Yesterday afternoon and into the early evening, the Ocean State Bandits Baseball Club held a player showcase event at the North Smithfield Wide World of Indoor Sports. This player showcase featured Bandits Baseball players from Class of 2023, 2024, and 2025 in a structured, professional workout atmosphere. Coach David Roy of the Bandits invited local college baseball coaches (and yours truly) to the event, which was held inside the massive sports bubble in the back parking lot area of WWIS. I arrived shortly before the first series of showcases and found a seat in the back corner of the field area behind a protective L-screen.
Ocean State Bandits players gathered for some pre-event instructions from Coach Roy and his staff. The advice “you never know who is watching, play hard, hustle, have fun.”
I have been going to Bandits games and events for several years now. One common theme – structure. Every single player in the event had Bandits gear from head to toe. Shirts tucked in. One thing I found really helpful was each player had their name, number, and class on the back of the jerseys. Players moved and responded to the instructions of Coach Roy and his staff. This was an important event for the players, having potential college coaches with their stopwatches and clipboards and cameras recording the player’s abilities and watching out for those intangibles that may land a player on their roster. The Bandits players were ready. Yes, there were some nerves and some pacing pre-event and some chatter amongst themselves. But, once the event got underway, the Bandits were all business.
Setting up on a diagonal of the building, one by one the players sprinted across the field, through a series of cones, then into an awaiting screen to brace themselves. Why the dash? Coaches look for athletism as well as how far you can hit a baseball or field a ground ball.
As I was taking notes and snapping photos, more and more college baseball coaches and scouts arrived. I chatted with a few of them as they made their way around the facility to get a better view of the players. Going back to Coach Roy’s pre-event comment, “you never know who is watching,” I saw a few of the players take a peak at the coaches with the clipboards and then get back to business. I asked one of the coaches what he was looking for at the Bandits showcase. “Essentially, I want to watch every drill because I can pick up something about their game with each station – running, fielding, hitting, throwing.” Another coach mentioned that he wanted players to convince him that every drill counted. “I want to see a player show me that he wants to be here, he is making the most of this showcase.” One of the Bandits Coaches nodded when I mentioned the college coach’s comments. “Show the coaches you want it! You are here, so make it count.”
Bandits players went through a series of infield defensive warmups before the showcase turned to defense. Ground balls, double plays, baseballs hit to the glove side, up the middle – the fielders went through a typical infield warmup.
The Bandits players lined up at 3rd, SS, 2nd, and 1st base to start the infielder’s showcase portion of the event. Each player was hit a series of ground balls and they were instructed to either throw to 2nd or 1st base. It was a fast moving, again structured portion of the event with players moving in and out of the front of their lines. In this portion of the event, the players could showcase their footwork, glove work, throwing arm, and range for the scouts on hand. And because WWIS is so massive, the fielding portion was awesome to watch because the players had enough room to range for baseballs and make throws and simulate what we might expect from them once the weather is baseball ready.
I found a spot next to Bandits Coach Conti for the catchers showcase portion. The Bandits staff had mapped out the distance from home to 2nd base. Catchers received the throw, popped up, then fired to 2nd. I had a really cool angle to watch the action.
The outfielder showcase featured Bandits players situated on the opposite side of the field from the Coach hitting. Fielders were given three different hits to handle – one straight at them, one to the right, one to the left. The Bandits players were to catch the bounding baseball, set their footwork in motion, and then throw home to a catcher standing next to the Bandits coach hitting the baseballs. The average depth of the outfielders was approximately short center/right/left field and the players fired the baseball home, simulating a possible play at the plate.
From where I was sitting and observing, you had to be impressed with the arm strength of these outfielders. Many of the outfielders fired the baseball on one hop or even on a line straight to the catcher’s mitt. Very impressive outfielder display.
If you love talking about baseball as much as I do, you will inevitably find me! As is the case with Coach Conti and Coach O’Dell, who sat down with me to watch the Bandits Hitting portion of the event. Coach Conti’s son Joey was one of the Bandits participating in the event. Coach O’Dell and I share a Springfield College connection, amongst other things. The three of us chatted about baseball and Cooperstown, NY and who we played for and against. Coach Conti and Coach O’Dell will be coaching one of the Bandits Showcase teams this Spring, and wow what an opportunity for a young player to learn from these two baseball minds!!! Great to chat baseball with two high class guys!
The Bandits hitting portion featured about 5 to 6 swings off a pitching machine. Players got to showcase their hitting prowess as the college coaches stood and observed.
Here is scouting sheets Coach Roy handed out to scouts and myself yesterday. I took a photo of the side where coaches can take notes on players. On the flip side of the notes was the player’s school, email, and player information. Player information can be obtained through the Bandits Baseball Club and I will include their contact information at the bottom of this article.
I wasn’t able to catch the pitching portion of the event, which took place after each Bandits player got their chance to showcase their hitting. The time I was able to observe, it was truly a great showcase event. Again, very structured, players moving around, hustling to the next phase of the event. Coaches were into it, players were into it. It was awesome to chat with coaches I know and meet some that I’ll be connecting with this Spring and Summer for sure. Huge thanks to Coach David Roy for the invite and the opportunity to watch some of Rhode Island’s top baseball underclassmen showcase their talents.
To learn more about the Ocean State Bandits, to see even more event footage (because they recorded a ton of it), and to follow the Bandits Baseball Club in 2022, here are some helpful links:
Website – Ocean State Bandits
Instagram – Bandits Baseball Club
Twitter – Ocean State Bandits