Pro players to lead PRCC baseball camp

michael avalonPearl River Community College has sent a number of its baseball standouts to the professional ranks, and now some of those former Wildcats are returning to lead a new generation of players.

PRCC will host a special Day with the Pros, Sunday, Oct. 1 at Wildcat Field on the Pearl River campus. A number of ex-Wildcats have indicated that they plan to attend, and Wildcat head coach Michael Avalon says other standouts may join in.

“We had so many of our guys who came out last fall and helped us, guys like Ashley (Graeter) and Zach Clark,” said Avalon. “We thought it would be cool to give them a chance to interact with some younger players.”

The camp is for young players ages 5-14 and begins at 1:30 p.m. Cost is $75 per player.

Among the former Wildcats who are expected to participate are Ashley Graeter, who is in the Colorado Rockies organization, Braxton Lee, who won the Southern League battle title this past season as a member of the Miami Marlins organization, and Jacob Taylor, who plays in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.

PRCC also has a former big-leaguer on staff in assistant coach Rhyne Hughes, and he will join Wildcat players and coaches in helping with instruction.

“A lot is going to depend on whether their teams have called them up to play fall instructional league. “We’ve also talked to Anthony (Alford) and (Edward) Forbes, who if they are here, have indicated they’d like to come.

“I think it lets kids see their dream in front of them. These guys went to the same high school, the same elementary school as they do, and hopefully it will motivate them.”

Alford is a former Petal High standout in the Toronto Blue Jays organization, while Forbes is a former Columbia High star now playing in the Chicago White Sox organization.

Meanwhile, the Wildcats began fall practice last week, and Avalon is confident after a 29-20 season that saw PRCC advance to the semifinals of the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament.

“We’re excited,” Avalon said. “Our depth is tremendously improved, and it will have to be, because we’re replacing a great group of guys. The tell-all is going to be how well they gel. If they gel as well as last season’s bunch, we have a chance to have a special year.”

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