Photo: Perfect Game

Classic 'bulldog' leads the Show

Vincent Cervino

Published: Saturday, July 02, 2016




2016 PG All-American Classic Selection Show: Tuesday, July 12 (click for details)

EMERSON, Ga. –Brian Cain, the manager of the San Diego Show, competing at the 2016 17u WWBA National Championship on the Perfect Game Park South fields at LakePoint, has a key phrase he used to describe Kyle Hurt.

“He’s a bulldog.”

Kyle Hurt is the 11th-ranked player nationally for the class of 2017 and is committed to play baseball at the University of Southern California. An extremely talented pitcher, Hurt stands tall at 6-foot-4 and delivers the baseball with such ease on the mound. He has a fastball that sits 90-92 mph with life that he pairs with a very good changeup and a curveball.

Hurt is a native of San Diego and was recently selected, along with fellow San Diegan Nick Allen, as one of the first two Perfect Game All-Americans. The Perfect Game All-American Classic has been played in Petco Park in San Diego for the past eight years and Hurt gets to pitch not only as an All-American, but in his own backyard.

“I was at the Padres game on Tuesday with PG and we went on the field,” said Hurt. “It was a super cool experience and I can’t wait to play in the game.”

Hurt has been all over the country during this summer. He attended the Perfect Game National Showcase in Fort Myers, Fla., a few weeks ago where he wowed scouts. Hurt also pitched for Team Brave under USA Baseball’s Tournament of Stars. Then he went back home to San Diego where he was announced as one of the first two All-Americans as part of a press conference at Petco prior to the Padres/Orioles game. The next stop on the Summer-Of-Hurt was Emerson, Georgia for the 17u WWBA National Championship.

“It’s a huge honor and Perfect Game has helped me a lot in terms of getting exposure with these showcases and tournaments,” said Hurt. “I want to thank them for helping me.”

The rigors of summer travel are not new to the Hurt family. Kevin Hurt, Kyle’s father, explained how they’ve been coursing the summer baseball circuit for quite some time. He also admits that, however taxing the summer may be, he and Kyle both love it.

“We’ve been doing this since Kyle was eight years old,” said Hurt’s father. “When Kyle was 10 we did Cooperstown, Memphis and Orlando. As a family, we don’t take vacations because it’s baseball. It’s been a lot of fun, we’ve met a lot of great people. Kyle has friends all over the country through Perfect Game, who has been fabulous. If you look at his Perfect Game profile he’s never missed a game or a showcase. He’s a baseball rat and he just loves the game.”

All the travel can affect players, especially being only 17 years old. Cain knows that his team needs to play like they normally do and they will be fine. However, he said that the team needs to focus and work twice as hard to stave off the effects of jet-lag.

“Don’t change anything that they do on an everyday basis,” said Cain of he and his team’s approach. “They got to this point on a path and I don’t want them to alter that path just for one week. They come out and play the way they’ve been playing all along, and not trying to do too much for the scouts, and stay within themselves. We’ve won this a couple of times and we’ve figured out, to some degree, when you’re going to have your ‘jet lag day.’ That three-hour difference is going to catch up to you at some point during day two or three and we have to be cognizant of that to not fall into that.”

On the mound, Hurt believes himself to be an aggressive pitcher. His mentality is to attack hitters and to live on the inside part of the plate in order to be dominant on the mound.

“I don’t let anyone get in my head,” said Hurt. “I try to be the more dominant person. I attack hitters, throw inside, and don’t let people intimidate me.”

Hurt is one of the many top high school talents to come from the San Diego Show’s program. Names like Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper and Mickey Moniak have all come through the San Diego Show under Cain, and all three have been the first overall pick in their respective drafts, while Harper and Moniak are fellow PG All-Americans. It’s unfair to compare Hurt to No. 1 overall draft picks, but Hurt is clearly a special talent.

“It’s not really what I look to see out of him,” said Cain. “But it’s what I know is in him. He hasn’t even hit his peak yet, he’s got so much more in the tank that no one has even seen. He pitches with minimal effort in his delivery, he stays within himself very well, he doesn’t overthrow and as he matures physically he’s going to go up two, three, more clicks on the radar gun. You’re going to see that guy who’s 93-96 or 94-97. It won’t surprise me at all if he goes above that. From a pitching perspective, honestly, I know what I have in him. He’s a bulldog.

“He’s going to be a beast on the mound, he has a heavy ball, and he’s not afraid to run it in. He’s hard on wood bats. We have a really good relationship. I’ve got his back when I’m calling pitches and I know he’s going to execute those pitches. It makes it easy for me as a coach. Myself and Ian Clarkin, another first round pick, he was a lot like Kyle in that respect. I’d call the pitches and he’d hit the spots.”

As Hurt approaches the end of his high school career one could certainly say that he has experienced a high degree of success. It’s the success and enjoyment from playing the sport that parents enjoy the most about the game.

“For me as a dad, I can’t even put it into words,” said Hurt’s father on Kyle’s All-American honor. “Kyle has worked so hard and it’s paid off. I’m really proud of him.”

The next accolade that Hurt will be looking to achieve is 2016 WWBA 17u champion. The San Diego Show started off on the right foot with a 2-1 victory over Rawlings C5T Elite Black. Hurt started on the mound and provided five solid innings allowing only one run and striking out eight batters. If Hurt can continue to pitch the way he has all summer then the Show will certainly have a good chance to take home the title.


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