The Perfect Game WWBA World Championship in Jupiter, Fla., is
rapidly approaching (Oct. 21-25) with close to 2,000 players preparing to
perform in front of hundreds of college coaches and Major League scouts.
Many of those players have already committed to colleges and
their travel team coaches are taking them to Jupiter to be seen by the pro
That’s not the approach Coach Kevin Clary of the Kentucky
Baseball Club is taking. When Clary brings a team to the WWBA World
Championship, with few exceptions he prefers to take high school juniors and
seniors who are still looking for a college.
“It’s based on attrition, but we try to take the kids who
haven’t (committed) yet and who need the most exposure,” Clary said. “We
generally take mostly seniors but this year most of our seniors have already
found a place to play (collegiately).”
Eight of the 18 players on the Kentucky Baseball Club’s
Jupiter roster are uncommitted juniors. Only two of the 10 seniors on the
roster have committed, including right-hander Matt Spalding (2011, Louisville,
Ky.) to Western Kentucky.
Clary is anxious to let his young players experience the
World Championship and hopefully get noticed enough that they receive college
“We consider that to be one of the premier events in the
country, and last year there were over 500 college and pro scouts that were
there,” Clary said. “It’s a great chance for our guys to be seen by people they
don’t normally get seen by. Teams from the West Coast, the East Coast, up north
– it’s a great, great event for everybody.”
The decision to get these players in front of college
coaches and recruiters fits in perfectly with Kentucky Baseball Club’s stated
goal of maximizing a young player’s exposure.
“The development of the player is our first mission
statement,” Clary said. “We want to get them as much exposure as we can
possibly get them and get them the college and professional exposure that they
deserve. If our kids want to play college baseball we’ll find them a place.”
KBC was established in 2006, which makes it a relative
late-comer to the national travel team scene. Its headquarters are in the
Champions Sports Academy, an indoor training facility located in Nicholasville,
Ky., just outside of Lexington.
Clary saw a need for the organization.
“Travel baseball in this area was really big in the late
‘90s, but there was a real bad stalemate there for about five or six years
where there was not much going on,” he said. “Our whole mission is to promote
and get our players into college baseball or professional baseball (and) it
started out of our baseball academy.”
Kentucky Baseball Club continues to grow. It fielded eight
teams from 13U through 18U this past summer, with each team operating independently
within the organization. KBC’s emergence as a championship contender on all
levels has been steady and seamless.
“It’s been a really easy transition,” Clary said. “We’ve got
really dedicated people involved on our KBC board and we have a great coaching
staff. It takes a great effort by everyone involved to make sure we stay on
The KBC 16U team spent two straight weeks at the East Cobb
Complex in Marietta, Ga., July 6 through 19 competing first at the Perfect Game
17U WWBA National Championship followed by the 16U WWBA National Championship.
That team finished in the final eight of the 17U event but
didn’t get out of pool play in the 16U event despite a 4-1 record.
The KBC 15s finished in the top-four at the PG 15U WWBA
National Championship at East Cobb in late July. Both the 16U and 15U teams
were ranked No. 9 in Perfect Game’s final 2010 national rankings.
While Clary emphasizes the development of his players, he
also expects his teams to be successful. Anything else would be
“Our goal is always to compete on a national level, and it’s
hard to do that if your teams don’t perform well,” Clary said. “It’s hard to
recruit new players to your organization if the teams that you have aren’t
playing at a high level.”
Some of the top players in the program from the class of
2011 are Spalding, who is Perfect Game’s 308th-ranked national
prospect (No. 3 in Kentucky), right-hander Spencer Drake ( Louisville) and
right-hander Taylor Martin (Lexington).
Both Drake and Martin have verbally committed to Kentucky.
Drake is ranked 500-5 in PG’s rankings.
Shortstop Will Hurt (Lexington), catcher Tyler Jackson
(Lexington) and left-hander Ryne Combs (Lexington) are among the top players in
KBC’s class of 2012 and are among those making the trip to Jupiter.
Hurt is ranked 180th nationally and No. 1 in
Kentucky in Perfect Game’s class of 2012 rankings. Jackson is 265-2 and Combs
326-6. Other highly thought of KBC players from the 2012 class who are not
on the Jupiter roster include right-hander
Walker Buehler (Lexington, 284-3) and right-hander Matthew Vorbek (Corbin, Ky.,
More than 130 KBC players have committed to colleges of all
sizes in all divisions since 2006. Beyond that, 14 former KBC players have been
drafted professionally, including first-round picks Ben Revere (2007, Twins)
and Zach Cox (2010, Cardinals).
Clary said KBC’s association is with Perfect Game is
essential as the organization continues to grow and turn-out talented players.
“We see continued growth and we formed a partnership with (Perfect
Game) and we had our own showcase in Lexington,” he said. “We’re continually
looking for ways to continue our partnership with Perfect Game because we have
the utmost respect for what (they) do with the promotion of players. I see it
doing nothing but getting better and better every year.”
If KBC keeps getting better and better every year, more and
more youngsters will be given the opportunity to continue their baseball
careers on the collegiate level. That’s the way KBC does business and what
Clary thinks sets the organization apart.
“I think it’s our commitment to finding these guys a place
to play baseball at the college level,” he said. “It doesn’t matter to us if
its juco, NAIA, Division III – if they want to play college baseball we’re
going to find them a place to play. We’re going to make sure every one of our
kids plays collegiate baseball – if they want to.”