2016 PG All-American Classic Blog

Patrick Ebert

Published: Monday, August 15, 2016




Be sure to check back early and often over the next several days, as this page will provide a running blog of notes, features and highlights from all of the events that are part of the Perfect Game All-American Classic. You can also follow updates via 
Twitter and Facebook and view photos of the event on Flickr.



Patrick Ebert – Wednesday, August 17, 2016 – 6:58 AM PDT

MLB.com has already provided several video highlights from the 2016 Perfect Game All-American Classic. One is embedded here, the rest can be access with the links below:



(Philip) Clarke drives in a run
Team West plates five in the 2nd
(Alex) Scherff gets a pair of K's in the 5th
(Jacob) Gonzalez rips a single for an RBI
(Garrett) Mitchell nabs a pair of second base
(M.J.) Melendez shows off strong arm
(Nick) Allen, (Royce) Lewis combine for run
(D.L.) Hall strikes out two in the 1st
(Hunter) Greene fans Adell on three pitches
(Nick) Allen's two nice plays
(Royce) Lewis steals second and third base
(Trevor) Rogers gets (Terry) Fuller swinging
Perfect Game helps fund cancer research
(Hunter) Greene hits five home runs in Home Run Challenge
Royce Lewis collects Perfect Game MVP




Patrick Ebert – Sunday, August 14, 2016 – 11:24 PM PDT


Here are the peak fastball velocities from the pitchers at the PG All-American Classic:

97: Hunter Greene
96: Hans Crouse, Alex Scherff, D.L. Hall, Joe Boyle
95: Jacob Heatherly, Hunter Ruth, Jeremiah Estrada, Kyle Hurt
94: Tanner Burns, Caleb Sloan, Shane Baz
93: Blayne Enlow, Seth Corry
92: MacKenzie Gore, Trevor Rogers, Mitchell Stone, Logan Allen, Nick Storz
90: Ben Jordan




Patrick Ebert – Sunday, August 14, 2016 – 10:46 PM PDT

The box score from the 2016 Perfect Game All-American Classic is now available:

2016 Box Score




Patrick Ebert – Sunday, August 14, 2016 – 10:13 PM PDT


Royce Lewis was named the game 2016 Classic MVP


Congratulations to the West squad for their big 13-0 win over the East in the 2016 Perfect Game All-American Classic. Royce Lewis was named the game's MVP after going 2-for-3 with a two-run triple, three stolen bases, a walk and a run scored. You can read the full recap from the game here:

West routes East in 2016 Classic

And thanks to all of the players, families, coaches, sponsors, scouts and fans that made the 2016 Perfect Game All-American Classic another memorable experience.




Patrick Ebert – Sunday, August 14, 2016 – 4:50 PM PDT



Hunter Greene wins Home Run Challenge

Hunter Greene, who will be starting the game for the West squad, won the 2016 Home Run Challenge, hitting home runs on his first five swings of the finals to beat Calvin Mitchell, who hit four. Greene also hit 11 in the semifinals round to lead the six contestants. We'll have more on Greene and the challenge as part of the game recap later this evening.




Jeff Dahn – Sunday, August 14, 2016 – 2:48 PM PDT



Veteran coaches Suarez, Gonzalez take it all in

The veteran head coaches at this year’s Perfect Game All-American Classic have combined to win hundreds of games at the high school level, dozens of league championships, numerous Florida state championships and one California Section championship.

There just isn’t much East Team head coach Ralph Suarez and West Team head coach Mike Gonzales haven’t experienced coaching at the highest levels of high school baseball in the United States has to offer. And now that they’ve enjoyed every aspect of being involved with the PG All-American Classic except the game itself, they truly do believe they’ve seen it all.

“First of all, I want to thank Jerry (Ford) and Perfect Game,” Suarez, now the head coach at Doral Academy High School in Hialeah, Fla., said Sunday after stepping off of the players/coaches’ bus and onto the field at breath-taking Petco Park in downtown San Diego.

“This is just a class act and with all of the corporate sponsors and everybody that helps with this beautiful (event), this is just a beautiful thing. … They’ve really turned this into a big-league atmosphere and it’s an unbelievable honor for me to be here.”

Gonzales, the head coach at El Toro High School in Lake Forest, Calif., expressed the same thoughts after he had walked out onto Petco’s playing field.

“This is a great event and it’s first-class the way (PG) runs the event,” he said. “The kids are treated great, the coaches are treated great, and you have so many good people involved with this event it’s just a joy and an honor to be a part of it.”

