Westmont hosting Area Code baseball tryouts

Major League scouts and college coaches fill the stands at Westmont College to watch some of the best high school players in Southern California,

Nearly 100 of  the best high school baseball players in Southern California are at Westmont College for the next two days, taking part in the annual Area Code team tryouts.

The players, who were invited to the tryouts by a Major League scout, will showcase their skills in front of scouts and college coaches, hoping to be  selected to a 25-man team that will compete in the Area Code Games in August at Blair Field in Long Beach.

Recent San Marcos High graduate and University of Arizona recruit Riley Moore made the team last summer.

Among the area players invited to this year’s tryouts are Kees t’Sas of Santa Barbara,  Joe Huthsing of Dos Pueblos and Nathan Thompson of Santa Ynez.

“The best local players are here,” said Pepperdine assistant coach Rick Hirtensteiner, “You go to a normal Connie Mack game or VIBL game and you see about 20 players. You come out here and you get to see 100 plus guys. You don’t get to see a lot of them, but you get to see enough to see guys you need to follow. Then you go track them down the rest of the summer.”

“It gives us a chance to come out and watch the best ball players from the area all in one spot,” said Gabe Alvarez, hitting and infield coach from the University of Southern California. “(We) watch and see how they play against better competition. Some of these kids here, it might be the first time we are seeing them, so we are putting them on our radar. Usually everybody is going after the best players, but you have to bear down on all these guys because you never know how they are going to develop and how they are going to mature in a year or two.”

Area Code team tryouts are conducted all over the country by different major league teams. The tryouts at Westmont are being run by the Milwaukee Brewers.

The tryouts on Wednesday and Thursday begin at 9 a.m. In the morning, the players go through drills, including timed running, infield and outfield evaluations and batting practice. In the afternoon, there is a simulated game.

There is no admission to the tryouts.