Plenty of boyhood dreams came true as the area’s top baseball players stepped onto the field at Busch Stadium in this year’s High School Baseball Showcase.
The Missouri All-Stars defeated the Illinois All-Stars, 8-3, in front of a few hundred fans on a hot afternoon, Monday.
For Brett Graves, Monday was also a taste of what could become a familiar occurrence for the recent Francis Howell graduate who was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals.
“It’s fun to think about playing at Busch someday,” Graves said. “Even if I wasn’t drafted by the Cardinals, I would still be really happy to be here, but the fact that I could be back here in a few years makes it that much more special. I’ve been to a million games since I was a little kid and this is definitely a dream come true.”
For Missouri head coach John Mabry, it was a return to the town where he played eight seasons of baseball for the Cardinals.
“These guys have been watching the Cardinals play their whole life and they got to get out here on a bigger stage here at Busch Stadium and showcase their talents,” Missouri head coach John Mabry said.
“Hopefully they had a lot of fun and I thought they played a great game,” Mabry said.
Mabry was asked by PNC Bank’s Rick Sims to coach in this year’s game. He jumped at the opportunity.
“I was involved in a game similar to this when I was a senior in Maryland called the Crown All-Star Game," Mabry said. "It was a pleasure to be involved in this game. This is a great way to give back and it’s a way I got propelled in my career.
“Hopefully, if one of these guys gets either looked at, signed or goes a little higher than they (would) have, this game will have served its purpose,” Mabry said.
Pacing the Missouri All-Stars:
- University City second baseman Jake Mavropoulos had a double and drove in three runs
- CBC first baseman Mike Ehrhard had three hits
- Francis Howell North catcher Mike Wilson had two hits, including a double and an RBI
- Lafayette shortstop Ryan Mansfield had two walks and an RBI
- St. John Vianney first baseman Ryan Barnes walked twice
- Timberland's David Masters scored a run after walking.
Mabry sent out nine different pitchers in the lengthy affair. Among those who hurled scoreless frames were:
- De Smet’s Kyle Bouman
- CBC’s David Schmidt
- Winfield’s Dylan Terrell
- Oakville’s Chad Gendron
- Parkway West’s Carter Smith and Ehrhard.
The Illinois squad was coached by former Cardinals player Mike Matheny.
“This whole day is about showcasing these kids and giving them an honor and an award of being one of the top kids in the area,” Matheny said.
“It’s about rewarding them and rewarding their families and get them out on one of the greatest fields in the world and play against some of the best kids in the area,” Matheny said.
“Both teams were really talented,” said Graves, the Cardinals' pick. “This Missouri team had a lot of good ballplayers and as a team, we already knew each other. It was good to play with these guys. Some of them I haven’t played with since I was nine or 10 years old. It was a really good time.”
Graves entered the game with some impressive stats:
- Batted .441 with six home runs and 35 RBI
- Pitched 9-1 with a 1.95 ERA
- Francis Howell Vikings won the Missouri Class 4 state championship.
(Statistics from STLToday.com were used in this story.)