The veteran Suarez etched his name into the Florida high school baseball record books during a seven-year stretch at Brito Miami Private School in Miami, Fla., when he won four Florida state championships and finished as state runner-up the other three years.

During his years as a baseball coach, Suarez has had 23 players selected in the MLB Amateur Draft, including Pirates’ first baseman Gaby Sanchez and former Nationals pitcher Chris Garcia. He also spent seven seasons as the hitting coach for the Gulliver Prep High School softball team that also won four state titles during his tenure. Despite having been surrounded by so many talented players through the years, he certainly appreciates the elite prospects he’s been surrounded by this weekend.

“I’ve never been around such a talented group; (PG) definitely got the best (52) kids in the country here, without a doubt,” Suarez said. “Perfect Game does a great job and it’s an honor for me to be on the field with these boys.”

Gonzales has guided eight El Toro HS teams to 20-plus win seasons, eight league championships and one CIF Southern Section championship in his 16 years as head coach. He coached current big-leaguers Nolan Arenado of the Colorado Rockies and Austin Romero of the New York Yankees and, like Suarez, sees a lot of similarities between those major league stars and the prospects that will take the field at Petco Park Sunday night.

“To have this many (elite) players at one event, and to have the opportunity to meet with them, talk baseball with them, hit some fungoes to them, throw BP to them …” he said. “The best thing about it is getting to know the kids because they’re such special kids; they’re such good people. I’d say all of these kids are better people than they are baseball players, and that’s what it’s all about. That’s going to take them a long way in life and I’m excited to be a part of it.”

Neither veteran skipper plans on doing a lot of coaching during Sunday’s game:

“I’m just going to be enjoying this, and I’m going to let them play and have fun. They’ve worked hard to get ready for this, so I’m going to let them enjoy this time,” Suarez said.

“We haven’t gone over signs yet and I don’t think we will,” Gonzales said with a laugh. “We’re going to let them play and have a good time.”

Suarez is being assisted by San Diego-area coaches Luis Lorenzana and Manny Hermosillo, and Virgina’s Tim Lowery; the West assistants are Manny Hermosillo Jr., Eddie Johnson and Brett Kay, all from the San Diego area.




Patrick Ebert – Sunday, August 14, 2016 – 1:28 PM PDT

Pre-Game

The players and coaches took the field in their Nike uniforms at beautiful Petco Park under brilliant sunshine. Thanks to our partners at Rawlings for providing the batting helmets and balls as shown in the photos below.





And here is the lineup for the 2016 Perfect Game All-American Classic:



East Squad:

1. Quentin Holmes, CF
2. Adam Hall, 2B
3. Brady McConnell, SS
4. Alejandro Toral, 1B
5. Jordon Adell, RF
6. Cole Brannen, LF
7. Terry Fuller, DH
8. Luis Campusano, C
9. Jordan Anderson, EH
10. Mark Vientos, 3B
11. Drew Waters, XH

Bench:

Steven Williams, C
Cash Case, SS
Ricardo De La Torre, SS
Tim Elko, 3B
Nick Storz, 1B/DH
Johnathan Rodriguez, OF
Kyle Jacobsen

Pitchers (order in which they will throw):

LHP D.L. Hall
RHP Tanner Burns
LHP Jacob Heatherly
RHP Blayne Enlow
RHP Hunter Ruth
LHP MacKenzie Gore
RHP Ben Jordan
RHP Nick Storz
LHP Logan Allen
RHP Jordon Adell


West Squad:

1. Nick Allen, SS
2. Royce Lewis, EH
3. Conner Uselton, CF
4. Hunter Greene, P/DH
5. Calvin Mitchell, LF
6. Cole Turney, XH
7. Garrett Mitchell, RF
8. M.J. Melendez, C
9. Ben Ramirez, 2B
10. Jacob Gonzalez, 1B
11. Jayson Gonzalez, 3B

Bench:

Philip Clarke, C
Tyler Freeman, SS
Ryan Vilade, SS
Je'Von Ward, OF
Jacob Pearson, OF

Pitchers (order in which they will throw):

RHP Hunter Greene

LHP Trevor Rogers
RHP Kyle Hurt
RHP Hans Crouse
RHP Alex Scherff
RHP Caleb Sloan
RHP Shane Baz
LHP Seth Corry
RHP Joe Boyle
LHP Mitchell Stone
RHP Jeremiah Estrada




Patrick Ebert – Sunday, August 14, 2016 – 11:23 AM PDT

2016 Game Day

Game day is upon us. The 2016 Perfect Game All-American Classic will be played at 5:00 pm PDT at Petco Park. First pitch is scheduled for 5:17 and the players are excited to take the field.

