NVTBL’s Premier Showcase League (PSL) teams visited 12 colleges in the span of two weeks, venturing through Maryland and Pennsylvania before heading south on the Route 81 corridor of Virginia on the way to North Carolina. The teams received tours at nine of the 12 Division I and Division III campuses visited and held workouts at Stevenson University, Dickinson College, High Point University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
On June 28, the PSL teams headed north and toured Johns Hopkins University, Stevenson University, McDaniel College and York College while running a full workout for coaches of each school at Stevenson earlier in the day. The following day, the team visited and toured Elizabethtown College and York College while also holding a workout at Dickinson College following a tour of the campus.
On July 5, the teams traveled south on Route 81, hitting Shenandoah University and James Madison University. The families received a tour of the campus and facilities at Shenandoah with head coach Kevin Anderson before getting a tour of the JMU baseball facilities with former JMU player and current Premier coach Brett Johnson.
“It’s been a great opportunity,” said Roger Kerr, a parent on the NOVA Premier. “We started the morning at Shenandoah with coach Anderson and he gave a couple hours of his time and showed us the campus, talked to us about academics, talked about the baseball program and showed us all of the facilities. It was a great opportunity that we would not have normally had.”
Following the tours, the teams played a pair of controlled scrimmages in front of High Point and Shepherd University coaches on the Panthers’ home field - George Erath Field at Coy Williard Baseball Stadium.
“I really like the fact that this is combining the opportunity to play on a campus in front of college coaches and have my child actually tour the campus,” said Laura Heltebran, a parent on the Diamond Elite. “I think combining the goal to get an actually college degree with the opportunity to play for the right school is fantastic. In one day you can knock out several schools, end up with some play and do the same thing the next day, so you are really killing two birds with one stone. As a parent, I love it.”
The next day the teams were able to get a tour of the locker room and stadium facilities before their scrimmages at Boshamer Stadium at UNC-Chapel Hill. Assistant coach Jesse Wierzbicki showed the boys the locker room, clubhouse, batting cages and workout areas underneath the stands at the stadium while giving the guys an inside look at what it takes to play for the Tar Heels. The teams then were able to scrimmage on the field in front of Wierzbicki and Taylor Furlough, the head coach at Chowan University.
“It was amazing to be able to see UNC. It’s such a legendary place and to be able pitch there, it was like living out a childhood dream,” Will Sapp from the Bradley Eagles said. “It’s amazing to see all these schools and being able to see the different environments and to see why they are so successful.”
The Metro Senators, Bradley Eagles and NOVA Premier ended the weekend with a tournament at Duke University while the Diamond Elite headed to a tournament in Florida.
The PSL will continue and expand its approach to offer opportunities for families to tour different schools and provide insight and exposure for student-athletes looking to play at the college level.
“Whether they are looking to play baseball or just looking for a school, these kids are all rising seniors so it’s that time and it’s critical to go on campus and get a feel for the academics, the social aspects and the athletics,” Kerr said. “I wouldn’t want my kid choosing a school without them visiting it.”
“Everything he knows about a school is what he sees online. Actually going to the schools makes a big difference,” Heltebran said. “The experience is part of it. You have to be able to see yourself being able to walk the campus and go to class in addition to playing baseball. Visiting these schools has made a big difference for [my son].”
Top to Bottom: Jesse Wierzbicki from UNC, Kevin Anderson from Shenandoah University and Brett Johnson from JMU each give an insight look at each program. Photos by Josh Bela