Seniors get final chance to shine

May 30, 2006|by DAN KAUFFMAN

Tonight's inaugural Mid-Maryland All-Star Baseball Classic should live up to its name.

Eighty-nine high school seniors from Washington, Allegany, Frederick and Carroll counties - many of them stars in the Monocacy Valley Athletic League's three conferences - will converge on Hagerstown's Municipal Stadium for two games - the Small School contest at 5 p.m., and the Big School game at 7:45.

"I think the MVAL is as good as any league in Maryland when it comes to baseball," said event organizer Dave Foltz, an assistant coach at North Hagerstown and administrator of the MVAL sports Web sites. "You're taking the best of the best of the MVAL, putting them on the field together, and you're going to have a tremendous amount of talent out there. I would play with any of these four squads anywhere and feel I can win with them."

As with most postseason showcase games, the Mid-Maryland Classic is aimed at giving the seniors an opportunity to shine in front of college and pro scouts.


"That's huge. That's one of the main reasons we're doing it, is to give them that opportunity," Foltz said. "Many kids have already signed, but some are not. (Justin) Weaver at North, (Wesley) Gross at Frederick, those are good kids who can play at the next level, and hopefully they'll catch someone's eye (today)."

"That's the thing, they're playing against the best, so they're showing their abilities and you never know who might be sitting there," said Hubs coach Shawn Reynolds, who will coach Team West in the Big School game. "(Weaver) might impress somebody who hasn't seen him play and get a shot at playing at the next level."

What are Reynolds' top priorities today? "Just get everybody in the ballgame, make sure everybody has fun and hope no one gets hurt. ... I think it's a great honor for the seniors to get the chance to showcase their abilities."

As for the seniors, Foltz said the ones he has spoken to are ready to play - and determined to make a statement.

"I had to do a photo shoot in Frederick and Carroll counties, and the kids seemed pretty excited to play a final game and to do it in front of college scouts," he said. "The coaches don't think it will be as competitive, but the kids, just talking to them at the photo shoots, they want to prove they can do well against the best of the best. When you put a game like that together, they want to prove they can hit against anybody. I think it's going to be competitive."

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