May 10, 2009
Christian Dale will get an opportunity this summer to watch some of Major League Baseball''s future stars.
In the process, Dale also will get a chance to develop his skills so he might one day reach that level.
Last month, the Lee Middle School eighth-grader attended an Under Armour Tryout Event at Zephyr Field in New Orleans.
Dale did so well at the tryout that he earned an invitation to an Under Armour Baseball Factory Specialty Training Camp in Cape Cod, Mass.
Dale will be one of 30 players to attend the Cape Cod Pro Weekly Training event July 21-27 at Spillane Field, the home of the Wareham Gatemen of the Cape Cod Baseball League. He will train each day with players, coaches, and scouts and receive instruction in every facet of the game.
At night, Dale and the other players will get a chance to watch some of the nation''s top amateurs in the CCBL, which is considered one of the best summer baseball leagues for college players.
"It was just a regular white envelope," Dale said of the day his notification came in the mail. "I didn''t know what it was at first. I thought they were trying to sell me some Under Armour stuff. I opened it and then I showed my parents and they were like, ''Whoa.'' "
Dale''s mother, Malinda, said she and her husband, Andy, were equally surprised by the news. She said her son''s experience with the Mudd Dawgs travel ball team played a key role in his development as a player and helped him compete with the older players who were at the evaluation in New Orleans.
Players ages 13-18 attended the New Orleans session. to Cape Cod, Mass., July 21-27 to participate in the Under Armour Baseball Factory Camp.
As a 13-year-old, Dale was the youngest player to try out.
"I feel great to be a part of this," Dale said. "This is probably the biggest thing I have done for baseball."
Dale said he tried his hardest at the tryout event and that his good grades and his attitude helped him get selected to go to Cape Cod, Mass. He feels he has improved a lot in the past few years, and is looking forward to the experience because he knows it will help him get even better.
"I have worked hard and not played around when I practice," Dale said.
The experience will allow Dale to gain exposure to college coaches as he gets older. Under Armour also will keep Dale''s name in it database and will publicize his achievements to college coaches who might be interested in recruiting him.
Dale hit .545 with 19 RBIs, 10 stolen bases and a 1.260 on-base percentage for Lee Middle School.
On the mound, he was 7-1 with one save. He struck out 52 in 33 innings, and threw a no-hitter against Hamilton.
"Christian is a fine young man who enjoys the game of baseball and takes advantage every day to better himself," Lee Middle School baseball coach Eric Ebers said. "Christian has competitive greatness and will use that to his advantage to become the best player he is capable of becoming. He will represent the high quality of baseball that is in this area very well at the UA Factory Camp."
Ebers also works as the Columbus High School junior varsity coach and is an assistant to Jeff Cook and the CHS varsity baseball team.
Cook agrees that Dale will learn a lot at the camp that will help him mature into a better player.
"We are excited for Christian," Cook said. "He has an outstanding future ahead of him. He had a great junior high season and I am looking forward to having him on the high school team next season."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
1. Southern Mississippi beats MSU in Pearl COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Blair has unique perspective on MSU-Washington matchup COLLEGE SPORTS
3. Mississippi players help MSU grow softball in state COLLEGE SPORTS
4. Tight ends could play bigger role for Mullen's Bulldogs COLLEGE SPORTS
5. Energized Bulldogs push on to Sweet 16 LOCAL COLUMNS