All American Game | Story | 8/17/2015

2015 PG All-American Classic blog

Patrick Ebert        
Photo: Perfect Game

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 – Tuesday, August 18, 2015 – 8:17 PM PDT

Sandy Huffaker, who has been serving as the official photographer for the Perfect Game All-American Classic since it moved to Southern California, provides some of his favorite shots, peering more into the behind-the-scenes aspects of the Classic with a personal touch on the people who are honored to take part in this annual event.


Patrick Ebert – Sunday, August 16, 2015 – 10:41 PM PDT

Here's the full game recap from the 2015 Perfect Game All-American Classic:

2015 Game Recap

Patrick Ebert – Sunday, August 16, 2015 – 10:12 PM PDT

The box score from the 2015 Perfect Game All-American Classic is now available:

2015 Box Score

Patrick Ebert – Sunday, August 16, 2015 – 9:03 PM PDT

East starter Jason Groome peaked at 96 mph in the 2015 Classic

East beat West, 3-1, in 2015 PG All-American Classic

We'll have a full recap of the game up shortly, but the East beat the West, 3-1, in this year's PG All-American Classic. Josh Lowe struck out Blake Rutherford – who hit a booming RBI double earlier in the game – swinging with the bases loaded and two outs to close out the game. It was the first time the East team had won the game since 2010, and pulled within two of the all-time series, with the West holding a 7-5-1 advantage.

Each of the 18 pitchers that took the mound peaked at least as high as 91 mph. Here is the full list of peak pitching velocities:

96: Jason Groome
95: Austin Bergner, Ian Anderson
94: Zachary Hess, Tony Locey, Matt ManningReggie Lawson
93:  Ryan Zeferjahn, Karl Kauffmann, Josh Lowe
92: Braxton Garrett, Tyler Baum, Charles King, Dion Henderson , Kevin Gowdy
91: Cole Ragans, Nick Lodolo, Drake Fellows

Patrick Ebert – Sunday, August 16, 2015 – 5:01 PM PDT

Congratulations to Alex Kirilloff on winning the 2015 Perfect Game All-American Classic Home Run Challenge. We'll have more details of the final round of the challenge in the game recap this evening.

Jeff Dahn – Sunday, August 16, 2015 – 2:13 PM PDT

2015 Head Coaches Tim Held (East, Left) and Jeff Sherman (West) at Petco Park

Classic coaches enjoy their time in the San Diego sun

For the past 13 years, Perfect Game has invited two of the top active high school coaches in the country to be the head coaches of the East and West teams at the Perfect Game All-American Classic. And for the past 13 years, the head coaches have proved to be just as thrilled as their players at their inclusion.

This year is no exception. East Team head coach Tim Held from Moeller High School in Cincinnati and West Team head man Jeff Sherman from Marcus High School in Flower Mound, Texas, have enjoyed themselves at this charitable amateur baseball festival just as much as the 50 best high school seniors in the country that are under their guidance.

What a first-class operation Perfect Game is running, along with all of their sponsors,” Held said. “Just to be around this many great players – we think we have a lot just around my program or in Cincinnati in general – it’s just great to be a part of all of this.”

The East and West teams and coaches arrived at Petco Park just past noon on Sunday well ahead of the 13th annual Perfect Game All-American Classic’s first pitch at 5:17 p.m. (5 p.m. MLB Network; SiriusXM MLB Network Radio); a practice session was scheduled for 3 p.m. and the Home Run Challenge finals for 4:15. Helm and Sherman found themselves more appreciative than anything else.

Being around the best players in the country and being a part of this experience is just a blessing for me and my family,” Sherman said. “With these (players), I feel like the separation (from other players) is their approach and their love of the game. These guys want to take as many ground balls as possible; they want to work. They love the game and that’s obviously the reason they’re here.”

The players from both teams spent the day Friday visiting Rady Children’s Hospital and PG All-American Classic Honorary Chairman Trevor Hoffman’s Pacific Ocean beach house, experiences that everyone involved could only call “incredible.”

But Held noticed once the players got out on the field at the University of San Diego’s Fowler Park for their practice session Friday night was the first time he really saw them relax.

They started talking a lot more once they were doing their thing – they were playing baseball,” he said. “(Sunday) night I’ll just try to help them relax and have a good time and understand it’s a showcase. Yeah, there’s going to be a lot of scouts in the stands watching them another time, but the past history of this All-American game says there is going to be a whole lot of them getting drafted and I’m just really proud that I get to be a very small part of it.”

Moeller High School has produced 11 major league players in its history, including Ken Griffey Jr. and Barry Larkin. Held was the head varsity assistant coach to Moeller legend Mike Cameron for six years before taking over the head coaching job eight years ago, and maintained an almost unheard of level of excellence.

