Kelley Baseball Showcase to be held Saturday
By Charles Whisnand
Appeal Sports Editor
In its short history the Kelley Baseball Showcase has definitely lived up to its name. It has become one of Nevada’s top showcases in which players have been able to display their talents and as a result have moved on to the college, professional and even Major League level.
The showcase got off to a bang in its first year in 1998 with three players from the inaugural event going on to play in the Major Leagues. Darrell Rasner, a 1999 Carson High graduate, who is now pitching for the New York Yankees, Sparks’ Randy Messenger and Cimmaron-Memorial’s Mike Esposito.
So as the event enters its 11th year, the showcase’s founder Stu Colton of the Kelley Athletic Company is certainly pleased with the results. This year’s showcase will take place on Saturday with the game beginning at 1:15 p.m. at Western Nevada College’s John L. Harvey Field. The top players in the class of 2009 from Northern Nevada and Southern Nevada will take on each other in a nine-inning game.
It will be a full day for the players, beginning at 10 a.m. as they will have batting practice, take infield and run 60-yard dashes. Fifteen to 20 coaches from Division I schools, numerous junior college coaches and 20-30 Major League scouts are expected to attend the event.
Oregon State coach Pat Casey, who has led the Beavers to the College World Series title in 2006 and 2007 has attended the event. Fresno State coach Mike Batesole, who has led his team to the CWS Finals this year against Georgia, attended last year’s event.
Colton has been heavily involved with high school baseball players over the years through his work at Kelley as an assistant coach at Reno High and Nevada and through his pitching and hitting clinics. Colton said he began the showcase as a way to give back to high school baseball players.
“I really wanted to do something for the high school players in Northern and Southern Nevada,” Colton said.
Colton used to try to keep track of all the players from the showcase who went on to play at the college or pro level. “The list go so humongous, I don’t do it anymore,” he said.
But Colton does keep track of showcase alumni who have been taken in the Major League draft and eight showcase alumni were taken in this month’s draft. Among them was Manogue’s Joe Wieland, who signed with the Texas Rangers after being taken in the third round. Wieland’s stock really took off after last year’s showcase.
The reason why players who are heading into their senior years are in the showcase is obvious. The recruiting process for many of these players has already begun and in the next few months is when the recruiting and Major League scouting process of these players will really heat up.
Another bonus for the players ” and WNC coach D.J. Whittemore ” is this year’s showcase is being played on field turf at John L. Harvey Field. Players always enjoy playing on field turf and the game will be a recruiting tool for Whittemore. “It’s a win-win for everybody,” Colton said.
Carson High will be well represented in this year’s game with four players: outfielder Matt Rutledge, who can also pitch, infielders Kyle Stone and Brett Valley and catcher-first baseman Paul Cagle. Two of Northern Nevada’s top pitchers from Douglas will be in the event in Tyler Hoelzen and Tyler May.
Among other local players will be outfielder Tanner Thomas and infielder Tim Rudnick of Douglas and Galena pitcher Josh Evans. Among other top Northern players in the event will be Reno outfielder Zach Sanford.