Tournaments | Story | 7/1/2016

Campusano impresses Scoutz

Vincent Cervino        
Photo: Perfect Game

EMERSON, Ga. – The Baseball Scoutz are a team that prides itself on trying to get exposure from athletes from rural areas of the southeast region, predominantly Georgia. Perfect Game tournaments allow for players from smaller or lesser-known areas to create exposure and generate attention from collegiate coaches and scouts. The latest star has been Luis Campusano.

“We’re trying to play some good competition,” said Baseball Scoutz Manager Roger Wilkinson. “We have kids from very rural areas and that’s a big step for them to see players from all over the country. To see the type of pitching and speed of the game it’s a good experience for our guys.”

Campusano, the No. 1 catcher in the state of Georgia for the class of 2017 and a Missouri commit, has come a long way from an unknown catcher out of Augusta, Ga. to a top catching prospect for the entire 2017 class. Campusano has been shooting up prospect lists ever since he jumped on the radar and his showing at the Perfect Game National Showcase helped to increase the hype.

“At first I wasn’t known, I’m from Augusta a little town,” said Campusano. “Not many people knew about me but thankfully I met Roger (Wilkinson) and he’s the one who put me on the map. I’ve been doing well and showing everyone what I can do.”

Defensively, Campusano graded out well during the PG National but his bat is what attracted the most attention. Scouts were impressed with his ability to hit and excited for what he could do once he develops more. At the 17u WWBA Elite Round Robin scouts and college coaches gathered every time Campusano stepped up to the plate.

The attention and accolades haven’t stopped for 6-foot backstop as he has garnered a lot of attention over the summer. Campusano played for USA Baseball on Team Stars in the 2016 Tournament of Stars. He is also hoping to be under consideration for Perfect Game’s All-American Classic in San Diego. Two of the first All-Americans, Nick Allen and Kyle Hurt, have already been announced and the remaining rosters get released July 12. These experiences have helped Campusano learn not only how much he loves the game, but the importance of playing hard and together as a team.

“We need to come out and play hard,” said Campusano. “I was telling the guys, when I was over there at North Carolina (Tournament of Stars), there were guys busting their tails getting on and off the field, that’s what we need to do. It’s not about how good we play but we want to have fun and play well as a team.”

It’s easy to let the pressure get to you when the summer is nonstop full of expectations and baseball, but Campusano isn’t worried. With the 17u WWBA National Championship starting Friday he just wants to play to the best of his ability, and most of all, have fun with his friends and teammates.

“I’m focusing on having fun and playing hard,” said Campusano. “Not really worrying about too much. I’m not worried about all that yet but as of now I just want to play ball with my friends and have fun. At the plate I don’t try to do much, I let the game come to me. I let my natural ability show, hit line drives as much as I can and try to keep a consistent string. Coach Roger always tells me to not worry about the result but focus on the process.”

Taking the lead as the No. 3 hitter in the lineup and the primary catcher, Campusano is a valuable asset to the Scoutz. He represents what Wilkinson has managed to do with his teams: play strong team baseball and show that the overlooked players can be some of the best.

“Our key player is Luis Campusano,” said Wilkinson. “He made the 40-man roster for USA Baseball and will probably be playing in the Perfect Game All-American Game. He’s a real professional player and he’s the guy who makes us go. Our top pitcher, Jordan Dubberly, is injured and he won’t be able to play this week. He’s committed to Mercer University and is an 88-91 righthander. David Hollie is a 2018 kid who’s a prospect, and we have a bunch of hard-nosed players and go out and do their jobs every day. We’re not going to be as talented as most of these teams on paper but we’ll compete and play hard. Our main goal is to make sure all these kids get seen and get these kids an opportunity to play after high school.

Following the conclusion of the Elite Round Robin, Wilkinson believes his team is in a good place. With Campusano showing leadership ability and the Scoutz hitting their stride, they could be dangerous in the National Championship.

“I’ve been doing this since 1999 and we don’t have a big enough area for us to recruit,” said Wilkinson. “It usually takes ten or twelve games for us to get into our team mentality. We’re about in that stage now and we’re starting to understand who’s supposed to do what jobs. The main thing is for them to understand how we want them to play. I’ve been coming to these tournaments since summer of 2002. Our team has had five big leaguers come through so it’s always been a chance for these rural kids to get exposure.

“Some of our guys have been all-stars at the big league level like Charlie Blackmon and Jonathan Broxton. Those were guys who came from small places and just needed people to see them. It’s hard for scouts to come down and see kids at their individual high schools so this tournament is a great chance for exposure.”

Regardless of the outcome, the Scoutz and Campusano have left their mark. Campusano should expect to have a busy rest of the summer and senior year of high school and the Scoutz will continue building their program. Campusano has shown that regardless of location elite talent will shine through, and there are a lot of future teams that are glad his did.

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