It's all-star week in several prominent summer college leagues. The Northwoods and Coastal Plain leagues will play their all-star games on Tuesday, and the New England Collegiate League kicked off the week with its all-star game Sunday in beautiful Newport, R.I.
The East team beat the West team, 10-0, as nine East pitchers comibned on a one-hit shutout. East starter Mark Appel (Stanford) was the most impressive player in the game, according to a couple of scouts who were on hand. In his scoreless first inning, the rising sophomore righthander sat at 92-93 mph and threw an 81 mph slider with short downward break and a 78-81 changeup with good arm speed and some tumble.
"He's the guy who stood out to me the most—he's pretty good," a scout with an American League club said. "He's got some down action to his fastball and gets a lot of ground balls."
Appel's teammate at Stanford and Newport, shortstop Kenny Diekroeger, also had a strong showing, going 2-for-3 for the East.
North Shore center fielder Jason Banos (Columbia) was named the game's MVP after hitting a two-run homer in the sixth. Banos is undersized at 5-foot-10, 180 pounds, but the scout said he does have some bat speed.
Many of the pitchers in the game featured ugly one-piece, three-quarters arm actions, giving them deception but calling their long-term projection into question. The pitcher other than Appel who showed the most arm strength was West lefthander Alex Wood (Georgia), who showed a 92-93 mph fastball, a decent slider and changeup, though his delivery has some effort.
The festivities began with a skills competition and home run derby. The home run hitting contest was won by Ben Klafczynski (Kent State). "There's power there, but it was all pull, and I don't know how well it will really translate to games," a scout said of Klafczynski.
Physical center fielder Mike Gallic (Marist) won the speed contest, running the 60-yard dash in 6.45 seconds. Brandon Miller (Northwest Florida State JC) and Pat Cantwell (Stony Brook) tied in the catcher throwing contest, and Brendon Kelliher (George Washington) won the outfield throwing contest. Miller is also one of the league's more intriguing prospects, a former Top 200 draft prospect out of high school who spent his freshman year at Georgia Tech before transferring to the junior college ranks. He was drafted by the Nationals in the 48th round this year. He showed arm strength and some bat speed on Sunday.
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