The Northwoods League’s top 100 players gathered at Warner Park in Madison, Wisconsin, on Tuesday August 6, for the 2019 Major League Dreams Showcase. Players competing in the showcase are hand-picked by scouts from the Great Lakes and Great Plains divisions.
The purpose of the showcase is to give the players an opportunity to demonstrate their talents in front of the scouts, in hopes of having a shot of making it into the MLB Ranks. Hand picking the players that will perform makes the showcase stand out against how a typical All-Star Game runs, with a player representing every team.
The day consisted of a player workout followed by a pair of nine-inning games under the watchful eyes of 60 scouts. In the early afternoon, players showed off their heavy arms and fielding skills, by throwing base to base from their respective positions. The second part of the workout consisted of players ripping baseballs to various parts of the field during a routine batting practice.
The first game came down to the wire in the bottom of the ninth. A walk-off RBI by La Crosse Loggers’ JT Schwartz (UCLA) gave the home team a 4-3 victory.
In the top of the first, the visiting team grabbed a quick 2-0 lead off an error on the infield and a sacrifice fly from St. Cloud Rox Jordan Barth (Augustana College).
The home team’s bats came alive in the bottom of the third. Back-to-back RBI singles by the Mankato MoonDogs Josh Elvir (Angelo State University) and Schwartz tied the game at 2-2.
Carrying the momentum into the bottom of the fourth, the bats remained hot for the home team. An RBI single by Eau Claire’s Brandon Dieter (Stanford) gave the home team its first lead of the game, 3-2.
However, the lead did not last very long. In the top of the fifth, an RBI by St. Cloud’s Gus Steiger (South Dakota State University), sent a runner home to tie the game for the second time. The score remained 3-3 heading into the sixth.
A lively offense for both teams was not present from the sixth until the bottom of the ninth. In the bottom of the ninth with one out, Schwartz became the hero for the home team after slamming an RBI single with the bases loaded to pull out the triumph.
The win was awarded to Jack Filby (UCLA) after he prevented the visiting team from scoring.
The loss was handed to John Bezdicek (Southwest Minnesota State University) after he gave up the walk-off RBI single to lose the game.
An RBI single by Steiger tied the game at three, almost causing the competition to go into extra innings.
- Schwartz pulled out the victory after slamming a walk-off RBI single with the bases loaded. Schwartz also showed off his phenomenal defense with a slew of strong plays at first base.
- Zack Gregory (Arkansas) reached base five times and contributed two hits and three walks.
The start of game two mirrored game one.
The visiting team took a quick 2-0 lead off an RBI double by Traverse City’s Andrew Morrow (Michigan State University) and a sacrifice fly by Green Bay’s’ Jacob Buchberger (Davenport University).
A second sacrifice fly from the visiting team in the top of the second pushed the lead even more. The Kalamazoo Growlers’ Jimmy Sullivan (University of Virginia) popped the ball high to center field to bring a man home and make the score 3-0.
The Woodchucks’ TJ Reeves (Alabama) slammed a solo home run over the right-field fence to put the home team on the scoreboard. The home team trailed 3-1 heading into the fifth.
Buchberger drove in another run on an RBI single in the top of the fifth to put the visitors back on top by three, 4-1.
The offense started to heat up in the bottom of the sixth for the home team. In his first time at the plate, Traverse City INF Mario Camilletti (Oakland University) knocked an RBI single that cut the visitor’s lead in half, 4-2.
Both teams were unable to come up with any runs until the top of the eighth. The visiting team bats were explosive in the top of the inning. The Dock Spiders’ Charlie Maxwell (Northwestern) launched a two-RBI single to bring the score up 6-2. Following his lead, the Rafters’ Davion Downey (Baylor) rocketed a two-run home run to give the visitors a six-run cushion, 8-2.
Andrew Morrow (Michigan State University) took a lap around the bases after smoking the ball over the fence for a solo home run in the top of the ninth. The Traverse City infielder extended the visitors lead 9-3.
In the bottom of the ninth, the home team put a small dent in the score. An RBI single with the bases loaded by Caleb Balgaard (Iowa Western CC), followed by a two-run error to make it 9-5. In the end, the home team was unable to bring in enough runs to claim a come-from-behind win. Game two ended in a 9-5 victory for the visiting team.
Eliot Turnquist (Madison College) claimed the win after throwing a perfect third inning.
Quinn Gudaitis (Illinois Wesleyan) notched the loss after he gave up the first runs of the game.
Downey gave the visiting team a heavy lead in the top of the eighth. The team held on to the cushioned lead and eventually went on to secure the victory.
- Chad Patrick (Purdue University Northwest) started on the mound for the visitors and threw two perfect innings.
- Morrow had three hits, two RBI and a solo home run.
- Reeves slammed two hits, a home run and made it on base four times.