After spending 28 years helping area high school athletes obtain college scholarships, Schenectady native Mike Eplite is shifting his focus — slightly.
“I’ve been working with the individual athlete for a long time, and I know how to market student-athletes,” said Eplite. “But I always wanted to get into the team end of things. That’s why I’m starting a new baseball program for the elite players in the Schenectady area. Eventually, I want to be what the South Troy Dodgers program is across the river. We want the best players, and we want to play against the best players.”
Eplite, who runs his MDE Scouting Services out of his Schenectady office, is planning to coordinate the MDE Storm Elite Baseball Clubs with four divisions: 13U, 14U, 15U and 18U. These travel teams will play an independent schedule, beginning this fall and continuing next summer. Home games will be played at two different fields at Schalmont High School.
“We’re having tryouts next month over two different weekends,” Eplite said. “Then, we want to eventually sit down with all the coaches in my conference room to go over the cuts. We will bring back the kids and have them play most of the next day, so they can get some reps. To be fair, you just can’t try them out on one day and mark down all their speed numbers and stuff like that. We’ve got to give them an opportunity to compete against each other head to head.”
Eplite said he is only looking for baseball players who have both the desire and the talent to play at the next level, which means at some college program.
“Our primary objective is to create an environment and build a program for the serious baseball player with aspirations to play at the college level,” he said. “Our focus is to encourage the serious ball player to commit to their individual goals, excel in their effects, and leverage the opportunities that the program will provide them.”
Eplite expects to hire what he calls an extremely experienced coaching staff.
“We will get good coaching from all over the area. We want good, solid people who care about the kids first,” he said. “I’m not in this to make money.”
Eplite’s own vision is to have a year-round baseball academy.
“We will have all our players working out all winter together in one place as a team, not as individuals,” he said.
“I think we have too many baseball teams in our area, and they are watered down. My plan is to keep the costs down by reaching out to area businesses to help so that we can have a reasonable player fee. Other than the coaches, who will be paid because they will be putting in a lot of time in, I’m not looking to make this an expensive program.”
The tryouts will be held at Schalmont High School. Here is the tryout breakdown: 13U (Aug. 9, Aug. 16, 10 a.m. to noon); 14U (Aug. 9, Aug. 16, noon to 2 p.m.); 15U (Aug. 9, Aug. 16, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.); 18U (Aug. 10, Aug. 17, noon to 2 p.m.).
For more information, call Eplite at 331-186.
ALBANY — Greg Jette ripped a bases-clearing double in the sixth inning to give the Albany Thunder a 6-3 victory over the Blue Hawks in the Albany Twilight League.
Nick Papas hit a home run fore the Blue Hawks.
Blue Hawks 000 012 0 — 3 7 4
Albany Thunder 000 204 x — 6 9 1
Nowak, Selby (6) and Anderson; Hopkins, Watford (7) and Jurczynski.
LITTLE FALLS — The Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs scored the only two runs they would need in the first inning and held off the Amsterdam Mohawks, 3-1, in a Perfect Game Collegiate League game at Veterans Park.
Joey Carcone singled and scored on a triple by Eric Strano, who scored on a grounder by Mike Triller. Strano also collected an RBI double in the fifth.
The Mohawks (29-9), who got three hits from JaVon Shelby, scored on a bases-loaded walk.
Amsterdam 000 000 010 — 1 9 0
Mohawk Valley 200 010 00x — 3 8 0
Blatch, Ward (7) and DeBellis; Greig, Esposito (7), Pidich (8) and Strano.
ALBANY — Tom Favata threw a three-hit shutout, striking out five, to lead the Schenectady County Indians over Saugerties, 3-0, in the District 3 American Legion playoffs at the University at Albany.
Dan Zeglen ripped an RBI double, and Nick Schaub added an RBI single for 25-9 Schenectady County, which takes on Saratoga today at 1 p.m. at UAlbany.
Schenectady 101 100 000 — 3 6 2
Saugerties 000 000 000 — 0 3 1
Favata and Schaub; Tiater, Sieter (5) and Skalla.
All-star game set
ROTTERDAM — Rotterdam Babe Ruth will be hosting the Eastern New York Mickey Mantle home run derby and all-star game tonight at Memorial Park.
The home run derby will begin at 6 p.m., followed by the all-star game at 7:30. The concession stand will be open.
NISKAYUNA MAKES FINAL
NISKAYUNA — Host Niskayuna will take on Saratoga in the championship game of the New York State 9U Cal Ripken tournament tonight at 6 at Blatnick Park.
Niskayuna defeated Burnt Hills, 5-4, and Saratoga beat North Colonie, 13-7, in the semifinals. Both Niskayuna and Saratoga are 5-0.
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