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Future Stars' Trip Generates Interest from Colleges, Pros

The Future Stars of the U.S.V.I.Future Stars Baseball players recently hit the mainland for their annual fall trip, which allowed the athletes to scout out colleges and play against some of the top-ranked high-school talent.

Future Stars was started in the territory by Darren Canton, whose goal has been to train well-rounded student athletes and get them exposed to a variety of educational and professional opportunities in the territory and abroad.

This year’s fall trip took the players to Florida, where they held their own showcase and met with coaches, who talked to them about expectations at the college level.

“We opened with our own showcase, and had about 12 pro scouts and colleges in attendance, which was one of our best turnouts to date,” Canton said over the weekend. “We were scheduled to play seven games, but there was a lot of rain, so we got in four games, where we went 2-2.”

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Canton said his “talent showed up,” allowing several of the students to receive scholarship offers for the upcoming spring semester, while others got some pro interest.

Scouts on the field this year came from the Seattle Mariners, the Miami Marlins, the Chicago White Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays, among others, while Miami Dade College, Weber International and Tennessee Community College also had coaches in attendance, Canton said.

Local players of interest this year included St. Thomas’ Malik Mitchell, who has already committed to Galveston Community College, along with Ivanna Eudora Kean’s Emari Mills, Charlotte Amalie High School’s Jeduthun Joseph, and Raymon Sankitts, a student at the St. Croix Educational Complex.

Canton said the trip has grown each year – with even players from the mainland looking to come out and show with the V.I. contingent.

“The talent was there, so this is definitely something we’re going to continue to do and develop so we can promote our players,” Canton said.

Future Stars’ professionals Jabari Blash, Akeel Morris and Jharel Cotton are among the local players to make it into the big leagues, spending the last few years performing in the minors with hopes of being called up to their major league clubs – from the Mariners to the Mets and Dodgers.

The V.I. Port Authority, V.I. Lottery and Sports, Parks and Recreation sponsored the trip and helped get several of the players to Florida, Canton said.

Next up for Future Stars is the organization’s annual Scout Day, which brings pro scouts from all over the U.S. to Lionel Roberts Stadium on St. Thomas for an invitational training session with the local athletes.

Scout Day is scheduled for Jan. 27, and Canton said several teams have already confirmed.

“We also continue to get requests from several teams who want to come down from the states,” Canton said. “So, we expect a very good group – at this point, we expect 20 to 25 scouts to be there.”

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