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West shuts out East 7-0 in Classic

Photo: Perfect Game

Matt Rodriguez
Published: Monday, August 11, 2014

Contributing: Jeff Dahn

Box Score | Event Blog

SAN DIEGO – For the fourth straight year, the West team reigned champion of the Perfect Game All-American Classic held at Petco Park in San Diego, Calif., defeating the East by a final score of 7-0 in front of a crowd of 6,438 to widen the all-time series record lead to 7-4-1.

San Clemente, Calif. native Kolby Allard was named MVP of the contest after an impressive inning on the mound, setting the tone for great pitching performances throughout the game. Allard faced the East’s 4-5-6 hitters in the top of the second and dazzled the scouts and fans in attendance and got some ‘ooh’s’ and ‘aah’s’ from both dugouts.

The southpaw started the inning with a strikeout of the East’s cleanup hitter Daniel Reyes, who swung and came up empty on a 94 mph fastball. He then showed off his breaking stuff, getting 2014 Perfect Game Home Run Challenge winner Brandt Stallings on an 80 mph curveball. Finally, Allard finished his act by getting Cornelius Randolph to whiff at a 93 mph fastball.

The adrenaline was going with all the fans and your friends and your family, and I was just trying to have fun,” Allard said. “There really weren’t many nerves; I was just going out here and trying to have as much fun as I can. This is one of the most beautiful ballparks I’ve ever even seen; this is only my second time here and I’m just blessed to be here.”

The California native represented the host state well in what many considered the most impressive pitching performance of the night. It was an experience Allard won’t soon forget.

This has just been awesome,” Allard said. “Perfect Game put on an amazing event and they treated us like kings, to be honest. Just to be out here with all the best players in the country is just totally humbling and it’s just completely awesome.”

Pitching once again headlined the game, as 18 pitchers took the bump at some point: ten from the West and eight from the East. All 18 pitchers topped out above 90 mph, with Hooper recording the highest fastball velocity at 97 mph. Beau Burrows, Joe DeMers, and Austin Smith all topped at 96 mph. Ashe Russell, Kolby Allard, Mike Nikorak, Ryan Cole McKay, and Luken Baker all topped at 95 mph.

Baseball Prospectus Prospect of the Year Justin Hooper took the ball to start the game for the West. The 6-foot-7 lefty from San Ramon, Calif. started the game off with a 93 mph fastball to East’s Jahmai Jones and eventually got Jones swinging on a 96 mph fastball for strike three to start things off. Hooper recorded a 1-2-3 inning after Rawlings Defensive Player of the Year Brendan Rodgers hit into a loud third out with a flyout to the warning track in left field.

Righthander Ashe Russell got the start on the mound for the East and recorded all three outs via the strikeout, despite giving up a two-out single up the middle off the bat of Chris Betts.

Stroudsburg, Pa. native righthander Mike Nikorak followed Allard’s impressive top of the second with a 1-2-3 inning of his own in the bottom half.

The web gem of the game came to start off the top of the third, when West’s Kody Clemens showed middle-infield range when he dove glove-side for a ground ball heading for the 3-4 hole and made the play to throw out Ryan Mountcastle and help out his pitcher, Beau Burrows. The Weatherford, Texas native Burrows thanked his defense by recording back-to-back strikeouts, both looking, to end the inning.

The East’s Tristin English, of Williamson, Ga., kept the outstanding pitching trend going by recording a 1-2-3 inning of his own in the bottom of the third.

Jahmai Jones, the Perfect Game Nick Adenhart Award winner, broke the East into the hit column with a two-out single up the middle off Martinez, Calif. native Joe DeMers. Jones was unable to score as DeMers worked out of the situation to put up the seventh consecutive ‘0’ on the scoreboard.

The fourth inning started off with San Diego native Kyle Dean, wearing No. 19 on the back of his jersey, standing in the lefthanded hitter’s batter’s box and taking the first pitch from Austin Smith in honor of the late Hall of Famer and 'Mr. Padre' Tony Gwynn. Smith, of Boynton Beach, Fla., recorded a three-up, three-down inning to keep the game scoreless through four.

The top of the fifth began with a toolsy defensive display from shortstop Nick Shumpert, who backhanded a ground ball deep in the 5-6 hole and showed off his arm strength to get Brendan Rodgers out at first. Righty Kyle Molnar finished off yet another 1-2-3 inning by striking out Brandt Stallings with a 93 mph fastball.

The bottom of the fifth was the same story, as the East’s Triston McKenzie got three outs through three batters and tallied a pair of swinging strikeouts, including a 92 mph strikeout of Chris Betts, his peak velocity in his one inning appearance.

San Diego native righthander Drew Finley set down the side in order and got Jonathan India swinging on a 75 mph curveball to record his lone strikeout. Finley topped at 92 mph as well.

The game remained scoreless before the West would break it open in the bottom of the sixth.

After East lefthanded pitcher Hogan Harris surrendered a leadoff walk to Ryan Johnson, Kody Clemens connected for an opposite field line drive single to left field to put two on with no outs and finally threaten to break into the runs column.

