FARMINGTON — Three local players have been chosen to join Strike Zone Baseball's 2013 Connie Mack World Series roster.
Clay Miller, Dillan Vigil and Zach Ahlgrim will all get the chance to participate in the world series. It will be the first CMWS for Ahlgrim and Vigil, and Miller joins the team as a local pick-up for the second consecutive year.
Strike Zone is permitted to add three players from the local city league and another two from the South Plains Regional after the South Plains qualifier.
Miller, a 35th round draft pick of the Kansas City Royals, is a 2013 graduate of Bayfield High School and was a member of the DC MOB Connie Mack city league team. He is the lone pitcher that Strike Zone picked up, adding a powerful left-handed arm to the team's rotation that features right-handers Ian Doughty and Indalecio Romo at the top.
"Clay is a big lefty arm and a good one," said Strike Zone head coach Adam Morrissey. "At this level with the Connie Mack World Series teams that are here every year, you gotta have pitching. It is huge for us to add Clay. It gives us a lot of confidence, and we like our lineup one through nine at the plate. We are going to have to pitch very well, get timely hits and capitalize on any opportunity we get."
Miller is happy to join Strike Zone again because of the opportunity it provides for him to play with fellow Colorado guys Ben Wiley, Connor Dugan, Danny Rowley and Sean Blanchard.
"I am stoked. I have grown up playing with most of these guys, and it will be fun to play with them one last time," Miller said. "The crowd down there is unbelievable. Getting the ball again would be awesome."
Miller is also hoping to improve his 2014 MLB draft stock with a good performance. He plans on attending Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, Colo., for at least one season.
"It sounds like there are scouts everywhere, so a good outing would definitely benefit me for sure," he said.
Ahlgrim, an incoming junior at Piedra Vista High and a member of the Rivercats Connie Mack city league team, will give Strike Zone depth at catcher, where the team only had Rowley during the regular season.
Ahlgrim is a strong, quick catcher who has power at the plate and hit third in the Rivercats lineup and fourth in the PV varsity lineup last spring.
"Zach is a good hitting catcher and, if something happened to Danny, we have to have someone to back him up," Morrissey said.
Vigil, a PV graduate and member of the 4-Corners city league team, is an above-average glove at third base who can help Strike Zone defensively if called upon.
"Vigil is a kid that has busted his butt all year. He had a good summer, and we want him to experience what we are about to experience," Morrissey said.
Vigil, who is signed to Wayland Baptist in Lubbock, Texas, is excited to end his playing career at Ricketts Park during the CMWS.
"It's an amazing feeling. My whole life, I've always wanted to be a part of the experience, and now I get my chance," he said. "I would love to showcase my defense at the series. I take a lot of pride in playing my position. Getting the opportunity to show the fans of the series would be a great feeling."
Vigil said even better than being asked to play in the CMWS is the opportunity to reunite with PV teammates Jacy Cave, Jeremy Johnson, Ian Doughty and Matt Martin.
"I've played with all of these guys at some point or another and a lot of them are like family," Vigil said. "Playing in the series with them just makes it that much better."John Livingston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4648. Follow him on Twitter @jlivi2.