Jason Groome, Potential No. 1 Pick, Puts on Show With Tyler Mondile

CAMDEN, N.J. - An array of scouts packed and squeezed into the section behind home plate, radar guns and notebooks in hand.

As Jason Groome flung his signature curveball for a knee-buckling strikeout against his first batter faced, he then had everyone's attention.

The night was on.

Pitch by pitch, punchout by punchout, Groome and Tyler Mondile, a pair of talented MLB prospects from New Jersey, captivated the 6,005 people in attendance Monday night at Campbell's Field. The former home of the defunct Camden Riversharks was sold out and alive again as Groome and Barnegat High School squared off with Mondile and Gloucester Catholic High School for a great cause.

"When they announced [6,005], I was like, ‘Woah,'" Mondile said.

The game was put together in the effort of striking out cancer, as all proceeds went to The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and The Kari Jenkinson's Fund.

"All these people, this turnout was amazing," Groome said.

"This game was awesome. The charity was the most important thing."

The 6-foot-5, 230-pound left-hander is of note to Phillies fans across the Delaware Valley. The 17-year-old senior is a top-flight prospect projected to be snagged in the top 10 of the 2016 MLB draft June 9-11. The Phillies, picking at No. 1 overall, are a strong possibility.

On Monday, Groome showed why Phillies general manager Matt Klentak and his team have kept a watchful eye every time he steps on a mound. Groome and Mondile went back and forth in a pitching clinic.

The final lines in a 1-0 Gloucester Catholic win speak for themselves.

For Groome: six innings pitched, one run, zero earned runs, 14 strikeouts, two hits, two walks, 97 pitches, (60 strikes, 37 balls).

And Mondile: seven innings pitched, zero runs, zero earned runs, 10 strikeouts, three hits, one walk, 103 pitches, (70 strikes, 33 balls).

Rob Rabena, director of sports performance at Maplezone Sports Institute in Delaware County, trains both pitchers. Groome and Mondile have become friendly at MSI.

"They both are extremely hard workers," Rabena said in an interview with CSNPhilly.com before the game. "I've seen the gamut of a baseball player from 12-, 15-[year-olds], high school to even professional players. I've seen everyone's work ethics, and theirs are definitely what it takes to be successful and make it as an MLB player."

Mondile hit 95 mph on the radar gun Monday night, while Groome topped at 94.

Impressively, Groome struck out his final eight batters, using his power fastball, devastating curveball and keep-you-honest changeup. His motion is fluid and polished, and all his strengths were on display.

"His delivery is extremely smooth and you see the same smoothness in his weight room," Rabena said. "He does a little bit of everything well, which is what you're looking for in a baseball player."

A throwing error by Barnegat on a bunt allowed the game's only run to score.

Still, Groome, a Vanderbilt commit, wowed all spectators.

"My fastball was definitely working my best," Groome said. "My curveball came along toward the end, started to have a lot sharper break."

He wasn't thinking of all the scouts camped behind home plate watching his every move.

"I'm a little different, I never really try to impress the scouts," Groome said. "I just think of me and my catcher's glove and just go out there and execute my pitches.

"I don't really go out there and [try] to light up the radar guns."

Rabena has worked with Cole Hamels, Mike Adams and Brett Oberholtzer, among many other professionals. Groome is one of the best he's ever seen.

"I've been fortunate enough to work with a lot of high-level guys, and Jay's definitely up there," Rabena said. "Jay definitely has what it takes to get to that level one day."

Groome wants to improve his changeup. But overall, he's been pleased with his progress leading up to the draft.

"I think as far my command goes, that's pretty good," he said. "I've got to show a little more depth on my changeup. I'm not really getting out in front of it, left a couple high today, but they fouled it off, they didn't really make me pay. Later on down the road, I've got to get that depth on it."

Mondile, who is committed to Florida State, will also be taken - not as early as Groome - in the draft.

He soaked up Monday's event.

"The attention on him, little bit attention on me, it's definitely awesome," he said. "I've never gotten pictures taken while I was warming up in the outfield."

Groome smiled big when asked about it all.

"It's exciting seeing all these cameras," he said. "It's definitely a first."

And if the Phillies call his name June 9?

"It would be pretty awesome," he said. "I'm pretty much a hometown kid. I go to Citizens Bank [Park] a lot, I used to go there all the time for games. It would just be a dream come true.

"If the Phillies were to take me, it would just be all my hard work paid off. I know the draft isn't the biggest picture, but it would be pretty awesome to go one. I'm just taking it day by day and just living up the moment."

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