BY GENE NARDI
Last weekend, the Palm Beach Shockers Baseball Club entered two 16-and-under teams to compete in the 2015 Florida Atlantic Invitational Baseball Tournament, coordinated through Prospect Select Baseball.
The tournament drew more than 40 teams from around the state and hosted competitions at Roger Dean Stadium and the Santaluces Sports Complex. The tournament serves as a means to develop players at the high school level who have the desire to play in college.
Shockers head coach Scott Riddle, who is also head baseball coach at Wellington High School, started the program with Seminole Ridge High School head coach Trent Pendergast.
“We started the program to make good players better, to make the high school players better,” Riddle said. “The developmental aspect is number one.”
Both Shockers teams competed in pool play over four days. All teams were guaranteed four games and, based on points, could compete in the playoffs for the division championship.
The Shockers roster is dominated by players from Wellington and Seminole Ridge high schools. Players from Palm Beach Central High School also fill in the roster for both teams, with a few players from other area schools.
“This is our third season with more than one team, and it’s all about the players getting experience and having fun during the summer,” Riddle said. “We’ve got three under-16 teams and one under-18 team this year.”
Palm Beach County is arguably one of the most competitive areas for baseball. “This area has always been one of the best areas for baseball in the state,” Riddle said. “Really, year in and year out, Palm Beach County is one of the tops in the country.”
Riddle and his teams have been competing in Prospect Select Baseball tournaments for several years, and he believes it is more beneficial to players and families as an alternative for summer competition. Local tournaments are more manageable due to the offset of travel costs for out-of-state tournaments.
The Prospect Select circuit provides a showcase-style tournament so college coaches can scout in the summer, without being forced to leave during spring training to evaluate potential recruits.
For more about the Florida Atlantic Invitational or Prospect Select, visit www.florida.ps-baseball.com.
ABOVE: Shockers batter Chance Leggio of Seminole Ridge High School connects with the ball for a line drive.