Despite a severe economic downturn, this summer will still see two of the largest showcases of local athletic talent.
One week after the top graduated seniors graced the turf of Mackay Stadium for the Sertoma Classic, the 12th annual Kelley Baseball Showcase will pit some of the best returning Northern Nevada prep baseball stars against their counterparts from the South.
“The kids know the value of playing in it,” showcase organizer Stew Colton said. “The things like plane tickets for the Vegas kids didn’t really increase that much on Southwest. All the costs pretty much remained the same for me, so all in all it worked out OK.”
A year after holding the event at Western Nevada College in Carson City in order to help the coaching staff showcase the field, Colton is bringing the showcase back to town. As arguably the nicest high school baseball facility in the area, Bishop Manogue will host the nine-inning game, starting at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
“Last year there were several kids from Douglas and Carson High Schools, so that kind of went into my decision making process because it would be closer down there,” Colton said. “This year, most of the kids are from up in this area.”
Last year, Rail City baseball fans were a little letdown by the North’s roster. Only Reed’s Duran DiQuarto and Chris Hawthorne were selected for the showcase.
However, this year will be much different with a handful of Spanish Springs stars making the team. Juniors-to-be Tanner Oates and Jake Bray will join teammates Humberto Espinoza, Tyler Eaton and Justin Agliolo, who just completed their junior campaigns.
Reed infielder Derek Garcia will also be on the squad, led by Reno coach Pete Savage and Douglas coach John Glover.
The coaching staff from Silverado will bring 20 kids from Las Vegas. Players were selected by coaches based on all-league honors.
Even though this is the 12th year Colton has put on the event, it has never been the same from year to year, and he’s still excited about the showcase.
“I really am. Every year we try to do a couple new things,” Colton said. “The equipment the players get every year is part of the package and gets upgraded. The uniforms get nicer. This year they get really nice hats. All in all, it’s a good event. It’s meaningful, and a lot of the coaches and scouts appreciate that we put it on. Of course the parents and players like it because it gives them a good opportunity to get exposure.”