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Showcase tryout set for Mill Creek
SHS web
Statesboro's Griffin Davis celebrates as a pop-up seals a Blue Devil victory earlier this spring. Several SHS players will be back on the diamond today as they try out for the Georgia Dugout Club's Top 100 Showcase.

     From Thursday through Saturday, Major League Baseball will conduct its annual first-year player draft. If the recent past has been any indication, the first few rounds will likely feature players who got their start in the state of Georgia.
    Today at Mill Creek Region Park, some future stars will be looking to take the next step towards potentially hearing their name in upcoming drafts. Rising sophomores, juniors and seniors from around the region will converge on Statesboro High’s field to show off their skills in hopes of being named to the Georgia Dugout Club’s Top 100 Showcase to be held at Georgia Gwinnett College later this month.
    Beginning at 9 a.m., players will stretch and run a 60-yard dash before moving on to more position-specific drills. Players will also hit off of tees in the batting cage while the velocity of the ball coming off the bat will be recorded.
    “The first of the day is all about measuring power,” SHS coach Jim Simmons said. “They’ll see how fast you are, how hard you throw and how much power you can swing with. After that, there will be some controlled scrimmages that will put everyone into a game situation.”
    The session will have at least one professional scout in attendance, while coaches also direct drills and record results. Thanks to a large and comprehensive database built by the Georgia Dugout Club, players will see exactly how they stack up.
    “When you sign up, you’ll get your own page,” Simmons said. “It shows your stats and it also has feedback from the scouts who watch you. It can really validate the hard work guys put in and it can also show what is necessary for guys to achieve their goals.”
    The biggest perk for everyone participating in today’s event is the ability to be seen. Scouts and recruiters almost unanimously agree that the key to players advancing past the high school level is for college and professional teams to have as much information as possible about the player so that an informed decision can be made. In other words, a single day of great hitting or pitching in front of a scout isn’t as valuable as a handful of solid performances that can ensure team’s of a player’s consistency.
    Everyone at today’s tryout will receive another round of evaluation for their overall profile. For the 100 seniors and the 60 juniors and sophomores who are selected to compete in the main showcase, a golden opportunity awaits. Participants at Georgia Gwinnett College will get to perform in front of scouts for every MLB franchise, as well as recruiters for most ACC and SEC schools. Plenty of high-level scouts are also sure to be on hand for the rising sophomores, who will travel to Alabama to take on similar statewide all-star teams from around the south.
    “I don’t want to knock on travel baseball, but the fact is that it can get very expensive,” Simmons said. “It gets you a lot of exposure, but it’s a lot to ask of both kids and parents. These showcases allow a much more affordable way to get seen and to prove that you have what it takes to play at the next level.”