CARY, N.C.—Mater Dei senior third baseman Ryan McMahon impressed scouts at USA Baseball's 2013 National High School Invitational with his bat, but it's his slick glove work that makes him Baseball America's Defensive Player of the Tournament, sponsored by Wilson Custom Gloves.
Defense is a part of McMahon's game he has worked hard to improve, and that improvement was evident as Mater Dei repeated as NHSI champion.
"Every day since I've been back from football, I've been taking extra ground balls because I was really far behind after I had my wrist surgery, and just football season," McMahon said. "It's definitely something I take pride in."
McMahon, who played quarterback for Mater Dei—following in the footsteps of guys like Matt Leinart, Colt Brennan and Matt Barkley—had surgery on his left wrist last November, after the injury occurred during his football season. McMahon broke his left scaphoid in week three of the Monarchs' season, but played through the pain and didn't have surgery for eight weeks.
McMahon, who is committed to Southern California, said he is working to improve his first-step quickness at the hot corner.
"There was actually a ball today that Arden Pabst smoked that I thought I could have gotten to if I was on my toes a little more," McMahon said.
Defensively, McMahon said he looks up to two players—and both play with Wilson gloves.
"I always looked up to David Wright and Evan Longoria, because I think I can swing it pretty decently, and I kind of look up to them to see how they play," McMahon said. "Evan Longoria is a stud. He plays like a shortstop and it's just fun to watch."
McMahon played solid defense the entire tournament and has all the tools to be an above-average defender at the next level.
"He's extremely talented," Mater Dei head coach Burt Call said. "He moves well to the ball, very fluid, and he has a very strong arm. You always count on him, anytime there's a ball hit to his area, that he's going to come up with it and make a good throw, or a catch."
McMahon's marquee defensive play of the tournament recorded the final two outs in the team's second game, against Lexington (S.C.) High. With Mater Dei clinging to a 1-0 lead in the seventh inning and a Lexington runner on third base, the batter smoked a line drive down the third base line. McMahon quickly jumped to make the catch, then dove to third base to double-off the potential tying run.
"That was awesome, but I actually thought it was over my head," McMahon said. "I started to jump and then it cruised down, and I caught it. I noticed the runner was going to go back standing up, and I just laid out and luckily got the call and got him out."
McMahon didn't make an error during the tournament. He made 10 assists, four putouts and helped turn two double plays. His defense during the tournament helped Mater Dei, ranked fifth coming into the week, win its second-straight NHSI championship.
"It was awesome," McMahon said. "Being a senior this year, Ty Moore and I had these deep conversations about how senior year is just that much more different, and I kind of understand it now."