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      NBT Bank Stadium hosting best ballplayers on the East Coast this week

      The East Coast Pro Showcase, featuring the best baseball players from up and down the East Coast, descends upon NBT Bank Stadium this week.

      A four-day event, the showcase includes some of the best high school baseball players, who are watched by dozens of scouts and front office personnel from major league baseball teams. More than 200 first-round MLB Draft picks since 1997 have played in this showcase, including current Major League Baseball players like Mark Teixeira (Yankees), Mike Trout (Angels) and David Wright (Mets).

      It's one of the top two showcases of its kind in the entire country.

      "It's growing," Alex Agostino says. "There's more and more players playing and this showcase gives players an opportunity to give players like Scott Blewett and Jeff Belge, who may not be known earlier, a look, because it's not a hotbed of scouting at 15/16, but I like that, because it's long term development baseball.

      Last year, the showcase helped elevate Baldwinsville pitcher Scott Blewett's draft status. Blewett was drafted in the second round of the MLB Draft in June, and then signed a a contract worth $1.8 million two weeks later.

      Once again, this year another Central New York pitcher will take part in the event, as Henninger/Syracuse East pitcher Jeffrey Belge, just 16 years old, plans to pitch for the "Phillies" team. He's a prospect in the Class of 2016, and has committed to St. John's University. Belge says he's learned a lot from Blewett, and looks forward to representing Central New York.

      "It's definitely fun," Belge says. "It's fun also to get out of here and go down South and play a little bit where it's warm, but being able to come up here people don't expect a lot, and it's nice to show 'em what you got."

      Belge will pitch on Friday at 10 a.m. against the "Indians" team. Games will take place at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday, they will be at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. On Saturday, they take place at 9:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. All games are at NBT Bank Stadium.

      An all-day pass to the East Coast Pro Showcase can be purchased for $10.