Local teams to compete in Mizuno Showcase
By DREW GRANTHUM / Sports Writer
Several local baseball teams will be looking to make a splash at a national showcase June 13-15.
The fifth annual Mizuno National High School Summer Showcase will be held in Hoover, and will feature 55 teams from across the southeast, including schools from Tennessee, Mississippi and Georgia.
The showcase, which is put on by the Hoover Baseball Club, was designed to give every player the same chance to be noticed by college or pro scouts.
“We’re excited,” said tournament director Rookie Gage. “It’s starting to blossom into something unique. This allows players and coaches of all levels (a chance for evaluation).”
Gage said the showcase came about as he was through contacts he made playing baseball at the University of Central Florida. Years later with the HBC, he approached the Mizuno about uniforms for the club, which led to talks and eventually an agreement for the company to sponsor the tournament.
Gage said the showcase varies from the usual tournament format, in that there is a set schedule in which certain teams will play at designated times instead of round-robin format.
“We never had it be a tournament,” he said. “(We want to) give as many opportunities (for players) to get reps. We dabbled with a skill sessions, but it takes away from reps.”
Gage said he felt the tournament was also a great opportunities for coaches as well as players.
“It allows mid-range kids to get a chance to be evaluated,” he said. “From a high school coaches perspective, this many games in a short period allows them to evaluate talent for next year.”
Gage said the focus on letting players who haven’t necessarily made a name for themselves a chance to shine, as well as allowing coaches more chances to work on team chemistry is what makes the Mizuno Showcase stand alone.
“It’s very unique,” he said. “It’s high school team versus high school team. We’ve dug our own niche.”
Shelby County teams participating include two varsity Spain Park squads, Pelham, and Chelsea. Pelham and Spain Park will also send junior varsity squads as well.