Prep Baseball Report

Team Michigan: Future Games 'A Can't Miss Event'

Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Michigan Senior Writer

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***** If you were on Team Michigan and did not share your thoughts, feel free to email us and we will get them included within this article. *****

Team Michigan: Future Games 'A Can't Miss Event'

EMERSON, Ga. - Schools from around the nation were in attendance at the eighth annual Future Games, held for the first time at LakePoint Sports Community just north of Atlanta.

From Miami, Fla. up to Boston College, to Michigan and Vanderbilt over to Washington and down to Stanford and LSU, there were 320 college coaches in all represented. That easily surpasses the previous best mark of 253 set a year ago when the event was held at Grand Park near Indianapolis.

“With more than 300 college coaches in attendance, there is simply no better event in the country,” explained Shooter Hunt, National Crosschecker for Prep Baseball Report. “Lakepoint is a one-stop shop for recruiters. Without multiple complexes to drive to, it gives each program/coach the ideal setting to see the largest number of potential recruits in one setting. Most of the schools in attendance came with multiple coaches, and there was a large collection of head coaches that made the trip. This says it all: the Future Games is a can't miss event.”

Michigan Director of Scouting Aaron Wilson came away impressed.

“The new venue was great, allowing coaches to view multiple fields simultaneously,” Wilson noted. “It also allowed the Junior Future Games to be a lot closer to the Future Games, where you saw several coaches peek at the younger guys.” 

The growth of the event stood out to Wilson.

“The Future Games continues to grow each year and exceed expectations,” Wilson pointed out. “Over 300 coaches in attendance made for a great atmosphere. This is not only a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but it brings memories for a lifetime.” 

Players on the team agreed.

“Being apart of Team Michigan was a very big goal of mine,” explained Sam Lisiak, a junior at Grand Rapids Christian. “Playing with the best players in the state of Michigan was very cool and an experience that I will never forget.”

Zach MacDonald felt the same way.

“I am very thankful to have been invited,” the 2021 from Portage Central said. “I will have memories with some of the guys I met that I’ll remember forever.”

Hunt was impressed with what he saw with Team Michigan..

“I thought that the physicality of the Michigan team stood out,” Hunt noted. “The 2021 class in that state is already nationally known, and with many of its high-profile players already committed, I was very impressed with the depth in-state.”

There was certainly a lot to see no matter what team you were watching.

“I think the biggest thing that stood out this year was the overall depth of talent,” Hunt pointed out. “Speaking with some of the college coaches in attendance, and watching it myself, the average talent-level rose at this year's event. Even trying to break down a ‘top prospects’ list has been a challenge because there were so many good players.”

Wilson was more than happy with what he saw from Team Michigan.

“The team went 2-1 on the weekend, however this event isn't about wins and losses,” Wilson said. “Several guys entered having zero contact with coaches and caught eyes. Several guys have scheduled visits as well as calls.”

And one, Ryan Szczepaniak, has been offered and made a commitment to Michigan State since the event ended.

“It was an unbelievable experience,” said Szczepaniak, a junior at Woodhaven. “Just witnessing the atmosphere with all of those scouts was unreal.”

The ability to make an impression is something Hunt feels players need to understand.

“There is so much to be said about how you, as a player, handle yourself on and off the diamond throughout the event,” Hunt explained. “With the college coaches so close to the action, and getting a chance to ‘lock-in’ on their targeted players for four days, it is important to present yourself well. Those players bringing energy and enthusiasm each day definitely stood out, and their preparation pregame and generally how they carry themselves does not go unnoticed.”

It was eye-opening to say the least.

“The Future Games opened my eyes a little bit bigger due to how many kids are getting these numbers and are this dominant at the game,” pointed out Carson Fischer, a Hudsonville 2021 pitcher. “My experience will definitely push me to another level so I can reach my goals as a baseball player.”

Most of the players left the event with a lot of promise when it comes to their future in baseball.

“I hope that the college coaches and scouts that watched me play saw a team leader, an athlete, and a talented baseball player that they would like to be part of their program in the future,” said Hackett Catholic Prep junior Stephen Kwapis.  

A PBR thank you to all that participated and a special thanks to the following players on Team Michigan that gave their thoughts about the event (including what schools have been in contact with them since the event):

***** If you were on Team Michigan and did not share your thoughts, feel free to email us and we will get them included within this article.

Donavan Canterberry SS / RHP / Wyandotte, MI / 2022

PBR: What were your Future Games highlights?
Taking infield and batting practice in front of 300+ scouts.

PBR: Assess your performance.
I thought I played well against the great competition I faced from each state. 

PBR: Give your thoughts on being part of Team Michigan and what stood out.
It was a great honor to be chosen to represent Michigan and showcase my skills at the event.  It was amazing to see how many college coaches came out to the event.

PBR: Touch on the competition you faced at the event.
The competition at the games was top notch. It was such a great experience to play against the best players from each state.

PBR: How can participating in the Future Games help you in the future?
Playing in the Future Games gave me the opportunity to showcase my skills in front of scouts from colleges I may have never considered before. 

PBR: What, if any, college coaches did you talk to at the event or hear from since the event ended?
During and since the event I have spoken to coaches from the ACC, SEC, Big 10 and Pac 12 schools.

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