Jack Scheri lived his best baseball life this summer.
The La Salle-Peru sophomore stayed busy as he played for the Prep Baseball Report Top Tier American team and was then selected to play in the PBR Future Games for Team Illinois.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Scheri said. “Not a lot of kids my age get this opportunity. I did well throughout the season at the tournaments sponsored by PBR. They looked at me and thought I was good enough for Team Illinois as a middle infielder. During the games, it’s unbelievable. There are so many college scouts. I think there are 250-plus scouts that surround the games. It’s a lot of pressure, but it’s a lot of fun.
“I’ve been playing for the team for five years. The experience has been great and all of my teammates are extremely good. The competition is also very good. I enjoy it and it gives me an opportunity to get to colleges that I want to go to. This is where you want to be if you want to be at the next level.”
Prep Baseball Report is a nation-wide recruiting organization designed to showcase high school players who are not yet committed to a college program.
During the summer long season, each player’s statistics are kept along with their throwing velocity, hitting velocity and 60-meter times.
It didn’t hurt Scheri’s summer resume that the Top Tier Americans had a 28-11 record and won a national championship by defeating the Ironmen — a team out of Georgia — 5-4 on July 29 at Lakepoint Sports Complex in Emerson, Ga.
“We wouldn’t have won the championship without Jack playing shortstop,” Top
Tier coach Dominick DeNicola said. “There were two scenarios where there was a man on third with two outs. On one play, he dove — full extension — up the middle to knock down the ball and he was able to grab the ball in his right hand and shovel pass to second for a force out.
“He also made a diving play in the sixth hole — running into left field — where he had full extension and dove to catch a bloop. That started a rally for us. He was awesome throughout the whole season and it was awesome to see that out of him.”
DeNicola, a Connecticut native who has lived in Illinois for the last two years as an area scout for the MLB’s Arizona Diamondbacks’ Single A affiliation Kane County Cougars, also relied on Scheri offensively.
The Cavalier came through when the team needed him at the No. 3 spot.
“He was our No. 3 hitter, which is usually the best hitter in the lineup,” DeNicola said. “He was back-to-back with our No. 2 hitter Alex Stanwich, which is a big compliment because he is being looked at by a lot of different schools. With his speed, Jack is such a versatile player. He led our team in every offensive category whether it was runs, RBIs, stolen bases. He had the second best average on the team at .439 and his on-base percentage was a .505.
“He had so many at-bats where he kept battling. He had a sacrifice fly that helped us in the semifinal and he had a couple huge singles for us. He had big hits for us and he is an on-base machine.
“The way he carried himself, everyone looked at him as a leader. He is a good clubhouse guy. He has a good head on his shoulder and he is genuine about everything he does. The way he carried himself is a coaches dream in what they want in a player.”
Because of what Scheri was able to do during the regular season, the playoffs and the championship, he was selected for Team Illinois in the Future Games July 31-Aug. 3.
Team Illinois is equal to an all-star team similar to the Illinois Little League set up.
“I was playing against teams from other states like Team Wisconsin and Team Indiana,” Scheri said. “The teams are selected out of the best uncommitted kids in the country from the state and then they play against other states. This is the best of the best. The best kids in the country not committed to a college are playing here.
“It makes me feel pretty special. It shows that I have the ability to play with this type of competition. It gives me more exposure, which is great. Not a lot of kids get this type of opportunity, so I am taking advantage of it.”
Scheri doesn’t know which college he wants to go to but said he likes schools in the south and University of Illinois is an option.
But for now, he is worried about building his baseball resume and getting ready for his sophomore season at L-P.
“I think it’s really going to help me be a captain for the team since I’ve been in these situations more than the other kids,” Scheri said. “I can help my teammates out.”
Brandon LaChance is a NewsTribune Sports Writer. He can be reached at 220-6995, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_LaChance.