Troy hosting baseball classic

Published 3:00 am Thursday, June 9, 2016

Troy University will welcome the state’s top high school baseball players this weekend for the 2016 Riddle Pace Classic, hosted by Smartt Baseball LLC.

Designed to bring in the best talent throughout the state, the classic will offer coaches and scouts the opportunity to see plenty of talent on display.

“We have several good teams coming into Troy,” said Trojans head coach Mark Smartt. “It gives us a chance to get some talented players on our campus and our field. It keeps us from having to drive to see all these teams play.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The classic will feature eight different teams.

“The best part of it is, not only do they get to see our facilities, which are first-class, they get to see our campus,” Smartt said. “They also get to stay around town for a few days.”

The classic gets players into town that may not have the opportunity to ever come to Troy, and Smartt believes once they get to campus, the facilities and the campus will impress them enough to remember Troy down the road.

“People that have never been here are always blown away by our facilities and they comment on how great it is to meet people here,” Smartt said. “When we identify those people in the recruiting process, typically we get good reviews because they enjoy their time.

“Many times without the tournament they wouldn’t come to Troy. There wouldn’t be a reason to be here. It gives us a chance to allow them to see what we have to offer.”

Most of the teams participating play travel ball. Six are from Alabama and the other two are from Florida and Georgia. Most of the teams are 19U, but two are 17U and 16U. Troy’s Post 70 American Legion team will play in the tournament.

“It’s a local team that kind of serves as the host. It’s really good for those players, because they will be competing against teams they won’t play against in the true American Legion sense,” Smartt said. “Personally I hope it helps them prepare for their summer season and state tournament opportunity.”

Joining Post 70 will be Birmingham Baseball’s 17U and 16U teams. The team is based out of Huntsville, but is comprised of players from Birmingham North. Excel from Oxford, Orlando Scorpions North from the Florida panhandle, the East Cobb Astros from Georgia, FTB 55 a team from central Florida and the Triton Rays based out of Montgomery will also be in attendance.

Each team will play a total of four games over three days.

“It’s an opportunity to play against good teams on a Division 1 field,” Smartt said. “There will be other coaches from the region here recruiting and to see the kids play. It’s a unique opportunity and I am really glad that we have such a talented group of teams coming in.”

Post 70 will kick off the classic on Friday at 10 a.m. against Birmingham Baseball’s 17U and will also play at 5:30 p.m. against Excel. Troy will play on Saturday against Birmingham baseball’s 16U team and will finish off the classic with a game against the Triton Rays at 5 p.m.