Shouppe looks for talent at first prospects baseball camp
By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer
Fresh off his fourth season as head baseball coach, Jamey Shouppe was beaming this past Saturday at Moore-Kittle Field.
His smile seemed to get broader as high school players streamed onto the field. They came from around Florida, other Southern states and the Caribbean.
The players hoped they would impress Shouppe. He hoped that they would like FAMU enough to want to join his program.
Such a win-win opportunity is exactly why Shouppe decided to hold the first prospect camp since becoming head coach. The timing is ideal because the Rattlers expect to lose almost half of the team to graduation at the end of next season.
“A lot of them pass the eye test,” Shouppe said, before taking the group of about 40 players through drills that lasted into the early afternoon. Shouppe and his staff didn’t seem to cut any corners.
“If they have a good experience here, then they are likely to come back and maybe bring somebody with them next time,” Shouppe said. “This is just the start.”
Three Rickards High School players were among those trying to make an impression on Shouppe. But admittedly, they found they still had plenty to learn after the drills.
“I need to work on staying in front of the ball and not getting scared,” said Raiders second baseman Jamil Dickey, adding that the camp gave him a shot of confidence.
Dickey’s Rickards teammate, Adam Massey, said he also learned plenty, especially from pitching coach Bryan Henry.
“He helped me keep my chin and everything going straight to the plate,” Massey said. “I was pulling out my chin but he kept me on point.”
Both players said the coaches weren’t the only ones they learned from, as they were able to see different styles from the other players.
“I pick up on stuff,” Massey said. “When I messed up, I pick up on how they do it and I throw my own stuff in there.”
FAMU is on the list of schools where he’d like to playcollege baseball, said Dickey. Halfway through the camp, he felt he’d shown some of the coaches enough for them to offer him a scholarship.
“I’m giving my all 100 percent because this is one of the schools I’m looking to go to,” Dickey said. “I put my all because I never know if I might get another chance.”
From the outset, Shouppe asked the players for their best because of what could be at stake for them.
“Every day when you play the game, play it like somebody came to see you play,” he said. “If you do, when somebody does come to see you play, you don’t have to worry.”