High school baseball event set for N.C. State Games
By David Gough
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
The 32nd annual high school baseball event of the Powerade State Games begins today in Greensboro.
The event, which has both college and professional scouts looking on, will last until Sunday. It splits North Carolina into eight regions and the best players from each region participate.
Region 1 covers the northeastern part of the state and it is coached by Currituck County High School’s Justin Hill. It’s the third consecutive year of him as coach and Perquimans High School’s Justin Roberson will be one of his new assistants.
“It’s just like a big all-star event for the underclassmen,” Hill said. “We chose a 20-man roster and we had more than 75 players try out.”
Hill was able to have two of his high school players in Cole Bates and Will Langley join the team. The third and final local athlete for Region 1 is Perquimans’s Tyler Futrell.
Bates was a standout pitcher for the Knights as Langley led the team in batting average. Futrell caught for the Pirates and was a solid hitter at the plate.
Region 1 has reached the bronze medal game each of the first two times Hill has coached, but they lost in each one. According to his sources, the region hasn’t won a medal at the event in about 20 years.
“The goal is to go up there for these kids to be seen,” Hill said. “It’s for them to get the opportunity to show what they got in this type of environment, in front of scouts. That being said, yeah, you want to go and win. There’s no doubt about it, but there’s not a tremendous amount of strategy.”
Before the tournament really begins on Thursday, the week starts with a pro-style workout that involves pitching drills, fielding drills and batting practice for each kid.
It’s one game per day once the tournament begins. After three days of pool play, teams play in medal games on Sunday if they did well enough prior to it.
“Region 1 is made up of a lot of small schools,” Hill said. “Our pool of kids may not be as traditionally as strong as some areas, but we still have really good players.”
Hill knows it’s a worthwhile experience for the players, regardless if the team wins or loses.
“There’s a lot of contacts that are made through state games,” Hill said. “Every year, we’re having guys who are immediately getting contacted shortly after. They show a lot interest in these kids. A lot of them are getting signed or committing to colleges as a result of this tournament.”