Inaugural WCCA baseball showcase draws larger turnout than expected

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Monday, July 17, 2023 | 8:52 PM


When the Westmoreland County Coaches’ Association approached Mike Draghi about hosting a baseball showcase, he didn’t hesitate in saying yes.

The veteran Westmoreland County Community College coach told them that if they could get 25 players to attend — being this was the first year — he would consider that good.

The baseball showcase ended up being better than good as more than 40 players from across the county signed up, and 37 participated. Some players who signed up were playing in the Pennsylvania American Legion Region 7 tournament and could not attend.

“We got it off and running,” Draghi said. “We only had two months to get this set up. Now we have time to set up the next one. We’ll be able to choose a different date.”

The players were timed in 60-yard dash, infielders got a chance to throw and field, outfielders’ and catchers’ arms were judged, pitchers threw 12 pitches, and their velocity was scored. Hitters performed in the batting cage and against live pitching.

“For some of them, it was the first time they got to perform in front of college coaches,” Draghi said. “It gives them the feel of what to expect. It’s a showcase, and we encourage them to show off their talent.”

Hempfield senior John Kurdzeil was one of many players to show his stuff. He had one of the fastest running times (7.1), and he hit 85 mph throwing the ball.

“Any running time 7.1 to 7.2 range is good these days,” Draghi said. “This is good experience for the players. It gets their name out there.”

Draghi will share the players’ with other college coaches.

Greensburg Salem junior Dom Rosensteel and Penn-Trafford senior David Newsom also ran 7.1 in the 60.

College coaches from Pitt-Greensburg and Cal (Pa.) attended and judged the players.

After running times were recorded, Draghi put the infielders, outfielders and catchers through throwing drills. Outfielders were given six throws from right field, three to third base and three to home plate. Infielders were given eight throws from third base to first base and catchers given seven throws, four to second base and three to third.

The batters were given 10 swings against live pitching, and the pitchers were given 12 pitches (three fast balls, three curveballs, three changeups or sliders and then three more fastballs).

“There are a lot of things we judge,” Draghi said. “We look at their footwork, how they release the ball and their technique. We’re going to evaluate everything they do.”

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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