Melissa and Anna again played host to Five Tool Texas select baseball recently — a recurring event in recent years as both communities’ still-new facilities attract more and more attention.
This most recent showcase tournament for local high school talent - the Five Tool Texas DFW Regional - ran Thursday through Sunday and featured about 50 teams playing in five age-based divisions, 15U to 17U. Taking place concurrently across six North Texas venues, the event was a qualifier for teams hoping to reach prestigious, invite-only showcase tourneys later this summer.
Melissa hosted the majority of the action, with three fields working at the Melissa Sports Facility and one at Zadow Park. Other sites included single fields at Anna High School, Rockwall High School, Rockwall Heath High School and John Paul II High School in Plano.
The Five Tool organization was established in 2013 to provide quality opportunities for young players to display their talents to college coaches and pro scouts. Five Tool staff plan and administer competitions in six regions across the country. The organization’s 2019 summer schedule includes 62 showcase events across 15 states.
For the DFW Regional games at Anna, AHS head baseball coach Joey Hector provided on-site management while MHS head baseball coach Jason Russell was on-site director for contests at the Melissa Sports Facility.
“I don’t know if there’s another tournament that gets put on like this,” Russell said Friday afternoon at the MSF. “They station guys at each field just to radar pitchers and take videos of players, and they put it on Twitter. They do a great job of exposing these kids to a lot of different people. It wasn’t like that when I was playing. It’s really helping these guys go out and get drafted. The stuff they do on Twitter is amazing. They’re top of the line, top-notch.
“They like to come out here. If we keep building fields, they’re going to keep loving it. With three fields and a fourth on the way - actually five, with one at Zadow - it makes it easy to put on a pretty big tournament.”
At least four Five Tool events are slated for Melissa before the end of July, including: the North Texas Classic Satellite Series, June 20-23; the Summer Showdown Satellite Series, June 27-30; the American Association of Baseball Congress Don Mattingly World Series, July 9-14; and the Satellite World Series, July 24-28. Anna will be hosting some of these games as well.
Shayne Currin was Five Tool’s tournament director for the DFW Regional. “The whole idea is to have college coaches come watch the kids play,” he said Friday at Zadow Park. “They pick and choose what they want to see. We have a lot of college coaches and pro scouts who follow our Twitter. They’ll watch our Twitter feed and it’ll say, ‘John Smith is throwing 88 miles per hour for this team.’ And they’ll go watch. That’s the success of Five Tool. They put the college coaches in a position to see everything they want to see.”
Live-game action is also provided by Five Tool staff through the Game Changer app, Currin noted.
As for Five Tool’s apparent growing affinity for this area, Currin said, “I believe they want to make Melissa kind of their home base because of the quality of the facilities. The parents love it, the kids like playing on the turf. This is the place to be for amateur baseball in DFW, in my opinion.”