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All American Game | Story | 8/22/2021

All-American Classic Sunday Notebook

Jeff Dahn     
Photo: Elijah Green (Perfect Game)
Florida’s Elijah Green earns Jackie Robinson Award

SAN DIEGO - Late last year when veteran scout and long-time Perfect Game Vice President of Player Personnel David Rawnsley was asked his thoughts on the dynamic class of 2022 outfielder Elijah Green, he wrote in an email that Green “seriously might be the best athlete I’ve ever scouted.”



And now, that athleticism combined with a high IQ on the baseball field and a 4.0 GPA in the classrooms at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., has been duly recognized.

Green, a Miami commit who calls Windermere, Fla., home, was named the winner of the 2021 Perfect Game Jackie Robinson Player of the Year Award at Saturday night’s PG All-American Classic Awards Banquet, held on a waterfront lawn area at the Bayfront Hilton Hotel in downtown San Diego.

There was fierce competition for the award this year from as many as four or five other deserving players from this talented 2022 class, but in the end Green’s total skill set and contagious charisma was too much to ignore.

Cited in one PG scouting report as having “an unrivaled combination of speed and power” Green took over the No. 1 spot in national prospect rankings for five straight cycles starting with an updated version in September 2020. And now he has the PG Jackie Robinson Award in his possession, solidifying his title as the national high school player of the year.

“It means everything to me,” Green said Sunday morning. “With Jackie being the first African American player in MLB, it was just great to get the award and know that all my grind and hard work has finally paid off.”

Green was a two-sport athlete up until the eighth grade before he decided to leave football behind and concentrate his efforts on baseball. Green’s dad is Eric Green, a first round pick of the Steelers in the 1990 NFL Draft out of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. Eric Green played 10 seasons in the NFL and was a two-time Pro Bowl selection in 1993 and ’94 while with the Steelers.

“As I always explain to (Elijah), the work will take care of everything,” Eric told PG in December. “If you put in the time you’re going to get the results. You’re going to get every result that you deserve because you put in the time, but if you don’t put in the time you have no-shot; he bought into that at a very young age.”

Truth be told, Elijah Green is built like a football player. He’s a 6-foot-3, 225-pounder with sprinter’s speed who may not necessarily like to get hit but who can hit, throw and field a baseball with a skill-level that puts him at the top amongst his peers.

Elijah Green told PG Sunday that when he was a youngster he really didn’t feel like he was anything special out on the baseball field. But he was determined to get better and that led him to where he is as a high school senior.

During the course of his PG career he earned all-tournament recognition at more than 20 events, mostly while playing for the FTB organization, and was included on the Top Prospect List at three PG showcases, including the 2020 PG Junior National and the 2021 PG National.

“Perfect Game, I just love them,” Green said. “I just love how (the events) are run, and I just want to show out and show that I can be a leader of my team and go out and win tournaments.”

What follows is a complete list of the 2021 PG All-American Classic award winners as announced at Saturday night’s Awards Banquet at the Bayfront Hilton Hotel:

Top Chops Top Fundraiser: Dylan Lesko (Georgia)

Texas Baseball Ranch Top Pitcher Improvement Award: Jackson Ferris (North Carolina)

Yeti Cool Under Pressure Award: Brock Porter (Michigan)

Oakley Be Who You Are Award: Tristan Smith (South Carolina)

Leaf Most Projectable Award: Justin Crawford (Nevada)

PG Tech Power Award: Dominic Hellman (Washington)

Win Reality Top Performer Award: Jayson Jones (Texas)

Baseball America Pitcher of the Year Award: Dylan Lesko (Georgia)

Perfect Game Nick Adenhart Award: Gavin Guidry (Louisiana)

Trackman Award: Noah Schultz (Illinois)

MLB/SiriusXM Two-Way Player Award: Riley Stanford (Georgia)

G-Form HBP (Heart, Bravery & Passion) Fearless Player Award: Malcolm Moore (California)

