BARSTOW • Luke Mejia and Phil Lial have yet to play a game for Barstow Community College as sophomores, but the pair of Vikings' baseball players will be gathering plenty of attention from scouts this weekend.
Mejia and Lial were selected to participate in the 20th Annual Fall All-Star Showcase for California Community College sophomores at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut on Sunday. Events for the showcase start at 12 p.m. and the game will begin at 1:30 p.m. The California Community College Baseball Coaches Association holds a showcase in Northern and Southern California every fall. Mejia and Lial are the first BCC players to make the showcase in the same year, and they are two of only 70 players in to participate in Southern California.
BCC coach Mike Karpel, a former pitching coach/recruiting coordinator at Brigham Young University, said the event draws scouts from NCAA Division I, II, III and NAIA universities as well as from professional teams.
"The event is really for the cream of the crop," Karpel said. "As a scout at BYU I attended these type of events every year. Universities around the country know that there's a lot of talent in the California community college system that can help their team's immediately. I think Luke and Phil's recruiting stock will go up after this game. They'll start to hear from schools before the season starts."
Mejia, a Victorville native, had a standout season at shortstop for the Vikings last spring. He led the state in fielding percentage with a .978. He also hit .398 and had 17 stolen bases on the season. Karpel said that Mejia has added 10 pounds during workouts and added arm strength in the offseason.
Lial redshirted last season after pitching for Taft College in 2009. He won two games for Taft during that season, and Karpel said he is going to be a starting pitcher for BCC. When he doesn't get a start on the mound Lial will be at third base, and is expected to be hitting third in the batting order.
"It feels pretty good to be picked for the showcase," Lial said. "Now we just need to get out there and get some attention for our program and us. I just want to try and get picked up after this season. I don't care where I go right now. I'm just trying to get a scholarship."
Mejia and Lial won't be the only people representing BCC on Sunday — Karpel was picked by the CCCBCA to coach one of the teams at the showcase. He said he was honored by the selection from the association. Karpel will lead a team that includes Mejia, Lial and players from a large group of schools including Foothill Conference rival Mt. San Jacinto.
Mejia said he looks forward to playing with the top players in the state, and with the guys from Mt. San Jacinto.
"It's fun getting to play with the better players around the area," Mejia said. "It'll be interesting to mix it up with the guys from Mt. San Jacinto. It's a good way to make new friends and meet people."