One of the great careers in South Jersey history will end today when Millville centerfielder Mike Trout plays his final game. Millville will play host to Oakcrest in a 3:30 p.m. Cape-Atlantic American Conference game.
After that, Trout will have an eventful week leading up to Major League Baseball's first-year player draft, which begins June 9.
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Trout is projected as a first-round draft pick. He said he has been invited to the MLB studio in Secaucus, N.J., site of the draft show on the MLB Network.
"It's a great feeling, and I told my parents I wanted to get invited," Trout said. "It should be a great experience."
Over the weekend, Trout set a single-season South Jersey record with two home runs in a 17-7 win over Bishop Eustace. That gives him 17 this year, eclipsing the record of 16 set by Angelo Santiago of Buena and Andrew Noe of Audubon.
He said it was a thrill to get the record, but then again, Trout has simply loved playing for Millville, which is why it's important to him to play today against Oakcrest.
Trout will be at Yankee Stadium this morning for a tryout and then drive back for his final high school game.
"I made a commitment earlier to attend the tryout, but I also really want to play in this game," said Trout, who is being advised in the draft process by Craig Landis, the agent for Phillies pitcher Brett Myers.
This season, Trout has hit .520 with 17 home runs, 42 RBIs, and 48 runs. He has walked 28 times and stolen 20 bases. For good measure, the righthander went 5-1 with a 1.71 ERA.
He said no teams have given him an indication whether they will draft him, but Trout and his parents, Jeff and Debbie, have received positive feedback from major-league organizations.
Trout has a scholarship to East Carolina, but he would welcome the opportunity to begin his professional career now.
"I am a little bit anxious right now," he said. "I want to play baseball and continue to have fun."
In eight days, the real fun will begin for Trout, who is looking to become the first South Jersey first-rounder since Bishop Eustace third baseman Billy Rowell was taken No. 9 in the 2006 draft by the Baltimore Orioles.
Bruno update. While Trout deservedly has received the bulk of the draft attention, Gloucester Catholic shortstop Steve Bruno has not been forgotten by scouts. Bruno also will attend this morning's workout at Yankee Stadium.
He will fly Wednesday to Seattle for a workout the next day with the Mariners. On Sunday, he will be at Citi Field to take part in a workout for the New York Mets.
"Getting drafted would be quite an honor," said Bruno, who has a scholarship to the University of Virginia.
Like Trout, Bruno wouldn't mind beginning his professional career out of high school if the right situation presented itself.
"I'm open to anything, and getting experience now is better than getting it three years down the road," Bruno said.
Any player who attends a Division I college can't be drafted again until his junior season.
Conquerors. Three South Jersey teams won sectional titles, and Bishop Eustace will vie for the South Jersey Non-Public B crown tomorrow against St. Rose of Belmar.
Two of the three champions reside in both the Colonial Conference and the smaller-enrollment Patriot Division. They are South Jersey Group 2 champion Haddon Township, which also won the Patriot Division last week, and South Jersey Group 1 champ Gateway.
The other area sectional champion is Group 3 champion Shawnee, from the Olympic Conference Patriot Division.
Unsettled National. Before tomorrow's South Jersey title game, Bishop Eustace has a chance to win the outright title of the Olympic National Division today when the Crusaders host Timber Creek.
Eustace is 7-2 in the National Division; Seneca and Camden Catholic are 7-3. If Timber Creek wins, it will create a three-way tie.
The Inquirer TOP 10
Records through yesterday.
Last week's rankings in parentheses.
1. Cherokee (1) 18-6
2. Bishop Eustace (2) 23-7
3. Williamstown (3) 18-3
4. Haddon Township (4) 24-4
5. Shawnee (10) 17-6
6. Millville (8) 21-4
7. Gloucester Cath. (5) 19-8
8. Holy Spirit (6) 20-3-1
9. Sacred Heart (7) 25-7
10. Gateway (NR) 17-5
- Marc Narducci