December 16, 2014 Egg Harbor Twp HS
By DAVE O’SULLIVAN (Publisher)
Egg Harbor Township senior baseball player Mike Lahoud will be taking advantage of a chance of a lifetime and heading to sunny Miami two days after Christmas to compete in the 9th annual Power Showcase Home Run Derby.
Players from across the country, as well as international players, can only attend after being recommended by a pro scout, and Lahoud, a Monmouth University commit, was surprised to hear he was on the list. Another Cape-Atlantic League player, slick-fielding Buena Regional shortstop Marcos Rios, also was invited.
“They called my dad probably about a month ago. It’s an MLB showcase where they bring in some of the top players from the United States and international players, and they just play games, work out and showcase their skills in front of scouts. I’ve never been to anything like this for MLB but I’ve been to some college showcases,” Lahoud said. “I’m very excited. The experience alone is amazing, whether you do good or not. Obviously, you want to do well, but the experience itself is just once in a lifetime. At first I was kind of in shock, but it felt awesome. The only way you can get there is to be recommended by a scout, and to think there were teams even giving me a little bit of a look was really exciting.”
Lahoud and Rios actually have a history together, as former travel ball teammates.
“I’m good friend with Rios. We used to play together on a travel team a little bit when we were younger,” Lahoud said. “My dad is actually real good friends with his dad, so we’re excited to go down there together.”
The showcase features games and workouts, but the highlight certainly is the home run derby. Players are asked to sponsor someone who they want to compete for and raise money to help that person, or people, as the case may be. Generally, players select someone from a children’s hospital in the Miami area, but Lahoud wanted to help someone in his own family.
The Morris family is headed by Jay Morris, who was married to Stephanie, the cousin of Mike’s mother, Leeann. Stephanie died suddenly earlier this year, leaving Jay to raise their three children as a single father. In addition, Stephen Morris, 12, has special needs and sometimes requires outside help. Leeann said Jay is a big family man and has tried to cut his hours at work in order to have more time to devote to his children, but doing so has hurt the family financially.
Mike said there wasn’t even a question, he wanted to raise money to help out his cousins.
“You can choose who you want to sponsor. I could have easily visited a hospital (in Miami) and picked out someone, but it was important for me to find somebody I was connected to in some way. It means a lot helping out family,” Mike said.
Leeann said that Stephanie was a very loving and caring person, and her passing has hit the family hard. She said that’s why she is glad Mike has chosen to support the Morris’ during this showcase event.
For Mike’s part, he said he is ready. He’s not a natural power hitter, more of a gap line-drive hitter, but said he has been consistently in the batting cage this offseason and feels he is as ready as he is going to be come Dec. 27.
“I feel like I’m ready for this. I hit three to four times a week, I work out with the wrestling team. I think I’ve prepared as well as I possibly could for this time of year for somebody who lives in New Jersey,” Mike said.
Whether he hits one home run or 10, Mike said this will be an experience he’ll treasure for a long time to come.
“It’s going to be awesome, once in a lifetime,” Mike said. “Unless you actually make it (to the majors) you’ll probably never have the opportunity to step on a field like that again. It’s very exciting, everything about it.”
Contact Dave O’Sullivan: email@example.com; on Twitter @GDsullysays
If you would like to contribute to help Mike raise money for his family members in need, please contact Leann Lahoud at 609-374-4490 or email firstname.lastname@example.org