Perfect Game Development 5-Tool Award: Gavin Turley (Arizona)

Rawlings Defensive Player of the Year Award: Andruw Jones (Georgia)

Diamond Kinetics Offensive Player of the Year Award: Termarr Johnson (Georgia)

2021 Jackie Robinson Player of the Year Award: Elijah Green (Florida)

 

All-Americans raise more than $110,300 for Rady Children’s Hospital

Jennifer Ford, the Executive Director of the Perfect Game Cares Foundation, announced at the Awards Banquet that this year’s All-Americans raised $110,322 to aid important, life-changing programs at San Diego Rady Children’s Hospital and its Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders.

The PG All-American Classic has been fund-raising for the Peckham Center since 2006 and has brought in well over $1 million during that time.

This year’s top PGAA fund-raiser was Buford, Ga.’s Dylan Lesko. He's the No. 1-ranked pitcher in his class (No. 3 overall) who on Saturday night was named the 2021 Baseball America Pitcher of the Year and really out-did himself on this front, bringing in an astonishing $20,325.

“Back at home in Buford our whole baseball team gets involved with the community and tries to help the less fortunate as much as we can,” Lesko said Sunday. “Having any opportunity to give back is one of my favorite (things). Just trying to put a smile on somebody else’s face, because that’s what it’s all about at the end of the day.”

Carsten Sabathia of Alpine, N.J., brought in the second highest total with $12,450 raised; Suwanee, Ga.’s Andruw Jones ($7,650) and Irvine, Calif.’s Mason McGwire ($5,000) were next in line.

During their three days here, the PGAA’s learned the story of young Leukemia patient Carter Santos, who has been treated extensively at Rady Children’s over the past 3½ years. Carter has endured over 1,000 doses of chemotherapy, received 17 blood transfusions and put out under anesthesia 32 times. On June 10, Carter was declared cancer-free.

“Giving back to people who don’t have the opportunities we have is a big part of this,” Lesko said. “We heard Carter’s story last night and I teared-up just hearing the struggles that he went through. To see where he is now, it’s honestly great to see how hard he fought. It shows us how fortunate we are in our lives to be here.”

Termarr Johnson becomes popular Home Run Challenge champ

One of the most popular and out-going prospects at this year’s PG All-American Classic was Atlanta’s Termarr Johnson, a gifted and talented shortstop with an endearing personality that screams “fan favorite.”

And on Sunday morning, the kid ranked No. 2 overall nationally, put on a show for the ages during the final round of the PGAAC Home Run Challenge.

Trailing Chandler, Ariz.’s Gavin Turley by four with time running out, Johnson hit back-to-back bombs to move within two and earn an extra 30 seconds of swat time. A left-handed hitter, he took full advantage of that half-minute by launching three straight pitches into Petco’s right field stands to win the competition by a 9-8 count.

“That was amazing,” Johnson said about 5 minutes after the completion of the Challenge while still receiving congratulatory backslaps and embraces. “You go to a lot of home run derbies but there’s nothing like this. I had a tough opponent and I’m just glad I came out on top.”

What was even more amazing was the reaction of the other All-Americans, from both Johnson’s East teammates and from Turley’s West mates. It looked like every one of the other 59 players rushed on the field to mob Johnson in a scene right out of a World Series Game 7 walk-off thriller.

“I just had to focus-up and use my legs,” Johnson said of late rally. “I hit a couple over back-to-back-to-back and it was amazing. I’ve got my whole family behind me and I’ve got all my guys behind me. It’s just good to have friends like this. There’s always competition but it’s great to have these friends.”

Johnson and Turley both dropped 10 bombs during the Challenge’s preliminary round at Petco on Saturday to move into Sunday’s final-four. There they were joined by fellow sluggers Tucker Toman from Columbia, S.C. and Dominic Hellman out of Mill Creek, Wash., both of whom hit nine home runs during the prelims. Toman was eliminated by Johnson and Hellman by Turley in the semifinals.

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