LAKELAND, Fla. — Playing in the East Coast Pro Showcase is an honor for any player. The teams are hand picked by scouts, and the showcase has consistently featured many of the best players from the Eastern United States.
But getting selected to this year's team was a little extra special for lefthander Corey Stump, because he lives in Lakeland, Fla., where the event takes place.
Stump is a rising senior at Lakeland Christian High that verbally committed to Florida last September.
He said it was exciting to pitch on a professional field, especially one he's been to many times.
"It feels really good," Stump said. "I've been here for a lot of games for spring training and watching the Lakeland (Flying) Tigers, so it's really fun to come out here and play on the field. It's a nice field and it's real exciting."
However, despite living down the street from Tigertown, his allegiance lies elsewhere. Stump's parents grew up in Chicago, so Corey has been raised a Cubs fan.
With a handful of friends and family cheering him on at Joker Marchant Stadium, the 6-foot-5, 195-pound southpaw threw 1.2 innings this afternoon, giving up one run on three hits with one walk and five strikeouts.
"I felt pretty good in the first inning," Stump said. "Then, going into the second inning, I had a blood blister problem. So, that's what kept me back the rest of my start, but I felt pretty good out there."
Stump said the blister is on the tip of his middle finger on his left hand.
Stump threw his fastball in the 85-88 mph range and mixed in a 68-72 mph curveball with sharp break that he threw with confidence to both sides of the plate.
"I think my fastball is a pretty good pitch—it's got a lot of run to it and some sink," Stump said. "But I really like my curveball. It's got a little drop and when I stay on top of it, it has a lot of break."
Heading into his senior year, Stump has set a few goals for himself.
"I want to be able to throw a little bit harder," Stump said. "I'm going to be working out a lot in the fall and I want to be able to get all my pitches over, get ahead of hitters and work ahead more."
East Coast Boast
It's funny to say a 13-hour day was 'cut short,' but day one saw only two of the three scheduled games played, as the third game was wiped out due to rain. Here are some of the other standouts from day one's action . . . First baseman Dante Bichette Jr. went 3-for-3 with a triple and two stolen bases . . . Shortstop Tyler Greene went 2-for-4 with two doubles . . . Lefthander Jake Cave sat at 88-90 mph with his fastball and touched 93. He mixed in a 79 mph changeup and 77 mph curveball. Over two innings, Cave gave up one run on two hits with one walk and four strikeouts . . . Center fielder Josh Tobias got from home to first (from the right side of the plate) in 4.13 seconds . . . Even with wet grass after some rain passed through, outfielder John Norwood ran a 6.5-second 60-yard-dash . . . Follow me on Twitter @conorglassey for live updates.
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