Athletes play on elite summer sports teams, gain exposure to recruiting agents


Junior Tyler DeMartino plays on a top summer team for baseball. Top high school athletes join these summer teams to increase recruitment chances. Photo courtesy DeMartino.

By Bennett Solomon

The blazing Florida sun beats down on outfielder Tyler DeMartino as he steps up to the plate. He smashes a ball out of the park, runs around the bases and once he arrives at home plate, taps his helmet with his hand—a ritual he’s been doing since his first homerun as a child. In the stands, college coaches and Major League Baseball scouts look on in appreciation. 

As part of the recruitment process for elite players to continue their sport in college, top high school athletes across the country join intense summer teams, competing in national tournaments from coast to coast.

DeMartino—who is committed to the University of West Virginia for baseball—plays on one of the top teams in the country for his age group: the Evoshield Canes. Catcher Jack Ryan, a junior, plays on the Mid Atlantic Red Sox, another intense travel baseball team. Ryan and DeMartino will travel to a combined ten states this summer to compete in national tournaments and showcases.  

“As an uncommitted player, it’s always appealing to have the opportunity to play in front of various college coaches,” Ryan said. “But more importantly, the chance to play with and against some of the most talented kids in the nation every weekend is something that I don’t take for granted.”

Attacker Peter Sullivan, a sophomore, also participates on an elite summer team. He plans to travel up and down the east coast to play for Next Level Lacrosse this summer, playing in tournaments in Delaware, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Connecticut.

DeMartino, Ryan and Sullivan are all looking forward to the opportunity to play against the top players in the nation.

“It’s really good to go against competition like that,” Sullivan said. “It makes the games a lot more intense because you have the extra edge to beat that good team because they have so much national talent.”

College coaches across the country travel to these tournaments to recruit players. Although they can’t talk to the players individually until the players’ junior year in high school, the colleges send camp invites in hopes for players to display their skills at the college campus.

Traveling all over the country isn’t cheap, but many of these teams help support players who can’t afford the travel themselves.

“For the organization that I coach, the team doesn’t want the kid to play because the parents have a money problem,” varsity baseball coach Joe Cassidy said. “They offer either scholarships, or they’ll work with a family to reduce their price.”

While playing on an elite team creates opportunities for players to be seen, it’s still on the athletes to earn their spots at the next level, DeMartino said.

“The Canes do a great job,” he said. “With exposure they put you in the right situations to succeed, but at the end, the player gets seen because of what he does.”