Fla. – Josh Tobias and Jake Cave are high school seniors in two southeastern
states who share a passion for baseball and are members of a select group who
may, someday, make a nice living playing the game.
have a lot in common, no doubt. And one of the most impressive accomplishments
they can list on their resumes is that they were given the opportunity to play
in the Aflac All-American Classic in San Diego in mid-August, and this week are
playing in the Perfect Game WWBA World Championship held here at the Roger Dean
and Cave are members of the North Carolina-based Canes Baseball travel team
program, and are with the Canes this week. The Canes, one of the pre-tournament
favorites to win the World Championship, lost their opener Thursday to NE PG
Purple, 2-1, but rebounded to beat the Houston Banditos, 12-1, Friday morning.
a highly ranked middle-infielder who played left field Friday, was 2-for-2 with
two walks, three runs scored and two stolen bases in the win. Cave, one of
country’s top left-handed pitchers in the class of 2011, pitched three
scoreless innings, but gave up three hits and two walks while striking out two.
feel like I didn’t have my stuff really today,” said Cave, who entered as
pitcher in the third inning after playing the first two innings in right field.
“I didn’t have time to warm-up, came in and struggled a little bit. Hopefully
the next time I (pitch), I’ll have the live arm and that kind of stuff, but it
wasn’t there today.”
performance was more exception than rule. Cave, a 6-1, 180-pounder from
Hampton, Va., is Perfect Game’s 26th-ranked national prospect and
No. 1-ranked in Virginia, and his fast-ball is consistently clocked in the low
performance Friday was something that has become expected from the stocky 5-9,
194-pounder from Greensboro, N.C. He is ranked 16th nationally and
No. 1 in North Carolina by Perfect Game.
Game projects Tobias to be the 75th player selected overall in the
2011 Major League Draft, with Cave going next at 76th overall. That
places both players in the late second round.
bottom line is both can play ball and will continue to play at a very high
level next year. Tobias has verbally committed to Florida of the Southeastern
Conference and Cave to LSU of the SEC.
been proving their worth to Canes head coach Jeff Petty for the last three
just rise to the occasion when things are on the line,” Petty said. “The other
guys look to them and kind of follow their lead, and if they’re having success
it makes the other guys play harder.”
was Perfect Game events like the WWBA World Championship and other national
tournaments and showcases that got the players noticed, and that fact isn’t
lost on them.
Game, when I finally started doing it, (it) got my name out there and got
scouts out here and probably got me a college scholarship,” Tobias said. “If we
hadn’t gone to those, we probably wouldn’t be as highly scouted as me and Jake
said he has been to numerous Perfect Game events – at least 10 in the past two
years – and that exposure has proved extremely valuable.
I hadn’t been to them, there would probably be a lot of scouts who wouldn’t be
out here today and wouldn’t even know about me,” Cave said. “I know the same
goes for Josh. We’re teammates during the summer but we go to a lot of the same
showcase events for Perfect Game and it definitely helps us.”
involvement with PG was also instrumental in their selection as Aflac
All-Americans, an honor bestowed on only 38 players in 2010. Both Cave and
Tobias said there really was no fair way to compare playing in the Aflac game
with playing at the World Championship.
is a great tournament, I love it, it’s competitive, everybody’s good, that kind
of stuff, but I’ll never be in something like the Aflac game ever again,” Cave
said. “I think they’re two totally different things … but this is definitely a
top-quality tournament as far as competition-wise and being competitive and
wanting to win.”
agreed: “This is a great event, everybody’s competitive, everybody’s good, but
Aflac, that’s probably the best experience I’ve had in my life.”
the two talented young men –both are excellent students with Tobias boasting an
eye-popping 4.35 GPA at Southeast Guilford High School in Greensboro and Cave
an even 3.0 at Kecoughtan HS in Hampton – can look forward to their final
season of high school baseball this spring before looking toward the June
Amateur Draft and college baseball in 2012.
doesn’t mean, of course, they aren’t already pondering the future a little bit.
look ahead at it and see where I’m going to be, what I’m going to do,” Tobias
said. “I still try to focus on my last year as a high school player because I’m
not going to be living in that state (Virginia) for long. I’ll try to enjoy
that while still looking ahead to the future and see what it’s going to hold.”