Prior to departing for the game the players attended one last presentation, EvoShield's "Protecting the Game" summit in which Chuck Fox of Major League Baseball spoke to the players and their families about some long-lasting keys to the game.

Warm-ups and batting practice will begin at 1:40 followed by the final round of the Home Run Challenge.

The game itself will be available on MLB Network with Daron Sutton, David Rawnsley, Dave Valle and Mike Rooney providing the analysis for everyone to enjoy. For the third consecutive year the game will also be available on satellite radio, with MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM providing the broadcast. Brett Dolan and myself will provide the commentary on Sirius 215 and XM 178. The game will be broadcasted again on radio at 8:00 p.m. Pacific on Sirius 209 and XM 89 in lieu of Perfect Game's usual weekly MLB Roundtrip Sunday night segment.

And if you’re unable to tune in to the game on MLB Network you can access a livestream of the game via MLB.com. A link to the broadcast will be provided on the Perfect Game website 90 minutes prior to the game.

Full details are available on the PG All-American Classic Event Info page.




Jeff Dahn – Sunday, August 14, 2016 – 10:25 AM PDT


Jerry Ford and Trevor Hoffman presented Hunter Greene
with the 2016 Jackie Robinson Player of the Year Award

Classic Awards Banquet a big hit; Greene wins Jackie Robinson Award

The 14th annual Perfect Game All-American Classic will be played late Sunday afternoon at Petco Park, but before the 52 top prospects from the national high school class of 2017 could take the field, they were first recognized for their accomplishments during an invitation-only gathering and dinner.

The Perfect Game All-American Classic Awards Banquet was held Saturday night at the San Diego Hall of Champions, and it’s become an event almost as eagerly anticipated as the game itself. During the course of the two-plus hour banquet, all 52 prospects were able to walk across the main stage in front of family and friends, and 11 were selected to receive individual awards from one of the Classic’s many partners and sponsors, or from Perfect Game itself.

They were also treated to video presentations while being simultaneously entertained and informed by Master of Ceremonies Daron Sutton, Perfect Game’s National Spokesman. They also heard frequently from PG All-American Classic Honorary Chairman Trevor Hoffman, the former San Diego Padres closer whose 601 career saves seems certain to gain him entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame, possibly as early as next year.

The audience was also delighted to hear from recently inducted Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr., who had addressed the members of the East and West teams separately during a practice session Saturday morning. This time, he addressed them as one.

“You guys are the best of the best; don’t ever forget that,” Griffey Jr. told the gathering while speaking directly to the 52 prospects in the room. “The other thing I want to say is, your parents and your grandparents put a lot of work into you guys getting here, and they made some sacrifices, as my parents did. Be thankful for them. … But I just stopped by to wish you guys good luck in the upcoming (high school) season; I hope you have a healthy season.”

This year’s All-Americans were also praised for having combined to raise nearly $59,000 for Rady Children’s Hospital in the fight to eliminate pediatric cancer. Right-handed pitcher/outfielder Nick Storz from Brooklyn, N.Y., raised more than $7,000 to lead the East Team’s efforts while shortstop Royce Lewis from Aliso Viejo, Calif., led the West Team’s efforts by raising more than $4,000.

The highlight of the evening’s awards presentation came with the naming of the recipient of the Jackie Robinson Award, which recognizes the Perfect Game National High School Player of the Year. This year’s winner is Hunter Greene, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound hard-throwing right-hander and slugging infielder from Stevenson Ranch, Calif., who will be the West Team’s starting pitcher in the Classic.

“This is amazing; it’s a true honor,” Greene said after receiving the award. “I’ve worn the No. 42 since I was 6 years old, so it’s all worked out perfectly. I’m so thankful to be here and to be (recognized) as the Jackie Robinson Player of the Year. I’m so thankful and I’m so grateful.”

The No. 42, of course, is the number that Robinson wore throughout his Hall of Fame career and one that retired by every team in Major League Baseball before the start of the 1997 season. Robinson, who went to college at UCLA, was the first black man to play in MLB in the “modern era” (since 1900) and Greene, who has committed to UCLA, is certainly aware of the sacrifices Robinson made to pave the way for future generations of black ballplayers like himself.

“To be able to go the same school as (Robinson), it’s also awesome; it’s just worked out perfectly and I’m so thankful and happy,” Greene said. “Now, I’m just so pumped up for (Sunday’s game). It’s such an amazing event and I’m so excited to be able to be the starting pitcher. I’m going to go out there and just have a great time.”

