Under Armour has announced the date and initial player selections for the 2013 Under Armour All-America Game, powered by Baseball Factory. The game will be played Saturday, Aug. 24, at Chicago's Wrigley Field and it will air live on MLB Network at 2:30 p.m. EST.
Many top prospects have played in the game, including Jameson Taillon, Bubba Starling and Byron Buxton, who were all selected in the top five picks of the draft. Seven players from the 2011 contest were drafted in the first round in the 2012 draft. Brady Aiken, Alex Jackson and Gareth Morgan will become the first players in the game's history to be two-time participants when they take the field this summer.
In addition to playing in the All-America Game, players will participate in other activities as part of a four-day weekend. A formal workout will take place for amateur scouts to watch and the players will receive instruction from major league players while also giving back to the community by helping with a youth clinic for Chicago-area kids. As in previous years, there will be a home run derby with the preliminary rounds taking place after the workout and the finals coming before first pitch at Wrigley.
The Under Armour All-America Game showcases 36 of the best high school players in the country, who are selected by a committee of Baseball Factory scouts. The players will be split into two teams for an American vs. National matchup.
“Every year we scout worldwide to find the best high school players to represent Under Armour and Baseball Factory in the Under Armour All-America Game,” said Steve Bernhardt, Executive Vice President of Baseball Factory and Chairman of the Under Armour All-America Game Selection Committee. “We are thrilled to choose these nine initial players as we begin the process of filling the 2013 roster. An extremely talented group, we expect this class to meet or surpass the success that Under Armour All-Americans have found in previous years.” [...] Continue Reading »
As I mentioned on Twitter late last night, my flight out of Tucson prevented me from talking to the players I wanted yesterday, but here are some final highlights from the Under Armour All-America Preseason Tournament, powered by Baseball Factory:
• While most of the players to watch in this event were underclassmen, there were a few seniors that should be worth watching as we approach the 2013 draft. Righthander Kacy Clemens (Memorial High, Houston) stood out on the first day and a couple lesser-known names had intriguing outings on the second. Nicholas Green, a righthander from Fountain-Fort Carson High (Fountain, Colo.), has a skinny frame at 6-foot-1, 160 pounds. He has a quick, loose arm, a short stride and upright delivery. He sat 86-88 mph early and settled into the mid 80s toward the end of his outing. He has a curveball in the low 70s that has potential, but he needs to command it better. His fastball also gets some good armside sink. [...] Continue Reading »
TUCSON — Many in baseball will argue that there is no offseason, but there certainly are high and low tides. Nearly 400 players from across the country have descended on the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Ariz., for the Under Armour All-America Preseason Tournament, powered by Baseball Factory. However, it's January so if you're looking for big velocities on the radar guns or majestic batting practice sessions, you're being unrealistic. Everyone is either coming off another sport's season or simply in the early stages of getting in shape for the spring. This event gives evaluators a glimpse of players that should be followed as the year progresses and a select few will get the opportunity to participate in the Under Armour All-America Game at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
One of the players that is clearly on the radar is Ryan Castellani, a junior righthander from Brophy Prep College Prep in Phoenix, about 120 miles northwest of Tucson. He stands at 6-foot-4, 190 pounds, with long legs and room to add strength. Innings at this event consist of five batters, no matter the outcome, and Castellani pitched two innings for the American team. He threw about 40 pitches and sat 87-88 early before settling into the mid 80s. [...] Continue Reading »
Rich Hofman, a longtime and successful high school coach in Florida, is leaving his post as head coach at Nova Southeastern's University School in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., to be the athletic director and baseball coach at a new charter school in Miami. The school, Sports Leadership and Management Charter High School (SLAM), will open this fall and compete at the 2-A level. SLAM will feature a curriculum that provides students with the basic courses as well as ones that that are related to careers in sports such as physical therapy, sports management, or nutrition.
Hofman passed a milestone last season by claiming his 1,000th career victory. He made a name for himself as the head coach at Miami's Westminster Christian Academy, where he coached Alex Rodriguez and Doug Mientkiewicz and won Baseball America National Championships in 1992 and 1996. Hofman began at Westminster Christian in 1969 and left after the 1998 for Westminster Academy (Ft. Lauderdale). He won state championships in his first two years before moving on to Piper High (Sunrise, Fla.). After two years at Piper he stepped away from coaching. He returned with University in 2010.