Seven of Held’s eight teams advanced to the Ohio Division I state playoffs final four and won state championships in 2009, 2012, 2013 and 2015. This year’s state championship team finished 31-3 and No. 4 in the final Perfect Game High School National Rankings; Held is 214-34 in eight seasons.

We have a bunch of hard-workers,” Held said. “We have a lot of kids and families that are dedicated and committed to getting better and wanted to come to Moeller High School.”

Marcus High School shares a big stage in the Dallas suburbs with neighbor Flower Mound High School – both were in the top-15 in PG’s National High School Preseason Rankings – and in Sherman’s three years at the school has compiled an 85-26 record. Marcus won a school record 32 games in 2014 and Sherman was named the Texas Class 6A Coach of the Year.

Eleven players Sherman coached at Marcus over the past three seasons have graduated to NCAA Division-I schools and 25 have moved on to collegiate careers at all levels.

Marcus baseball, there’s nothing like it,” Sherman said. “We have a great community, we have a great school and we have great players. I went to Marcus so I have a big connection with the community and I take a lot of pride in having the opportunity to showcase Marcus High School.”

Both coaches admitted to using this opportunity to do a little networking while also picking the brains of the six assistant coaches: Luis Lorenzana, Manny Hermosillo Sr., Manny Hermosillo Jr. Tim Lowery, Eddie Johnson and Brett Kay.

Lowery, the head coach at Cosby High School in Midlothian, Va., was the East Team head coach at last year’s Classic; Kay, head coach at JSerra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., was the 2014 West Team head coach.

Helm and Sherman acknowledged that they wouldn’t be doing a whole heck of a lot of coaching during Sunday night’s Classic, preferring instead to just sit back and watch the young prospects perform at a higher level than anyone else in their age-group.

Helm watched his East hitters belt 61 home runs during Friday night’s batting practice session at USD, and said he was now looking forward to watching the class of 2016’s best pitchers throw during Sunday’s game. Sherman said he was going to be the West team’s top “encourager” noting his players are already “unbelievable from a technical standpoint.”

My biggest (message) to them is to just appreciate the whole thing,” Sherman said. “Just appreciate how grateful you are to be a part of this event because you’re going to look back 20 years from now and think, ‘Man, this was awesome.’ … That’s the biggest thing that I’m trying to communicate is that this is going to be a big part of their career and they should really appreciate it.”

Patrick Ebert – Sunday, August 16, 2015 – 1:08 PM PDT

2015 PG All-American Classic lineups

Listed below (and in the picture above) are the starting lineups, as well as the projected pitchers, inning by inning, for this year's Classic. The West Squad will be the home team.


1. Khalil Lee, CF
2. Joe Rizzo, EH
3. Carlos Cortes, RF
4. Drew Mendoza, 3B
5. Josh Lowe, DH
6. Alex Kirilloff, 1B
7. Luis Curbelo, XH
8. Nolan Jones, SS
9. Brandon McIlwain, LF
10. Grant Bodison, 2B
11. Mario Feliciano, C


Herbert Iser
Francisco Thomas
Alexis Torres
Luke Berryhill
Max Guzman

Pitchers (inning/order)

LHP Jason Groome (1)
RHP Austin Bergner (2)
RHP Zachary Hess (3)
LHP Braxton Garrett (4)
RHP Tyler Baum (5)
LHP Cole Ragans (6)
RHP Ian Anderson (7)
RHP Tony Locey (8)
RHP Josh Lowe (9)


1. Mickey Moniak, LF
2. Jaren Shelby, EH
3. Blake Rutherford, CF
4. Avery Tuck, RF
5. Cole Stobbe, 3B
6. Ben Rortvedt, C
7. Nicholas Quintana, 2B
8. David Hamilton, SS
9. Walker Robbins, 1B
10. Gavin Lux, XH
11. Tyler Fitzgerald, DH


Dominic Fletcher
Blake Sabol
Ben Baird
Nonie Williams

Pitchers (inning/order)

RHP Reggie Lawson (1)
RHP Kevin Gowdy (2)
RHP Charles King (3)
RHP Drake Fellows (4)
RHP Ryan Zeferjahn (5)
RHP Karl Kauffmann (6)
LHP Dion Henderson (7)
LHP Nick Lodolo (8)
RHP Matt Manning (9)

Patrick Ebert – Sunday, August 16, 2015 – 12:56 PM PDT

Here are more pre-game photos, including the coaching staff for both squads and select players from the East and West squads in their game uniforms provided by Nike Baseball.

Patrick Ebert – Sunday, August 16, 2015 – 12:38 PM PDT

Here are a few pre-game photos, including the players on the bus on the way to Petco Park, the helmet the East Squad will be wearing and the beautiful new scoreboard at Petco.

Patrick Ebert – Sunday, August 16, 2015 – 11:49 AM PDT

Pre-Game Schedule

Here is the schedule for the pre-game activities.