The 2016 Perfect Game award winners are:

Baseball America Pitcher of the Year – Alex Scherff, Colleyville, Texas
Perfect Game Nick Adenhart Award – Garrett Mitchell, Anaheim, Calif.
WebGem Grunt Award – Cole Turney, Richmond, Texas
Trackman Award – Dayton “D.L.” Hall, Warner Robins, Ga.
MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM Two-Way Player Award – Jordan Adell, Louisville, Ky.
MLB.com Pipeline Advanced Media POY Award – Trevor Rogers, Carlsbad, N.M.
20/80 Prospect of the Year Award – Hans Crouse, Dana Point, Calif.
EvoShield S.W.A.G. Award – Conner Usleton, Oklahoma City, Okla.
Rawlings Defensive Player of the Year Award – Nick Allen, San Diego, Calif.
ZEPP Offensive Player of the Year Award – Alex Toral, Davie, Fla.
Jackie Robinson Player of the Year Award – Hunter Greene, Stevenson Ranch, Calif.




Jeff Dahn – Saturday, August 13, 2016 – 5:19 PM PDT



HOF’er Griffey Jr. addresses All-Americans

On Sunday, July 30, Ken Griffey Jr. was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. On Saturday, only two weeks after taking part in that historical ceremony, Griffey Jr. – known in the baseball’s far-reaching family simply as “Junior” – took some time out of his busy schedule to spend some time with the top high school prospects that are almost 30 years younger than he.

Junior made a surprise appearance – a surprise to the players, anyhow – at Saturday morning’s Perfect Game All-American Classic practice session held at the University of San Diego’s Fowler Park. The newly minted HOF’er spoke in separate 15-minute sessions with members of both the East and West teams, who gathered in the USD Toreros' home clubhouse underneath the stadium.

“You guys have an opportunity to do something special,” Griffey Jr. told the members of the West Team, the first group that he addressed. “We didn’t have anything like this when we started playing. You played for your travel ball team and that was it. There was no ‘Top 52’ high school players playing against each other; I would have loved to do that. You guys have an opportunity to really shine and do something special.”

The teenage prospects seem to hang on every word spoken by Junior, who was joined in the clubhouse by future HOF’er Trevor Hoffman, a San Diego resident who serves as the PG All-American Classic’s Honorary Chairman. They were both introduced to the young prospects by PG National Spokesman Daron Sutton, the son of HOF’er Don Sutton. The trio represented a lot of Baseball Hall of Fame firepower.

“All of their teammates have always said, ‘They’re great teammates; incredible teammates,’” Sutton divulged, speaking of both Griffey Jr. and Hoffman. “They made their locker rooms better and they were selfless in what they did. They had very, very different journeys, so listen to what they have to say.”

Junior was a 17-year-old graduate of Archbishop Moeller High School in Cincinnati in 1987 and was selected No. 1 overall by the Seattle Mariners in the 1987 MLB Amateur Draft (it was noted by Sutton that it was possible someone sitting in the room could go 1-1 in the 2017 draft, 30 years after Junior was selected). Griffey Jr. played only 130 minor league games and made his MLB debut on April 3, 1989, at the age of 19 years, 2 months.

He went on to become a 13-time All-Star during a 22-year big league career in which he hit 630 home runs, including an American League high 56 in both 1997 and 1998. His career numbers, averaged-out over a 162-game season represents him as a .284 hitter with 39 home runs, 32 doubles, 111 RBI and 101 runs scored per season.

“For me, playing baseball, that was it; I thought about baseball 24 hours,” Junior said of his childhood. “Even when I left the field I was still trying to figure out what I could do better. It would be 10 or 11 o’clock at night and something would click.”

Ken Griffey Jr. is the son of Ken Griffey Sr., who enjoyed a terrific 19-year big-league career of his own between 1973-91. Griffey Sr. was a three-time All-Star while playing for the Cincinnati Reds teams – “The Big Red Machine” – that dominated the National League in the mid-1970s and won back-to-back World Series Championships in 1975-76.

“My dad didn’t put any pressure on me,” Junior told the members of West Team. “He was just like, ‘Hey, you’re my son, go play whatever you want to play.’ So I only played two seasons of high school baseball – my junior and senior years, that was it – and I spent the other (years) down at spring training where ever he was at.”

Junior told his attentive audience that the only things his dad ever told him was to enjoy himself and always put forth a maximum effort. Griffey Sr. would tell his son that if saw Junior continuing to work hard even during a losing cause, that proved to him he would continue to work hard his entire life. Personally, Junior said, he would much rather play alongside the kid who is busting his butt than the kid with more talent who takes things for granted and for whom everything comes easy.

