The third annual PNC Bank High School Baseball Showcase presented by Rawlings on June 18 will provide 50 fortunate high school seniors the chance to demonstrate to NCAA coaches and professional scouts they have what it takes to make it in the big leagues. Among them are local baseball players from Wildwood, Eureka and Pacific—see the 2012 roster that accompanies this article.
Matt Hasenbeck, representing Eureka High School, will be one of the pitchers that day. Josh Moore from Pacific High School also will pitch. Will DuPont, representing Lafayette High School, will play as shortstop.
With a 1:15 p.m. first pitch at Busch Stadium on June 18, the Baseball Showcase game will feature both Missouri and Illinois high school All-Stars, nominated by area high school coaches and chosen by a selection committee of sports writers from both sides of the river.
All Showcase players also are eligible to participate in a Skills Competition, which will take place at Busch Stadium at 10 a.m. on game day. The competition includes a Home Run Derby, Speed Challenge and Throwing Accuracy drill.
Tickets to the PNC Bank High School Baseball Showcase and Skills Challenge are FREE. For more information, visit the event's website by clicking here.
Background of the Baseball Showcase
"When I moved here (St. Louis) in 2008 I was immediately impressed with not only the passion this city has for baseball, but also the baseball knowledge of the ‘everyday’ fan," said Rick Sems, Regional President, PNC Bank, St. Louis and Southern Illinois in a news release about the Showcase.
Sems, who grew up in Cleveland, had great memories of the annual Big 33 High School All-Stars football game, which featured the top players in Ohio and Pennsylvania. He said transplanting that idea to St. Louis baseball made a lot of sense to him, and to his friend, former Cardinal player, now manager, Mike Matheny.
"When I was in high school, it was a dream of mine to be able to play the game I loved in a big stadium in front of my family and friends," said Matheny in the same news release. "We can make the dream come true for these players."
Matheny checked in with high school baseball coaches he knew, and quickly found that a High School Baseball Showcase was definitely a great idea.
Player-hosted Skills Clinic For Kids With Disabilities Also to be Held This Year
“As a team manager for last year’s Showcase, I got to see firsthand not only how good these guys are, but also how much it means to them to play in Busch Stadium,” said Matheny. “We’ve all seen some pretty inspiring baseball around St. Louis lately, and these kids put their whole heart in the game—it’s a great day for the game.”
John Mabry, Matheny’s former teammate and current assistant batting coach for the Cardinals, again will manage a team in the 2012 Showcase along with Chris Duncan, former Cardinals and current ESPN Radio Personality.
For the first time, Showcase players will share tips and skills with kids in the YMCA’s Inclusion Services Program at a special High School Baseball Showcase Clinic on June 11 at Mike Matheny’s Catch 22 accessible baseball field in Chesterfield. The Y’s Inclusion Services Program provides support to individuals of all ages with diagnosed disabilities to successfully participate in Y programs.
“We continue to look for ways to expand the Showcase and become more involved in the community, so working with the Y is a natural fit,” stated Sems. “It gives our players a chance to give back, and gives kids with special needs the opportunity to have some fun and learn some new baseball skills.”