USA Baseball has announced Rob Cooper as manager of the 2013 18-and-under National Team, which will compete in the IBAF AAA/18U World Championships at a date and location yet to be determined. Cooper is the head coach at Wright State and previously served on the coaching staff for the 2007 and 2009 Collegiate National Teams.
"I'm extremely honored to be given this opportunity," Cooper said in a release. "One of my career goals was to manage a USA national team and have the chance to play for a gold medal. This is going to be my career highlight and I am very excited about it."
Cooper is set to begin his ninth season leading the Raiders and they are looking to continue their streak of seven consecutive seasons with 30 or more wins while adding to the 261 victories during his tenure. Under his direction, Wright State has won three Horizon League championships and earned a berth in the NCAA tournament in those seasons.
"Rob Cooper's extensive background as a successful college head coach and member of our 2007 and 2009 Collegiate National Teams' coaching staffs makes him a perfect fit to be the field manager for the 2013 18U National Team," team director Brant Ust said. "Additionally, as a coach at last summer's inaugural 17U National Team Development Program, Rob had the opportunity to become familiar with some of the players who will ultimately comprise the Tournament of Stars and 18U National Team player pools. USA Baseball is excited to have Rob as the manager who will guide the 18U National Team in defending the gold at this year's IBAF 18U World Championships."
Team USA's 18U squad won gold at the World Championship last September under the direction of former World Series MVP and current Linfield (Ore.) College head coach Scott Brosius.
The second annual USA Baseball National High School Invitational, presented by Baseball America, is set for March 27-30 and the tournament field is made up of 16 teams from 10 different states. The event will be held at the USA Baseball National Training Complex and is hosted by the Town of Cary with the The Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance partnering as a presenting sponsor too.
Returning from the inaugural event are Mater Dei High (Santa Ana, Calif.) and Harvard-Westlake High (Studio City, Calif.), the two teams from last year's inaugural championship game that was decided in extra innings. Mater Dei trailed 2-1 going into the seventh, but tied it up on a home run and walked off in the eighth to claim the first NHSI title.
Just like last year's event, the outcome will have a strong effect on the national rankings while also providing scouts a look at some top draft prospects in highly competitive scenarios. Nine players from Baseball America's Top 100 High School Prospects will compete, including four in the top 20 and the country's top overall player in outfielder Austin Meadows (Grayson HS, Loganville, Ga.) as well as the top righthander—Jordan Sheffield (No. 7 overall; Tullahoma, Tenn., HS).
Listed in alphabetical order below is the tournament field with a short capsule on each team as well as a list of the top 10 prospects that will be at the event.
Bingham HS, South Jordan, Utah
It’s hard to argue against Bingham’s case as the top program in Utah and the Miners expect to be in the thick of a state championship run yet again. They finished fourth in the state in 2012 with a 24-6 record and first-place finish at the USA Classic in Tennessee. Head coach Joel Sato has been at the helm since 1993 and has a record of 362-162.
“As in past years, we’ll be expecting the remaining senior class to step into leadership and playing roles,” Sato said.
The Miners have 20 state championships in their history, with at least one title in eight different decades. They’re also familiar with venturing outside state lines to play having played in out of state tournaments since 1981—most notably the USA Classic, Hard 9 National Classic in California and Big League Dugout National Invitational in Arizona. Last year’s team boasted righthander Brady Lail, an Arizona commit that signed with the Yankees as a 12th-rounder for $225,000. [...] Continue Reading »
USA Baseball’s 18-and-under national team capped off their 10-day stay in Seoul, South Korea, on Saturday night with a gold medal as they defeated Canada 6-2 in the championship game of the IBAF 18U World Championship.
After going 4-1 in pool play, Team USA dropped the first of its three crossover games, as it fell 1-0 to Canada. Some players thought that they had blown their shot at the gold medal until manager Scott Brosius spoke with them.
“My biggest message after that game was, ‘Don’t go to bed losing hope,’” Brosius said. “Possibilities still existed for us to get back to the gold medal game, but all of those possibilities required us to win our final two games. Essentially the message was, ‘We have to be the aggressors.’ We wanted to be the ones that went out and earned it instead of waiting for something to fall in our laps.”
“We actually thought we were done,” said shortstop Christian Arroyo (Hernando HS, Brooksville, Fla.). “When Coach Brosius told us we had a chance to get back in there we were pumped.”
[...] Continue Reading »
USA Baseball's 18-and-under national team finished off pool play with a 6-2 win over Australia Wednesday morning (local time) to improve its record to 4-1 at the 18U World Championship, but had to make a quick turnaround and play Canada Wednesday evening in the first of three crossover games. After nine innings of scoreless baseball, the international tie breaker rule was used in the 10th and Canada pushed one run across before holding off Team USA in the bottom of the inning to seal the victory.
