Players try to land spot in top showcase

High school baseball up-and-comers gathered at Westside High School on Monday hoping to impress the talent evaluators in attendance.

Since 2003, rising 10th- through 12th-graders have been a part of the Georgia Dugout Club’s Georgia Underclassmen Top 100 Showcase. The players at the Westside regional showcase were trying to perform well enough to land a spot in the main event, which is June 24-26 at Georgia Gwinnett College. Out of 12 regionals, the top 100 rising seniors will be selected along with 60 rising sophomores and juniors.

“The kids are great, they come out, play hard, they hustle, really eager to show off what they can do,” Loganville assistant Bran Mills said. “We’re always keeping our eye out for that next guy.”

Players’ entire skill sets were evaluated Monday. They ran 60-foot sprints, threw from their position, hit batting practice and off a tee before playing a simulated game.

“I’m here to show my skills off for college scouts and have a good time out here,” Burke County middle infielder Kristopher Skinner said.

Lakeside right-hander Jake Gilbert planned to take the mound and give it his best shot.

“I just want to come out here and see how it goes. Just throw as hard as I can, I guess,” Gilbert said.

Roger Wilkinson, of Baseball­Scoutz.com, has been part of the event for eight years and thinks there is benefit to the whole process.

“It’s a great chance if you do make that 100 to get a chance to play in front of every college coach in Georgia,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity and even if you don’t make it, you get some evaluation and some things you can take back with you for the future.”

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