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Texas duo headed to Classic

Photo: Matthew Thompson (Perfect Game)

Nate Schweers
Published: Wednesday, August 1, 2018




See also: Classic supports Rady Children's Hospital

Teammates at Cypress Ranch High School, Matthew Thompson and JJ Goss are the latest hard-throwing righthanders to emerge as top prospects from the state of Texas. Before their senior year of high school, or their college careers even begin, Goss and Thompson are both looking forward to participating in the Perfect Game All-American Classic in just over one week’s time.

While they have goals that are larger than one night game on MLB Network, they know how big of a deal it is to play in this game.

“It is really a life-changing thing. It is such a big deal to get invited to that event, and I really couldn't be looking forward to it more,” said Goss in a recent phone interview with Perfect Game. “The chance to compete with the best players in the country is an experience you don't get every day.”

One thing that Goss is really looking forward to is the chance to visit Rady Children’s Hospital. Every year, participants of the PG All-American Classic get a chance to meet with kids who are at the hospital in San Diego. With the proceeds of the Classic going to pediatric cancer research and treatment, this is an important moment for a number of these players.

“Some of these kids aren’t able to do some of the stuff that we are able to do, so I think it is just good to find a way to give back like that,” Goss added.

With 52 players earning the opportunity to compete in the Perfect Game All-American Classic each year, the chances of two players coming from the same region or conference can seem miniscule. The chances of a pair of high school teammates being chosen are even smaller.

JJ Goss and Matthew Thompson will be representing more than just the West Squad when they take the mound at Petco Park on August 12. While many people from around the country will tune in to MLB Network to see these hard-throwing righthanders, some of the most proud fans will be back home in Cypress, Texas.

“Cypress is one of those places that everyone just kind of knows each other even though it's a pretty big area,” Goss said of his hometown. “Baseball in the district is absolutely insane with all the competition. I think we have the best district in the state of Texas right here in Cypress.”

Known around the community as Cy-Ranch High School, Goss and Thompson’s team was ranked as the fifth-best in the country by Perfect Game leading up to the 2018 season. Along with other pitchers Ty Madden (Texas) and Jake Hymel (LSU), Goss and Thompson were able to lead the Mustangs to the semifinals of the state tournament.

Off the baseball field, Goss and Thompson have become friends through their competitive nature. During a conversation on the phone, Thompson commented on how proud he was of the strides that Goss has made in the last year.

“JJ has been busting his butt for the past year,” said Thompson. “He is right where he needs to be, and he has impressed a lot of people. He hit a growth spurt, bulked up a little bit, his arm action is loose, and it is impressive to see how much he has improved throughout the year.”

Thompson and Goss’ friendship will extend beyond their senior year of high school as they are both planning to attend Texas A&M University to continue their baseball careers. While Thompson didn't know much about Texas A&M before visiting campus, he left knowing it was a place he wanted to be.

“At first I really didn't know about A&M, and then I went to the campus. I went to a football game and that energy is something else. It gave me a rush that I liked, and I knew right there down on the field before the game that it was the school I wanted to go to.”

With Thompson committing early in the recruiting process, he was able to give Goss some guidance. Goss ended up committing to Texas A&M and it was a decision he is extremely confident in.

“Matt was actually committed going into his freshman year, and he kept telling me that A&M was just crazy,” recalled Goss. “After I went and saw the other colleges and finally stepped on the A&M campus for my visit, I was like ‘wow he’s right.’ It is just such a great place to be, and you can feel the energy on campus.”

Off the field, Thompson and Goss are still trying to enjoy their lives as high school teammates and friends while they can. Daily life can consist of a lot of practices and workouts for these high level prospects, but it is important to have some fun and mix it up.

“I really like to play basketball,” said Thompson. “I watch basketball all the time, and if you like, go to my Twitter and Instagram, its probably five basketball videos every two minutes. I usually try to get out and play once a week in the summer, but it is a couple times a week in the fall to get conditioning in.”

Thompson acknowledged that the conditioning basketball provides can be a nice change of pace from the sprints and poles that pitchers run on the baseball field. The change of pace can provide needed relief and JJ Goss likes to find that relaxation without sports all together.

“I like hunting and fishing a lot,” said Goss. “It is one of those things that I’ve always done and it is a nice way to get away from the game.”

When Goss and Thompson return to Cypress Ranch High School this fall they will do so as Perfect Game All-Americans. A prestigious honor in the baseball community, these two are doing their best to do their family and school proud. Mustangs today, Aggies tomorrow, and maybe, just maybe, teammates again at Petco Park or Tropicana Field in the not-so-distant future.


 

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