Baseball: Maine East’s Papaioannou keeps calm in front of scouts
Pitcher Seth Rosenberg (19) of Niles West and catcher Phil Papaioannou of Maine East (16) have a discussion at the mound. | Rob Dicker~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 29, 2012 6:05AM
As one of three catchers on the CSL’s 25-man roster at the Stevenson Showcase, Maine East catcher Phil Papaioannou knew the two-day event wouldn’t mirror a regular game.
The catchers would work only three innings in each game behind the plate. The opportunities to make an impression on the scouts — over 100 were expected to attend — were extremely limited.
But Papaioannou, who drew only two plate appearances, made the most of his opportunities. The Maine East senior drew a pair of walks, but unlike a traditional game, the count reset and he got another at-bat.
“Yeah, but you have to make the most of it,” said Papaioannou when asked if he disappointed to get only get one at-bat in the first game, which the CSL lost 10-4 to the WSC. “You just have to focus in on that one at-bat.”
With so many scouts in attendance and Maine East baseball not typically a program which draws much attention from scouts, Papaioannou went against expectations and didn’t feel nervous or anxious during the showcase.
The calm he felt seemed to translate to patience in the batters’ box.
“I know a lot of the kids around me,” said Papaioannou, Maine East’s lone representative. “It takes some of the pressure off, so it’s not too bad. I just had the regular nerves before you play.”
The CSL bounced back to defeat the MSL 5-1. Papaioannou, an all-conference player in 2012, figures to receive increased exposure this summer.
He’s playing on Mount Prospect’s legion team, along with 2012 Maine East graduates Tyler and Andrew Glowacki. He’ll also compete with the Blue Demons’ summer team, working with A.J. Plis to help rebuild a club that graduated a slew of talented players that helped Maine East to triple its win total.
Papaiuannou will be a cornerstone of the Maine East baseball program next season. Along with a new leadership role, he’s trying to develop nearly every facet of his game — including his pop time, which measures a catcher’s quickness behind the plate — to both help replace the graduates and land a college scholarship.
“I’m trying to improve my batting — making a little bit more solid contact, going the opposite way and stuff like that,” Papaiuannou said.