High School baseball players show off skills

More than 50 high school baseball players showed off their talents Saturday at North Collins in the Third Annual Western New York Baseball Showcase.

In the first two years of the event, more than 100 players have signed on to play college ball.

Plenty of talent was on display Saturday as the game between the CCAA team and Niagara Frontier-Niagara-Orleans team provided plenty of solid hits and numerous web gems.

In the fourth inning, Westfield’s Nolan Hunt made a routine catch in right field, before gunning down base runner Ryan Williams at third base, who was trying to tag from second. Hunt’s throw was right on the mark and beat Williams to third base in plenty of time for third baseman Ben Burk to apply the tag.

“You get to show off some stuff in these games,” organizer Rob Catalino said. “The kids have showed off great speed and some great plays. You’re trying to show you have some skills for the college level.”

Colleges such as Canisius, St. Bonaventure and Mercyhurst routinely come to the event. In the first year, participants took part in more agility drills and other events to show off their talents. Now, Catalino has each team play two games for the scouts.

“Last year we went to this format with four major leagues,” he said. “The kids like to play and it makes it more fun. It makes it more fun to play two games. There was a lot of standing around when we just did drills. Here you see some nice catches and some doubles, triples and home runs.”

Today, the softball players will get to show off their skills. At 11 a.m., ECIC Divisions 1 and 4, along with the Catholic Schools will take on ECIC Division 2 and 3, along with the Buffalo Public Schools. Following that, CCAA will battle the Niagara Frontier League. The losers of the first two games will compete in the consolation game at 4 p.m. and the winners of the first two games will meet in the championship game at 5:30 p.m. A home run derby is tentatively scheduled.

“We have some great softball players,” Catalino said. “One girl has signed at Penn State and the Eden girls, who won a state championship, are playing. It should be a good day, as long as it doesn’t rain.”