WAREHAM, MA – The first ever Baseball Express Cape Cod High School Classic was a success. The event drew a large contingent of scouts, college coaches, and fans, all of whom enjoyed perfect weather. The Wareham Gatemen and the Cape Cod Baseball League were incredible hosts and for that Team One and Baseball Factory are deeply grateful.
The tremendous baseball fans that live in the Cape Cod region and so wonderfully support the Cape Cod League had an opportunity to meet the players as they signed autographs during the extended pre-game batting practice session. Additionally, a number of local Little Leaguers got to be on the field as ball-shaggers during the home run derby.
The live telecast by ESPNU went smoothly, with the team of Mark Neely and Kyle Peterson calling the game action. The workout which took place the day before the game provided an extended opportunity for the scouts in attendance to see the players in a showcase/practice type atmosphere.
Boston Red Sox president Larry Lucchino threw out the first pitch to the cheers of all the Red Sox fans in attendance. His World Series championship ring was glistening brightly in the sunshine as he had his post-first pitch picture taken with Team One Baseball founder/executive director Jeff Spelman and Baseball Factory founder/president Steve Sclafani.
Mr. Lucchino was not the only baseball luminary we had involved in this event. Mike Cameron, head coach at Cincinnati Moeller HS and a long time Team One Showcase coach, was the head coach for the West team. If you don't recognize his name, you are sure to recognize the names of some of the players he has coached and sent to the big leagues from Moeller HS; Buddy Bell, Barry Larkin, Ken Griffey Jr., and David Bell.
The home run derby took place prior to the extended BP and the infield/outfield for each team. Four players from each team took part in the derby; West participants were Nick Akins, Jonathan Edwards, Chris Parmelee, and John Tolisano. The East participants were David Christensen, Gabe Cohen, Aaron Miller, and Devin Shepherd.
Akins and Parmelee each hit four HRs in the first round which led to a tiebreaker, won by Parmelee. Shepherd advanced from the East team to meet Parmelee in an all California final. Shepherd defeated Parmelee in the home run derby finals in a tiebreaker. Overall Parmelee hit the most home runs and had about eight very near misses. His combination of power and a pure swing is a beautiful thing to watch.
The scouts, the fans, the workout, the home run derby, the weather, ESPNU, Larry Lucchino, Mike Cameron, the setting and environment of the Cape Cod Baseball League, all of that was wonderful and certainly added to the overall experience for the most important part of this event: the 36 elite high school players chosen to participate.
There was so much more to this experience for the players. After the workout day, one of the event sponsors, Puma, provided a catered party with live music and a free raffle drawing of Puma merchandise. Some of that merchandise was provided by Puma's MLB players, like a pair of Johnny Damon's 2005 All-Star game turfs. Puma also provided each player with a pair of brand new spikes for the game, the Johnny Damon spikes. Louisiville Slugger, another event sponsor, provided bats for the players to use.
On the evening after our game, the players attended a regular season Cape Cod Baseball League game, between the Bourne Braves and the Wareham Gatemen. They got to experience first-hand the incredible atmosphere the fans of Cape Cod League baseball provide for the CCBL players each season.
The day after our game the players and our staff were invited as special guests to the CCBL All-Star game. Prior to the game, our players and their families, along with our staff were treated to a ferry ride and tour of the Cape, which served as transportation to the CCBL All-Star Game.
After the CCBL home run derby our own home run derby champion (Devin Shepherd) and two Cape Cod HS Classic MVPs (Chris Parmelee & Colton Willems) were honored and introduced at home plate to the nearly 3000 fans in attendance. Our players were publicly acknowledged as 36 of the very best high school players in the nation. The CCBL announced their proud partnership with Team One, Baseball Factory, and the Cape Cod HS Classic for many years to come.
After all the pre-game festivities, the players and our staff settled in to watch the CCBL All-Star game, along with what appeared to be somewhere in the neighborhood of over one hundred professional scouts, many of whom were major decision makers for their organizations.
Incidentally but not coincidentally, 17 of the 40 CCBL All-Star Game players were former Team One Showcase players. That means out of 76 of the nation's top players seen by the scouts over two days, 53 attended Team One events at some point in their careers. In the coming years, many of the inaugural Cape Cod HS Baseball Classic players will go on to become All-Stars in the Cape Cod Baseball League.
The CCBL All-Star game was loaded with future 1st round picks (including possibly the first three selections next June), so our top round high school prospects got to see first hand many of the college players they are competing with for upper round draft status. The Cape Cod HS Baseball Classic is THE ONLY EVENT that provides that type of awareness and comparison for the top high school players in the nation.
Many of those same scouts, representing every MLB organization, also attended our game so they got to see 76 of the top players in the nation over the course of two days without having to do any extra travel. The opportunity for them to scout those players in a setting like Cape Cod just adds to the list of why the two games, in conjunction with each other, have already become the single best scouting opportunity for Major League Baseball scouts and decision makers.
Think of the four MVPs from both games the scouts got to see on back to back days; Daniel Bard, Colin Curtis (a Team One Showcase alumnus), Colton Willems, Chris Parmelee. Bard and Curtis were not even the top two prospects in CCBL game, Bard's college teammate Andrew Miller and Brandon Morrow were. That alone is why the Cape Cod HS Baseball Classic, as a partner of the CCBL, will be successful for many, many years to come.
The experience provided for the 36 players and their families (great thanks to all of the sponsors - Baseball Express, Puma, Louisville Slugger), not to mention the scouts, was totally unique. Some of the 36 players that attended will be top round draft picks in June while many others will go on to become collegiate All-Americans, Cape Cod League All-Stars, and ultimately, future big leaguers. Through all of that future baseball success, their experience at the inaugural Baseball Express Cape Cod HS Classic will remain one of the most memorable experiences of their lives.