TAMPA, Fla. - Pop Cuesta has been around Hillsborough County high school baseball long enough to know the type of talent that exists in the area. Cuesta, Jefferson High’s longtime baseball coach, knows there are plenty of senior players each year capable of playing at some level in college. Cuesta also knows that several just don’t get the chance.
The purpose of Saturday’s event at the University of South Florida, which Cuesta helped organize, was to try and change that as much as possible.

Roughly sixty Hillsborough County senior baseball players flocked to USF’s Red McEwen Field on Saturday morning for the Tampa Bay Sports Commission’s 2009 Fall Classic. The event, fully-funded by the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, was a showcase aimed to give senior players who have not yet given a commitment to a college program some much-needed exposure as November’s early signing period rapidly approaches.”That’s the purpose behind all of it,” Cuesta said. “It gives kids an opportunity to be seen.”

This was the second year the event was held. Last year, Jesuit High served as the host site.

County coaches nominated available players, and teams were constructed in East and West squads, Cuesta said. Several county coaches then called their respective contacts at the college level hoping to get as many coaches as possible in attendance.There was a junior college showcase event this weekend, which hurt attendance by college coaches, Cuesta said. He added the goal for next year is to find a date where this showcase doesn’t go head-to-head with another. Cuesta added coaches are hoping to put together a showcase event for juniors that would take place after the high school season.

As for the game, the two teams played 11 1/2 innings in order to give each player ample playing time. The result: West 12, East 4.

Here were the rosters for the teams:

WEST ALL-STARS: John Cimino, Robinson; Kevin Cruz, Jefferson; Mike Danner, Gaither; Justin Delgado, Gaither; Tyler Ding, Alonso; Dylan Esche, Gaither; Juan Fontela, Leto; Dylan Hathcock, Gaither; Nick Iacovella, Jesuit; Matt Ina, Jesuit; Brandon Johnson, Alonso; Seth Jordan, Middleton; Chris Lee, Robinson; P.J. Leto, Leto; Dennis Lopez, Jefferson; Stephen Martin, Chamberlain; Alex Martinez, Tampa Catholic; Tito Martinez, Alonso; Tripp Merrell, Sickles; Jeff Mills, Hillsborough; T.J. Mouse, Chamberlain; Brady North, Gaither; Spencer Nunez, Hillsborough; Alex Rivera, Jefferson; Mike Sciortino, Sickles; Adam Sproat, Tampa Catholic; Austin Thrailkill, Gaither; Daniel Tyner, Robinson; Chase Wilcocks, Sickles
Coaches: Frank Permuy, Gaither; Bob Pagano, Sickles

EAST ALL-STARS: Tyler Alexander, Armwood; David Angotti, Brandon; Charlie Baumgartner, Freedom; Austin Browder, Brandon; Mike Cawthon, Lennard; Andrew Cosby, Lennard; Spencer Dewey, Brandon; Will English, Wharton; Taylor Freeman, King; Andre Gruhne, Wharton; Jared Hine, Newsome; Bryan Hird, East Bay; Ricky Lausier, Riverview; Michael Marting, Newsome; Dane Moore, Freedom; Cory Nelson, Wharton; Chris Newcomb, East Bay; Ryan Ogara, Riverview; Jake Petitt, East Bay; Chris Reynoso, Newsome; Eric Santiago, Riverview; Peter Seiden, Newsome; Tristan Speak, Riverview; Josciel Veras, King; Kyle Wilson, Brandon; Tyler Figueroa, King; Alex Caballero, Bloomingdale; Anthony Hernandez, Tampa Bay Tech; Daniel Morales, Tampa Bay Tech; Santiago Lopez, Tampa Bay Tech
Coaches: Jim Macaluso, King; Matt Stallbaumer, Brandon