Area’s top baseball players display talent in Howser event


Saturday’s Dick Howser All Star Showcase at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium was the last time some of Palm Beach County’s top seniors took the field as high school baseball players, and they made the most of it despite a heavy rainstorm cutting the game short after only five full innings.

“It’s weird to think (high school is over),” Dwyer’s Ruairi Murphy said, “but I’m excited to go on to college for baseball.”

Murphy, primarily a pitcher for the Panthers, was named the game’s Most Valuable Player, as he drove in the North team’s only two runs with an RBI double to left field that came shortly before the deluge began.

“I haven’t hit in a year, probably,” Murphy said. “I’m just (a pitcher). I’m happy I got my final hit before high school’s over.”

Murphy will continue his career at Jacksonville University. Many players in Saturday’s All Star Showcase are going on to play at the college level, but some have a chance to be selected in next week’s MLB Amateur Draft, which begins Monday night and continues through Wednesday.

Several local high schoolers were picked in last year’s draft, including Park Vista’s James Marinan (signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers), Dwyer’s Shane Roberts (chose South Carolina over the New York Yankees) and Cardinal Newman’s Shane Drohan (chose Florida State over the Philadelphia Phillies). 

One player who could join them is Benjamin’s Kris Armstrong. The senior pitcher and shortstop is signed to play with the Florida Gators (the current home of likely first-round pick and former American Heritage star Jonathan India) but may be selected on the second or third day of the draft.

“I hope so, anything could happen,” Armstrong said of getting drafted. “I’m just excited for college and whatever happens, happens. It’s all up to the scouts; it’s not up to me.”

Armstrong, who plans to pitch and hit in Gainesville, excelled as a senior. On the mound, he was 5-2 with a 1.80 ERA and 50 strikeouts. At the plate, he hit .411 with four home runs. His teammate Isaiah Thomas, a Vanderbilt signee, could also be selected this week.

Another possible selection is Dwyer pitcher Ryan Wimbush. Wimbush could be selected out of high school, but if he doesn’t like where he’s taken, he will go to Palm Beach State and try again in next year’s draft.

“Really just (looking forward to) balling out as hard as I can and hopefully just get drafted one year after that,” Wimbush said. “Maybe (I get picked this year), not really sure. But if they do call my name, I’m blessed.”



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