Photo: Perfect Game

2017 PG All-American Classic Blog

Patrick Ebert

Published: Sunday, August 13, 2017




Be sure to check back early and often over the next several days, as this page will provide a running blog of notes, features and highlights from all of the events that are part of the Perfect Game All-American Classic. You can also follow updates via 
Twitter and Facebook and view photos of the event on Flickr.



Patrick Ebert – Wednesday, August 16, 2017 – 6:38 PM PDT

While you can watch the full MLB Network broadcast of the 2017 PG All-American Classic below, MLB.com has also provided several highlight clips. You can access those by visiting the following links:

Ginn twirls a scoreless frame for the West
Hankins fans two during the 2nd inning
Liberatore pitches a strong bottom of 1st
Kumar Rocker pitches the 1st inning
Becker pitches a scoreless inning for the West
Perkins throws a scoreless 4th inning
Denaburg pitches a strong inning for the East
Bartnicki pitches a scoreless 4th inning
Mayo recaps the Perfect Game All-American Classic
Mayo discusses the Perfect Game All-American Classic
Hartsell wins Perfect Game All-American Derby
Perfect Game: Kelenic makes great catch, gets saluted
Perfect Game: Gorman homers to give West early lead
Perfect Game: Turang reaches to his left to turn two




Patrick Ebert – Tuesday, August 15, 2017 – 10:46 AM PDT

The box score for the 2017 Perfect Game All-American Classic is now available:

2017 Box Score



Patrick Ebert – Tuesday, August 15, 2017 – 6:28 AM PDT

The full broadcast of the 2017 PG All-American Classic is now available to watch online at anytime, anywhere:





Patrick Ebert – Monday, August 14, 2017 – 7:31 PM PDT

Carlos Collazo of Baseball America did a nice job breaking down all of the pitchers (by East and West teams) that took to the mound in Sunday's Classic. View those features here:

East Pitchers | West Pitchers




Patrick Ebert – Sunday, August 13, 2017 – 9:07 PM PDT

Here is a look at the peak velocities from the 18 pitchers that took the mound at the 2017 Perfect Game All-American Classic:

98: Kumar Rocker
96: Ethan Hankins, J.T. Ginn, Mason Denaburg, Austin Becker, Cole Wilcox, Mike Vasil, Lineras Torres, Seth Halvorsen
95: Matthew Liberatore, Jack Perkins, 
94: Ian Bedell
93: Luke Bartnicki, Carter Stewart, Blake Burzell
92: Jonathan Childress, Brandon Neeck, Jonathan Gates



Patrick Ebert – Sunday, August 13, 2017 – 8:28 PM PDT



West wins 2017 Classic, 6-1


Congratulations to all of the players that participated in the 2017 Perfect Game All-American Classic, but especially to those on the West squad for winning the game, 6-1. Nolan Gorman was named the MVP after going 2-3 with a two-run home run, a two-run single, four total RBI and a walk. The West now hold an all-time 9-5-1 advantage over the East in the 15 years the Classic has been played.

Read the full game recap here: West powers way to PGAAC win



Patrick Ebert – Sunday, August 13, 2017 – 4:52 PM PDT



Hartsell wins 2017 PGAAC Home Run Challenge

Congratulations to Preston Hartsell on winning the 2017 Perfect Game All-American Classic Home Run Challenge. Hartsell edged out Nick Northcut to win the challenge with nine home runs, after he hit nine homers in the first round on Saturday at USD. Nolan Gorman and Nander De Sedas also participated in the final round of the challenge at Petco Park on Sunday.

We'll have more on Hartsell's performance in the recap after the game.



Jeff Dahn – Sunday, August 13, 2017 – 3:12 PM PDT



 
Held, Gallegos ‘honored’ to be PGAAC skippers

Tom Held and Dave Gallegos come from decidedly divergent parts of the country, but they share a passion for baseball and for guiding and mentoring young men who hope to continue their baseball careers well past their high school years.

It is because of that shared passion that Held, the head coach at Defiance (Ohio) High School, and Gallegos, the head coach at Eastlake High School (Chula Vista, Calif.), embraced their roles as the head coaches of the East Team and the West Team, respectively, at the 15th annual Perfect Game All-American Classic.

