- Last Updated on 12:22 PM 04/23/12
- BY Doug Ford
Comets junior left-hander Tyler Long has received an invitation to one of the biggest baseball showcase events of the season.
Long, who currently plays for the Hurricane 17N Baseball All-Star team, is excited about the opportunity to play with a select group of high school players in front of a number of collegiate and professional scouts.
The South Atlantic Border Battle features one all-star team each from Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina in the 2010 and 2011 high school graduating classes in two days of competition October 31-November 1 at College of Charleston.
Long, one of only 17 players from Virginia picked for the 2011 squad, spent this past summer playing for the Post 8 Junior American Legion baseball team and the 17N Hurricanes, a non-profit baseball program designed to develop high school players to play at the collegiate level.
The program is modeled after college programs, with emphasis on teamwork and discipline, meant to give select high school players exposure to as many college scouts as possible, according to the Hurricane’s website.
“I played legion ball and after I pitched a two-hitter against the Cary Bulls one of their players told his coach about me,” recalled Long.
“He contacted me the next day. “This is a good opportunity for me, because I’m playing against a lot of good players in front of a lot of college scouts.”
Long has played in a number of tournaments since joining the team, in locations as far away as Georgia.
“I’ll be playing in one soon in Ft. Myers, Fl., a wooden bat tournament,” Long said, adding he has the option of using aluminum or wooden bats while playing for the Hurricanes.
“This brand of baseball is at a high level, and draws a big crowd of spectators and lots of scouts,” Long noted.
“I’ve learned a lot so far, the competition is great,” he explained. “I’ve played in the outfield and pitched every weekend, and I’ve done pretty well with my fielding and pitching, but I haven’t hit as well as I would like.”
Long, who relies on a fastball, curveball and changeup, recalled his best outing to date as a one-hitter in a wooden bat tournament in Georgia.
The team has no formal practices, so Long has been working out on his own at the high school.
“You practice on your own time. I spend time hitting off the tee in the batting cage, running, so forth at the high school,” Long said.
“My dad (David) helps me also, and he and my family have been there from the beginning, from T-ball to Dixie Youth to middle school and high school.
Long, who noted the support of his coaches along the way, thinks his best chance to play in college may come as a pitcher, considering he pitches from the left side.
“I get more satisfaction out of playing the outfield and hitting, but pitching is where it’s at.”