12:50 p.m. – Team Photo
1:05 p.m. – Warmups
1:30 p.m. – West BP
2:10 – East BP
3:00 – West Infield
3:10 – East Infield
4:15 – Home Run Challenge Finals
4:55 – Players to Dugout
5:17 – First Pitch

Batting Practice, East

Group 1
8 Kirilloff
13 Berryhill
15 Torres
25 Thomas
26 Lowe
28 Bodison

Group 2
2 Lee
11 Curbelo
22 Mendoza
23 Feliciano
27 Guzman

Group 3
6 Rizzo
10 Jones
12 McIlwain
14 Cortes
17 Iser

Batting Practice, West

Group 1
15 Robbins
10 Fitzgerald
4 Fletcher
14 Rortvedt
12 Quintana

Group 2
2 Hamilton
6 Shelby
26 Lux
27 Sabol
19 Williams

Group 3
33 Stobbe
22 Moniak
25 Rutherford
36 Tuck
7 Baird

Patrick Ebert – Sunday, August 16, 2015 – 10:37 AM PDT

2015 Game Day

Game day is upon us. The 2015 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, Mike Rooney, Dave Valle and Brett Dolan providing the analysis for everyone to enjoy. For the second consecutive year the game will also be available on satellite radio, with MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM providing the broadcast. Mike Ferrin and myself will provide the commentary on Sirius 220 and XM 176. The game will be broadcasted again on radio at 8:00 pm Pacific on Sirius 209 and XM 89 in lieu of Perfect Game's usual weekly MLB Roundtrip Sunday night segment.

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

Jeff Dahn – Sunday, August 16, 2015 – 9:46 AM PDT

Jason Groome accepts the Jackie Robinson Award from Trevor Hoffman and Jerry Ford

New Jersey’s Groome becomes 12th Jackie Robinson Award winner

Hard-throwing New Jersey left-hander Jason Groome received the coveted Jackie Robinson Award as the Perfect Game National High School Player of the Year during Saturday night’s PG All-American Classic Awards Banquet at the San Diego Hall of Champions.

Groome, a Vanderbilt University recruit from Barnegat, N.J., became the 12th recipient of the Jackie Robinson Award, joining current major league players Justin Upton, Mychal Givens, Bryce Harper, Daniel Norris and Lance McCullers as winners of the award.

“It’s an honor, knowing the background that (Robinson) had,” Groome said after accepting the award. “Being known as one of the top players in the country, it’s a dream come true. My family never doubted me one bit, and that’s what helped me the most; my work ethic is through the roof. I always try to be the best … and I always try to be the hardest working person in the room, and it pays off.”

Groome spent this past spring at prestigious IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., where he won five games and compiled a 0.98 ERA while striking out 77 batters in 42 innings pitched. He is planning on playing his senior season in 2016 back home at Barnegat High School.

The 6-foot-6, 180-pound southpaw played his summer ball the last two years with the Voorhees, N.J.-based Tri-State Arsenal, the same organization that reigning American League MVP Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels played for. As fate would have it, Groome’s Tri-State coach, Bob Barth, was in attendance at the San Diego Hall of Champions Saturday night.

“It’s an honor for me to have coached him and to be part of the program he’s been a part of, but as a New Jersey guy and a Northeast guy, it says a lot about how far baseball has come that a Northeast guy is the Perfect Game Jackie Robinson Award winner,” Barth said. “Only Perfect Game could put something together like this that means as much as it does, but who would have thought that a New Jersey guy would win it and be the best player in the country.”

The Jackie Robinson Award was only one of 11 handed out during Saturday night’s ceremonies. The other winners were:

Baseball America Pitcher of the Year: Ian Anderson, Rexford, N.Y.
Perfect Game Nick Adenhart Award: Jeff Belge, Syracuse, N.Y.
Web Gem Grunt Award: Carlos Cortes, Oviedo, Fla.
Zepp Labs Heart & Hustle Award: Cole Stobbe, Omaha, Neb.
TrackMan Award: Tyler Baum, Ocoee, Fla.
MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM Two-Way Player of the Year: Joshua Lowe, Marietta, Ga.
Baseball Prospectus Prospect of the Year: Avery Tuck, San Diego
Rawlings Defensive Player of the Year: Grant Bodison, Simpsonville, S.C.
EvoShield SWAG Award: Blake Rutherford, Simi Valley, Calif.
Louisville Slugger Most Outstanding Offensive Player: Mickey Moniak, Encinitas, Calif.

The presentation of the EvoShield SWAG Award, which recognizes style and attitude, took a special twist when presenter Hardie Jackson deferred to a large video board behind the podium where a taped message from current Houston Astros rookie sensation Carlos Correa was delivered.

Correa, the winner of the 2011 Rawlings Defensive Player of the Year, personally congratulated Rutherford on winning the award and also congratulated all of the All-Americans in the room for their accomplishments.