After opening with a rout of the Netherlands at the IBAF, Team USA dropped its second game 8-2 to Korea, but bounced back for 11-1 and 3-2 wins over Colombia and Venezuela respectively before facing Australia.
Against Korea, Team USA was down just 3-2 after five innings, but the host team scored four runs off righthander Kevin Davis (Miller HS, Brewton, Ala.) in the sixth and added another in the eighth. The offense was held to seven hits—all singles. Jeremy Martinez (Mater Dei HS, Santa Ana, Calif.) and Christian Arroyo (Hernando HS, Brooksville, Fla.) drove in each run.
Team USA then put up double-digit runs against Colombia, scoring in each of the first three innings to go up 8-1 early. Outfielder Ryan Boldt (Red Wing, Minn., HS) drew four walks and scored four runs as the leadoff hitter. He also stole five bases, setting a single-game record for Team USA. The previous mark was three. Team USA also set a team record for stolen bases in a game with 10. Reese McGuire (Kentwood HS, Covington, Wash.) and Martinez each had three RBIs. Lefthander Stephen Gonsalves (Cathedral Catholic HS, San Diego) pitched all seven innings of the game shortened by the mercy rule. He allowed one run on six hits, walked two and struck out eight. [...] Continue Reading »
After seeing its first game get postponed because of rain, USA Baseball's 18-and-under team opened play at the IBAF 18U World Championships with a rout of the Netherlands. Team USA pounded out 16 hits, including six for extra bases, on the way to the 17-0 win.
"The first couple of innings was just everyone trying to get their feet wet," manager Scott Brosius said in a postgame release. "We've had two or three days off, and I think once they settled into the rhythm of the game they performed well."
Lefthander Garrett Williams (Calvary Baptist Academy, Shreveport, La.) got the start on the mound and pitched six shutout innings, allowing five hits and three walks while striking out nine.
"I really relied on my team with those ground ball outs," Williams said. "My command was off the first couple of innings, but I settled in and started pumping the strike zone and we came out with the victory."
Team USA first got on the board in the top of the second inning when Andy McGuire (Madison HS, Vienna, Va.) singled, advanced to second on a hit batter and scored on an infield single by Dom Nunez (Elk Grove, Calif., HS). After a scoreless third inning, the U.S. blew the doors open with at least one run in the next four innings. They scored two in the fourth when Nunez drove in McGuire for a second time and then scored on a double by Christian Arroyo (Hernando HS, Brooksville, Fla.). A four-run fifth and one-run sixth made it 8-0 before the offense erupted for nine runs in the seventh.
Arroyo finished the game 3-for-5 with two doubles, three RBIs and two runs scored. McGuire went 1-for-2 with two walks and four runs scored while Jeremy Martinez (Mater Dei HS, Santa Ana, Calif.) went 2-for-4 with a double, three RBIs and two runs scored.
Next up for Team USA is Korea, the tournament host. That game will be played Sept. 1 at 2 p.m. local time (1 a.m. EST). Korea is also 1-0 after beating Venezuela 2-1.
Dozens of high school prospects hope to get a chance to play in the Under Armour All-America Game, but fewer than 40 players actually get the opportunity each year. Being an all-American takes talent and hard work, but there's more to the honor than playing in a nationally televised game. It's been more than four years since I tried out for the Detroit Tigers and the itch to participate recently returned. I wanted to get a closer look at the Under Armour All-America experience so I put down my recorder and donned some workout gear. Under Armour and Baseball Factory made me an honorary All-American so I could participate in the workouts and other events surrounding the main feature. Luckily, for everyone's amusement, the camera was rolling… [...] Continue Reading »
Siblings are common in baseball. The sport's history is filled with famous brotherly duos and trios. The DiMaggios, the Niekros, the Alous, the Alomars, the Uptons. . . the list goes on and on. While brothers playing baseball is common, it's rare for a mother to be 2,300 miles from home and still be able to see her two sons play.
Such was the case for Traci Kelly this weekend, as she was able to see her oldest son Carson play with the Rookie-level Johnson City Cardinals and her youngest son Parker participate in USA Baseball's National Team Identification Series.
Carson was a second round pick by the Cardinals and signed for $1.6 million. Over his first 206 pro at-bats, he is hitting .223/.263/.388 with 10 doubles and eight home runs.
