While many high school students have been sleeping in and hanging around the pool since school got out, others are hard at work putting in extra hours in the South Georgia heat, trying to get themselves better for their respective teams.
Two Statesboro Blue Devil student athletes have not only been putting in the work, they have also been selected to a couple of all-star teams which has given them unique opportunities this summer.
Blue Devil baseball standout Mikal Mascarello recently returned from helping Team Georgia to a third place finish in the nationwide Junior Sunbelt Classic last week in McAlester, Oklahoma.
The team was put together by South Effingham head coach Todd Eubanks, who got to see plenty of Mascarello, as the Blue Devils and Mustangs met three times during the regular season. Mascarello was the lone member of the squad from the region.
“It was a lot of fun,” Macarello said. “I got to meet a lot of new guys, and the level of baseball out there was incredible. It was definitely a great experience.”
“The baseball side of things was really different,” Mascarello said. “The pitching out there was impressive. The velocity was a lot higher than I was used to seeing, and the hitting was different too. There weren’t any easy outs like you see at the bottom of some orders.”
Mascarello was also pretty successful individually as he led the team in RBI and provided some pop as well with four extra base hits including a home run.
“I had a pretty good week,” Mascarello said. “I hit the ball when I was called on, and I really only had a couple bad games at the plate. By the end of the week I think I had really made some adjustments at the plate that helped me.”
Statesboro head coach Jim Simmons wasn’t surprised Mascarello was selected to Team Georgia, as his versatility and bat skills make him a unique talent.
“He can flat out hit the ball,” Simmons said. “Mikal may not have that one talent that turns heads, but he is a great offensive player, and he can play first base, and third base. Not only can he play the corner infield positions, but he is a solid pitcher. On these kind of all-star teams there aren’t usually a lot of players, so the more you can do the more valuable you become.”
The Blue Devil baseball team is in the middle of their June workouts. They have games scheduled over the next few weeks, nut wrap up at the end of the month.
For Mascarello, the season continues as he will play in the Georgia Dugout Club Top 100 at Gwinnett College June 27.
“It’s a one day thing, more of a showcase,” Mascarello said. “You throw, hit and run in the morning, and then later there is a scrimmage game. You try out for the team, but since I was on it last year I was asked to be on it again.”
While Mascarello has been busy on the diamond, fellow rising senior Mason Kleinlein has been putting in plenty of work on the golf course.
Kleinlein recently helped lead an all star team from South Georgia, over the team representing North Georgia at the North/South All Star tournament, which was held in Moultrie and was sponsored by the Georgia High School golf coaches association.
“It was really fun to be a part of the team,” Kleinlein said. “It was a really cool tournament with some pretty good players on both sides. The format made it a lot of fun too, as you don’t play many 4-ball or match play tournaments during the year.”
In order to be selected for the team coaches take nominations and select rising seniors, as well as graduating seniors. The two day tournament consists of a 4-ball format on the first day, as players are teamed up, followed by singles in a match play format on the second day.
“Almost all of the golfers selected have been offered college scholarships already, or will be soon,” said South team coach Kurt Hizeman. I coach at Carrollton, and we have seen Mason play since his freshman year. He is very impressive, and really helped us out with the victory.”
Kleinlein’s busy summer continues this week, as he participates in the GSGA Junior Championship at Augusta Country Club,
“I had to qualify last year in order to play,” Kleilein said. “I placed in the top 20 last year, so I didn’t have to qualify this time.”
The three day event wraps up on Wednesday. Kleinlein shot a 73 in the opening round, which placed him 30th overall.
“I feel like I played pretty good, but I’m hopeful that I can get things going over the next two days and finish strong.”
“I still have a couple Southeast Georgia Golf Tour events to play over the next month,” Kleinlein said. “I will probably play in a couple other events before school starts as well.”