MURRAY - Murray State baseball coach Dan Skirka has enjoyed the opportunity over the summer to be involved with the Prospect Development League in Bradenton, Florida.
In a collaborative effort between Major League Baseball and USA Baseball, the PDL paves the way for the best young amateur players in the United States to develop and be more easily identified. The league, held at the IMG Academy, also features a part in MLB All-Star Week, high school-aged competition and Team USA 18U trials.
"This has been an absolute honor to be a part of the PDL and help coach with Team USA," Skirka said. "Anytime you get a chance to be around the best the game, you take it. There is a lot I've learned that will help our team at Murray State.
"Of course, on the field working with the best young players is awesome, but it is the side conversations, at lunch, in the dugout and during early work with former big leaguers like Fred McGriff, Lance Berkman and Chipper Jones that is so special and beneficial," he added.
Skirka has been involved in practices, training sessions and coaching games and otherwise soaking up the experience to gain knowledge that he can put to use in his own program with the Racers, where he just finished his first season in May.
"I've met a lot of contacts in the scouting and coaching community," Skirka said. "Being here has helped spread the word about our great university and baseball program at Murray State, so this is something that has been great to be part of."
In his first season as head coach at Murray State, Skirka's team won a program-record 16 Ohio Valley Conference games and a share of fourth place. When the Racers defeated UT Martin in their second game of the OVC Tournament in Marion, Illinois, Skirka joined legendary coach Johnny Reagan as the only rookie MSU coaches to win a postseason game.