It was also announced at the Awards Banquet that this year's All-Americans raised in excess of $42,000 through their individual fund-raising efforts. The top fund-raisers were Ben Baird (West) who collected $6,509 and Braxton Garrett (East) who raised $5,010.

Patrick Ebert – Saturday, August 15, 2015 – 9:56 PM PDT

Grant Bodison receives the Rawlings Defensive Player of the
Year Award from Mike Thompson (left) and Mark Kraemer

Jason Groome named 2015 Jackie Robinson Award winner

On Saturday evening the annual dinner and awards banquet took place at the San Diego Hall of Champions. Jeff Dahn will have a more detailed feature on Sunday focusing on the 2015 Jackie Robinson Player of the Year Award winner, Jason Groome, but for now here is a list of all of the players that received an award at the event:

Baseball America Pitcher of the Year: Ian Anderson
Perfect Game Nick Adenhart Award: Jeff Belge
Web Gem Grunt Award: Carlos Cortes
Zepp Labs Heart & Hustle Award: Cole Stobbe
TrackMan Award: Tyler Baum
MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM Two-Way Player of the Year: Joshua Lowe
Baseball Prospectus Prospect of the Year: Avery Tuck
Rawlings Defensive Player of the Year: Grant Bodison
EvoShield SWAG Award: Blake Rutherford
Louisville Slugger Most Outstanding Offensive Player: Mickey Moniak
Jackie Robinson Player of the Year: Jason Groome

To view all of the award winners from the dinner banquet, as well as photos from all of the activities from the 2015 Perfect Game All-American Classic, visit the event's
Flickr page.

Patrick Ebert – Saturday, August 15, 2015 – 5:09 PM PDT

Read Jeff Dahn's feature on the four Puerto Rico natives – Luis Curbelo, Alexis Torres, Francisco Thomas and Mario Feliciano – participating in this year's PG All-American Classic, looking to follow in the footsteps of 2011 Classic participant and young Houston Astros phenom, Carlos Correa.

P.R. A-A's living up to the legacy

Patrick Ebert – Saturday, August 15, 2015 – 3:11 PM PDT

Joe Rizzo puts yet another charge into a ball at this year's Classic

Rizzo, Rortvedt, Rutherford and Kirilloff advance to the Home Run Challenge finals

The PG All-Americans began Saturday back on the fields of Fowler Park and Cunningham Field at the University of San Diego. They opened the morning with a round of batting practice before the first round of the home run challenge began.

New rules were instituted this year for the challenge, as each batter that participated (31 in total) was given 2 1/2 minutes to hit as many home runs as they could. The BP pitcher could not deliver the next pitch until the ball that was previously struck hit the ground. Players could gain an additional 30 seconds, one time only, if they hit back-to-back home runs.

Every single player that participated hit at least one home run in this year's challenge, and all but two hit more than one, a true rarity, and the overall display of power was incredibly impressive. The West Squad took to the plate first with several hitters continuing the power theme at this year's Classic.

Outfielder Jaren Shelby was the first to put on an impressive display of natural strength, jacking eight bombs out. Shortstop Gavin Lux got into a groove two batters later, knocking out seven. Two batters after Lux, Nicholas Quintana took the batter's box and he also hit seven out.

The next batter, Ben Rortvedt, who hit a shot off the 452-foot marker on the top of the dormitory building during batting practice on Friday, truly kicked off the fireworks, hitting 13 home runs out of the park with yet another incredibly impressive display of natural strength and a powerful lefthanded swing.

Walker Robbins, the next batter, took a few swings to find his rhythm, but when he did the ball carried effortlessly, hitting seven home runs.

A few batters later Blake Rutherford tied Rortvedt for the lead at 13, absolutely crushing balls over the right field fence, hitting two on the roof of the aforementioned dormitory building.

Cole Stobbe, a righthanded hitter, displayed light-tower power, hitting several balls a mile in the air with a quick, easy swing. The last of his 11 home runs sailed over the far right side of the batter's eye in center field.

Avery Tuck, yet another imposing lefthanded hitter with a taller frame and swing path similar to that of Rutherford, was the last of the West hitters to participate in the challenge. Tuck got into a groove later in his round and hit 10 out.

After Khalil Lee hit six out to open the challenge for the East Squad, third baseman Joe Rizzo continued his incredibly impressive display of power that he started on Friday during batting practice. With his quick, powerful swing, he put a lot of juice in the ball, and took the lead of the challenge with 14 home runs, which would mark the most hit in the first round.

Alex Kirilloff, similar to Robbins, did a really nice job lofting the ball with backspin to hit 11 out from the lefthanded batter's box. Luis Curbelo, a righthanded hitter, also did a good job hitting the ball high in the air with an incredibly easy stroke, blasting 11 out while hitting several others that just missed.