"It's been awesome, it's been a ride, I can tell you that," Carson Kelly said. "At first, it was a little bit of a tough transition, but now I'm starting to get the hang of it and I'm having a blast. These guys have been great and I'm learning a lot.
"The biggest thing I've learned is kind of just controlling my emotions. Just learning how to relax during times of stress. I'm just taking it day by day. You've got to come back to the ballpark every day, if you did well the day before or if it didn't go your way. It's just a daily grind, but it's been fun."
[...] Continue Reading »
USA Baseball's National Team Identification Series brings in 32 teams of players from all around the country and serves as a first look at some of the players who will be on next year's 18-and-under and 17-and-under teams.
The player who stood out the most at the first day of the event was righthander Luis Ortiz from Sanger (Calif.) High. With his stuff, Ortiz would be one of the best high school players in the 2013 draft class, but he's only a rising junior.
Ortiz has a thick, workhorse frame at 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds. He has a balanced delivery with good shoulder tilt and stayed in-line to the plate well. He also incorporates the strength in his lower half and showed a quick, loose arm. Ortiz's fastball sat in the 91-93 mph range and he mixed in a sharp 80-82 mph slider.
Over three innings of work, Ortiz threw three no-hit innings with three walks and three strikeouts. He was getting squeezed a little bit and was always around the zone. Most of the balls in play were the result of weak contact, as Ortiz was not afraid to pitch inside and his fastball featured some late armside life.
"I just basically (try to) blow the fastball by everyone then see if I need to use my offspeed pitches," Ortiz said. "Today I just threw fastballs and sliders. I saw slow bats, so I used more fastballs."
[...] Continue Reading »
BY PAT HICKEY
It didn’t take long for Mater Academy (Hialeah Gardens, Fla.) head coach Eddie Gorriz to realize Willie Abreu was not normal.
Back when he was a rising junior outfielder at Miami Springs High, Abreu was in the process of transferring to Mater Academy, which already featured star outfielder Albert Almora—a six-time USA Baseball alumni who would become the sixth overall selection in the draft by the Cubs in 2012.
A year ago, Abreu got his first taste of USA Baseball with the 16-and-under National Team that took home a gold medal for the sixth straight year at the IBAF 16U World Youth Championships in Mexico. He hit .423 (11-for-26) in seven games and said the experience was the most memorable of his career.
The idea of patrolling the same outfield as Almora would create more exposure for Abreu while also playing for a better program and against stronger competition.
“(Almora) was max-effort in everything he did, on and off the field,” Abreu said. “I try to approach everything the same way.
“He’s a phenomenal defender. Anyone that’s ever played with him could learn something just by watching him shag fly balls.”
Before Gorriz ever saw Abreu step onto a baseball field, he said his conditioning, training and work ethic were “out of this world." Even after having seen him play this past season after transferring to Mater Academy, Abreu continues to impress Gorriz with his athleticism.
“One thing I love having my kids do is weighted pull-ups, and if there’s a weight Willie can’t get over the bar, he’ll go after it three or four more times while everyone else is cleaning up and getting ready to leave. He’ll be like, ‘Coach, one more, one more. I can get this.' He’s that kind of kid, you know?” Gorriz said.
A 6-foot-3, 205-pound outfielder committed to play college ball at Miami, Abreu is a “freak athlete," according to Gorriz—not just for his size, but for anyone. Gorriz claims he’s seen Abreu jump flat footed off the ground onto a box that stands five feet high.
One time, Abreu was matched with two soccer players at Mater Academy and was tied together at the waists by a bungee cord and a ring holding the three together in the middle, with all three lines going in different directions. Gorriz said even though the soccer players were strong kids, Abreu dragged both of them on the ground, snapped the cord and had whip marks on his back from where it snapped the other two lines and hit him.
“When you’re good and you know you’re good, you have nothing to prove to people,” Gorriz said. “But, it allows him to be humble and he’s very positive and a tremendous teammate as well. And, it’s not just on the baseball field. It translates into the classroom as well. He’s a good student that works hard and has a bright future in whatever he chooses to do.”
Upon first glance, one wouldn’t expect Abreu to be a plus runner as well due to his strong and mature frame. Gorriz said Abreu has turned in several 60-yard dash times at 6.7 seconds, which is at least 0.2 seconds faster than he was at a year ago thanks to improvement with his stride.
