College next for Youth Academy standouts 

November 10th, 2021

There was a lot to celebrate for young baseball and softball players in Compton, Calif., and New Orleans on Saturday as Major League Baseball’s Youth Academies in those areas hosted ceremonial collegiate commitment letter signings at their facilities.

A group of academy members participated in the ceremony, while others had already signed their commitments separately.

Equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, the MLB Youth Academies in Compton and New Orleans serve children throughout the greater Los Angeles and New Orleans areas, particularly those from underserved communities, offering the highest quality baseball and softball instruction as well as resources to develop athletes off the field (e.g., SAT/ACT classes).

Vocational programs in areas such as broadcasting, sports law and groundskeeping are key components available to all academy members. The academies are also sites of important MLB initiatives, including the Breakthrough Series, Andre Dawson Classic and Play Ball events.

“We preach education. Obviously, parents have the biggest stake in their household,” said Eddie Davis, director of the New Orleans Youth Academy. “We focus on the 90 percent, not the 10 percent that could go pro, and that is easy to see. For this [academy] to last a long time, it has to have a strong foundation, and part of that is drilling to a lot of those kids that it’s after you play the sport, it’s what you can do off the field, outside the lines. We create opportunities for the 90 percent who walk through the turnstiles. That is going to give you longevity.”

One player who took advantage of his four years at the academy was infielder/outfielder Joshua Bluain, who went to Hammond High School in Louisiana and is planning to attend Seminole State College. He lives an hour away from the academy.

“For him to come to the academy after school on weekdays -- to drive an hour here and an hour back -- that shows his commitment,” Davis said. “He is all about business. He does things the right way. For me, that shows that he is serious about the sport and it shows his commitment level.”

The academies are for boys and girls who aspire to play baseball or softball. Catcher/third baseman Ca’Terra Bates will be soon going to Grambling State University after taking advantage of four years at the academy. She was an RBI participant and a Team MLB travel player.

“Ca’Terra really came along great under the tutelage of our softball instructor Antonio Villegas,” Davis said. “Obviously, she utilized the academy to polish her skills and get an opportunity to showcase those skills and now she is committed to Grambling.”

Below is a list of the players from the Compton and New Orleans academies who signed a letter of intent to go to college:

Compton

Adriana Wiggins
High school: Wilson High School
Years at the academy: Four
Academy highlights: Member of the All-Star Jennie Finch Classic and Team MLB travel ball teams; consistent participant at academy open workouts and Zoom workouts during the pandemic; exemplary grades
School attending: Carleton College in Minnesota

Delshaun Lanier
High school: North Torrance
Years at the academy: 10
Academy highlights: Member of several Compton Academy travel teams (RBI Baseball 13-15; Junior Olympics Arizona 13-15; 14U Baseball Heaven in Long Island, New York; Academy Scout Team World Series in Los Angeles; All-Star Commissioner’s Cup); exemplary grades; participant of Breakthrough Series
School attending: UC San Diego

Ca’Terra Bates (C/3B)
High school: Academy of Our Lady High School
Year at the academy: Four years
Academy highlights: RBI and Team MLB travel ball participant
School attending: Grambling State University

Ca’Terra Bates signs her commitment to Grambling State University during National Signing Day at the New Orleans Youth Academy on Saturday.Jonathan Bachman/MLB Photos

Dylan Lina (SS/RHP)
High school: St. John Bosco
Years at the academy: 11
Academy highlights: Member of several academy travel teams (All-Star Commissioner’s Cup, Team MLB, Scout Ball); consistent participant in academy open workouts
School attending: San Jose State University

Kassius Thomas (OF/RHP)
High school: Sierra Canyon
Years at the academy: Five
Academy highlights: Member of All-Star Commissioner’s Cup and Scout Ball teams; consistent participant in academy open workouts
School attending: Duke University

New Orleans

Joshua Bluain (INF/OF)
High school: Hammond High School
Years at the academy: Four
Academy highlights: RBI and Team MLB travel ball participant
School attending: Seminole State College

Charles Green (RHP)
High school: Edna Karr High School
Years at the academy: One
Academy highlights: RBI and Academy Workgroup participant
School attending: Texas Southern University

Jyah Hamilton (1B)
High school: DeLaSalle High School
Years at the academy: Three
Academy highlights: RBI and Team MLB travel ball participant
School attending: Grambling State University