Carlos Cortes got in a nice groove and hit 10 out, and while Herbert Iser and Drew Mendoza “only” hit two and five home runs respectively, they took displayed clean and easy strokes as lefthanded hitters.

Max Guzman is a different type of slugger than anyone else in San Diego, simply overpowering the ball with his incredibly powerful frame, knocking 10 balls out of the park. Several of those were hit well out of the park and onto the football practice field that lies well beyond the left field wall.

Due to a three-way tie between Stobbe, Kirilloff and Curbelo, each hitter got 10 additional pitches to determine which slugger would advance to the finals. Of this trio Kirilloff would advance by hitting four home runs. Stobbe hit one and Curbelo two.

Rizzo, Rortvedt, Rutherford and Kirilloff will compete in the finals at Petco Park on Sunday prior to the game itself to determine the 2015 Perfect Game All-American Classic Home Run Challenge winner.

Here are the totals:

14 – Joe Rizzo
13 – Ben Rortvedt, Blake Rutherford
11 – Cole Stobbe, Alex Kirilloff, Luis Curbelo
10 – Avery Tuck, Carlos Cortes, Max Guzman
8 – Jaren Shelby
7 – Gavin Lux, Nicholas Quintana, Walker Robbins
6 – Khalil Lee
5 – Ben Baird, Nonie Williams, Blake Sabol, Drew Mendoza
4 – Nolan Jones, Mario Feliciano, Grant Bodison
3 – Dominic Fletcher, Tyler Fitzgerald, Mickey Moniak, Brandon McIlwain, Francisco Thomas
2 – David Hamilton, Herbert Iser, Josh Lowe
1 – Luke Berryhill, Alexis Torres

Patrick Ebert – Friday, August 14, 2015 – 11:37 PM PDT

Carlos Cortes pitched a quick 1-2-3 inning to open the East/West scrimmage on Friday night at USD

East puts on impressive BP display, West wins scrimmage 3-2

On Friday evening the Perfect Game All-Americans took the field at the University of San Diego's beautiful ballpark, Fowler Park and Cunningham Field, after a long day that started with the All-American's annual visit to Rady Children's Hospital and an afternoon spent on the Pacific Ocean at Trevor Hoffman's beach house.

The East Squad started things off with a bang as part of batting practice, divided into three groups of five hitters. Sixty-one total home runs were hit by East hitters, and in total 19 players hit two or more home runs during this impressive display of power.

Two-way standout Joshua Lowe, Alex Kirilloff, Grant Bodison and Alexis Torres hit seven, five, four and two of those home runs respectively as part of that first group. Lowe creates great natural lofty with his swing thanks to his size and strength, showing easy power mostly to his pull side as a lefthanded hitter. One of his home runs landed on the roof of the dormitory building located past the wall in right field, reminiscent of former PG All-American sluggers such as Joey Gallo, Kris Bryant and Bryce Harper.

Kirilloff, also a lefthanded hitter, also has a knack for lofting the ball, hitting one ball well over the trees in deep right-center field. Bodison, who made the highlight defensive play at the National Showcase in mid-June, also put his continually improving offensive talents on display as he really drove the ball well, while Torres showed really good juice in his swing, especially his second time in the batter's box.

The standouts from the second group of East hitters included Luis Curbelo, Drew Mendoza and Max Guzman, three hitters who have significantly different offensive and overall profiles. Curbelo, a righthanded hitter, routinely hit the ball hard to left field, hitting one ball in particular that easily cleared the wall, landing on the football practice fields that lie behind. Mendoza continues to make power look easy from the lefthanded batter's box, with a seemingly effortless swing as he too consistently squared up the ball. Guzman's approach was more about power and strength, crushing ball after ball during his second time through the cage, hitting six balls out.

The last group of East hitters may have been the best, as Carlos Cortes continued to prove why he's considered one of, if not the best hitter in his class. Two-sport talent Brandon McIlwain showed great pull-side power, and Herbert Iser easily hit towering blast after towering blast, leading to seven total bombs in his times through the batter's box. Iser hit three out in a row, while showing no problem driving the ball to left-center field as a lefthanded hitter.

Joe Rizzo, also a lefthanded hitter (something this year's Classic has an abundance of) put on the biggest display, with extremely fast hands and a short, compact swing that made hitting look so incredibly easy. He had the most home runs in his rounds of BP, hitting eight total balls out of the park.

Although the West squad “only” hit 21 home runs during their round of batting practice, it was still an impressive display of offensive talent, in what was described as a more “normal” round of BP as compared to past performances at USD.

Walker Robbins and Ben Rortvedt, both lefthanded hitters, were among the most impressive, and both hit in the first group. Walker showed great loft in his swing with several towering hits, and during one stretch he hit the ball out of the ballpark six times on eight swings. Rortvedt, a tightly wound athlete with an impressive overall tool-set, was really driving the ball hard and consistently squaring it up, hitting a home run on each of his last two swings to give him five on the day.

