Lloyd’s Big Day Leads to Scholarship at South Carolina

lloydDaniel Lloyd’s stars were lined up just right this summer and the RHP from Summerville, SC landed a scholarship at the University of South Carolina. Lloyd’s story is somewhat unconventional and is the perfect example of the cliche’ “someone is always watching”. Rewind to the 17U WWBA this past summer where Lloyd’s team (Carolina Prospects) were playing US Elite’s Team Majestic.

US Elite’s Director, Mark Helsel, tells the story of what happened. “I was coaching our 17U team and Daniel was playing SS. I could clearly see he was a great athlete and a talented kid. Then, they put him in to pitch against us. He pretty much shut us down, with a mid 80’s FB from a low ¾ arm slot. Our guys did not like hitting off him. I remember saying to some players in our dugout, “you never know who is watching”. I was really impressed with this kid. Not only did he pitch well, he also carried himself well. He was confident and he smiled. He was having fun playing baseball. That stood out to me”.

About a week after that event Lloyd got a call from Coach Helsel. “The first thing he asked me was who was recruiting me, said Lloyd. I told him that I did not have a lot happening yet, and that kind of surprised him. I remember him saying that he could change that. He invited me to play with Coach LaNeve’s 2018’s at the Perfect Game World Series. After talking with my parents, we accepted the offer”.

Lloyd’s first outing did not go so well. “In all fairness to Daniel, the mound he was pitching off had a huge hole and its was really hard to land. He struggled, but what I liked most was he didn’t make any excuses. I knew he was disappointed, but I also knew he would get another shot before the tournament was over”. The 2018’s rolled through pool play, going undefeated in one of the most elite events in the country (eventually taking third). The final game in pool play was against Team Elite Prime, one of the top teams in the country. Team Elite is loaded with ACC and SEC commits, including the #1 ranked player in the country. Helsel gave the ball to Lloyd as the starter. “I was excited to see what he could do against a powerhouse team” remembers Helsel.

Lloyd was ready for the challenge. He cruised through the Team Elite lineup and was in complete control for six innings as US Elite won the game 7-4. “He pitched like I knew he was capable of pitching”, said Helsel. Luckily for Lloyd there were a lot of college coaches there to see him pitch. “I really promoted that game to college coaches because I believed Daniel would shine on that stage, and he did. He picked a good day to have a good day”. But, the best was yet to come.

“I was sitting at nearby Wendy’s after the game and Daniel’s dad called me and said he needed to talk to me right away, said Helsel. I told him where I was he said he would be right over. He came right over to me and gave me a big hug and said, “Daniel has scholarship offers from an ACC and a SEC school. Needless to say, I was ecstatic with that news”.

“Coach Helsel gave me an opportunity and I am very grateful for that. You can tell that he really wants to help kids, even kids like me that weren’t even in his program. It really does prove that you never know who is watching, said Lloyd. Shortly after the event in GA, Lloyd and his family visited South Carolina and accepted their offer. “I have always been a huge USC Baseball fan. Everyone dreams of playing for them and now I am actually going to be doing just that. It’s pretty amazing. I couldn’t be more excited”.

Lloyd will get an opportunity to rejoin his new buddies at US Elite as he will play in both the Perfect Game Underclass (Ft. Myers) and Perfect Game World Championships (Jupiter, FL) this fall. “I’m looking forward to these next two events. It’s a great team to play on, with a bunch of good kids”.

Helsel is quick to point out, Lloyd’s story is rare. “Daniel is a super talented kid and was in the right place at the right time. Sometimes it happens that way, but not often. I’m just glad it worked out for him and his family. He has a very bright future”.