Tyler Lee and Dequan Bennett have huge aspirations of playing professional baseball. The pair are making progress down that road.
The teenagers, who were born in George Town, are gearing up for college recruiting events in the US. The hope is to be offered scholarships from top US universities and play college baseball to increase their chances of making the pro ranks.
Bennett, 16, is taking it step by step and is focused on making an impression on the foreign coaches.
“Through the White Sox exposure camp I got contacts with four great colleges,” Bennett said. “They are the University of Northwestern Ohio, the University of Iowa, Eastern Illinois University and Ball State University. They’re all offering great opportunities.
“We have two showcases now coming up in December and January.”
Bennett and Lee, 17, are slated to attend the Northeast/Southeast Collegiate Showcase Camp in Fort Myers, Florida. Organized by Showball Baseball, the camp takes place 17-18 December. Coaches from 37 National Collegiate Athletics Association division one universities are expected to scout the event. On 14-15 January the duo will head to the fifth annual Florida-Orlando Winter National DeMarini TOP 96 College Coaches Prospect Camp. Lake Brantley high school in Altamonte Springs will host the camp.
Those try-outs will not be completely new for Bennett and Lee. Both took part in a similar clinic back in October at US Cellular Field, the home of Major League Baseball’s Chicago White Sox. They were scrutinized by scouts from division I, II and III schools.
Lee, who also competes in flag football and athletics, states the Chicago camps were interesting.
“That was my first time doing a showcase,” Lee said. “It’s great I did it while I’m at a young age. It’s different, I’m not used to so many people watching me all the time.”
The White Sox, through the BullSox Training Academy, have worked with the Cayman Islands Little League to develop talent. Over the last five years, local players have travelled to Chicago for annual youth competitions while the White Sox have sent coaches here to lead training camps. The latest endeavour was a mini-camp (focused on hitting) at the Field of Dreams in November, directed by academy instructors Sam Zagorac and Marty Kobernus.
Bennett (who lives in Prospect and also competes in athletics) and Lee (who lives in George Town) helped out as assistant coaches. Both were pleased to see youngsters, like Dequan’s 8-year-old brother Cameron Bennett, receive quality instruction.
“The camp was good for us to teach baseball to the kids,” Bennett said. “It was a good turnout, better than expected actually. It was the first time I did any form of coaching and that can only look good on my resume and sound good on references.”
“I’m glad it happened and it was awesome for the kids over that long weekend,” Lee said. “It’s greatly appreciated that the White Sox sent two coaches down. The kids enjoyed it and I had a lot of fun coaching them. It was an awesome time overall.”