June 2016, Volume 20, Number 3

Making Their Mark

MDC’s Stellar MLB Record Grows

In the same year that former MDC player Mike Piazza made the Baseball Hall of Fame, MDC’s Sharks program has sent yet another player to the major leagues.

Jabari Blash, who played for MDC in 2009 and 2010 as a raw prospect, made his Major League Baseball debut on April 4 for the San Diego Padres.

A native of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Blash is a towering 6-foot-5, 235-pound outfielder. At MDC, his natural talent was nurtured by former head coach Steve Hertz and assistant Jim Mansilla.

“There are some good players who come out of the Virgin Islands, but they don’t get a lot of coaching as kids,” Hertz said. He and Mansilla coached the young player on improving his consistency, so that Blash’s innate gifts would shine on a regular basis.

“He learned how to play the game the right way at MDC,” Mansilla said. “One time, we played a tournament in Las Vegas, and Jabari hit a grand slam. That’s when we knew he had a chance to play pro baseball.”

The Seattle Mariners agreed, drafting him in the eighth round in 2010, which began his march to the majors. Now that Blash is there, MDC tops the charts for sending players to the MLB, surpassed only by the University of Southern California.

“The baseball history of MDC is absolutely incredible,” current MDC coach Danny Price said. “We have a very proud legacy at this school and in this program.”

— WV

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