D-backs host free showcase for HS players

D-backs host free showcase for HS players

PHOENIX -- Spring Training was still two weeks away, but D-backs reliever Evan Marshall was standing in a dugout this past Saturday morning as he felt the familiar itch of baseball.

"It's good to be back in the dugout and feel those competitive vibes again," Marshall said. "Spring is coming up soon, but I wish it were here already."

Marshall was on hand for the high school baseball showcase the D-backs held at Papago Park to highlight their "Chase Your Dreams" program.

Started in 2015, the D-backs partner with Chase to award $100,000 annually to area high school baseball and softball programs for purchasing equipment as well as maintaining and improving their facilities.

This was the second year the D-backs hosted the showcase free of charge to high school baseball teams that received equipment and field improvements through the program.

"The Chase Your Dreams concept is such an awesome thing that the Diamondbacks are doing in partnering with Chase Bank to try and help the schools that need it and level the playing field for high school programs," Marshall said. "Remember in high school not every school has the baseballs or the equipment they need. What they do have though is talent and kids that love the game. So, when you level the playing field, these schools get a chance to showcase their players. It allows them to compete and try to win a state title. You see the equipment they have now, the uniforms, and you can see how appreciative they are. It's pretty cool."

Marshall spent time in the dugouts, answering questions from the young ballplayers.Sarah Sach/D-backs

Camelback, North, Betty H. Fairfax, South Mountain, Caesar Chavez, Central, Deer Valley, Indpendence, Alhambra, Carl Hayden, Maryvale and Trevor Browne were the high schools that participated in the event.

In addition to a full slate of games, the showcase included skill development and instruction clinics that included pitching, catching, infield and outfield work, baserunning, hitting and classroom time.

Marshall moved from dugout to dugout during the day. Did any of the kids ask him for tips on how to throw certain pitches?

"Not really," he said. "Mostly they want to know what it's like to be on TV and pitch in front of crowds."

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.