The Smoke Signal

Goin’ Clubbing

PV Sophomore Jake Lutz compares club and high school baseball

Jake+Lutz+is+a+PV+Sophomore+who+plays+both+club+and+high+school+baseball.+He+explains+the+difference+in+playing+at+both+levels.+
Back to Article
Back to Article

Goin’ Clubbing

Jake Lutz is a PV Sophomore who plays both club and high school baseball. He explains the difference in playing at both levels.

Jake Lutz is a PV Sophomore who plays both club and high school baseball. He explains the difference in playing at both levels.

Curstine Guevarra

Jake Lutz is a PV Sophomore who plays both club and high school baseball. He explains the difference in playing at both levels.

Curstine Guevarra

Curstine Guevarra

Jake Lutz is a PV Sophomore who plays both club and high school baseball. He explains the difference in playing at both levels.

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






I skipped my middle school graduation for my first showcase when I was 14 years old. I did not know what to expect at the showcase. It was very nerve-wracking for me when I saw how many colleges were there scouting and evaluating players when I arrived at Don Bosco High School.

I remember thinking to myself that I wanted to do well and not embarrass myself.

Even though I was the youngest at the showcase, I was still confident and knew I could compete with the other players who were all upperclassmen in high school.

After it was over, I knew I did really well, but I was not sure if I had done well enough to have scouts coming for me so early.

As I was getting changed out of my uniform in the dugout, a coach from the University of Pittsburgh came up to me, gave me a good evaluation, and said that he would remember my name in the future. More colleges emailed me after that day asking if I was able to attend their camps so the coaches can have a better look at me as a potential recruit.

I would not have been able to attend this showcase if I did not play club sports. Therefore, not playing club sports is detrimental to anyone looking to play sports in college.

Club sports provide a segue into the college recruitment process. When you play for a club team that goes to tournaments around the state or country, there are going to be scouts present whether they are from Division I, II, or III.

Over the summer, I played for multiple club baseball teams around the country. The Tri-State Arsenal out of New Jersey, Orlando Scorpions out of Orlando, USA Showcase out of Georgia, and Time to Sign out of Florida. These very competitive teams gave me the opportunity to play in front of scouts in tournaments. Most of the tournaments I played in were ran by the company Perfect Game.

Perfect Game is the biggest recruiting company and holds some of the most competitive tournaments in the country with top-ranked teams and players competing in them. They hold most of their tournaments in Georgia and Florida which are hotspots for college and even major league scouts to go and recruit players.

This summer, 11 Division I colleges from the SEC, ACC, BIG 10, and etc. have contacted me via my teams’ coaching staff.

At the tournaments, while games are going on, the owners of the team act as communicators with the college scouts who are watching. One of the communicators I work with, Coach Berg Ohanian of Time to Sign, has contacted 50 coaches from different schools. When the coaches showed up to watch me play, he would talk with them about me as a player and other players on the team.

This accelerates my recruitment process.

Pullquote Photo

Club baseball operates more closely to a college program and really breaks down all aspects of the game. High school, instead, focuses on the main parts like hitting, fielding, and throwing because there is less time to practice and perfect the skills as a team.”

— Jake Lutz

The difference between playing club sports and high school sports are the stakes involved. High school sports are still very competitive, but it’s through club baseball that I will be recruited the most, and you can’t be national champions in high school. I am always at high caliber tournaments during the summer with my club teams.

Playing in a tournament with nationally ranked teams is both nerve-wracking and exciting. Every game is a wild card game.

Unlike high schools, practices with a club team are more difficult and longer. The practices need to be longer because depending on where and when the practice is scheduled, some people aren’t always able to go so practice must be as efficient and beneficial as possible. When everybody is there, it needs to be long enough to perfect the small things like cut-offs and bunt defenses. Also, most coaches are big on conditioning because not many high school coaches focus on that part of the game. At the beginning of practice, we stretch for 30 minutes focusing on flexibility and arm care. And at the end of practice, we usually make up for the mistakes in practice by running poles (foul pole to foul pole) and sprints.

