NSA team gets a taste of the big-time

Published 9:02 am Friday, July 13, 2012


SUFFOLK—Nansemond-Suffolk Academy baseball players are getting an opportunity this summer to work out with high-level college players and Major League draftees thanks to NSA coach David Mitchell.

Mitchell is an assistant coach with the Hampton-based Peninsula Pilots in the Coastal Plain League. The CPL is a professional development league designed to help elite college players get to the majors and MLB draftees to boost their value prior to being signed.

“Me being over here allows an open door for kids from Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, baseball players (in) particular,” Mitchell said, “to come out and be around very good college baseball players from some of your major ACC, Big East, Southern conference schools and learn from them, work out with them, ask questions, just be a sponge around these guys for most of the summer.”

During the high school season, NSA’s players benefit from Mitchell’s coaching, but in this context, the benefits come in a different way.

“It’s all interaction for them with these other players, because my responsibility this summer (is) the Pilots’ players,” Mitchell said. “So, basically, what I’ve told the kids from Nansemond-Suffolk is, ‘You’ve got an opportunity, here it is. Come out, I’m going to introduce you to the players. From that point on, it’s your responsibility to kind of shadow these elite players for the day and for the season.’”

Mitchell said NSA players Jake Grady, Greg Beale, Toby Buchanan, Reece Walton, and Mitchell Williams are regulars for Pilots workouts.

Rising sophomore catcher Toby Buchanan has been able to take a permanent role with the Pilots this summer.

“He’s actually the full-time bullpen catcher over here,” Mitchell said.

Each year, an average of 15 to 16 players who play with the Pilots get drafted into Major League Baseball. Some get drafted after having left.