Cole Stobbe, only the second PG All-American from the state of Nebraska (2013 MVP Jakson Reetz), is an impressive overall athlete and showed a strong, easy swing from the right side. San Diego native Mickey Moniak did what he always does by peppering line drives from the gap in left-center to the gap in right-center with an easy, low effort swing. Blake Rutherford, yet another lefthanded slugger, is a big, physical athlete and displayed easy power with big extension from his swing. The ball really jumped off of his bat during his impressive rounds of BP.

After batting practice both teams took part of a very crisp round of infield and outfield drills followed by the Classic's annual scrimmage. There weren't nearly as many offensive fireworks during this exhibition game, as it moved quickly in preparation for Sunday's nationally televised event.

Carlos Cortes, a rare athlete who can throw with both hands, took the mound as a lefthanded pitcher even though he is a primary position prospect. He worked quickly with a low-80s fastball and solid upper-60s to low-70s curveball to retire the West side in order.

Walker Robbins, also a lefthanded hurler known more for his bat, pitched the first inning for the West, working at 85-86 mph with his fastball while striking out a pair of batters in another quick 1-2-3 inning.

Khalil Lee tossed the top of the second for the East, yet another quick inning, striking out a batter and recording two quick flyouts to center field, although he did give up an infield single to Gavin Lux, who showed great hustle and quickness down the first base line.

Joe Magrisi, one of the top prospects in the class of 2018 that attends high school at Rancho Bernardo High School, was one of three players that weren't selected to play in this year's Classic but were invited to fill up some innings in the scrimmage. Magrisi also made quick work of the East batters in his one inning of work, recording a pair of groundouts to third base thanks to a low- to mid-80s fastball and a low-70s curve ball that he dropped in nicely for strikes.

Josh Lambert, the second of three pitchers that helped fill innings as noted above, took the mound in the top of the third and worked the rest of the way for the East. Although he did give up three runs in his three innings of work, his fastball consistently sat at 85-87 mph while showing four distinct pitches including a low-70s curve, a mid-70s slider and a changeup. He retired three of the four batters he faced in his first inning of work, walking David Hamilton, who quickly showed off his game-changing speed by stealing second base.

In the top of the fourth Blake Rutherford led off the frame with a towering pop fly to shallow right field (with a hang time of 6.6 seconds) that was misplayed in the lights. Rutherford was flying as soon as he left the batter's box, and ended up at third base with a hustle and heady triple. Two batters later Mickey Moniak drove him in with an RBI single, promptly stealing both second and third base before scoring on a wild pitch to Jaren Shelby, who walked, to give the West a 2-0 lead

The West would add another run in the fifth, as Dominic Fletcher led the inning off with a hustle double to right-center, which was followed by an infield single by Nonie Williams and an RBI groundout by Blake Sabol. In this inning Luke Berryhill did gun down Williams trying to steal second base on a perfect throw that was popped at 1.97 seconds.

The third pitcher to provide innings in the scrimmage was 2016 lefthander Austin Hurd of Chino Hills High School. While Hurd didn't throw particularly hard (81-82 mph), he commanded the ball well in his three innings of work while spinning a nice upper-60s curveball and a solid changeup. He did allow a broken bat flare that dropped for a base hit off of the bat of Joshua Lowe, the second batter he faced, but recovered nicely to retire the next two batters, as well as three of the four batters he faced in the bottom of the fourth.

The East team made things interesting in the bottom of the fifth (in a five-inning contest), doing so with two outs. Alexis Torres hit a sharp single to center field followed by yet another sharp single to left-center off the bat of Francisco Thomas. After Mario Feliciano walked Berryhill provided yet another hard hit single up the middle that scored two runs.

Due to the batter limit structure Berryhill was the final batter of the game as the West secured the scrimmage of the 2015 Perfect Game All-American Classic by a score of 3-2.

Patrick Ebert – Friday, August 14, 2015 – 10:20 PM PDT

Be sure to read Jeff Dahn's piece about the PG All-Americans annual visit to Rady Children's Hospital on Friday, the highlight of the Classic each and every year:

Rady visit reveals real heroes

Patrick Ebert – Friday, August 14, 2015 – 5:23 PM PDT

Friday morning started with the annual visit to Rady Children's Hospital where the players interacted with the young patients being treated. For as much as the Perfect Game All-American Classic highlights the top high school players in the nation, the event has always been about raising money and awareness in the fight against pediatric cancer, and since 2003 the event has raised over $850,000 for this cause. Stayed tuned to the site for Jeff Dahn's stand alone feature on the impressions the young children made on the players and vice versa.

