By Maurice Patton
MOBILE, Ala. – It was less the results, and more the process, that drew Kavares Tears’ focus at the conclusion of Saturday’s MBP All American Game.
The Columbia Academy senior outfielder, who signed a baseball scholarship with the University of Tennessee on Nov. 11, went 0-for-2 in the inaugural contest at Hank Aaron Stadium.
Amongst a collection of some of the top minority baseball prospects in the country, Tears took a called strike three to lead off the game for the Larry Doby team – named for the first African-American to play in the American League – and drew a walk to load the bases in the top of the third inning, then later re-entered the game and grounded out to second base in the eighth.
“I had some good at-bats, went deep in (pitch) counts,” Tears said after the Jackie Robinson team won a 6-4 decision. “I hadn’t seen live pitching since early October, so I wasn’t terribly disappointed with my performance.
“It was mainly just about having fun. I’ve never been a part of anything like this, with all the best minority players in the country, all playing against each other. I love it.”
Tears was one of two UT 2021 recruiting class members participating in Saturday’s showcase event, along with infielder Christian Moore. Vanderbilt had a trio of representatives in the contest – 2021 commitment Kenneth Mallory and ’22 commits R.J. Austin and Andruw Jones Jr.
Also playing was Knoxville Catholic junior outfielder/pitcher Kaden Martin, the son of former UT quarterback and current Volunteers receivers coach (and Mobile native) Tee Martin. The younger Martin, playing with Tears, went 2-for-2 with a double.
“This is great for our kids,” said Rodrick Tears, Kavares’ father. “These kids can play.”
More than a dozen scouts from across Major League Baseball were on hand for the contest, along with representatives from various college baseball coaching staffs.
“I think it was a great weekend for the guys,” said veteran Georgia high school baseball coach Alexander Wyche, founder/CEO of Minority Baseball Prospects. “For the first year, getting these kids from all around the country, we couldn’t have asked for a better event. It’s great to give these guys an opportunity. We’re really pleased with it.”
Maurice Patton is the editor for Southern Middle Tennessee Sports. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @mopatton_sports.