Parker Bean's debut in front of a crowd of baseball scouts wasn't great.
The game happened in the fall of his sophomore year, back in 2010. His traveling baseball team, which had two 2011 draft picks, was playing a team with seven eventual draft selections. Bean remembers scouts lining from the left-field foul pole, wrapping around home plate, to the right-field foul pole.
No pressure, right?
"Every time you get in, everyone's watching every move," Bean said. "You have to be your best every time you're out there. I didn't play in that game except to pinch run."
He was picked off.
Despite the poor first impression, Bean has drawn attention from the Angels, Pirates, Rangers, Reds and Rockies during his senior season at South Western. But with that, and being a key member of the Mustangs' lineup and pitching staff, comes pressure to perform and an ability to handle it.
This comes, of course, in a sport that Hall of Fame outfielder Ted Williams described as the only field in which a person can be successful three times out of 10 and still be considered good.
"Baseball's a real tough game," Mustangs coach Mike Resetar said. "You can get jammed and go 3-for-4 with three bloop singles or you can hit the ball on the barrel and go 0-for-4. When there's anything not gelling 100 percent, you're going to have your struggles.
"He handles it well. Outwardly, the pressure doesn't appear to get to him. He just goes out and does his thing. He's as mild-tempered a kid as I've coached. It's like golf: You can't get too emotional. The next thing you know, you're hitting the ball into the trees."
Bean is hitting .339 with three home runs and 17 stolen bases in 62 at-bats and also has a 2.27 ERA over 37 innings with 56 strikeouts against 18 walks.
With the Major League Baseball draft slightly more than two weeks away, his draft status is still unknown. ESPN named him among the preseason top high school players in Pennsylvania, but he wasn't among Baseball America's top 15 draft prospects, in high school or college, in the state.
Bean believes there's a "good possibility" of being chosen, but he is also focused on his scholarship to pitch and play outfield at Liberty University. Regardless of what happens, he's happy to have to the opportunity to keep playing after high school.
He could be drafted after performing well in front of scouts the last three years, both at tournaments and with the Mustangs. Scouts from five teams have watched him play and maintained contact throughout the season.
But with those radar guns and notepads comes an expectation to produce. Each scout is looking for flaws, reasons why a player won't reach the major leagues. There are always other players.
"I'm not going to lie and say there's no pressure (at tournaments)," Bean said. "There's all the pressure in the world. You're taking time out of your family's schedule and your schedule to go down there. There's pressure to perform.
"In the beginning when I started getting into showcase ball, 'Wow, I'm not used to this.' I think I sort of tightened up a little in the beginning.
"Just playing in front of scouts for three years, it sort of has become, I don't want to say not a big deal, but the pressure isn't as built up. It's a great opportunity to show your skills in front of these guys. I got used to them."
He only has a few more opportunities to display his talent. The Mustangs made the District 3 Class AAAA baseball tournament and play at 4:30 p.m. Monday in Warwick. Bean hopes they can go on an extended run throughout the playoffs, which would benefit him in two ways.
"It's a great opportunity for the team and a good opportunity to get some more starts in front of scouts," he said. "It'll give me a few more starts. Hopefully I can put on a good performance for them going into the draft."
This is the second of a multi-part series on Parker Bean's senior season and chances for being drafted.
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