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Making a good first impression


The high school season may be over, but there is still a lot of action left on the baseball diamond for many of Georgia’s finest.

Over 75 players turned out Tuesday morning at Mill Creek Regional Park for an open workout in hopes of earning a spot in the Georgia Dugout Club Top 100 Showcase.

"This is a very exciting day for us," said Bran Mills, assistant coach at Loganville High School and director of Tuesday’s workout. "We’re just here to give kids the opportunity to prove themselves. There is a lot of talent around here and hopefully some of these kids will be identified as college or maybe even pro prospects."

Mill Creek was one of just 12 sites throughout the state that hosted workouts. Open to all rising freshman through rising seniors in the state, all are hoping to get a chance to show what they can do in front of professional and collegiate scouts.

At least one scout from each level is present at every workout, and their evaluations of each player will be considered when narrowing down the list to determine the Top 100.

Those who are selected will travel to Marietta for the showcase in early July where they will get to compete against the best and with a notable crowd looking on.

"This is the ninth year that we’ve been doing this," said Mills. "The showcase has become a huge event. The showcase comes right before East Cobb’s Perfect Game tournament, so there is a lot of buzz for both. Last year, we had over 100 college scouts and all but two Major League teams were represented."

During the workouts, players were put through a variety of drills to display their skills.

In addition to batting practice and position-specific fielding drills, players raced each other in a 60-yard dash and were timed in their ability to get from first to second, as well as advancing from second to home.

After all of the tangibles were measured, the group split into teams for a round of scrimmages.

Though a bit different from normal scrimmages – balls and strikes were called by a coach behind the mound and pitchers had to deal with an array of coaches and radar guns just a few feet behind the catcher – the game-type atmosphere offered the instructors and scouts a better feel for how each player could utilize his talents.

While everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, there was also an air of competitiveness throughout the group.

Being recognized as one of the top players in Georgia is no small feat – eight Georgia natives were taken in the first two rounds of the 2010 Major League Baseball draft – and grabbing the attention of pro scouts and college coaches could make for a bright future and has already paid off for a number of former Dugout Club Showcase members.

"It’s always fun when draft day rolls around," said Mills. "Marcus Griffin came through (Georgia Dugout Club) and was the first overall pick. Buster Posey came out here as a younger guy and surprised everybody when he started throwing 92. Every year it seems like some guys that aren’t that well know just pop up and we’re here to give them a stage to do it."


Mike Anthony can be reached at (912) 489-9404.