A former Detroit Tigers farmhand, Held coached Defiance HS to three Ohio state championships from 2013-16 and has won 690 games during his long and distinguished coaching career.

He said it was both rewarding and a real honor to be a part of the PGAAC, and as he was walking out onto the Petco Park field for the first time Sunday afternoon, he couldn’t help but think it was the closest he was ever going to get to a big-league experience. And the players that he would be guiding on this night were a big reason why he felt that way.

“The talent out here is incredible,” Held said from the field Sunday, shortly after the players had gathered for team pictures. “We’ve seen some good players (at Defiance HS), but when you see this many good ones in one spot it’s mind-boggling. I’m just so thankful that Perfect Game gave me the opportunity to come out here and be a part of this.”

Gallegos has been a part of the San Diego County high school coaching scene for 20 years and has been at Eastlake for the last 14; he’s been the head coach for the last six seasons and has won 115 games.

“It’s an honor being here and being chosen as a head coach,” he said Sunday, also speaking from the field at Petco Park. “These are very good kids and they’re very athletic and they’re very talented. And to be around a great coaching staff like this one, we’ve had a lot of fun and it’s been a great experience for me just to be around it.”

If Held had one unanswered question in his mind before he got to San Diego, it was what the top 53 senior ballplayers were going to be all about when they were finally brought together. Were they going to be team players or were they only looking out for No. 1? He needn’t have worried.

“I’ve just sat back and watched them and just kind have taken it all in, and I’ve seen the class that they’ve displayed over the last three days; they’re very humble,” Held said. “Hopefully they can take this back to their high schools because they’re going to be the man back there. It’s just been really neat to see how respectful they are to (the coaches) and the old people.”

It is a sentiment shared by Gallegos:

“They really do feed off each other. They’re very competitive and they want to out-play the other guy. They’ve been smack-talking already about who’s going to win and stuff like that, so it’s going to be great. They’re going to go out and try to win a ballgame. They’re going to have a lot of fun, but they’re also going to try to win a ballgame.”

While both Held and Gallegos have established reputations as two of the top high school baseball coaches in the country, neither planned on doing a whole lot of coaching during Sunday night’s Classic.

“This has been the easiest four days of coaching in my life; I like being a figurehead,” Held said with a laugh. “But I’m soaking it all in, I’ll tell you that, and I’m enjoying every minute of it. This is something you don’t get to do very often and I’ve got some buddies back home tuning in (on television) tonight, so that’ll be cool. It’s really great; it’s awesome.”

“Hopefully I’m just waving people in (toward home plate),” Gallegos said, smiling widely. “If have to hold people (third base) that means we’re not doing anything out there and that’s going to be boring. So, it’s going to be a great experience just sending people home and getting a victory for these guys.”

Held is being assisted by Luis Lorenzana (San Diego), Manny Hermosillo (San Diego) and Tim Lowery (Midlothian, Va.). Gallegos assistants are Manny Hermosillo Jr. (San Diego), Eddie Johnson (Chula Vista, Calif.) and Brett Kay (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.).



Patrick Ebert – Sunday, August 13, 2017 – 1:30 PM PDT



Starting lineups

Here are the starting lineups for the 2017 Perfect Game All-American Classic:

West Squad

1. Brice Turang, SS
2. Nolan Gorman, 3B
3. Jarred Kelenic, RF
4. Jordan Groshans, DH
5. Bryce Bush, 1B
6. Noah Naylor, C
7. Nick Northcut, XH
8. Preston Hartsell, EH
9. Joe Gray Jr., CF
10. Alek Thomas, LF
11. Osiris Johnson, 2B

Bench:

Brandon Dieter
Seth Halvorsen
Vinny Tosti
Levi Usher
Hunter Watson
Austin Wells
Chris Willis

Pitchers (order/inning in which they will throw):

Matthew Liberatore, LHP
J.T. Ginn, RHP
Austin Becker, RHP
Jack Perkins, RHP
Jonathan Childress, LHP
Mike Vasil, RHP
Blake Burzell, RHP
Ian Bedell, RHP
Seth Halvorsen, RHP

