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June 26, 2013

Baseball Coaches Association set to put on 32nd East-West All-Star Baseball Classic

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

East meets West

Here’s a quick look at the 2013 rosters for the MHSBCA East-West All-Star Baseball Classic.

East team
• Carmen Benedetti — Grosse Pointe South
• Cole Clifton — Warren De La Salle
• JT Conti — Trenton High
• Nick Deeg — Lake Orion High
• Connor Fannon — Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett
• Robert Griffin — Sterling Heights Stevenson
• Ian Harrison — Troy Athens
• Badih Jawad — Dearborn Heights Crestwood
• Billy Malak — Madison Heights Bishop Foley
• Ryan McClelland — Brighton High
• Connor Mohr — Farmington High
• Travis Perkola — Macomb Dakota
• Maverick Prine — Davison High
• Johnny Slater — Lathrup Village Southfield-Lathrup
• Zachery Tallman — Brownstown Woodhaven
• Chase Turner — Beverly Hills Groves
• Harrison Wenson — University of Detroit Jesuit
• Hector Gutierrez — Detroit Western International

West squad
• Brett Adcock — Bay City Western
• James Baer — Clare High
• Walter Borkovich — Traverse City West
• Jacob Britt — Tecumseh
• BJ Butler — Mattawan High
• Pat Gaudard — Gull Lake High
• Corbin Clouse — Grand Ledge High
• Robert Greenman — Hudsonville High
• Seth Johnston — Gobles High
• Brennan Kerr — Battle Creek Lakeview
• Jackson Lamb — Bedford High
• Jake Lowery — Hartland High
• Johnny Nate — Stevensville Lakeshore
• Zach Olszewski — Bay City John Glenn
• Tyler Palm — Ogeman Heights
• Dan Pulver — Mount Pleasant High
• Demetrius Sims — Ann Arbor Huron
• Brad Vigna — Jenison High

DETROIT — It began as a miniature showcase, held at a local field for those able to attend.

It’s grown to a yearly spectacle, featuring some of the top talent in the state and played in a Major League stadium.

And on July 1, the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association will do it all over again.

“We take a lot of pride in the recognition these kids get,” said Mario Borroci, the chairman of the MHSBCA East-West All-Star Baseball Classic.

“The biggest thing for us is that we are giving them some exposure they deserve and some that we hope helps further their careers.”

The 32nd annual game is scheduled for 7 p.m. July 1 at Comerica Park.

“We feel, as an organization, that our sport is right up there with the best,” Borroci said. “If we can further the exposure these kids get, and promote the game a little more, you have to enjoy everything this game entails.”

In total, 18 players and three reserves are selected for each of the East and the West squads.

The executive board of the MHSBCA selects three coaches — a head and two assistants — for each team.

“Then they go about picking the rosters,” Borroci explained. “These are people we feel are deserving of the honor to coach these kids in a game like this.”

Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse coach Bob Walmsley will manage the East squad. His assistants are Mike Morris, of Troy Athens, and Bob Kloss, of Brownstown Woodhaven.

“It’s very exciting to be part of this — an honor, obviously,” Walmsley said.

As far as picking the roster?

“It was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be,” he said with a laugh. “You’re choosing from nothing but great ballplayers. I guess that’s a good problem to have, though. … Just using references that we have, we probably spent well over three hours trying to narrow it down to 18 kids. But it wasn’t easy.”

“It was a really tough selection, when you go through so much talent, guys that will play at the next level. It’s not easy,” Morris said of how the three chose the roster. “We just tried to get input from as many people as possible. You look at stats, and then you look at the positions of need.”

Morris has never coached in the game before.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” he said. “I’ll be one of the biggest kids down there.”

The West squad head coach is Rich Bailey out of Kalamazoo Comstock. His assistants are David VanNoord, from Hudsonville High, and Jeff Woodworth, of Haslett High.

“It’s something we’re proud of,” Borroci said. “The kids come in Friday, get a hotel room, practice and have the All-Star banquet. The next day, they are up for breakfast, get down to Comerica Park, take some pictures and get ready for the game. We put a lot into it and hope they enjoy it.”

“I’ve been down to see the game a few times, and it’s so exciting,” Walmsley added. “Being able to play there, in that park, is something special. To be on the field, I don’t know what to expect. The kids deserve to be there, and us coaches are thrilled with the opportunity.”

Tickets for the game can be purchased at Comerica Park for $10, which includes a game program. Kids 12 and younger are admitted for $5.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mike Moore at mmoore@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1038. Twitter Follow Mike on Twitter.