Some of the best high school baseball talent in the Mid-Atlantic region descended on Joe Cannon Stadium Saturday afternoon for play in the 15th annual Crab Claw Classic, created and run by Old Mill High School graduate Lou Holcomb.
Among those 32 rising stars selected to play in the all-star showcase game, which featured more than 100 hopeful competitors at Friday's tryouts from as far north as New York and as far south as Washington, D.C., were Archbishop Spalding's Daniel Elliott and Cory Blohm and Arundel's Chase Uhlich, whose Maryland All-Stars squad fell, 9-6, to the Mid-Atlantic All-Stars.
"It was great to be here," said Uhlich, a rising Wildcats senior who started at third base for Maryland. "It was an honor to get the text that said I had made it. It was nice to see what other teams have. If our pitching was a bit better, we would have had it."
Maryland opened up a 3-0 lead in the first inning, including a bases-loaded walk by Elliott, but Mid-Atlantic rallied for two runs in the fifth, three in the sixth, three in the seventh and one in the eighth for the three-run victory to break Maryland's run of two straight wins in the annual affair.
"You play against some of those guys all season and then you play along with them," said Elliott of his MIAA opponents Archbishop Curley and Calvert Hall. "I just wanted to show my skills."
Elliott did just that in the field, playing flawlessly at second base, shortstop and third base, including halting a potentially larger Mid-Atlantic rally in the fifth inning with a running throw on a slow-rolling ground ball to shallow third base. He also made a leaping grab of a screaming line drive while playing in at shortstop in the seventh inning.
His teammate, Blohm, who was named the Maryland squad's best hitter in terms of power, singled in four at-bats and made all of his plays at first base. His base hit to up the middle came against Red Lion (Pa.) pitcher CJ Czerwinski, who was clocked at 85 miles per hour on his throws from shortstop during Friday's combine.
"It was really great playing out here," Blohm said. "All I was trying to do was get on base. I just wanted to do well at first base and impress (his coaches and those college coaches in the stands)."
Holcomb was impressed with the quality of players who turned out for Friday's combine, which was also held at Joe Cannon Stadium. Competitors turned out from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and the district.
"It was a great turnout," he said. "We had four of five pitchers who were throwing between 85-88 miles per hour. We had some good bullpen sessions. It was a good collection of talent. Every position was pretty skilled."
Among those in attendance Friday were 15 college coaches, including from the University of Maryland. Holcomb said a handful of players performed well enough that scholarships will likely be offered to them in the near future.
"When a player gets an offer, it means this event is working," Holcomb said. "It's a success story."