East Squad

1. Jeremiah Jackson, 2B
2. Nander De Sedas, SS
3. Will Banfield, C
4. Triston Casas, 1B
5. Kendall Simmons, 3B
6. Elijah Cabell, RF
7. Nick Decker, DH
8. Parker Meadows, CF
9. Nick Schnell, LF
10. Anthony Seigler, EH
11. Blaze Alexander, XH

Bench:

Mason Denaburg
Xavier Edwards
John Malcom
Connor Scott
Kevin Vargas
Cabera Weaver

Pitchers (order/inning in which they will throw):

Kumar Rocker, RHP
Ethan Hankins, RHP
Mason Denaburg, RHP
Luke Bartnicki, LHP
Carter Stewart, RHP
Brandon Neeck, LHP
Lineras Torres, RHP
Jonathan Gates, LHP
Cole Wilcox, RHP



Patrick Ebert – Sunday, August 13, 2017 – 9:04 AM PDT

2017 Game Day

Game day is upon us. The 2017 Perfect Game All-American Classic will be played at 5:00 pm PDT at Petco Park; first pitch is scheduled for 5:17. Warm-ups and batting practice will begin shortly after 1:00 pm followed by the final round of the Home Run Challenge.

The game itself will be available on MLB Network with Daron Sutton, David Rawnsley, Dave Valle, Al Leiter and Brett Dolan providing the analysis. The game will also be available on satellite radio, with MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM providing the broadcast. Mike Ferrin and Mike Rooney will provide the commentary on Sirius 215 and XM 178. The game will be broadcasted again on radio at 8:00 p.m. Pacific on Sirius 209 and XM 89 in lieu of Perfect Game's usual weekly MLB Roundtrip Sunday night segment.

And if you’re unable to tune in to the game on MLB Network you can access a livestream of the game via MLB.com. A link to the broadcast will be provided on the Perfect Game website 90 minutes prior to the game.

Full details are available on the PG All-American Classic Event Info page.



Jeff Dahn – Sunday, August 13, 2017 – 11:32 AM PDT



Georgian Kumar Rocker named Jackie Robinson Award winner


Kumar Rocker, a tall and powerfully built right-handed pitcher from Watkinsville, Ga., has been named the recipient of the 2017 Jackie Robinson Award, which annually recognizes the Perfect Game National High School Player of the Year.

Rocker received the award at the conclusion of the annual Perfect Game All-American Classic Awards Banquet, held Saturday night in a breath-taking outdoor setting at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel, which overlooks the sailboat-dotted San Diego Bay.

A 6-foot-4, 235-pound right-hander with a 98-mph fastball and a commitment to Vanderbilt University, Rocker becomes the 14th recipient of the Jackie Robinson Award, and joins a long list of current or soon-to-be major leaguers, including Justin Upton, Bryce Harper, Lance McCullers and Clint Frazier.

“This is one of the biggest honors I’ve earned in my life; it’s truly a blessing to be here,” Rocker said before adding that having Jackie Robinson’s name associated with the award brought special meaning. “He’s the one that started the game for every one of my color; it’s just amazing.”

Rocker, who calls Watkinsville, Ga., home and has held down the No. 1 overall prospect ranking in the class of 2018 since Sept. 9, 2015, was named to 13 PG all-tournament teams while playing for Team Elite Baseball and was also included on the Top Prospect List at the 2016 PG Junior National Showcase and the 2017 PG National Showcase during his illustrious PG career.

He won five games and accumulated a 1.63 ERA with 68 strikeouts in 55 2/3 innings this past spring as a junior at North Oconee High School.

In addition to receiving the Jackie Robinson Award, Rocker was also named the starting pitcher for the East Team at tonight’s PG All-American Classic at Petco Park. Left-hander Matthew Liberatore from Peoria, Ariz., will start for the West Team.

This year’s other award winners are:

Baseball America Pitcher of the Year: Ethan Hankins (Cumming, Ga.)
PG Nick Adenhart Award: Elijah Cabell (Winter Park, Fla.)
Trackman Award: Carter Stewart Jr. (Melbourne, Fla.)
MLB/SiriusXM Two-Way Player Award: Mason Denaburg (Merritt Island, Fla.)
G-Form HBP (Heart, Bravery & Passion) Fearless Player Award: Jarred Kelenic (Waukesha, Wis.)
Rawlings Defensive Player of the Year Award: Will Banfield IV (Lawrenceville, Ga.)
Diamond Kinetics Offensive Player of the Year Award: Brice Turang (Corona, Calif.)

