Summer showcases big for college prospects

  • Athol’s Haley Bigwood at the plate during the 2019 season. Bigwood is on the softball showcase circuit this summer.  STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Athol’s Nick Bousquet at the plate against Easthampton during the WMass playoffs. Bousquet is on the baseball showcase circuit this summer.  FOR THE RECORDER/MIKE PHILLIPS

  • Athol pitcher Mark Ferrari on the mound in 2018. Ferrari is on the baseball showcase circuit this summer. FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 7/12/2019 1:38:20 PM
Modified: 7/12/2019 1:38:06 PM

 The summer months bring about opportunities for high school athletes to show their worth to college scouts on a national level.

Imagine a fluid baseball or softball field environment, with college scouts watching from the stands and evaluating talent looking for a player to add to their collegiate roster.

Athol High School’s Nick Bousquet, Mark Ferrari and Haley Bigwood are all on the baseball and softball showcase circuit this summer looking to make an impression on college scouts.

By all accounts, they have succeeded: Bousquet with his pitching ability as a south-paw, Ferrari with the right-handed gas and Bigwood at the plate and in the field.

Showcase appearances usually present themselves through invites, and come at a cost to the player for the exposure.

Bousquet recently attended a baseball showcase in Connecticut.

“It’s a five hour day,” Bousquet said. “All the scouts are right behind the plate. I was a pitcher and a hitter.”

Bousquet did a timed running drill, took batting practice and then took part in a scrimmage on the mound. 

“Each kid gets an inning pitching,” Bousquet said. “I thought I did all right. I defintely did not hit well. But I got a lot of exposure pitching.”

Bousquet made contact with coaches from New Jersey Institute of Technology, Johnson & Wales and Nichols College who all seemed inclined to add the hard-throwing left-hander to their college roster.

“They said they were interested,” Bousquet said. “13 percent of the world is left-handed. Being left-handed is such an advantage.”

Bousquet topped out at 82 mph on the radar gun.

“I hadn’t thrown in a while I definitely want to get that up this summer,” Bousquet said. 

Ferrari has already attended three showcases this summer in New York, Worcester and at the Massachusetts vs. Connecticut game at Muzzy Field in Bristol, Conn.

“I did pretty good in all of them,” Ferrari said. “I didn’t give up a hit in all of them. I just pitched. You just showcase your talent in whatever innings you get. You usually get two to three innings.”

There was no shortage in interest from college scouts for Ferrari’s talents.  Some of the colleges included American International College, Franklin Pierce,  Springfield College, Assumption, Worcester State and Curry College.

Ferrari has visited Franklin Pierce and AIC and his plan is to attend a Division 2 school for baseball.  Ferrari tops out at 87 mph on the radar gun.

Ferrari does not let the pressure of pitching in front of scouts affect him.

“I don’t get nervous anymore,” Ferrari said. “There have been so many big games. It’s not really a big deal until after and I realize I just pitched in front of 20 college scouts.”

Bigwood recently attended a softball showcase in Newton, Penn. and has three more this summer.  

The showcase Bigwood attended was live action scrimmages where athletes are asked to do several things. Bigwood was asked to catch, which is something she doesn’t usually do.

From there, she immediately had to hit.

“I came in from catching and was exhausted,” Bigwood said. “But I got up there and hit a double and went 3-for-3.”

 Bigwood has her sights set on Division 2 softball in college. The shortstop is in contact with AIC, Saint Michaels, Providence College and Franklin Pierce.

“College coaches are looking for consistent, clean plays,” Bigwood said. 

Bigwood enjoys the showcase environment.

“It’s not too much pressure,” Bigwood said. “You just go out and play. It’s obviously competitive but everyone is playing as a team but also playing for themselves.”

Aside from showcases, Bigwood plays for the Rhode Island Thunder travel softball team. 

Athol’s Keegan Lutz, who just had a breakout season for the Red Raiders, is scheduled for baseball showcases this summer as well.

While the exposure can be good with showcases, there are negatives.

“The thing with showcases is that they go there and talk to 20 kids and they are serious about two of them,” Bousquet said. “It can be false advertising because I just played 22 games (high school) and they didn’t see one of them.”


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