first_imgBrookdale Community College head baseball coach Johnny Johnson and New York Mets East Coast Scout Joe Nigro take a moment to get away from the action at the Mets Invitation Only tryouts at the Lincroft school’s campus on Aug. 5. Brookdale Community College was the host for the recent New York Mets’ Invitation Only tryouts. The Mets invited the top high school juniors of 2003 and some college-bound players from the tristate area to the Lincroft campus on Aug. 5 to get a pre-draft look at the prospects. The players were put through a variety of drills at their respective positions (outfield/infield/catcher/pitcher) and a timed 60-yard dash so that the Mets could get an idea of what players to look for during the 2004 scholastic and college seasons. Among the more than 60 players invited to the Lincroft campus was Brick’s Robbie Heins, who will be playing for Brookdale this coming season. The Mets chose Lincroft because of the connection between the club’s East Coast scout, Joe Nigro, and the BCC coaching staff. “I’ve known Joe for years,” said the Jersey Blues’ manager Johnny Johnson. “He’s knows his baseball and is one of the top scouts. “My assistant coach, John Wells, works with Nigro,” he added. The Mets had wanted to use Shea Stadium for the tryouts, but it was unavailable, as was the Brooklyn Cyclones home field. Johnson and Wells suggested to Nigro that he could use the Brookdale facilities for the tryouts, and the Mets’ scout agreed. The tryouts had something in it for Brookdale, also. It allowed the best high school players to get a first-hand look at the college and its baseball facilities. It served as a recruiting forum for the Jersey Blues. “The main reason I wanted the Mets to use the field was to showcase our field to the top players from the tristate area,” said Johnson. “I got a couple of inquires from parents.” Since the baseball program started in 1971 under Paul MacLaughlin, it has established a national reputation. The Blues have won countless Garden State Athletic Conference and Region XIX titles, and have frequently been the Junior College World Series (most recently, 2002, under Johnson) and have had Major League stars such as Denny Walling and John “the Count” Montefusco come up through the program. — Tim Morrislast_img

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