In closing comments, Rocker perhaps spoke for all the award winners when he said:

“You can kind of step outside looking in and you’re like, wow, this is happening right now. Then you get back inside your head and you’re like, all right, it’s time to get back to work more. It’s just so crazy right now.”



Jeff Dahn – Saturday, August 12, 2017 – 3:39 PM PDT


Nolan Gorman was one of four players to advance in Saturday's preliminary round of the Home Run Challenge

Four finalists set for PGAAC Home Run Challenge

After nearly 40 Perfect Game All-Americans dropped well more than 110 bombs over the outfield fences at the University of San Diego’s Fowler Park Saturday afternoon, only four top sluggers remained standing to compete in Sunday’s championship round of the PG All-American Classic Home Run Challenge.

West teammates Nolan Gorman, Nick Northcut and Preston Hartsell will be joined by the East’s Nander De Sedas in the finals, which will be contested about a half-hour before the first pitch is thrown at the 15th annual PG All-American Classic at Petco Park in downtown San Diego.

Each contestant was given 1 minute, 30-seconds to take cuts with a wood bat; 30 seconds to swing with either Rawlings Quatro or VELO BBCOR bats, and if they happened to hit back-to-back bombs at any time during their session they were awarded a 30-second bonus round with the bat of their choice.

Gorman and De Sedas launched 10 home runs apiece: Gorman hit four with a wood bat and six with a VELO; De Sedas hit six with wood and four with a VELO. Northcut finished with nine (3 wood, 6 VELO) and Hartsell also delivered nine (4 wood, 5 Quatro).



Patrick Ebert – Saturday, August 12, 2017 – 3:28 PM PDT



Read Jeff Dahn's feature on NorCal shortstop Osiris Johnson, the youngest player at this year's PG All-American Classic, here:

'Kid' Johnson all-in at PGAAC




Mike Rooney – Friday, August 11, 2017 – 11:17 PM PDT



Big arm, bats highlight Friday scrimmage

The on-the-field portion of the Perfect Game All-American Classic got off to a blazing start as the East squad defeated the West by a score of 6-0 in the annual Friday night scrimmage. While the East offense stole the overall show, it was West pitcher Ryan Weathers who first caused the considerable scout population in attendance to sit up in their respective seats.

Weathers continued an excellent summer by recording three strikeouts in just two innings of work. The lefthander’s fastball sat at 93-94 mph and he also mixed in a curveball in the 75-78 mph range. Weathers combines great arm strength with more than adequate pitchability and he was dominant in this outing. Weathers pitched in this scrimmage since he is not eligible to pitch in Sunday’s game according to Tennessee’s state athletic association rules.

Mason Denaburg ignited the East squad with its only hit against Weathers and also drew a hit by pitch in their four-run fifth inning. Blaze Alexander then hammered a fastball out to left field for a two-run home run. Alexander’s arm talent is outrageously strong, but this piece of hitting was notable because he worked inside a well-located fastball on the inner half.

Nick Schnell chipped in with another impressive at-bat just two hitters later as he homered to the opposite field. Schnell possesses tremendous bat-to-ball skills and it is scary to think about him as a hitter 20 pounds of strength from now.

Parker Meadows had two hits on the night and his overall approach was impressive. His first hit was to the opposite field as he worked a two-strike curveball to left field. He then pulled a fastball for a single in his second at-bat.



Patrick Ebert – Friday, August 11, 2017 – 11:09 PM PDT

Again our thanks go out to Baseball America as Carlos Collazo previews the 15th edition of the Perfect Game All-American Classic. PG VP of Scouting Greg Sabers points out just how deep the pitching talent runs for the class of 2018 while CEO Brad Clement and President Jerry Ford address the importance of the philanthropic focus of the Classic.

2017 Perfect Game All-American Classic preview



Jeff Dahn – Friday, August 11, 2017 – 8:45 PM PDT



Hoffman puts on mini-clinic for Classic pitchers

While the Classic’s position players took infield/outfield during Friday night’s team practice session at Fowler Park on the University of San Diego campus, former San Padres pitching great, future Hall of Fame closer and PG All-American Classic Honorary Chairman Trevor Hoffman pulled the Classic’s pitchers aside for a brief discussion and Q&A.

