PG Select Baseball Festival | General | 8/24/2019

Players take the field at 13u Select

Perfect Game Staff        
Photo: Rafael Castillo (Perfect Game)

Jordan Gledhill

See also: 13u PG Select Televised Sunday

NORMAN, Okla. – Baseballs whizzed around the turf diamond at L. Dale Mitchell Park in Norman, Oklahoma at the practice session of the inaugural 13u Perfect Game Select Baseball Festival, an event that features 30 of the best 13u players in North America. Featuring players from the Dominican Republic all the way up to Michigan and New Jersey, the festival brings talented young prospects from all across North America together for a weekend of baseball festivities and community service.

Donning crimson and cream Perfect Game hats and shirts and rocking brand new New Balance cleats, the players took the field for rounds of fielding and batting practice on Saturday in preparation for Sunday’s showcase game. Early jitters — evidenced by a series of fielded balls fired over gloves and into screens and dugouts — eventually gave way to a power show that saw players trade 300 foot line drives. Amidst a foray of batted balls that ricocheted off the wall in left field, New Jersey’s Andre Modugno became the first and only player on the day to finally clear the 330 sign in left field (though it was slightly foul).

“Today was just more to get them comfortable and get the nerves out,” Vice President of National Development Ben Ford said. “They’re all a little nervous to be here obviously and excited. I think once they settled in you can kind of see they got more relaxed and we’re having fun out there.”

On Sunday, two teams of 15 players — coached by former big leaguers Homer Bush and Junior Spivey — will compete against each other in a nine-inning game that will be televised on CBS Sports Network and streamed online on MLB.com.

MLB.com online stream

Ford mentioned that Perfect Game, which is set to hold its 4th annual 14u festival from Aug. 29 to Sept. 1, decided to its first 13u festival this year because there is “a lot of stuff lacking in the youth market right now that we want to help make better.”

The decision to hold the festival in Norman, Ford said, was mainly due to its location in the central part of the country and because OU has a turf field and nice facilities.

“The guys here at the University of Oklahoma have been absolutely phenomenal to work with,” Ford said. “So basically it was a no-brainer to do this. We look forward to doing this every year here.”

After practice on Saturday, the players made the trip to the OK Kids Korral, a project of the Toby Keith Foundation that provides lodging for pediatric cancer patients and their families, in Oklahoma City. The players were tasked with raising money ahead of the festival. The 13u crew as a whole has amassed over $36,000 in fundraising and is “still going strong,” Perfect Game Cares Foundation said in a Tweet on Friday.

“For me, that’s the most important part of (this event), having these kids learn to give back and really put things in perspective,” Ford said.

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