LYNN — The Lynn Invitational Showcase is now in full swing, and the 14th edition of the baseball tournament is bigger than ever. Players from all over New England, from all different grades, have been gathering at Fraser Field to show their talents to college scouts in hopes of getting a shot to continue their baseball careers.
“Things have been going great so far,” said organizer Tim Fila. “Everything has been great, from the facilities to the players to the coaches, parents and volunteers, it’s really been awesome so far. We’re excited to continue it into this weekend.”
One thing that has become more common as the showcase has evolved over the years is the fact that younger high school players, not just seniors, are getting an opportunity to compete. Of the 209 players invited to the showcase, 122 are seniors and 87 are underclassmen. The youngest player at the showcase is Andover’s Ty Walsh, a rising freshman pitcher at Andover High who hit 79 miles per hour on the radar gun.
“It just goes to show you,” Fila said. “If you can play, you can be invited to the showcase. Sure, it’s a showcase to help seniors get noticed by colleges, but if you’re good enough to get noticed, you should have a chance to perform.”
Players come from all over the Northeast to compete in the showcase, with players this year hailing from New York, Rhode Island, Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
Local schools have also sent their share of players to this year’s showcase. St. Mary’s sports the most participants with five players — recent graduate Bobby Alcock, rising seniors Lee Pacheco and John Mulready, rising junior Lucas Rincon and rising sophomore Aiven Cabral.
“It’s huge for the program,” said St. Mary’s coach Derek Dana, who is helping to coach teams during the showcase. “These kids can all play, and a showcase like this allows them to show what they can do in front of coaches from the next level.”
Bishop Fenwick coach Russ Steeves, who is also helping coach teams, has four players at the showcase — recent graduate Keegan O’Connor, rising senior Jake Miano and rising juniors Christian Loescher and Scott Emerson.
“I think all of these guys deserve to be here, and all of these guys have played well in the opportunities they’ve had,” Steeves said of his players. “It’s such a great opportunity for them and every player who gets invited here, so it’s good to see kids taking advantage of that opportunity.”
The showcase opened on Thursday, with the 209 players divided up into eight teams. Each team plays one game on Thursday and one game on Friday, although not every player plays on both days due to some scheduling conflicts. On Saturday, all the players gather for a scouting combine of sorts, as 60-yard dashes and velocity readings will be collected from the players. From there, the field will be cut down to four teams for two games on Sunday. There will be one game featuring the top seniors from the showcase, while the other game will showcase the top underclassmen. Those games will be at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sunday.
Fila, Dana and Steeves all agree that this kind of an event is crucial for players looking to get noticed at the next level.
“It’s a lot of exposure for these kids, and they get to play a lot of baseball against good competition,” said Dana. “The kids get to see who else is out there for competition and they get great input from lots of different coaches from all levels.”
“These kids all want a chance to play at the next level, and a showcase like this is the perfect place for them to hopefully realize that dream,” Steeves said.
“Everybody here has a dream to keep playing baseball, and hopefully we can help them achieve that,” Fila said. “The event continues to grow year after year, and we’re getting kids from all around New England and beyond. College coaches are coming out to see these kids play, so it’s beneficial for everyone.”