Hoffman, who saved 601 games during an 18-year major league career, talked to the attentive pitching prospects about his transition from shortstop to pitcher and then from starter to closer, the development of his trademark changeup and the advantages of practicing off the mound as opposed to throwing from flat ground.

“Be careful with too much flat ground,” he told them. “And why I say that because with the slant and the slope you pitch from, you’ll start changing the arm-angle on the pitches you’re throwing. … If you can practice, practice off the mound; go to the mound and do your thing. The wear-and-tear of getting loose on flat ground is going to take its toll when you get into pro ball and you’re not going to get that time to recoup.”

As far as transitioning from a starter to a closer, Hoffman explained that the mindset and the routine involved in doing either job effectively is completely different. It’s really up to each individual to find out just what exactly it is that works the best for him, he said, including long-toss and running routines, and everything in between.

A pitcher’s stuff will ultimately decide if a big-league organization will want to use him as a starter or a reliever, Hoffman said, while also pointing out that the two jobs are equally difficult. Every individual has to be ready to adjust to ever-changing circumstances and also has to be able to shake off a poor performance and show the willingness to come back stronger than ever.

A case in point was 2016 PG All-American MacKenzie Gore. A much-heralded left-hander from Whiteville, N.C., Gore stepped out on the mound at Petco Park a year ago and was largely ineffective, giving up two unearned runs on one hit with two walks and two strikeouts in an inning of work.

“He looked around and said, ‘I’ve got some work to do,’” Hoffman related. “And to his credit, he went home with a game-plan not only to put on weight but to kind of refine his craft. … He was able to recognize his situation being here and that he could make some changes and better his product, and show better for the scouts (during his senior year).”

At the MLB June Amateur Draft a little over two months ago, Hoffman’s Padres selected Gore with the No. 3 overall pick in the first-round.



Patrick Ebert – Friday, August 11, 2017 – 7:41 PM PDT



Baseball America's Tim Newcomb has a pair of stories up on the BA site focusing on the involvement of two of the Classic's primary partners – Nike and Rawlings – and how they interacted with the players on Friday. Not only did the players get a lot of amazing gear, from shirts and cleats to bats and gloves, but they also got to share their own opinions, helping to shape future product lines that big leaguers and PG All-Americans to come will be sporting on the field.

Nike's Perfect Game focus groups help define future of baseball gear
Rawlings wows Perfect Game athletes with complete customization




Patrick Ebert – Friday, August 11, 2017 – 6:02 PM PDT



Historic Day at Rady Children's

Be sure to read Jeff Dahn's feature story on the 2017 PG All-American class raising $59,080 to support Rady Children's Hospital. That pushes the total amount raised in the 15 years of the Classic (since 2003) to over $1 million, with over $750,000 of that money going specifically to Rady and the fight against pediatric cancer (and the others $250,000-plus going to the children's hospitals associated with the Classic prior to San Diego). Congratulations to everyone involved, both past and present.

You can read the feature here: Historic Day at Rady Children's



Patrick Ebert – Friday, August 11, 2017 – 5:55 PM PDT

Thanks to Carlos Collazo and our friends at Baseball America for this inspiring feature telling the tale of Myer Turchin and his involvement with Rady Children's Hospital and the PG All-American Classic:

Myer Turchin doesn't let cancer slow him down at Rady Children's Hospital




Patrick Ebert – Friday, August 11, 2017 – 4:04 PM PDT



Fun under the sun

After the visit to Rady Children's Hospital the 2017 PG All-Americans were hosted by the Honorary Chairman of the Classic, Trevor Hoffman, at his beach house on the Pacific Ocean for lunch. Words don't do the visit justice, so be sure to view the pictures on Twitter and Flickr to get a taste of their experience.



Patrick Ebert – Friday, August 11, 2017 – 3:52 PM PDT



Rady Children's Hospital visit

Everyone involved with the 2017 Perfect Game All-American Classic got an early taste on Friday of what the event is all about when they visited Rady Children's Hospital. The players had the opportunity to interact with the children while also learning about what the hospital provides and just how many lives are effected as a result.

