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All American Game  | Story  | 8/18/2023

11 Festivalers Complete PG Journey

Jheremy Brown     

Back in 2019, Perfect Game once again proved to be at the forefront of the youth landscape with the announcement of the 13u Perfect Game Select Festival, building off the success of the 14u iteration of the game which began in 2016. The national scene wasn’t quite built up to what it is now at the youth level as events like the Beast of the East, 13u WWBA World Championship and most importantly, the 13u National Showcase, have since been implemented, but that didn’t stop high end talent from invading the University of Oklahoma for the inaugural game. 

Amongst those two rosters, which were led by long time MLBers in Tom Gordon and Junior Spivey, were 6 players who’ll be suiting up at Chase Fields in Phoenix, Arizona for the latest Perfect Game All-American Classic. While it’s not uncommon to find Festival alum scattered throughout the Classic rosters, these six players (Derek Curiel, Bryce Clavon, Theo Gillen, Cade Arrambide, Andre Modugno and Ty Southisene) all made a return trip to Oklahoma in 2020 for the 14u Select Festival, meaning they’re the first group to play in every Festival available throughout their Perfect Game careers, culminating with an appearance in the prestigious PG All-American Classic. 

Given the age guidelines of the Festivals where players play their age rather than their graduating class, the crop of 13u players who descended upon Oklahoma City in 2020 saw the start of a complete PG journey for 5 other players was well, debuting in 2020 before hearing their names called again for the 2021 14u Festival. Slade Caldwell, Aiden Harris and Chase Mobley are all young for the class of 2024, meaning they were able to play down and theoretically could have played 16u baseball this summer circuit, though should the Festivals have been based strictly on age, they very well could have started their journey back in 2019. Both Konnor Griffin and Cam Caminiti made an appearance at the 2020 13u Select Festival but did so as members of the 2025 graduating class, a status they maintained through the 14u Festival a year later and have since reclassed to 2024 where they remain top prospects in the entire country. 

It totality, 17 players who are in Phoenix this weekend will have worn the Select Festival jersey at one point in their Perfect Game career. 

When the Cleveland Guardians announced Raffaele Velazquez this past July with their first round pick, the SoCal native became the first ever 13u Festivaler to hear their name called in the MLB Draft. Another member of that inaugural game in 2019, Velazquez may be the first but he certainly won’t be the last, a testament to the continued growth at the youth levels and Perfect Game’s dedication to providing the biggest and brightest of stages for players of all ages. 

That leads to this question: with the introduction of the 11u Festival in 2021, how many players will we see make all the stops between the 11-12-13-14u Festival, a trip to the PG All Star Game and ultimately, the Perfect Game All-American Classic? We have a couple of years until we get that answer, but there’s no doubting the future of amateur baseball is extremely bright!