All American Game | Story | 8/11/2019

West Wins PGAAC Again, 4-2

Blake Dowson         Jeff Dahn        
Photo: Drew Bowser (Perfect Game)

Box ScoreEvent Blog

SAN DIEGO – High-level pitching was on display all night at the Perfect Game All-American Classic, as both the East and West squads ran out dominant hurler after dominant hurler.

AJ Vukovich, the No. 28 overall player in the 2020 class out of East Troy, Wisconsin and playing for the West squad, connected for the big blow of the game with a go-ahead double in the bottom of the seventh inning to take a 2-1 lead, and the West went on to win the 17th annual PG All-American Classic, 4-2.

The win for the West squad was its fourth straight and has now won eight of the last nine matchups with the East.

“Everyone was just having fun and when you’re having fun, it’s just always the best,” Drew Bowser, the MVP of the 2019 PG All-American Classic and who scored on Vukovich's double, said describing the seventh inning rally for his squad. “We were pretty confident we would get some hits and it worked out for us.”

Vukovich came around to score on a wild pitch later in the inning and Daniel Susac ripped a fastball through the right side to score Cade Horton later on to stretch the lead to 4-1.

Pitching dominated the early parts of the game, though. No. 1 overall 2020 prospect Mick Abel worked a scoreless top of the first inning, with No. 4 prospect Nate Savino matching him in the bottom frame. Savino’s slider was one of the better pitches of the night, getting a number of swings and misses on the offering.

Jared Kelley and Alex Santos threw scoreless second innings for the West and East squads, respectively, while Daxton Fulton and Ryan Bruno did the same in the third.

Austin Hendrick cracked the first extra-base hit of the game in the top of the fourth inning, going the other way for a double down the left field line, but did not score in the inning.

The loudest hit of the day came from Bowser, who was crowned the Home Run Challenge champion during the weekend’s festivities, on top of his MVP nod after the game. Bowser, an Encino, California native and No. 40 overall prospect in the class, stayed back on a breaking ball that caught the plate and crushed it against the outfield wall in left for a double.

Bowser also took the crown as the top fundraiser of the All-American Classic, raising more than $15,000 for Rady Children’s Hospital and pediatric cancer research.

“It was a lot of fun. It was a blessing,” Bowser said. “I’m just glad to be out here with these guys. I’m honestly kind of sad it’s over. It was a lot of fun and hopefully I can do something like this again someday.”

Carter Baumler, out of Grimes, Iowa, earned the win for the West squad on the mound. Baumler came into the game in the top of the seventh inning during a 1-1 tie and worked up in the zone with a 93 mph fastball most of the inning, missing a lot of barrels along the way to a scoreless frame.

With tools on display all over the diamond, such as the power arms on the mound and Bowser’s bat, Mario Zabala’s speed and Pete Crow-Armstrong’s glove made two of the best impressions of the night.

Zabala chopped a ball off home plate in his first at-bat and beat it out for an infield single, showcasing his 6.32 60-yard dash speed. He walked in the top of the fifth inning and wasted no time stealing second base, and then took off for third forcing a rushed throw from the pitcher, scoring the first run of the game as the ball got away from the third baseman.

Crow-Armstrong made possibly the best play of the game, ranging deep into center field to rob Dylan Crews of extra bases on a running grab, doubling off a runner at first base while he was at it.

Jordan Walker also had a multi-hit game for the East squad, shooting a pair of singles through the right side.

Bowser summed up what the weekend meant to him and the rest of the players in attendance after he had been named the MVP.

“I just want to thank Perfect Game for allowing me to come out here and do this,” he said. “The experience of going to Rady Children’s Hospital, of going to the Jackie Robinson YMCA, everything was just great.”

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