Temperatures reached above 90 degrees on Tuesday in Salisbury, and the heat gave many an excuse to sit inside and enjoy the air conditioning or to lay in a pool all day.
But for the top high school baseball players on Delmarva, Tuesday was a perfect day to get out on the diamond and show college scouts what they’re made of.
More than 30 boys from Delaware, Maryland and Virginia came out to Arthur W. Perdue Stadium for the Eastern Shore Showcase, an event put on by the Prep Baseball Report — a national and independent scouting service — that provided the players with instruction, training and evaluations.
“These events get your name out there and get you recognized,” said Cade Hurley, a rising junior first baseman at James M. Bennett.
Prep Baseball Report started in 2005 as a small scouting service in Illinois. 10 years later, the service has scouting directors in 27 states and is connected to a network of college and pro coaches and scouts. It set up a network in Maryland just six months ago and has already hosted two showcase events.
“We like to go boots to the ground and we try to cover as much of the country as we can,” said Jerry Shank, the PBR director of scouting in Maryland.
Shank and his team talk to college coaches and scouts, cover games, organize events like the Eastern Shore Showcase and also do some of their own scouting and evaluation.
Hurley and a handful of other players at the showcase had been to events organized by Prep Baseball Report before, but this is the first one to come to the Eastern Shore.
“I think the talent on the Eastern Shore and in Delaware is very good,” Shank said. “I think a lot of times these guys don’t get seen enough. So that’s my goal, you know, maybe some school in the Midwest who would have never thought about these guys are now seeing them and are reaching out because they saw the website.”
With the help of a few assistant coaches from Parkside High’s baseball team, Shank and his staff put position players, pitchers and catchers through several drills and combine workouts to evaluate their skill levels.
A few days after the showcase, each player will have a report with video, stats and evaluations from the day posted online for themselves, scouts and coaches to examine.
The PBR Maryland website also features class rankings for every state. Before Tuesday’s showcase, Parkside shortstop Connor Shockley was ranked as the seventh best player in Maryland for the class of 2017. He uses events like these to improve his game in an effort to try and move up that list and get his name in front of a few more eyes.
“(Showcases) help you measure your skill level and they let you know what you need to work on,” Shockley said. “And (Shank) knows what college coaches are looking for.”
Before joining up with PBR, Shank spent 10 years as a college coach and scout for several college programs at the Division I, II and III levels.
“We communicate directly with colleges on a pretty routine basis and it’s not just me, it’s all of our scouting directors in every state,” Shank said. “We like to think of ourselves as an extra tool for coaches and players.”
Some consider the Eastern Shore as an afterthought when it comes to producing college and professional athletes, but with some recent success stories and with the help of showcase and scouting services like PBR for baseball and DMVelite for basketball, athletes on the Shore are starting to get noticed.
“This really helps out the players, because the coaches that can’t make the trip over here to see you play can see your stuff online,” Hurley said.