Club baseball operates more closely to a college program and really breaks down all aspects of the game. High school, instead, focuses on the main parts like hitting, fielding, and throwing because there is less time to practice and perfect the skills as a team.

I can’t count the times I have heard my club coaches yell, “Drop down and give me a hundred push-ups,” or, “Drop your gloves and run 10 poles!”

It’s nuts.

The competition at high school isn’t equal to the competition I have faced at club. The pitching I saw in high school was slower and the teams were not at the same caliber as teams I would face at club.  

Playing against better teams makes you better both physically and mentally. When you have to think about this game maybe being your last, you will strive to perform better. One baseball coach claimed, “My boys loved tournament ball. I loved coaching it. We loved watching the games. And it was clear just how much better they got because of it.Some athletes like to play baseball, but aren’t heartbroken if they lose. While others go to a tournament with one goal — to win.

It might not seem like a big deal, but the difference between fields that get played on in tournaments and high school are worlds apart. The fields I play on at club are equivalent to major league baseball fields — they were groomed before and after every game, even sometimes between innings. The Scutch grass was freshly cut and the clay was in perfect condition to play on. The infield’s design ensured every hop to be perfect.  

Contributed by Jake Lutz
Lutz spent a majority of his summer playing in Georgia and Florida. Here he is pitching in Georgia.

The fields I played on in Georgia and Florida make the fields in Jersey seem like you are playing in a dust storm in the desert. This difference is substantial enough to affect the way the athletes play. On fields like this, it is more difficult to make smoother plays.

Over the past 10 years, club sports have become more popular and important to scouts than high school baseball. One high school athletic director admitted, “I think we might see a time when high school sports don’t exist and club sports completely replace it.” The NCAA recently surveyed 21,233 current college athletes, asking them if they played club or high school sports. 87 percent of baseball players competed on club teams.

Unless your high school team is uniquely good and makes it far into the state tournament, there likely won’t be scouts at the games. The only reason a scout would show up at a state game is to check out someone who is either already in their recruiting process or committed to their program.

Some high school teams do have better chemistry than some club baseball teams. The high school players are together for most of the year. Even though high school teams aren’t always in season, they hang out at school or outside of school the entire year. For me, I only see my club team at practices and tournaments because we live too far to hang out together often. Believe me, I wish I could hang out with them — we’d slap box every day.

A big con that comes with playing club sports is the cost to play. Some travel programs can cost up to $7,000 which is not including travel, hotels, and the equipment needed to play. Trust me, there are not many programs that will charge you seven thousand dollars to be a part of their team. But, if you are serious about playing at the next level, the teams that can most likely get you there cost a lot.

The invention of club sports is the best thing that ever happened to recruiting. It has made it so much easier to be seen and recruited by colleges from any division. I have been getting recruited by multiple Division I schools as a sophomore in high school with two more seasons of summer baseball to go. I have a lot of teammates who are committed to play baseball at Division I schools like the University of Miami, Virginia, Vanderbilt, North Carolina, and Virginia Tech. So, if you are interested in playing college sports, you need to play club sports.

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Leave a Comment

Both first and last name must be included in order for your comment to be approved.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Left
  • Goin’ Clubbing

    Opinion

    The gradebook is a privilege

  • Goin’ Clubbing

    Letters to the Editor

    Letter to the Editor: ‘We won’t back down until our grades are up’

  • Goin’ Clubbing

    Graffiti Coverage

    ‘Actions speak louder than words’

  • Goin’ Clubbing

    Graffiti Coverage

    Letter to the Editor: ‘We all need to take responsibility’

  • Goin’ Clubbing

    Opinion

    Thank you, Rawson

  • Goin’ Clubbing

    Opinion

    Freshman Year: The Time of My Life

  • Goin’ Clubbing

    Opinion

    Reel Talk: Episode Three

  • Goin’ Clubbing

    Opinion

    Reel Talk: Episode Two

  • Goin’ Clubbing

    Letters to the Editor

    Letter to the Editor: In support of the Second Amendment

  • Goin’ Clubbing

    Opinion

    Reel Talk: Episode One

Navigate Right
Pascack Valley High School's Official News Site: Where there's smoke, there's fire.
Goin’ Clubbing