Eastern Pennsylvania made significant inroads on the Big 26 Baseball Classic last year. This season, that fingerprint has expanded significantly.
The Pennsylvania roster for its three-game series against the squad of Maryland all-stars features several Eastern Pa players, including three Delaware County entrants.
Among those making the cut from Delco are Episcopal Academy catcher Ben Burman, Radnor outfielder Connor Wilson and Strath Haven outfielder James Kantner, who will be part of the team that takes on Maryland in a three-game set from July 18-20 at Harrisburg’s Metro Bank Park.
The Big 26 Classic, a baseball showcase for underclassmen in PA and Maryland and a companion to the long-running Big 33 game for football, has increased its reach in recent years to be more inclusive of the eastern part of the state. Its first major coup in Delco was 2014 Daily Times Player of the Year Kevin Mohollen, who took part as a junior. Longtime Strath Haven coach Brian Fili is serving as an assistant this year to Kevin Manero, who piloted North Penn to the 2013 PIAA Class AAAA title.
That excursion eastward has included greater participation from District One in the underclassmen showcase, inclusion in which is determined by a series of tryouts across the state. Joining the three Delco participants from District One are North Penn infielder Jared Melone and Bishop Shanahan outfielder Jeffrey Zebrowski.
Among the Delco contingent, Burman and Kantner are rising seniors, while Wilson is just a junior.
Kantner was one of the leaders in the country with eight extra-base hits this season. He batted .361 for the Panthers with 22 hits, 13 runs scored and 12 RBIs. Kantner also took part in Delco’s run to the Carpenter Cup semifinals.
Wilson, who has logged significant time for the Raiders since his freshman season, led the team in hitting this year with a .385 average and a .459 on-base percentage. He collected 25 hits (tied for most on the team) with a team-high 20 runs scored. He was also 14-for-14 on stolen base attempts.
Burman, who split his time in the high school season between catcher and third base, led EA in average, hits and RBIs this season.
For more information, visit the Big 26’s website.