Fort Myers, Fla. — Day 1 of the 14U Perfect Game Select Festival kicked off on Friday and two touted youngsters from California stole the show. Outfielder Roc Riggio from Simi Valley and and infielder Isaac Rodriguez shined despite both arriving on red eye flights from the West Coast on Thursday.
The two 15-year-olds from a pair of inland Cali cities located both north and south of Los Angeles were all-in when it came to hopping on coast-to-coast flights. They are out to seize the moment and take advantage of the opportunity playing in this age-group all-star game that will be nationally televised live on Fox Sports Networks and streamed simultaneously on MLB.com presents.
“All these guys are just amazing; they're all just really talented players," Rodriguez told PG Friday morning. "I felt blessed that I was able to be (invited) and when (PG informed) me, me and my dad were just super excited because we've been kind of looking forward to something like this."
This is the third PG event the 5-foot-9, 155-pound, left-side swinging Riggio has attended, and it comes on the heels of an all-tournament team performance at the 15u PG WWBA National Championships played in mid-July at PG Park South-LakePoint in Emerson, Ga. The youngster has already committed to UCLA prior to playing an inning of high school baseball.
The 5-foot-9, 160-pound right-handed swinging Rodriguez played soccer as a youngster but has since narrowed his athletic interests to baseball and football. He enjoys playing baseball more than any other sport simply because it's such a difficult game to master, and he isn't one to back away from a challenge.
Friday's Festival schedule consisted of the jetBlue practice session – infield/outfield and batting practice – and a visit to the event's beneficiary, Golisano Children's Hospital. That was followed by about 6 hours of free time when the players were fed dinner and could also compete in a ping-pong tournament put on by one of PG's partners, G-Form. Another primary partner, Rawlings, has an extended presence at the event and loaded up the prospects with plenty of gear they can take home with them.
Saturday's schedule includes another practice session, complete with a scrimmage game and the preliminary round of the Home Run Challenge in the morning. The afternoon features a lot more built-in free time so the players and their families can relax and enjoy themselves before Saturday night's PG Select Baseball Festival Awards Banquet at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa in Bonita Springs.
Perfect Game’s Jeff Dahn contributed to this report