Showcase : : Story
Monday, June 18, 2012

PG National: Day 5 Recap

Patrick Ebert        
Photo: Perfect Game

Smith thankful for opportunity

MINNEAPOLIS – The 2012 PG National Showcase concluded for Dominic Smith (Serra HS, Los Angeles, Calif.) when he stepped off the field at the Metrodome Saturday night after the Rawlings Home Run Challenge. But that doesn’t mean he was ready for it to end.

I actually wish that this was longer,” Smith said of the showcase, which wraps up its five-day run on Monday. “(We should) just play against every team, (make it) a two week trip instead of two or three days. I really did enjoy myself. I would do it again if I could.”

On Thursday, the left-handed hitting Smith hit a triple to left-center and later scored. The next day he threw 90-91 mph on the mound, peaking at 92. In the same game he collected two hits, including a double.

Smith threw 91 mph in the outfield drills and 84 mph from first base. In the 60-yard dash he ran a 6.89, an improvement on his 7.43 time at the 2011 California Underclass Showcase.

There’s a lot of tough competition, a lot of great ball players out here,” Smith said. I just have to have fun (and) enjoy myself.”

Prior to the National Showcase, PG ranked Smith as the No. 17 prospect in the nation. The consensus among PG scouts is that after his performance this week, he’s a top-five player.

Smith ranks among the best bats at the showcase,” PG Scouting Coordinator, Todd Gold, said. “Even though he’s a lefty and throws 92 mph on the mound, scouts would be willing to pass that up because of his special bat.”

The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Smith plays summer ball with Yak Baseball West in California. Smith’s teammates on Team Purple, Kevin Franklin (Gahr HS, Cerritos, Calif.) and John Paul Crawford (Lakewood HS, Lakewood, Calif.) also play with him on the Yak Baseball West team. Smith and Crawford are committed to USC, Franklin to Arizona State.

Smith’s father, Clay, attended the National Showcase with his son to show his support. Smith’s passion for the game goes back many years, as his father recalls.

I remember when he was a kid, we used to be in the backyard and we would all be doing something. He’d be with a baseball and a glove just throwing the ball up against the wall (and) off the stairs all day long. We’d be like ‘Come on in the house man,’ and he’d be like, ‘Alright dad, I’ll be (right) in.’ So you know (this) is just a dream come true for him.”

I’m very happy for you,” Clay said as he turned to his son. “I’m so proud of you.”

Some people forget baseball is a child’s game and you have to go out there and have fun,” Smith said. “I just want to thank God for everything. I want to thank Perfect Game and Yak baseball; they really helped me to get into this position.”

- Kira Olsen/Nick Kappel

National streamed live

All of the games and skills portions of the 2012 National Showcase are archived and can be watched at your convenience. Search “2012 National Showcase” in the search box found in the upper right-hand corner of any page here at for a complete list of all of the archived videos and features from the event, or visit the Perfect Game page.

Lasting impressions

Three games were played on the last day of the 2012 Perfect Game National Showcase. All of the workout results and notes from all of the games played at the event can be found in the scout blogs.

The first game of Day 5, Game 16 overall, started with a bang as Adrian Chacon led off the game with a triple blasted over the head of the centerfielder.

Steel shortstop Tyler Cohen made a great defensive play, diving to his right to make a stop on a sharply hit ball. He then led off the bottom of the first with a sharply hit ball of his own up the middle. Nico Giarratano followed Cohen with a ground rule double lifted down the left field line. Later in the same inning, Gage West slapped a double of his own down the left field line.

Cohen added another web gem in the fifth when he ranged far to his left to scoop up a ball hit up the middle and proceeded to make a strong, off-balance throw to first to retire the baserunner.

Royal catcher Karl Ellison made a perfect throw to second base to gun down Josh Hart.

Travis Demeritte, one of the most explosive hitters at the event, took the mound for the Steel team in Game 16 and showed a live arm. Demeritte's fastball sat in the 87-90 range with late diving life, and he also threw a mid-70s curve and a low-80s changeup, giving him legitimate two-way promise.  He added yet another hit in the game as well, a sharply hit single through the hole on the left side of the infield, that registered 90 mph off the bat.

The hardest hit ball on the day came off the bat of John Riley, who drilled a triple to the deepest part of the park, just to the right of the 408-foot marker sign in straightaway center.  The ball was registered at 95 mph off the bat.

Top prospect Sheldon Neuse took the mound to open Game 17, a projectable and lithe two-way prospect. Neuse was 86-88 fastball that peaked at 90 mph while mixing in an upper-70s changeup. Neuse has promising arm speed, but is projected to continue his career as a middle infielder.

Fellow right-hander David McKay took the mound for the White team. McKay has a very athletic frame with current current strength and room for more, pumping the zone with a 87-88 fastball that appeared to be thrown harder.

Matthew Vogel took the mound later in the game, and showed similar size and stuff as McKay. Both pitchers were able to climb the ladder to record strikeouts with their fastballs.

Right handed pitcher J.R. Holloway stood out among the pitchers for the Red team. Listed at 6-foot-5, 210-pounds, Holloway has excellent size and potential for improvement, throwing mostly upper-80s fastballs while peaking at 91.

Red shortstop Stephen Alemais stood out on defense in this game, with smooth, gliding actions and the ability to make strong throws on the run.

•  Game 18 was a quick-paced, low scoring affair.  Several pitchers that took the mound were primary position players as the PG National approached its completion.  Ryley MacEachern started the game for Texas Orange, a strong, big-bodied and well proportioned right-handed pitcher at 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds.  He employed an aggressive approach going right after hitters with a two-pitch mix that included an upper-80s fastball that touched 90 and a low- to mid-70s curveball.

Another big-bodied righty from the Texas Orange squad, skyscraper Andrew Kelley, pitched later in the game, using his 6-foot-8 stature well to throw downhill to the opposing batters.  Kelley also touched 90 in this game, working in the same range as MacEachern, while snapping off a handful of promising 73 mph curveballs.

•  In a game that the Vegas Gold team led 1-0 going into the eighth and final inning, the Texas Orange team scored a pair of runs to take the game 2-1.  Austin Meadows used his speed to get on base and eventually advance to third before scoring the tying run, while Cavan Biggio came up big again, fittingly the last at-bat of the event, drilling a pitch to the opposite field, left-center, for a double while driving in the go ahead run.

Thanks to everyone -- players, parents, coaches, friends and family members -- that participated in and attended the 2012 Perfect Game National Showcase.

Be sure to read Jeff Dahn's player feature on Kohl Stewart

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