A few weeks back, I was contacted by Major League Baseball and asked to cover a special event they were holding at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, NC. It was called the International Prospect Series. The goal was to bring in some of the top international high school talent to play organized games for scouts and baseball fans already attending the National High School Invitational. This was a new event for MLB, and I was excited to be a part of it.
I spent three days covering the international players. Day One was dedicated to workouts and team/individual photos. Players worked with coaches on fundamentals and pitching technique. Toward the end of the day, scouts gathered around to take in some batting practice.
This is what you get when you put the pitchers together in center field during batting practice.
Day Two was a cold, rainy day. It wouldn’t be hard to imagine that this was the coldest day many of these players had experienced before and they were bundled up in layers. Not that I could blame them, I was too!
For their first game, the International Prospects took on South Caldwell, a talented high school from western North Carolina. I was surprised to learn that for several of the international players, this was their first actual game. The players had been to showcases and workouts, but not all of them had taken the field during a game. Add in the cold, wet weather, it’s not hard to understand why they lost the game 8-1.
We had much better weather on Day Three when the International Prospects took on Providence High School out of Charlotte. The international players came out swinging and went on to win 6-5.
Before each game, the players exchanged “friendship” gifts with each other.
After the end of the second game, the international players gathered around to celebrate. Not only was it the end to a great event for these kids, but for some, it was also their first time being part of a team win. It was fun to watch and be a part of.