By Ryan McCollough
Dozens of scouts from junior colleges, four-year universities and professional teams converged on Riddle-Pace Field looking for the next great baseball player.
For many of those scouts the trip to Troy took hours, but for Troy’s Mark Smartt it took just a few steps.
The Alabama Baseball Coaches Association Underclassmen All-Star Event saw 120 of the best upcoming juniors and seniors go through workouts and games on Troy’s campus.
Smartt, a veteran assistant on the Troy staff, said the event is a good thing for not only baseball, but all parts of Troy University.
“We are very fortunate at Troy to host this event,” Smartt said. “For Troy is a great opportunity for us to have people on our campus, eating in our cafeteria and seeing our facilities. It is good for all parts of this great university.”
The event allows baseball players from across the state to play games in front of scouts, recruiters and family members, by being recognized as some of the better underclassmen in the game.
The players are coached in the games by various community college instructors.
Smartt said that the baseball program benefits from being able to see the kids early and establish a relationship with them.
“Recruiting is the most important thing we do,” Smartt said. “The biggest challenge in recruiting is getting people to your field, but this week we have 120 really good kids on our campus. Now, when we call, they know who we are and Troy has a place in their mind.”
The 2013 event was the fourteenth for the Ala. BCA and eighth in Troy.
Smartt said that with all the recreation leagues, tournament teams and legion ball, the event is a blessing to have so many talented players at one place and at one time.
“Summer has become more valuable to our recruiting efforts,” Smartt said. “All the high school kids play in different tournaments, here at our field and at others. Anytime we can have a kid here, it is a win for Troy.