“I had to work for everything I did, which is strange because everybody thinks, ‘Hey, your dad played, he gave you everything,’” Junior said. “But I was only at the ballpark three times a year early: The Father-Son Game, the Husband-Wife Game and when my mom said, ‘You need to take these two kids out of here so I can have some time for myself.’”

When he turned his talk back to the Classic, he was quick to note that he realized he was standing among many of the top rising seniors in the country (and Canada and Puerto Rico). His message to every one of the All-Americans was the same.

“The biggest thing is to keep fighting and don’t let somebody tell you you can’t do something,” Junior said. “Obviously, you’re the top 52 (prospects) in the country … but you don’t have to show it and walk around and beat on your chest and stuff like that. Just go out there and handle your business. …

“I want you guys to understand that you’re special and you have a lot of ability,” he concluded. “So go out there and play and have some fun and enjoy it because (snapping his fingers) it’s like that.”




Patrick Ebert – Saturday, August 13, 2016 – 2:47 PM PDT


Nick Storz hit 13 home runs in the first round of the Home Run Challenge


Six advance to Home Run Challenge Finals

On Saturday morning the players returned to Cunningham Field on USD's spectacular campus and began the day with another round of batting practice. After BP the players were invited into the home clubhouse where they were greeted by a surprise guest, recent Hall of Fame inductee Ken Griffey, Jr. Trevor Hoffman and Griffey spoke to the East and West participants, one team at a time, about several big picture items when looking ahead to their aspiring baseball careers.

After the players' visit with Griffey it was back to the field where the first round of the Home Run Challenge began. The rules for the challenge are fairly similar to those implemented in the Major League Baseball Home Run Derby as part of the All-Star Game festivities in that each batter had two-and-a-half minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. They could earn an additional thirty seconds, one time, if they hit back-to-back home runs.

Mark Kraemer and his Rawlings team threw a new wrinkle into the challenge this year that drew several 'oohs' and 'aahs' from the players. The Rawlings team entered the field carrying several black cases, and upon opening them revealed the new BBCOR Rawlings Quattro Pro bat. Each player received a bat, and they also learned that they would be able to use the bat for the final 30 seconds of the challenge as well as the additional thirty seconds, if they had earned that extra time.

Hunter Greene, the second batter of the challenge, really heated up once he switched to the Quattro Pro and finished with 10 home runs. Cole Turney, who deposited two balls on the roof of the dormitory building beyond right field, and Calvin Mitchell also finished with 10. Jayson Gonzalez, the final batter to take his hacks for the West, finished his round with 12 bombs.

Jordon Adell, the fourth to last batter of the challenge, was the first batter for the East to hit double-digit blasts, catching fire late to finish with 12 home runs of his own. Two batters later Nicholas Storz continued his summer-long power display by capping the first round of the challenge with 13, the most by any participant.

As a result Storz, Adell, Gonzalez, Mitchell, Turney and Greene all advance to the finals, which will be held prior to the game on Sunday.

Royce Lewis (9) and Ryan Vilade (7) were among the West hitters that put on impressive displays of power that didn't advance, and the same is true of Alejandro Toral (8), Mark Vientos (6), Luis Campusano (6), Cash Case (6) and Cole Brannen (6) of the East.




Patrick Ebert – Saturday, August 13, 2016 – 12:28 AM PDT



Jacob Gonzalez had a pair of RBI hits in Friday’s scrimmage

Play ball!

After a day filled with activities off of the baseball field, which included the annual trip to Rady Children’s Hospital and lunch at Del Mar Beach – as well as a custom Rawlings glove fitting – the players of the 2016 Perfect Game All-American Classic took to the field on Friday evening for their first taste of baseball-related activities. The University of San Diego’s Cunningham Field once again served as the host to the practice and six-inning scrimmage, a contest that the West claimed by the score of 6-4.

Before the scrimmage was played both teams took batting practice and then infield/outfield drills. The East squad took BP first, with Puerto Rican outfielder Johnathan Rodriguez standing out early after hitting a series of hard-hit line drives.

Kyle Jacobsen, a rare righthanded hitting, lefthanding throwing outfielder, displayed an easy swing with loft to his pull size. Two-way talent Nick Storz continued to show his easy power, driving the ball high and deep to left and left-center field. Mark Vientos also hit the ball hard to his pull side as a righthanded hitter, and the ball really jumped off the bat of Luis Campusano. Terry Fuller, easily the most physically imposing player in the 2016 Classic, showed incredible backspin and carry on his balls, especially his second time through BP. Jordon Adell found his groove late in his first time through the cage and carried it through his second time, ripping several balls hard and deep to all parts of the field.

