Heading for the Majors?
By TONY WHITE
US talent scouts eye off Grafton prodigy
AT the tender age of 15 Grafton baseball prodigy James Linger is attracting interest from American Major League scouts.
The youngster could be 12 months, or a home run or two away, of living out every baseballer's dream.
Linger has just returned home after playing for Queensland in the Under-16 National AA Championships at Mount Gambier, South Australia.
During the tournament Linger's father Mark, a former Australian representative, was approached by a talent scout who initiated discussions in signing the young star.
"I was approached by an agent asking if James would be interested in signing with his agency," Mark Linger said.
"It would be up to James. Eventually he would end up with a professional contract to play in America."
Linger is still too young to be officially signed, but word around the baseball traps suggests several American agents have targeted the Year 10 McAuley Catholic College student as a player of considerable interest.
Last year Linger was selected for the Under-17 Australian team that contested the World Series in Mexico.
Unfortunately for Linger and his Queensland team mates the National Championships turned sour just at the wrong time.
Touted as warm favourites for national honours, the gun Queenslanders blazed through the qualifying rounds undefeated but inexplicably fell apart in the finals.
"They were favourites and annihilated their opposition winning every qualifying game then fell in a heap. They just couldn't put it together in the finals and lost their three games," Mark Linger said.
"They went from the toast of the town to the bottom end. The boy's were very disappointed."
James Linger finished second in the Queensland batting averages.
Queensland placed fourth to NSW in the tournament.