Abreu was born and raised in Miami and comes from a family that has instilled a perfectionist mentality that was not only evident to Gorriz, but to the Team Dixie coaches he played for during the Tournament of Stars this summer. Abreu went on to play for Team USA and was recently named to the 18-and-under squad after they announced their final cuts. They will compete in the IBAF 18U World Championships in Seoul, South Korea, beginning Aug. 30.
“There’s nothing that I feel like I don’t need to improve on to help my team win games,” Abreu said. “It’s an honor to be invited to all of these great events, but now is not the time to relax. It’s a long journey, so I’m trying my best so there’s nothing anybody can point out and say that is my weakness.”
Gorriz said he tells his players all the time that he wants high school baseball to be a stepping stone for where they want to be someday—not only as players, but human beings as well. Even though Abreu has a bright future ahead in baseball, he said his parents still expect him to earn a college degree someday.
USA Baseball's 18-and-under squad traveled to Southern California last week with the roster that made it out of the team trials and Prospect Classic. They scrimmaged some travel and scout teams before announcing the final 20-man roster that will compete in the IBAF 18U World Championships in Seoul, South Korea. Team USA will travel Taiwan first for a three-game series against Chinese Taipei this weekend and then open the World Championship against Australia on Aug. 30. The following players made the final cut:
William Abreu, of, Mater Academy, Hialeah Gardens, Fla.
Christian Arroyo, if, Hernando HS, Brooksville, Fla.
Cavan Biggio, if/of, St. Thomas HS, Houston
Ryan Boldt, of, Red Wing (Minn.) HS
Bryson Brigman, if/of, Valley Christian HS, San Jose
Ian Clarkin, lhp, Madison HS, San Diego
Kevin Davis, rhp, Miller HS, Brewton, Ala.
Stephen Gonsalves, lhp, Cathedral Catholic HS, San Diego
Connor Heady, if/rhp, North Oldham HS, Goshen, Ky.
John Kilichowski, lhp, Jesuit HS, Tampa
Jeremy Martinez, c, Mater Dei HS, Santa Ana, Calif.
Andy McGuire, if, Madison HS, Vienna, Va.
Reese McGuire, c, Kentwood HS, Covington, Wash.
Dom Nunez, if, Elk Grove (Calif.) HS
Chris Okey, c, Eustis (Fla.) HS
Ryan Olson, rhp, Western Christian HS, Upland, Calif.
Carson Sands, lhp, North Florida Christian HS, Tallahassee
Dominic Taccolini, rhp, Kempner HS, Sugar Land, Texas
Keegan Thompson, rhp, Cullman (Ala.) HS
Garrett Williams, lhp, Calvary Baptist Academy, Shreveport, La.
On Thursday, August 16, a collection of talented teenage baseball players gathered in Chihuahua, Mexico for the first round of the IBAF’s inaugural 15-and-under Baseball World Championship. However, members of USA Baseball’s 15U National Team were noticeably absent. Instead, the players, coaches, and administrative staff were returning to the United States after a four day stay in the Dominican Republic.
Concerned with the safety and security in the Chihuahua region, USA Baseball elected to decline the IBAF’s invitation to the 15U World Championships.
“We have a close relationship with Major League Baseball and their security department,” said 15U director Jeff Singer. “We looked into Chihuahua and weren’t really comfortable, security-wise, especially considering the State Department’s travel advisory to that region of Mexico. The 16U team had been down to Mexico the last two summers and was treated very well in Lagos de Moreno. We loved it there. Had it been there or another region we certainly would have gone.”
In order to provide a similarly positive and competitive international experience for the players, USA Baseball’s staff worked in conjunction with Major League Baseball to set up a four-game series against some of the best young talent in the Caribbean, with two teams from the Dominican Republic’s newly-formed MLB Amateur Prospect League (with the talent split up along geographic lines) and one traveling in from Puerto Rico.
[...] Continue Reading »
Perfect Game announced their All-American teams yesterday. The 10th-annual Perfect Game All-American Classic, presented by Rawlings, will take place Sunday, Aug. 12 at PETCO Park in San Diego. The game will start at 6 p.m. (PDT) and will be broadcast on CBS Sports. Click below for the list of the 46 players selected for the event.
[...] Continue Reading »
Blue Jays first-round righthander Marcus Stroman coined a term this spring: “Height Doesn’t Measure Heart.”
Ro Coleman knows all about that. For Coleman, the size that matters is not how tall he stands. That must be a relief, since according to his own admission, he tops out at just 65 inches. He’s always been the smallest kid on the team.
What matters the most is just how big his heart is.
