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Thursday, August 07, 2008

2008 Aflac All American Game Notes - Day 3

Perfect Game Staff        
Los Angeles, CA
Aug 8

Day III Aflac All American Game

Home Run Derby

The highlights today involve the first round of the home run derby.

The number one long ball guy today, by far, was Matt Davidson (CA). He blasted 6 HRs out of Dedeaux Field on the campus of Southern Cal. Several were tape measure shots to left field.

Everett Williams (TX) also made the finals by b;asting three balls out of the park, including one that rattled the scoreboard. Williams has easy power as the ball jumps off his wood bat in a hurry.

Three players tied for the final spot in the finals with two home runs each. Tyler Matzek (CA) a top prospect as a LHP hit two out as the first hitter of the day. Pregame favorite to win the HR derby was Jonathan Singleton and he did make it by hitting two, inclusing one monster shot that traveled a long ways over the RF wall. Richie Shaffer (NC) also made the finals with two HRs.

Tomorrow’s finals will feature Matt Davidson, Everett Williams, Tyler Matzek, Jonathan Singleton and Richie Shaffer. They will need to hit them out of Dodger Stadium in the finals.

The Banquet

The Awards banquet featured the Aflac Game spokesman, hall of famer Ozzie Smith. Others in attendance included former Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson. Jackson is the only athlete ever to have appeared in both the Major League and NFL all star games.

The reason we are all here was very apparent in this banquet as the Dodgers Think Cure charity received a $125,000 check from Vice President Al Johnson of Aflac. Coaches Curing Cancer is another charity involved in the game and Al Johnson presented a check for $25,000 to that great cause.

Then came the awards

Matt Purke (TX) was presented the Baseball America Top Pitching Prospect award. Then Beau Wright (CA) was awarded the top sportsmanship award by Perfect Game. Wright won’t be able to play in tomorrows nationally televised game because he was hit in the head with a line drive the day before Aflac players reported.

Finally the biggest award in High School Baseball, the Jackie Robinson Award given to the top High School player in the nation was announced. Presenting the award was Sharon Robinson the daughter of Hall of Famer Jackie and his widow Rachel. Six players were nominated including Tyler Matzek (CA), Matt Purke (TX), Austin Maddox (FL), Jacob Turner (MO), Donavan Tate (GA) and Mychal Givens (FL). This year’s winner of the Jackie Robinson Award was Mychal Givens. Givens is a very talented Middle Infielder and perhaps the hardest throwing pitcher in the country.

Any of the six nominees would have been a great choice, but Givens does possess the entire package including being a highest level two way prospect. We have seen him up as high as 97 mph from the mound.

Other Stories

There are many interesting side stories each year at the Aflac event and this year is no exception. Tyler Matzek’s family has an important story that we will feature at another time. Tyler’s dad is a cancer survivor and Tyler is very interested in doing some important things if and when he gets drafted next June.

One of the Aflac All Americans was honored to help out visiting the kids at the Children’s Hospital of LA only to find he had a relative who was a patient there.

Lots of stories that go way beyond baseball accomplishments. Lots of things that are much more important than the game.

Game Day gets started early tomorrow.

The PG Aflac Showcase

The PG Aflac Showcase Game, featuring some of the top underclassmen in the country, was played today. More on that and some unbelievable young prospects who attended will be coming soon.
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