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The best baseball players from across the state who participated in the Central Carolina Scholastic Summer League this season were chosen to play in a showcase event last Tuesday night at Jack Coombs Field.
The top rising seniors played in the Seniors Game, while the juniors and sophomores were in the Futures Game.
The players were split randomly into two different teams – the American and National teams. The Nationals won the Seniors Game, 5-4.
With several local players on both rosters of the Seniors Game, here is a rundown of how they fared:
Chris Scott, Millbrook: Scott started the game for the American team and was able to get himself out of a jam, giving up no runs. Scott then was struck out but reached on a passed ball that took off the catcher’s mitt.
In his second at-bat, he ran out a single that got past the first baseman and into the dugout, allowing him to move to second. Scott stole third and later scored on an infield single.
“[Pitching the first inning] wasn’t that bad,” Scott said. “It wasn’t that much pressure because I just have to go out there and do my job. … I just ran as hard as hard as I could both times I got on.
“I noticed the pitcher had the same motion every time he came set – he would look at me, then look home and pitch – so I told myself, ‘The second he looks home I’m going,’ and it worked out.”
Brian Miller, Millbrook: Miller led off for the American team and took the second pitch he saw to the opposite field for a single and eventually scored in the first inning. After drawing a full count in his second at-bat, Miller nearly ran out a soft liner on the right side but was thrown out.
Graham Upton, Heritage: Led off the second inning by ripping a double that found a hole down the third -base line and later scored on a passed ball. Upton finished the game 1-for-2 but drove a pitch into deep center field in his second at-bat.
“This was a great experience,” Upton said. “Just having a chance to be out here with these guys from across the state and perform the way I did. My first hit wasn’t my best, and the second one I hit hard but just didn’t find a hole. I felt like I displayed all the aspects of my game, so I’m pretty happy.”
Austin King, Enloe: King pitched a relatively easy third inning for the National team, giving up just one run on one hit.
Eric Collins, Broughton: Collins didn’t light up the stat sheet with his 0-for-3 performance but was able to put a charge into one in his second at-bat that wasn’t able to find a hole.
Matt Koehler, Sanderson: Finished the game 0-for-3, but drew a 3-2 count in first at-bat and was struck out looking on an inside pitch. Koehler also was called out on strikes in his second plate appearance and was tagged out at the plate on a hit that was driven into the plate and bounced fair.
Paschal Ammons, East Wake: Ammons, listed as a pitcher for the game, had a quality at-bat in his first plate appearance in the third inning but struck out swinging.
After giving up a leadoff double, Ammons was able to strike out three batters in a scoreless seventh.
“I was really impressed with the way I was throwing tonight,” Ammons said. “I topped out at 85 (mph), which was the fastest I’ve ever thrown. I hung that one curveball that got crushed but was able to settle in and battled back.”
Austin Dickens, East Wake: Dickens started for the National team in the No. 2 spot in the lineup and platooned at catcher every other inning.
After a six-pitch at-bat, he was hit by a pitch. The rising senior didn’t disappoint in his second at-bat, pulling an inside pitch into left field for a two-run double.
The only time Dickens didn’t reach base in the game was in his third plate appearance, when Ammons was on the mound.
“It was kind of weird,” Dickens said, smiling. “I thought I was going to be catching for him, and instead I had to face him in the last inning. He just got the better of me this time. I’m not going to hear the end of that one.”
Smith: 919-829-4841; @RCorySmith