After the visit to Rady Children's Hospital Hononary Chairman Trevor Hoffman was kind enough to have the players over to his beach house on the Pacific Ocean for lunch and a variety of activities including football, volleyball and various water sports. Trevor himself (as pictured) took part in these activities and we thank he and his family for their generous hospitality.

Jeff Dahn – Friday, August 14, 2015 – 3:57 PM PDT

2011 PG All-American addresses this year's participants via Skype

PG A-A Classic prospects enjoy annual ‘Welcome Dinner’

In what has become an annual rite of passage for the country’s top 50-plus rising high school senior prospects, the Marriott-San Diego Mission Valley hosted the “Welcome Dinner” for this year’s 13
th annual Perfect Game All-American Classic on Thursday night.

The 51 prospects selected to play in Sunday evening’s Classic dined on fruits, salads, steamed vegetables and rice, roasted red potatoes, pan-seared Napa chicken, top sirloin and an assortment of dessert choices, but not until after they had heard from PG officials and one very special guest who appeared on a television monitor via Skype.

The message delivered from 2011 PG All-American Clate Schmidt struck a very loud cord with this year’s PG All-Americans, who on Friday made their visit to Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, the long-time beneficiary of the PG All-American Classic.

Schmidt played in the 2011 Perfect Game All-American Classic at Petco Park, sharing the field with success stories such as Carlos Correa, Addison Russell, Lance McCullers, Joey Gallo, Alex Bregman, Corey Seager and Lucas Giolito, among others. Schmidt was a 36
th-round pick of the Detroit Tigers in 2012 but didn’t sign and headed for Clemson.

His career was progressing nicely until this past spring when he was diagnosed with stage 2 nodular sclerosing lymphoma. He has spent the summer undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

It has been an extremely humbling experience for me,” Schmidt told the All-Americans. “When I was in your shoes, I remember going to (Rady) and walking through and just trying to introduce myself to all the little kids. … My experience of going through the whole (PG) All-American (weekend) was unreal, but the thing that had the biggest impact on me was going to the hospital and meeting with those kids.”

Schmidt, a right-handed pitcher from Acworth, Ga., told the players that the summer has been an eye-opener for him because he hasn’t been able to throw or go through his normal workout routine. That, in turn, has shown him once again just how much he loves baseball and how much he misses it when it’s taken away. The good news is, it’s coming back. To a large round of applause, Schmidt told the gathering that he is now cancer-free.

After Schmidt spoke, Perfect Game Founder and President Jerry Ford stepped to the podium and informed the All-Americans that based on the numbers from the first 12 Classics, one out of every three of them seated in the room could expect to be a first-round pick in a future MLB First-Year Player Draft.

Ford also spoke of Rady Children’s Hospital and pediatric cancer research and treatment and told the select group of young men who may one day make a very lucrative living playing baseball to at least think about making charitable donations to the cause of eliminating pediatric cancer.

It’s something to think about because … this is the cause that we at Perfect Game fight for,” Ford said. “I’m just asking you to consider that if and when the time comes.”

Following Ford’s remarks, seven awards recognizing high-level performances at June’s Perfect Game National Showcase were handed out. The award winners were:

Fastest Man –
David Hamilton, San Marcos, Texas
Top Power Hitter – Avery Tuck, San Diego
Top Hitter – Mickey Moniak, Encinitas, Calif.
Top Two-Way Prospect Joshua Lowe, Marietta, Ga.
Top Pitchers – Ian Anderson, Rexford, N.Y.; Kevin Gowdy, Santa Barbara, Calif.
Top Defensive Player – Grant Bodison, Simpsonville, S.C.
Top Overall Prospect – Jason Groome, Barnegat, N.J.

Patrick Ebert – Friday, August 14, 2015 – 3:31 PM PDT

The player bus for this year's Classic got a facelift, fully brandished with the Perfect Game All-American Classic logo with the corresponding Nike swoosh. Perfect Game's Daron Sutton and Mike Rooney, who will provide the commentary of the game on MLB Network on Sunday, help model this slick looking vehicle that shuttles the players to and from all of the festivities related to the Classic.

Stay tuned for updates as the players visited Rady Children's Hospital on Friday morning followed by a visit to Honorary Chairman Trevor Hoffman's beach house on the Pacific Ocean.

Patrick Ebert – Tuesday, August 11, 2015 – 7:16 PM PDT

In preparation for this year's PG All-American Classic our friends at Nike provided a brief glimpse of the uniforms the East/West players will wear as well as the corresponding release:

Top Amateur Baseball Players Participate in the Perfect Game All-American Classic

When 51 of the nation’s top amateur baseball players take the field this Sunday, August 16, at Petco Park, they will be wearing exclusive colorways of the latest iteration of Nike Baseball’s Vapor Collection, which allows for faster play with zero distractions.

