HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C. (WNCN) — Pro5 Baseball Academy head coach Mike Griffin instructs his players on outfield play.
It’s a hot, late morning and Griffin has the full attention of his athletes. Twenty-five high school-aged players with one common goal.
“Our whole aim is to help prepare players to have success at the next level,” explained Griffin. “So we’re preparing the elite athlete to walk into college or professional baseball and have a good understanding of what they have to do to be successful at the next level.”
Ryan Clifford is the number one ranked high school player in the nation, class of 2022. One of the youngest players at Pro5, Clifford competes with and against some of the best talents in the nation. It’s an environment he feels, will help sharpen his already immense talents.
“It’s a lot of good competition these guys have the same goal as I do,” said Clifford. “Being around those guys you know they want to achieve exactly what I want to achieve.”
That is, getting to the next level, college, or straight to the pros. But to get there, though, means making sacrifices. Pro5’s travel schedule makes it nearly impossible for players to attend traditional high schools.
Clifford recently made the decision to leave Leesville Road and enroll at Crossroads Flex, an institution with more flexible hours.
“They go to school about 10 hours a week face to face and the rest is done online,” said Griffin. “We do study halls on the road we have classroom hours.”
The trade-off for missing prom’s and pep rallies is a better chance at being successful on the diamond. Ninety percent of Pro5’s players either go to college or get drafted.
“They kind of get a taste of what college or pro ball and what that schedule looks like both on their body and on their mind,” Griffin said. “So they can walk into those environments and be ready to go.”
It’s a sacrifice, but one these players are willing to make to pursue a dream.
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