seventh year doing a stellar job as commissioner of our DP Fall League in the Greater Rock Hill area. He was also recently recognized with the “Spirit of the Game” award by the U Deserve a Chance Foundation! Sir, we appreciate your continued support of what we do and service to the game!
Tip of the Cap (In no particular order): Mark Bonnette has been such a valuable and loyal friend of DP for years. Long before we arrive in Columbia he has everything in order, ready to adjust to whatever we need and lets us use a facility that is second to none. Thank you coach to you and your staff…Chic-fil-A franchise owner Buzzy Myers supplied the sandwiches for our staff and scouts on Saturday. They were warm and on-time, heck, they were Chic-fil-A sandwiches, what else could a person ask for? Thank you Buzzy!…DJ Jazzy JJ (aka Jeremy Joye – HD and AD at USC-Salkehatchie) is a staple spinning the quality tunes everyone enjoyed while there to also recruit!...The Ironman Award among college coaches was an easy one this time, USC-Aiken assistant Tyler Miller was the first to check-in and last to leave, thanks for braving the weekend with us again!
Grounds Guru, etc: Some folks are just baseball lifers, cannot get away from the park and you just see them everywhere. That can come is many varieties: the scouts you see, coaches that always win, fans who cannot get enough, plenty of ways, even insert your role in the game here ______. Well, dp’s Ben Waddle moonlights as the skipper at Broome High School but prior to that, has won state championships elsewhere, coached big leaguer’s and pretty much done it all at the prep level, dang, he once recruited me while in college ranks. Well, one of his passions is field maintenance, even if not his own yard. Coach Waddle went above and beyond all weekend to keep the surface in winning shape, even when it was time to turn off the lights and run him off! You are one of a kind Coach, thanks for joining our team a few years ago with passion, wisdom and energy we can all learn from!
AA’s Take: My personal event streak since Day 1 was broken this weekend due to a death in the family. At no point was I concerned that our crew of reliable, knowledgeable and loyal team members would only perfectly execute the showcase agenda with grace. Starting with my own parents to pinch-hit alongside Chief Cheatham as our front door, then on-field not only to keep the proceedings on-time (or early) but handle any curveball with ease while servicing each young participant. Note to any person in a leadership position, present or future…Insulate yourself with quality people, let them be themselves and be thankful for them. I remain very blessed for our dp Family!