Braden Niksich has an opportunity few baseball players can take advantage of in high school.
The soon-to-be Hobart sophomore will get a chance to pitch in front of Major League Baseball scouts at the Midwest Professional Showcase today and Wednesday at Oil City Stadium in Whiting.
Hobart baseball coach Bob Glover Jr. recognizes how important it is for Niksich to get this opportunity.
"Kids nowadays are in this whole process that moves faster and faster," he said. "There's no such thing as too early if you're ready for it. (It's great) for him to start getting out there to perform under that kind of pressure."
Players from Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin will participate in the event. Chuck Fox, MLB Manager of Baseball Operations, said the Midwest Professional Showcase is a great way to be recognized and gain exposure.
"Obviously, the end talent is the ultimate,” Fox said in a press release. “If you can play, scouts are going to find you. The key is getting our focus away from, ‘You’re going to be a big leaguer.’ That’s not the honest answer, but an event like this can help a kid get identified and lead to a college scholarship, whether it’s at the junior college level or going to Stanford or whatever."
Hobart teammate Brandon Murray is committed to play for South Carolina after he graduates in 2014. Players like Murray and Niksich have been instrumental in helping turn Hobart into one of the most competitive prep baseball teams in the region.
"It's really a point of pride for our coaching staff, our kids and our program," Glover said. "Everybody is pulling for everybody else. It's really a great atmosphere."
Other local players in the Midwest Professional Showcase include Mount Carmel's Jeremy Houston and Brandon Sanchez, Homewood-Flossmoor's Bryce Gray and Calumet City resident and Simeon player Tavaris Terrell.