For the West Philip Clarke showed a really good looking swing from the left side of the plate, as did Cole Turney, who shined on the same field a year ago as part of the PG Underclass All-American games. Jayson Gonzalez has easy big power thanks to his strongly built frame and Royce Lewis continued to show the ability to drive the ball hard to center and right-center field as a righthanded hitter.

The first inning of the scrimmage went by quickly as each of the three hitters from both sides were retired in order. The first inning came to a close on a nice leaping catch by Nick Allen at second base, who snared a line drive off the bat of Tim Elko and continues to shine defensively.

The West got on the board first in the top of the second inning. Jacob Gonzalez, who got down in the count early swinging on a pair of fastballs thrown to the outer half of the plate, hit a third such pitch hard down the first base line, just inside the first base bag, for a run-scoring double that brought home Ben Ramirez, who opened the inning by reaching on an error.

Nick Storz looked as though he would put the East on the board and tie the scrimmage at one run a piece with a rope to left field, but Cole Turney got to the ball quickly, picked it up and delivered an absolute strike to home plate to nail the runner attempting to score. After the next batter, Drew Waters, drew a walk, Mark Vientos hit a bases-clearing double to left field, a ball that Turney appeared to lose in the lights, to give the East a 3-1 advantage.

The West responded with three runs of their own in the top of the third to re-claim the lead. The second batter of the inning, Garrett Mitchell, hit a sharp single up the middle, stole second base and advanced to third on a pickoff attempt to second. After Cole Turney walked Calvin Mitchell hit a single through the left side of the infield (with the infield at double play depth) that scored Garrett Mitchell (no relation) to pull within one at 3-2.

Two batters later Hunter Greene added an RBI single of his own to tie the game 3-3, another sharply hit ball up the middle. As Greene was heading to second on a stolen base a balk was called which allowed Calvin Mitchell to score and give the West a 4-3 lead.

Nick Allen scored another run for the West in the fourth inning after he pinch ran for Shane Baz – who reached on a base on balls – stealing second base and scoring on an RBI groundout off the bat of fellow middle infielder Tyler Freeman.

The East pulled back to within one run in the bottom of the fourth, 5-4, after Jordon Adell – who reached on an error to open the inning and stole a pair of bases – scored on a wild pitch on a strikeout.

The final run of the game came in the top of the fifth when Jacob Gonzalez added yet another run-scoring hit, a sharp single up the middle, to give the West a 6-4 lead they would not relinquish.

None of the five pitchers that took the mound in the scrimmage are on the 2016 PG All-American rosters and instead were brought in from local schools to keep the arms fresh of the Classic participants for Sunday’s game.

Matthew Rodriguez, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound righthanded pitcher from La Puente Calif., worked the first three innings for the East. Rodriguez sat in the 85-87 mph range, touching 88, showing a sharp 77-79 mph slider. He struck out two of the first three batters he faced and added another punchout in the third.

Alex Cornwell, a 6-foot, 160-pound lefthander from La Canada, Calif., worked the final three innings for the East, showing an easy delivery and a sense of how to change speeds between his 83-85 mph fastball and 72-73 mph curveball that he spun well. Cornwell did a nice job keeping the ball down in the zone and induced several ground ball outs.

For the West Casey O’Sullivan, the younger brother of 2004 PG All-American and former big league righthander Sean O’Sullivan, worked the first two innings, sitting at 87-88 mph while touching 89 and mixing in a sharp low- to mid-70s curveball. He also struck out the first batter he faced on an 82 mph changeup.

Casey Schmit worked the next two innings for the West, hitting 90 mph several times on the gun while sitting at 88-89. He mixed in his sharp 79-80 mph slider more in his second inning of work, leading to three straight strikeouts. Schmit is a 6-foot, 190-pound righthander from Chula Vista, Calif., who, like O’Sullivan, is committed to play baseball at nearby San Diego State.

Yet another righthander, Jose Cerda from San Ysidro, Calif., worked the final two innings for the West. Cerda consistently threw his fastball in the 84-86 mph range and mixed in a nice 72-74 mph curveball.

The players will return to Cunningham Field on Saturday morning for the second of two practices at USD, which will consist of another round of batting practice and the preliminary round of the home run challenge.




Patrick Ebert – Friday, August 12, 2016 – 4:27 PM PDT



Rady visit highlights the Classic

On Friday the players visited Rady Children's Hospital, the event's beneficiary, entering the day collectively raising over $57,000 for the fight against pediatric cancer. They had the opportunity to learn about all of the different ways Rady Children's Hospital effects not only the San Diego area, but the entire nation and beyond while interacting with some of the patients.

