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Saturday, May 26, 2012

From Florida to the Rockies

Jeff Dahn        
Photo: Perfect Game

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. - In the nearly eight months that have passed since the conclusion of the 2011 PG WWBA Underclass World Championship and the first day of the 2012 Perfect Game Rocky Mountain Showcase, Trevor Courtney made the decision to ramp up his schedule considerably.

Courtney, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound third baseman/first baseman and a newly minted senior-to-be at IMG Academies in Bradenton, Fla., made the trip two-thirds of the way across the country with his father, Greg, to be in attendance at the inaugural PG Rocky Mountain Showcase

 As wind gusts possibly approaching 50 mph buffeted Tom McCollum Field at Cherry Creek High School Saturday afternoon, Courtney probably wished he were back home in Florida. Or maybe not.

"It's nice being out here," Courtney said, speaking  as the state of Florida's only representative at the event and just before the wind really began gaining momentum. "It's like 102 (degrees) back home. It's different out here."

Which leads to the question: Why was Courtney here in the first place?

Courtney could have held off a week and requested invitations to either the 2012 Sunshine East Showcase or 2012 National Academic Showcase - he carries a 3.7 GPA - being held concurrently in Fort Myers, Fla., June 2-3. Instead, he was in the southwest Denver suburbs over the Memorial Day weekend competing with and against a group of youngsters primarily from Colorado.

"I'm going to be playing all summer and I thought it would be a good idea to come out here before I really started getting into the swing of things," Courtney said. "It was a good time for me to come out here because I just finished school, and I have some other things going on during those (Florida showcases). I plan to do more of these in the future so this first one is definitely a good way to get a start on things."

Greg Courtney was watching the batting practice workout session early Saturday afternoon, and seemed pleased to be watching his son perform at 5,200 feet instead of at sea level. In Dad's mind, this was an important next step.

"We're out here trying to be seen by people in this region and you have to travel and get out here to be seen," Greg said. "This is what parents do. Follow their kids around and try to help them live their dreams."

Trevor Courtney previously played at only one other PG event before this weekend, the aforementioned 2011 WWBA Underclass World. Look for that event list to increase nearly 10-fold in the coming months.

He is definitely not going to be lacking for exposure this summer. He has signed on to play for Marucci Elite and head coach Chad Raley, the premier organization that won both the PG WWBA World Championship and PG WWBA Underclass World Championship in 2011.

Courtney will be playing with Marucci Elite in several PG WWBA and PG BCS Finals tournaments this summer while also playing alongside many of the most highly regarded prospects in the country.

"That should be a great experience for me," Courtney said. "I've played travel ball for long time but this is my first time to play for Marucci, so I'm excited about it."

While Marucci Elite was winning the Underclass World, Courtney was playing for IMG Academies at the same event in Fort Myers. Courtney could count among his teammates right-hander/shortstop Carmon Varga, and the No. 6-ranked national prospect in the class of 2014 who has committed to Florida, and 1B/3B/RHP Brett Hanewich, a top-100 prospect in the class of 2013 who has committed to Stanford.

The young men who attend IMG Academies attend classes from 7:30 a.m. until noon every day, eat a little lunch and head out to practice every day at 1:30 p.m.

"I love it. It's a baseball player's dream down there; it's ridiculous," Courtney said.

Since this was his first dance at a showcase, it's safe to assume Courtney came into the event with more questions than expectations. And that's to be expected.

"I didn't know what to expect, really, but it's really been a great experience so far," Courtney said shortly after completing his BP session. "There is a lot of exposure here (and) it seems like there's always scouts at every event; I've looked on the internet and I've seen that there are scouts at every one. And the website ( really puts your name out there and lets coaches see your name."

Courtney has not committed to a college yet. He's hoping five months of wearing a Marucci Elite uniform will start stirring the pot a little bit.

"I'm going to try to really bear down this summer and find somewhere that I'm interested in and somewhere that's interested in me," he said. "I want to find somewhere that's a good fit for me and try to make that decision."

As for the father, he's just enjoying the ride. Even when that ride takes them more than halfway across the country to the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains.

"It's a lot of fun for everybody," Greg said. "It's fun for him to meet different people and see different parts of the United States, traveling here and there. He's going to be busy this summer and we're looking forward to it. It's going to be a lot of games, but that's what he loves - playing baseball."

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