Daniel Garner: Power To Spare

Sparkman (AL) High School junior catcher Daniel Garner is putting up significant power numbers this summer playing for his high school team and his summer travel team, the Memphis-based Dulins Dodgers.

"I have hit really good this summer," said Garner, who is playing for the 16U Dulins Dodgers. "I have hit 6 home runs with Dulins. I played with my high school's team a few games during the week and I hit 6 more. During the spring, I hit 7 for my high school varsity team."

And those numbers didn't just happen. Garner has done the work necessary to help make them happen.

"During the offseason I really worked on getting stronger," said the righthanded hitting catcher. "Then, this season the ball has really been carrying for me."

He was able to showcase his power at the Perfect Game 16U BCS Finals in Ft. Myers Tuesday night in a home run derby held at the Boston Red Sox spring training field.

"I hit 7 home runs in the first round and 4 in the second round for a total of 11. I had 10 (chances) each round," said Garner, who easily won the contest. The runners-up hit two in each round.

And his home runs travel great distances. He hit a 400+ home run in a tournament game played in Memphis and several of his home runs in the home run derby either hit the scoreboard or traveled into the field next to it.

As you would expect, Garner is receiving attention from college coaches and pro scouts.

"I talked to an Atlanta Braves scout at the home run derby and he said he was going to come watch me play Wednesday," said the 16-year-old.

College coaches that are paying close attention to him this summer include, among others, Alabama, Auburn and Mississippi State, the three schools he unofficially visited this past fall.

"I went to an Alabama all-star weekend in Troy (Alabama) and they were all there watching," said Daniel Garner. "We also played in Millington (TN) at the USA Stadium, and Mississippi State's head coach, Coach (John) Cohen, and (Mississippi State assistant) Coach (Butch) Thompson were there watching the game."

While Garner isn't quite ready to name a leader among the schools recruiting him, he does have a few things he is looking for in a college when it comes time to sign a National Letter of Intent in a couple of years.

"I would like to go anywhere in the SEC or ACC," he said. "I would also like to go to a place where I could contribute early and a place that can help me get drafted (after my junior season in college)."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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