Read Jeff Dahn's feature about Garrett Mitchell's personal battle with Type 1 Diabetes and his especially rewarding visit to Rady here: Rady resonates with Mitchell.




After the Rady visit the PG All-Americans enjoyed lunch on Del Mar Beach, courtesy of Honorary Chairman Trevor Hoffman. They interacted in a variety of activities while soaking in the sun and taking in the waves.

To view more photos from the Rady Children's Hospital and Del Mar Beach visits be sure to view the event's Flickr page.





Patrick Ebert – Friday, August 12, 2016 – 7:48 AM PDT

On Thursday the players arrived at the event hotel, registered, received their gear and proceeded to socialize inside the event's players lounge. Prior to gathering for team meetings and focus groups they enjoyed a welcome dinner in which they were addressed by Daron Sutton, David Gardiner, Christian Deleon and Jerry Ford on the various things to expect over the next several days. Perfect Game's National Showcase Director Kirk Gardner then handed out some hardware for players that stood out at this year's National Showcase, held in mid-June at JetBlue Ballpark in Fort Myers, Fla.

The award winners are listed below the picture from left to right.



Top overall prospect: Hunter Greene
Top two-way prospect: Jordon Adell
Top pitching prospect: Alex Scherff
Top power hitter: Alejandro Toral
Top hitter: Conner Uselton
Fastest man: Quentin Holmes
Top defensive player: Nick Allen

As a reminder, be sure to view the event's Flickr and Twitter pages for all of the latest updates.





Patrick Ebert – Wednesday, August 10, 2016 – 8:43 AM PDT

From MLB All-Stars to MVPs, Rookies of the Year and Golden Spikes Award winners, the Perfect Game All-American Classic has produced a steady pipeline of impact talent to the next level. The numbers speak for themselves in this feature: 
The Classic: By the numbers.




Patrick Ebert – Wednesday, August 10, 2016 – 7:21 AM PDT

A special thanks to Steve Fiorindo for putting together the following video montages, one of the players on the East squad and another for those on the West.








Patrick Ebert – Wednesday, August 10, 2016 – 6:43 AM PDT

 
2015 Jackie Robinson Award winner, Jason Groome, with Trevor Hoffman and Jerry Ford

Jackie Robinson Finalists released

The Jackie Robinson Award,named for the late Major League Baseball Hall of Famer and former Brooklyn Dodger, is awarded annually to the Perfect Game National Player of the Year – the All-American considered the nation’s top high school prospect. The award is presented to the player who exhibits outstanding character, leadership, is involved in his community and embodies the values of being a student-athlete.

Jackie Robinson came from humble beginnings as the son of a sharecropper in Cairo, Georgia, to become the first black player to break Major League Baseball’s color barrier that had segregated the sport for more than 50 years. Jackie Robinson was not only a skilled baseball player, he was an excellent all-around athlete. At UCLA, Robinson became the first athlete to win varsity letters in four sports: Baseball, football, basketball and track.

After attending UCLA, Robinson briefly served in the U.S. Army, and after receiving an honorable discharge, he played one season in Negro Baseball League in 1945. Two years later in 1947, Robinson was approached by the Brooklyn Dodgers about joining their franchise. When he donned their uniform, he not only became the first black player in Major League Baseball since the sport was segregated in 1889, he pioneered the integration in professional sports in America. Through his integration, Robinson courageously challenged the racism that existed in both the north and the south in America at that time. At the end of Robinson’s rookie season with the Dodgers, he won the National League batting title (.342) on his way to earning the league's Rookie of the Year and MVP honors.

Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962 and was inducted into UCLA’s Hall of Fame in 1984.

On April 15, 1997, exactly 50 years after he broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball, the entire nation honored his legacy. Robinson’s No. 42 jersey number was retired league-wide, the first and only player to earn this honor. That same day, President Bill Clinton paid tribute to Robinson at the New York Mets’ Shea Stadium in a special ceremony. Robinson was also honored by the United States Postal Service that year with a commemorative postage stamp.

Jackie Robinson’s life and legacy will continue to be remembered as one of the most important in American history.

The first recipient of the award was Justin Upton in 2004, the second year of the Classic. Jason Groome, the Boston Red Sox first-round pick in 2016 (12th overall) and the starter for the East squad in the 2015 PG All-American Classic, received the honor last year.