It might sound cliché to talk about the smallest player having the biggest heart, but for anyone watching the June 23 game at USA Baseball’s Tournament of Stars between Coleman’s RBI team and the Babe Ruth squad that took them on, nothing could have been truer.
In the top of the 10th inning, RBI had taken a one-run advantage over its opponents. As the players took the field to defend their lead, with runners on first and second because of the international tie-breaker rule, Coleman called his teammates in to discuss the situation at hand and give them a boost of confidence.
The second baseman’s team rallied around him. He impressed the rest of his infield, the crowd, his coach and everyone watching with his motivational skills and his inspiring attitude.
“That was big for him to come up and lead like that,” RBI coach Ernie Radcliffe said. “He’s been like that all his life; a leader. He’s the smallest guy on the team but he has the biggest heart. His leadership skills and qualities are impeccable.”
[...] Continue Reading »
After the Tournament of Stars, USA Baseball announced its first round of cuts for its 18-and-under program. The following 40 players will be evaluated during a trials period that includes two games of the Prospect Classic in which they will be mixed with players from the Collegiate National Team. After those two games, the 18U roster will be cut down to 28 and there will be two games of 18U vs. College.
Willie Abreu, of, Mater Academy, Hialeah, Fla.
Abreu played next to Albert Almora in the outfield last season as has a much more physical build at 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds. He has a lot of strength in his lefthanded swing and showed the ability to catch up to velocity. Abreu will likely be limited to a corner outfield spot, but showed above-average speed in the 60-yard dash (6.79 seconds) and average arm strength. Abreu was a member of the 2011 16-and-under team and is committed to Miami.
Pete Alonso, 1b, Plant HS, Tampa
Alonso, a Florida recruit, has a lot of strength in his 6-foot-3, 212-pound build. He showed he can drive the ball to the opposite field and also showed a strong arm. With his size, Alonso doesn’t get out of the box well, but is a fringe-average runner underway.
Christian Arroyo, ss, Hernando HS, Brooksville, Fla.
Another Florida recruit, Arroyo has an average build at 6 feet and 180 pounds. He has a nice, compact swing and a quick bat. Arroyo played good defense at the event and posted an average run time, clocking in at 6.87 seconds in the 60-yard dash.
Cavan Biggio, 3b, St. Thomas HS, Houston
The son of seven-time all-star Craig Biggio, Cavan is a little bigger than his father at 6-foot-1 and 180 pounds. He also hits from the left side of the plate, where he shows a sweet swing, a keen understanding of the strike zone and some power potential. Cavan profiles best at third base, but also shows the ability to handle second or a corner outfield spot. [...] Continue Reading »
Last summer, Keegan Thompson was a key component of Team USA's 16-and-under gold medal win in the IBAF World Championships in Lagos De Moreno, Mexico. He pitched 14 innings and went 2-0, 1.29 with 18 strikeouts while surrendering just six hits. He made only two appearances in the tournament, but his second was simply dominant. In the gold medal game, he threw a complete game and held Cuba to four hits while walking one and striking out 12. Given his achievement, it's easy to see why he isn't worried about pressure at the Tournament of Stars this summer.
"Last year was kind of hard," Thompson said. "I had a lot of pressure on me because I wanted to make it. This year, I'm a little more settled down and not as nervous as last year."
Thompson pitched a week ago so he had to wait until Saturday to make his first appearance of the event. In three innings of work he allowed one run on three hits. He also walked one and struck out four. He surrendered a leadoff hit to second baseman Nico Giarratano, but it was a bloop single over the shortstop that came off the handle. Thompson proceeded to strike out the side and had a perfect second inning when he induced two groundouts and struck out his fourth batter. He walked one and allowed two hits in the third. A two-out single brought in a run, but Thompson then finished the inning by getting first baseman Zack Collins to fly out. [...] Continue Reading »
The second day of USA Baseball's Tournament of Stars featured some solid pitching and mixed in with some known quantities was Kyle Serrano, the son of Tennessee head coach Dave Serrano. A 6-foot-1, 190-pound righthander, the younger Serrano started the day's final game for NABF—opposite of Chris Oakley, a 6-foot-8, 220-pound righty from New Jersey.
Serrano showed solid arm strength, sitting 88-90 mph and flashed a good changeup in the high 70s with fade. He threw 55 pitches in 2 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on two hits and two walks while striking out two.
"I definitely need to work on staying on top of my pitches," Serrano said. "I'm going to compete as hard as I can on the field. I'm not afraid when I go out there. I work really hard after starts so I can be at my best when I go out there." [...] Continue Reading »
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