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Underclassmen showcase talents at Dugout Club tryout

Staff Photo: Jason Braverman. Georgia Dugout Club's Jeff Segars, far left, records numbers as Atlanta Braves scout Eric Ruben and Georgia Perimeter College head coach Stewart Bailey watch Parkview's Jeff Ronpirin throw the ball during the Georgia Dugout Club Underclassmen Top 100 Showcase on Wednesday at Mill Creek High School.

Staff Photo: Jason Braverman. Georgia Dugout Club's Jeff Segars, far left, records numbers as Atlanta Braves scout Eric Ruben and Georgia Perimeter College head coach Stewart Bailey watch Parkview's Jeff Ronpirin throw the ball during the Georgia Dugout Club Underclassmen Top 100 Showcase on Wednesday at Mill Creek High School.

HOSCHTON -- The high school baseball season may be over and the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft may be complete, but there is still plenty of action involving elite players around Georgia.

Many of those top high school underclassmen gathered in Gwinnett County twice this week for different sessions of the tryout camps for this year's Georgia Dugout Club Top 100 Showcase, which begins July 1 at Marietta High School in Cobb County.

About 60 different rising juniors and seniors throughout the state gathered at Parkview's Hugh Buchanan Field on Monday and Mill Creek's Fathers Field on Wednesday, playing before college and professional scouts and hoping to be selected for one of the 100 spots at the final showcase next month.

"We have, I think, 12 sites (throughout Georgia)," said Mt. Paran head coach Harvey Cochran, the Georgia Dugout Club's secretary and one of the directors of Wednesday's camp at Mill Creek. "By the end of this thing, I think we'll have seen probably around 600 kids -- maybe about 5 or 600 -- and we'll invite back the top 100 athletes."

Selecting those top 100 players won't be easy, especially with some of the best of them -- including rising Gwinnett seniors like Parkview's Matt Olson, Providence Christian's Christin Stewart, Brookwood's Lucas Sims, Hebron Christian's Jordan Hillyer and Buford's Sam Clay -- playing with Junior Team Georgia in the 2011 Junior Sunbelt Baseball Classic in Oklahoma.

However, those players will eventually be seen, and showcase coordinator Jeff Segars is thrilled with the talent pool from which the final 100 will be chosen.

"We're trying to keep the numbers down per site to where it's manageable," said Segars, the head coach at Loganville High School. "We look at about 60 or 70 kids each time. ... There have been a lot of good players, especially (from) Gwinnett County. Honestly, I think the 2013 class (rising juniors) is as good as I've seen in 15 years in this area, and we've seen some good 2012 players. This area, baseball-wise, is as good as it's been."

That makes it tough for many of the local players at each tryout camp, though they all seem to like the challenge of competing against the best of their peers.

"It opens up a lot of possibilities," said Norcross right-handed pitcher and first baseman Joseph Wilber, a rising junior. "It's a great opportunity to show what you can do. It's an honor to be able to play with a lot of great baseball players. It's a lot of fun."

While Wilber is among the first-year invitees to the camp, others like Collins Hill catcher Charlie Padilla has been through the process before.

But even after making the cut for the top 100 a year ago, the rising senior knows going back to the final camp will take continued hard work.

"It's not as nerve-racking (this time)," Padilla said. "But it still gets you because of all the competition. It's a great atmosphere."