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All American Game  | Story  | 8/18/2023

His Own Legacy: PGAA Akhil Nimmala

Hannah Jo Groves     
Photo: Akhil Nimmala (Perfect Game)
Instead of answering a phone call, Akhil Nimmala found out about his 2023 PG All-American nod via Instagram after a friend told him to check the app.

"I was really excited because I saw Arjun make it last year and it was my goal to make it this year," Nimmala said. 

Arjun Nimmala, Akhil's older brother, was drafted 20th overall by the Blue Jays in the 2023 MLB Draft. 

The 16-year-old Nimmala said he's always wanted to follow in his brother's footsteps - even though, initially, Akhil didn't have the same love for baseball that Arjun did. 

"As I kept growing and I saw [Arjun] getting better, I wanted to get just as good as him," Nimmala said. "My passion kept building and once I was 12 years old, I found out that I could be good at this game if I kept working on it."

Nimmala said his older brother is his biggest supporter and someone he can always go to with questions, but the two have a healthy, competitive rivalry.

"We've grown up together, so we both know each other the best anyone can know each other," Nimmala said. "I feel like we support each other but we also compete with each other just to get better. We're trying to better each other."

Though Nimmala expressed a lot of up-side to having a talented older brother, he shared that staying confident in himself proved challenging over the years.

"Something that comes with having a brother a little bit older than me is knowing that you’re just as good, if not better, than everybody out there," Nimmala said. "Everyone can say, ‘Oh, your brother’s known for this, your brother’s known for that,’ and they feel like you’re overrated just because of your brother. Getting past that has been a big challenge, but I feel like I’ve been doing pretty well with that."

Helping Nimmala overcome any challenge is his dad - who learned the game of baseball alongside his two sons. 

"[My dad] was a good cricket player," Nimmala said. "He’s really athletic. He knew sports, but in India, he didn’t really know what baseball was back then."

A native of The Sunshine State, Nimmala's close relationship with his family was one reason he chose to commit to UCF.

"I’ve always wanted to stay close to home," Nimmala said. "I get kind of homesick sometimes and staying near my parents - my parents can come to some of my games. Having my dad there, if I need a mechanical adjustment, my dad can tell me what I need to fix and [I'll] just have a good support system."

As he looks forward to his career after high school, Nimmala said he has dreams that go beyond just playing in the big leagues. 

"I want to go as far as I can in the game - get to the major leagues as fast as I can and stay there for as long as I can," Nimmala said. "That’s the main goal, but just having a good time and a good run in the game of baseball - because, I find this game the most fun thing that I can be doing - so, just having fun and playing as long as I can would be my goal."