After spending the past two summers with the DeMarini Stars 15U and 16U teams, Marshall catcher Mitch Blackstone desired a change. He had gotten to know St. John’s Coach Mark Gibbs at the Diamond Skills All-American Camp at Georgetown Prep in the winter and liked the guidance he received.

Ultimately, Blackstone decided to spend his final summer circuit with the Diamond Skills Dodgers 17U squad. Blackstone, primarily a catcher, will also play first base and in the outfield as there is a logjam at  his natural position with three catchers on the team. He’s still awaiting a Division I offer, but several schools have expressed interest.

“I want to show scouts I can be flexible, and hopefully that can improve my college stock,” Blackstone said.

The honorable mention All-Met hit .511 with five home runs and 27 RBI for the Statesmen. He was voted Conference 13 player of the year, 5A North region player of the year and first team all-state for his outstanding spring. His older brother, Kent, hit .251 with a .388 on-base percentage in 167 at-bats at New Mexico State as a sophomore infielder this season.

“I’m a firm believer that hard work pays off,” Mitch Blackstone said. “I wasn’t the biggest kid as a freshman, I got better my sophomore year and I was smooth this season. The work I put in has helped me progress as a player.”

In late May, interest in Blackstone picked up after he was named to the Rawlings Top Prospect List at the Sunshine Northeast Showcase in Vineland, N.J. He had a pop time of 1.90 on throws to second base, ran a 6.80 60-yard-dash and had his throws clocked at 75 mph from the backstop to second base.

At 6- feet 3 and 190 pounds, his size and athleticism have helped him garner interest from UMBC, Princeton, Virginia Commonwealth, Columbia, VMI, College of Charleston, Harvard, Albany and Eastern Kentucky.

Hitting the ball has been his calling card, as he has a quick swing and constantly gets the barrel of the bat on the ball. But he wants to use the summer to show colleges he can receive and block pitches well.

City participation is more than 10,000

Thursday, the D.C. State Athletic Association released its first city-wide participation numbers. In the 2013-14 school year 10, 706 high school students participated in sports at public, public charter and private schools in the District. According to date from individual member schools, 6,923 boys and 3,783 girls participated in high school sports.

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