LONG BEACH, Calif. — The 25th-annual Area Code Baseball Games presented by New Balance got underway today at Blair Field in Long Beach, Calif. While most of today's action consisted of batting practice, there were also two games played. One pitcher that stood out was Reds pitcher Tony Blanford from Boulder Creek High in Phoenix.
Blanford, a 6-foot-3, 180-pound righthander, hasn't pitched in any other big showcase events this summer, and it looks like his outing today may have been his biggest chance.
"After this, I go back to school," Blanford said. "So, my summer's pretty much over after this."
Blanford has a nice, athletic body and showed good balance in his delivery. He showed a loose arm and pounded the lower half of the strike zone with a fastball in the 88-90 mph range, a good 74-76 mph curveball with 11-5 break and he flashed an 81 mph changeup.
He got hit around a little in his second inning of work, giving up a pair of runs to the Royals, but still showed enough stuff to be an interesting player to follow this fall and spring.
"I felt pretty good," Blanford said. "The ball was coming out pretty good and I had good command. One guy squared it up pretty well—I thought I made a good pitch, but he squared it up and he's a pretty good hitter."
Long Beach Leftovers
• Righthander Ty Hensley from Santa Fe High in Edmond, Okla. looked a little tired in the first game. Hensley, who was up to 95 mph earlier this summer, was more in the 88-91 mph range today, though he still mixed in a good, 76-77 mph curveball.
• Righthander Grayson Long from Barbers Hill High from Mont Belvieu, Texas has a projectable frame at 6-foot-6 and 190 pounds. He had good life on his 89-91 mph fastball and mixed in a 75-76 mph curveball.
• The Reds threw two other righthanders with good stuff. Zach Quintana from Arbor View High in Las Vegas was 89-91 with a sharp, 77-78 mph slider and Brady Lail from Bingham High in South Jordan, Utah was mostly 86-89 with a 74-75 mph curveball that he threw for strikes.
• All four games set for Tuesday, Aug. 9 will be broadcast live on ESPN3.com.
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