NSW schoolboy pitcher Adam Spencer.
NSW schoolboy pitcher Adam Spencer. David Nielsen

Scouting talent at Albert Park

SCHOOLBOY pitcher Adam Spencer showed the skills that landed him a Chicago Cubs contract in leading NSW to a 7-3 win over Victoria in the opening match of School Sport Australia Baseball Championships at Albert Park, Lismore, yesterday.

Spencer is one of 100 players, mostly Year 11 students, from across the country who have converged on Lismore for the tournament that runs until Saturday.

The sandy-haired 17-year-old made headlines in January when he signed a deal reportedly worth US$130,000 to join the Cubs organisation.

Colorado Rockies scout Phil Allen, who watched on yesterday, said his club was one of six organisations that chased Spencer's signature.

In his 15 years in the role, Allen has travelled around the country watching Australia's emerging talents compete at high-level tournaments.

"Each scout looks for different things. I'm looking for good, strong, athletic bodies and players that have tools arm strength, foot speed, athletic ability," Allen said.

"One of the things I look for is, 'Could this kid go and play another sport?' If they could go and play basketball or football it shows good athletic ability."

Allen is one of 15 scouts representing US Major League Baseball organisations in town to keep an eye out for the next big thing.

"I might follow a player for four years before I give any serious consideration to signing them," he said. "I might see them play 20 times. It's very rare that you'd go and see a player and make a decision there and then."

Toronto Blue Jays scout Greg Wade, a former Queensland Claxton Shield player, watched the action while carrying a speed gun under his arm.

"Everyone is potentially of interest at this age," Wade explained.

Wade said he had travelled to spring training camps in the States and attended similar American schoolboy tournaments.

"The level of play (at this tournament) is similar to the high school level in the US," he said.

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