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Chance to shine for local players at Big 26 Classic

The high school baseball season lasts two months, hardly giving college coaching staffs enough time to recruit players across the entire country.

That's why any opportunity they get to scout players during the summer is crucial. And for those players, it provides extra time for them to make a good impression as they look to take their game to the next level.

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One of those opportunities for high school players in Maryland is the Big 26 Baseball Classic, an annual three-day showcase that begins on Friday at Metro Bank Park in Harrisburg, Pa., pitting some of Maryland's top players against those from Pennsylvania.

Two Carroll players will be playing for the Maryland team this year — junior pitchers Brandon Martin (Westminster) and Wes Martin (Winters Mill).

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Wes Martin's goal over the three days is to impress any college coaches who will be in attendance, as the soon-to-be senior hasn't decided where he will play after his final year with the Falcons.

"I'm really excited," the WM right-hander said. "I'm really looking forward to meeting all the new guys and getting the college exposure."

Last year for Winters Mill, Martin pitched and played shortstop, but he decided this summer he would focus on pitching. It was a move that worked for his older brother, Brian, a 2011 WM graduate who went on to have success as a reliever at Shepherd University.

"I was more dominant pitching this high school season and then all summer," Martin said. "It was just something I could really work on with him over the summer and get better at it as we went along."

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Brandon Martin already has his college plans locked down. The Owls' right-hander is committed to play at Fordham University after his senior season at Westminster.

Martin, a Times first team all-county pick last season, spent last offseason working on his command while also increasing his velocity while playing for the Diamond Pros.

He saw the results pan out this past spring, when he went 3-3 with 3.47 ERA while leading the county with 53 strikeouts. Martin's best game of the season came against Liberty on April 20 when he threw six scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and striking out 14.

On Thursday, players participating in the Big 26 classic arrived at Milton Hershey School and participated in a two-hour practice with their new teammates and coaches. In addition to the three games, the weekend includes a Friday afternoon workout for college coaches and MLB scouts.

It won't be the only baseball Wes Martin has this summer either, as he also pitches for the Mid-Atlantic Red Sox, a travel team that also keeps his schedule busy.

"Summer baseball is, for me, really important because you get to go to all these different states and play in all these different tournaments and all kinds of college coaches come to look at you," Martin said. "So hopefully something will come from that."

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