Future Stars Baseball players recently hit the mainland for their annual fall trip, which allowed the athletes to scout out colleges and play against some of the Florida’s top ranked high school talent.
Future Stars Baseball was started in the territory by Darren Canton, whose goal has been to train well rounded student athletes and get them exposed to a variety of educational and professional opportunities in the territory and abroad.
This year’s fall trip started with a round of campus visits where the players met with coaches and got to talk to them about their expectations on the collegiate level.
“We also got the opportunity to play exhibition games against pretty much the best talent in South Florida,” Canton said in an interview with the Source.
Canton said his athletes first faced off against top ranked Archbishop McCarthy High School, along with a prospect team made up of the top 20 recruits in South Florida.
“Overall, we were 0-4,” Canton said. “The first two days were sloppy play, and I think we lost 6-5 the first night to Cypress Bay High School, then 13-6 to Archbishop McCarthy.”
Canton said the players turned their game around in the last few days of the trip, as they became more comfortable with their surroundings.
“The guys really came together, and we were able to stay in with the other teams’ players,” Canton said. “We lost 6-3 to the prospect team, but both sides had great showings, and we were able to get four or five kids some college attention. We’re trying to get them placed for the spring, so I think it was a productive trip.”
More than 20 scouts came to the last game and showed interest in St. Croix’s Lionel Danielson, Lakish Plante, and Jeffrey Bryan.
The annual trip, which also gets the V.I. athletes exposed to high school and college scouts, lets the players know how hard they need to work to make it to the next level.
“What we saw in the first couple of days, it was like a shock,” Canton said. “To see the talent that we were playing, and the atmosphere in the high schools where the facilities are unbelievable; it was a little intimidating. We saw players that we know do well in the field making errors, so we know that it had to do with the environment, but as they got used to it, we saw everybody relax and get more competitive. So, I think it raises the bar in terms of their expectations for themselves.”
Canton also said that Virgin Islanders are usually at a disadvantage because in the states the talent pool is bigger giving skilled athletes more opportunities to play against one another.
“So, the best we can do in the territory is get the top level guys and the other players that work hard and are willing to improve their game and keep them together,” Canton said. “I think that might help make the learning curve not so severe.”
Canton said he is in the process of organizing other upcoming events for Future Stars, including the annual Scout Day in early 2012, and a June tour of Florida that will give V.I. athletes some playing time with various summer teams.