Here are this year's finalists (listed alphabetically):

Jordon Adell: .450 batting average with 44 runs, 44 RBI, 11 home runs and 21 stolen bases
Hunter Greene: 1.63 ERA in 55.2 IP, 5 wins, 68 strikeouts
Alex Scherf: 0.41 ERA, 13 wins and 130 strikeouts
Alejandro Toral: .338 batting average with 20 runs, 21 RBI, 4 home runs and 39 walks
Cole Turney: .344 batting average with 21 hits, 25 runs, 28 RBI, 6 home runs and 5 stolen bases
Conner Uselton: .514 batting average with 55 hits, 41 runs, 39 RBI, 9 home runs and 11 stolen bases




Patrick Ebert -- Wednesday, August 10, 2016 -- 6:08 AM PDT

 
Cole Turney was named the top prospect at the 2015 PG Underclass All-American Games

Scout schedule

The full schedule for baseball-related activities for the 2016 Perfect Game All-American Classic can be found 
here. Included on that page is the schedule for the 2016 PG Underclass All-American Games which will be conducted the two days after the Classic, Monday and Tuesday August 15 and 16. The event will be held at the University of San Diego's Fowler Park and Cunningham Field (Google Maps are also included on that page).

This annual event is held in conjunction with the Classic to showcase some of the very best players in future graduating classes. Last year, 13 of this year's All-Americans (Nick Allen, Shane Baz, Jacob Gonzalez Jayson Gonzalez, Kyle Hurt, Royce Lewis, Brady McConnell, M.J. Melendez, Calvin Mitchell, Jacob Pearson, Cole Turney, Conner Uselton and Ryan Vilade) participated, and almost all of which named to the event's 
top prospect list.

Some of the other All-Americans that attended this event before shining on national TV the following year include two of the game's brightest young sluggers, Kris Bryant and Bryce Harper.

In other words, this year's PG Underclass All-American Games will serve not only as a preview of some of the players we can expect to see in next year's Classic, but also gives us a glimpse at some of the future stars of Major League Baseball.





Patrick Ebert – Wednesday, August 10, 2016 – 5:56 AM PDT


Welcome to the Perfect Game All-American Classic blog, and congratulations to all of the players, friends and family members involved with the Classic.

This page will be used to provide updates from all of the events that are part of the four-day festivities, from Perfect Game Feature Writer Jeff Dahn as well as Blake Dowson and Vincent Cervino.

Be sure to visit the 
Media Room page to read past features from the Perfect Game All-American Classic. On that page you can find links to features on Drew Waters, Tim Elko, MacKenzie Gore, Steven Williams, Blayne Enlow, Jacob Heatherly, Kyle Hurt, Philip Clarke, Seth Corry, Tyler Freeman, Joe Boyle and Hans Crouse. Not included in those archives are features conducted on the players prior to the rosters were released on Wednesday, July 13. Here is a list of those features:

Player Feature/Event (Link)
Jordon Adell 2015 Jr. National Showcase
Nick Allen 2015 PG Underclass All-American Games
Shane Baz 2016 National Showcase
Cole Brannen 2015 National Underclass Main Event Showcase
Tanner Burns 17u WWBA National Championship
Luis Campusano 2016 17u WWBA Elite Round Robin
Ricardo De La Torre 2016 National Showcase
Jeremiah Estrada 17u WWBA National Championship
 Terry Fuller 2016 17u WWBA Elite Round Robin
Jacob Gonzalez Coach Bob Invitational
Jayson Gonzalez 2016 National Showcase
Hunter Greene 2016 National Showcase
D.L. Hall 2016 National Showcase
Kyle Jacobsen 2016 National Showcase
Ben Jordan 17u WWBA National Championship
Royce Lewis 2016 National Showcase
Brady McConnell 2015 National Underclass Main Event Showcase
M.J. Melendez 2015 WWBA Underclass World Championship
Jacob Pearson 2015 WWBA Underclass World Championship
Ben Ramirez 17u WWBA National Championship
Alex Scherff 2016 National Showcase
Caleb Sloan 17u WWBA National Championship
Nicholas Storz 2015 Jr. National Showcase
Alejandro Toral 2016 National Showcase
Cole Turney 2015 PG Underclass All-American Games
Conner Uselton 2016 National Showcase
Mark Vientos 2015 WWBA Underclass World Championship
Ryan Vilade 2016 National Showcase
Je'Von Carrier-Ward 17u WWBA National Championship

Visit the Roster page to access the individual player profiles, as well as the History page to learn more about the previous 13 games played including the inaugural event in 2003. The Scout
 page provides the daily schedule of baseball-related activities, including those for the 2016 PG Underclass All-American Games. And of course, don't forget to tune into MLB Network, as well as MLB Network Radio, at 5:00 pm PDT on Sunday for the game itself.

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