As the official footwear, apparel and vision partner of the
Perfect Game All-American Classic (PGAAC) for the second consecutive year, Nike will dress the East and West teams in the Nike Vapor Elite Uniform, comprising the Nike Vapor Elite Jersey, Pant and Belt; Nike Vapor Elite Pro Batting Glove; Nike Pro Combat Hyperstrong Slider Tight; Nike Pro Combat Hyperwarm Player’s Sleeve; Nike Vapor Elite Crew Baseball Sock; and Nike True Vapor Fitted Hat. They will also wear Nike Show X1 Sunglasses, Nike Pro Hypercool Vapor Windshirts and the recently released Nike Huarache 2K Filth.

Proceeds of PGAAC ticket sales support pediatric cancer research at Rady Children’s Hospital – San Diego. The Rady Children’s Hospital kite logo appears on the chest of the Nike Pro Hypercool base layer.

Patrick Ebert – Tuesday, August 11, 2015 – 6:43 AM PDT

2015 Jackie Robinson Award winner, Dazmon Cameron, 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. Dazmon Cameron, the third of three first-round picks by the Houston Astros this year that played in previous editions of the PG All-American Classic (Alex Bregman, Kyle Tucker), received the honor last year.

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

Ian Anderson: 0.65 ERA in 53.1 IP, 6 wins, 91 strikeouts
Austin Bergner: 0.57 ERA in 61.1 IP, 8 wins, 99 strikeouts
Kevin Gowdy: 1.50 ERA in 59 IP, 5 wins, 72 strikeouts
Jason Groome: 0.98 ERA in 42 IP, 5 wins, 77 strikeouts
Reggie Lawson: 2.25 ERA in 53 IP, 6 wins, 67 strikeouts
Mickey Moniak: .426 batting average with 46 hits, 29 runs, 28 RBI, 8 doubles, 13 stolen bases
Blake Rutherford: .435 batting average with 27 hits, 20 runs, 14 RBI, 4 home runs, 15 stolen bases
Jaren Shelby: .368 batting average with 35 hits, 13 home runs, 6 doubles, 7 stolen bases

Patrick Ebert -- Tuesday, August 11, 2015 -- 6:08 AM PDT

Nicholas Quintana stood out at the 2014 PG Underclass All-American Games

Scout schedule

The full schedule for baseball-related activities for the 2015 Perfect Game All-American Classic can be found
here. Included on that page is the schedule for the 2015 PG Underclass All-American Games which will be conducted this week prior to the Classic, Wednesday and Thursday August 12 and 13. 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, nine of this year's All-Americans (Herbert Iser, Jeff Belge, Mickey Moniak, Nicholas Quintana, Dominic Fletcher, Joshua Lowe, Nick Lodolo, Zachary Hess, Alex Kirilloff) participated, and all were 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 – Tuesday, August 11, 2015 – 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, primarily from Perfect Game Feature Writer Jeff Dahn and myself.

Be sure to visit the
Media Room page to read past features from the Perfect Game All-American Classic. Not included in those archives are features conducted on the players prior to the rosters were released on Monday, July 13. Here is a list of those features:

Player Feature/Event (Link)
Ian Anderson 2015 16u WWBA National Championship
Ben Baird 2015 17u PG World Series
Jeff Belge 2015 National Showcase
Austin Bergner 2014 Jr. National Showcase
Luke Berryhill 2015 16u WWBA National Championship
Grant Bodison 2013 WWBA Underclass World Championship
T.J. Collett 2013 15u WWBA National Championship
Carlos Cortes 2015 17u PG World Series
Tyler Fitzgerald 2014 Midwest Top Prospect Showcase
Dominic Fletcher 2015 17u WWBA National Championship
Braxton Garrett 2015 National Showcase
Kevin Gowdy 2015 National Showcase
Jason Groome 2015 National Showcase
Herbert Iser 2014 National Underclass Showcase-Main Event
Nolan Jones 2015 17u WWBA National Championship
Charles King 2015 National Showcase
Alex Kirilloff 2015 17u WWBA National Championship
Reggie Lawson 2015 National Showcase
Gavin Lux 2014 WWBA Kernels Foundation Championship
Drew Mendoza 2015 WWBA 17u Elite Round Robin
Mickey Moniak 2014 16u WWBA National Championship
Nicholas Quintana 2015 National Showcase
Cole Ragans 2015 National Showcase
Joe Rizzo 2015 17u PG World Series
Blake Rutherford 2014 Perfect Game MLK Championship
Blake Sabol 2015 17u PG World Series
Jaren Shelby 2015 17u WWBA National Championship
Avery Tuck 2015 17u WWBA National Championship
Nonie Williams 2015 Spring High School Baseball News

Visit the
Roster page to access the individual player profiles, as well as the History page to learn more about the previous 12 games played including the inaugural event in 2003. The Scout page provides the daily schedule of baseball-related activities, including those for the 2015 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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