Middletown High School rising senior Jack Panther said he experienced an overwhelming feeling during this weekend's 10th Annual Mid-Atlantic High School Baseball Classic, a two-day event that included more than 175 participants, 25 college coaches, an all-day combine Friday and Saturday at Joe Cannon Stadium (Hanover).
The pitchers who faced Panther during Saturday's Crab Claw Classic, a group of 40 players selected for a nine-inning all-star game based on Friday's combine performance, must have felt the same way after the left-handed batter had a single and two-run triple to help the North claim an 18-9 victory.
“It was kind of intimidating coming in -- just a lot of guys with a lot of talent; guys from all over the place but it was a lot of fun playing with new people,” Panther said. “I really got a good experience out of it. It was a really good opportunity.”
Panther's triple was slugged into the right center field gap in the third inning.
“It was just a fastball over the middle of the plate and I really just got a hold of it, right in the gap,” Panther said. “It felt good.”
DeMatha rising senior Devin Beverly did not fare as well at the plate as Panther but he flashed his middle infield glove well enough to be named the South Claws' top fielder following the combine workouts.
“I've put in a lot of work, a lot of work over the offseason,” Beverly said. “It's a good feeling to have. It was real fun. You got to go out and showcase yourself to all the scouts. It was a good experience.”
Beverly and the other 170-plus participants were seen by college coaches from around the East Coast, including new Maryland coach John Szefc and long-time Towson coach Mike Gottlieb. Participants ranged as far north as Connecticut and as far south as Norfolk, Va.
“He can really play anywhere in the infield but if you watched him field groundballs during the combine, he was pretty talented,” said Lou Holcomb, the event's founder and organizer. “He's got really good hands. That's how he got that award.”
Rockville rising senior Greg Brown, Walt Whitman rising senior Pat Hisle and Our Lady of Good Counsel rising senior Grant Pascoe joined Beverly on the South squad. Brown walked and was hit by a pitch in three plate appearances and eventually scored in the South team's seven-run sixth inning.
“I got to meet some new guys, a lot of new players,” Brown said. “It's good to see who else you're competing against in the state. It was a lot of fun.”
Hisle had a run-scoring double and later scored in the South team in the sixth inning. Pascoe doubled in the fourth inning and allowed three runs on two hits, two walks and two hit batsmen in his lone inning on the mound.
“It was fun to play against a lot of good talent from up and down the East Coast,” said Hisle, whose double hit off the right field line between first base and the right fielder. “It was certainly a lot of fun to just get out there and play. It was a good experience, good competition.”