Josh Naylor, the second Canadian to be named to the Classic, hit a groundball to shortstop that appeared to be a possible double play ball, but instead a miscue on the feed to the second baseman ended up in the outfield and Johnson came around to score the game’s first run with Clemens moving up to third. Parker Kelly, the first representative of Oregon to play in the Classic, was then hit by a pitch, loading the bases with still no outs.

Harris struck out Cadyn Grenier looking on a 92 mph fastball for the first out. Then, a wild pitch with Kyle Dean at the plate allowed Clemens to score to make it 2-0. Harris was able to strike out Dean on an 89 mph fastball for the second out before walking Lucas Wakamatsu to load the bases again with two outs.

The second wild pitch of the inning, to Trenton Clark, scored Naylor to make it 3-0 in favor of the West. Clark then got jammed, but fought a fastball off the hands for a line drive back to the mound that knocked Harris to the ground. Harris quickly got to his feet and attempted a glove flip to first base, but the flip was wild and both Kelly and Wakamatsu came around to score and increase the lead to 5-0.

Juan Hillman was able to come in and end the inning on a first pitch groundout.

With momentum in the West’s dugout, Baseball America Pitcher of the Year Cole McKay recorded a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the seventh.

Southpaw Juan Hillman returned to the mound in the bottom of the seventh for the East and quickly recorded a strikeout, getting Wyatt Cross swinging at a 73 mph breaking ball. Doak Dozier then smacked a line drive single up the middle and threatened on the base paths. Dozier stole second before an errant throw winded up in the outfield and allowed him to advance safely to third. Hillman worked out of the jam, collecting a pair of strikeouts to end the threat. He topped at 92 mph from the bump.

The East’s Kyle Tucker began the eighth with the game’s only extra-base hit when he connected for a hard-hit line drive over the center fielder’s head for a leadoff double. Luken Baker then walked Lansdale, Pa. native John Aiello.

After recording two outs, including a strikeout of Chris Chatfield, who went down swinging at Baker’s 92 mph fastball, Mission Viejo, Calif. southpaw Patrick Sandoval got Alonzo Jones swinging at a 91 mph fastball to end the inning.

Ke’Bryan Hayes, of Tomball, Texas, started the bottom of the eighth with a line drive single to center field off of Austin Riley. Aiello then displayed excellent defense when he leapt at third base on a choppy ground ball and threw out the runner at first.

With two outs, Kyle Dean connected for an opposite field single to right field to score Hayes from second, moments after Dean finished a short MLB Network television interview. After Dean stole second, a groundball to second base and a wild throwing error plated Dean for the game’s final run, giving the West a 7-0 advantage.

After Sandoval recorded the first out in the top of the ninth, Christifer Adritsos came in to close the door and preserve the shutout.

He started off with a strikeout of Willie Burger on a 92 mph fastball and got the final out of the game on a ground ball to first base, which Naylor tossed to Andritsos to finish the game and send both teams into a frenzied dog pile between first base and the pitcher’s mound.

The final round of the Classic’s Home Run Challenge was held about an hour before the game’s first pitch with Brandt Stallings from Buford, Ga., using a walk-off blast to beat East teammate and fellow Georgian Isiah Gilliam from Lilburn in a five-out playoff. Both players hit a pair of home runs in spacious Petco in the first 10-out segment of the finals, forcing the playoff.

It’s so much to be out here just doing what I love – hitting the baseball,” the righthanded hitting Stallings said shortly after he had hit the first pitch he saw in the playoffs for a home run to left field after Gilliam had been shutout in his turn at bat. “You get a little bit of the competitive juices going in it, you get a little bit of the nerves mixed in with that, and it makes for a fun time, that’s for sure; you have to battle the other athletes and yourself.”

Gilliam, a switch-hitter, powered two balls way out of the park to left field in his first 10-out session, then went 0-for-5 from the left side in the playoff.

It’s a lot of fun, win or lose,” he said. “Hitting at Petco Park? A major league park? Oh yeah, that’s a lot of fun. It’s really hard, though; most of the balls we hit probably would have went out of any other park.”

East team sluggers Stallings, Gilliam and Brendan Rodgers from Longwood, Fla., were joined by the West’s big Luken Baker out of Spring, Texas, in Sunday’s final round. Stallings, Rodgers and Baker each hit six bombs in Saturday’s first round at Fowler Park at Cunningham Field at the University of San Diego and Gilliam was added as an at-large entry in the finals after slugging four on Saturday.

The competitive juices were definitely flowing, but you could also feel the love.

We trash-talk each other in good spirit,” Stallings said with a wide smile spread across his face. “We all love each other; I know Luken, Isiah and Brendan all real well. We’ve played with each other and against each other for some time now, so of course we’re going to trash-talk each other and heckle each other as much as we can but it’s all out of love.”

Dazmon Cameron, the high school class of 2015’s top-ranked prospect, won the distinguished Jackie Robinson Player of the Year Award, announced during Saturday night’s dinner banquet. Greg Pickett took home the Louisville Slugger Most Outstanding Offensive Player award and Chris Betts won the EvoShield SWAG Award.

Congratulations to all of the players, coaches, scouts, friends, family members, sponsors, partners and fans for making the 2014 Perfect Game All-American Classic another successful event.

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