Jeff Dahn will have a more detailed feature from this visit later today and the impressive collective fundraising efforts by players, pushing the 15-year total to held fight pediatric cancer to over $1 million.



Jeff Dahn – Thursday, August 10, 2017 – 10:23 PM PDT


From left to right: Kumar Rocker, Cabera Weaver, Jordan Groshans, Jerry Ford, Will Banfield, Mason Denaburg and Ethan Hankins.

PG All-Americans feted at Classic Welcome Dinner

The 53 prospects who will take part in this weekend’s Perfect Game All-American Classic festivities were greeted in style Thursday night at the annual PGAAC Welcome Dinner held at the event’s host hotel, the San Diego Mission Valley Marriott.

The prospects representing the East and West teams and their coaches dined on dinner salads and dinner rolls, red roasted potatoes, herb rice pilaf, smoky barbequed chicken breast and horseradish top-sirloin filets before being formally welcomed to the 15th annual PG All-American Classic by PG Founder and President Jerry Ford.

“One thing that we’re aware of is that many of you if not all of you are pretty worn down by this time of year,” Ford told the prospects. “We know that a lot of you have been to a ton of big events here lately, so during this (weekend), try not to put too much of a burden on yourself. We want you to play ball and have fun.”

Ford reminded the players that 188 alumni of the Classic were eventually made first-round picks in the MLB June Amateur Draft – nine were the No. 1 overall selection – and 141 alumni have made their big-league debuts; 25 have accounted for a total of 52 MLB All-Star Game appearances.

And then Ford reminded them of something else much more important:

“The reason for this game is Rady Children’s Hospital and pediatric cancer,” he told them. “We know you’re tired, we know you’re worn out, but just do your best and most of all just have fun with this. This game is a celebration – a celebration of talent – and that’s what we want you guys to think about.”

The total amount the PG All-American Classic has raised for pediatric cancer care and research will pass the $1 million mark this year.

Welcome Dinner speakers also recognized several prospects who had turned in standout performances at June’s PG National Showcase. This year’s honorees were:

Fastest Man: Cabera Weaver, Decatur, Ga.
Top Two-way Prospect: Mason Denaburg, Merritt Island, Fla.
Top Power Hitting Prospect: Jordan Groshans, Magnolia, Texas
Top Defensive Prospect: Will Banfield, Lawrenceville, Ga.
Top Pitching Prospect: Ethan Hankins, Cumming, Ga.
Top Overall Prospect: Kumar Rocker, Watkinsville, Ga.



Patrick Ebert – Thursday, August 10, 2017 – 10:08 PM PDT



Players Arrive!

The players arrived in San Diego on Thursday, and after checking in they had the opportunity to head to their rooms where they were greeted with an incredible collection of Nike Baseball gear, as well as a voice mail message from Mike Trout. Baseball America's Tim Newcomb shared a feature about a few of the players' experiences in this feature:

Perfect Game Players Wowed By Gear Reveal

If you're not already be sure to follow the PG All-American Twitter feed for updates as they happen as well as the event's Flickr page for photos which will be uploaded over the course of the next several days.

@PGAllAmerican | PGAAC Flickr




Patrick Ebert – Wednesday, August 9, 2017 – 5:58 AM PDT



Classic Leaf Cards

Leaf continues its partnership with Perfect Game to produce incredibly high quality baseball cards for all 53 members of the 2017 Perfect Game All-American Classic. Similar to past years, everyone who attends the Classic at Petco Park will receive three random cards upon entering the ballpark. In addition, fans are able to purchase a voucher for the entire set for $30 at the box office.



Patrick Ebert – Wednesday, August 9, 2017 – 5:43 AM PDT

From MLB All-Stars to MVPs, Rookies of the Year and Golden Spikes Award winners, the Perfect Game All-American Classic has produced a steady pipeline of impact talent to the next level. The numbers speak for themselves in this feature: The Classic: By the numbers.



Patrick Ebert – Wednesday, August 9, 2017 – 5:28 AM PDT

 
2016 Jackie Robinson Award winner, Hunter Greene, with Trevor Hoffman and Jerry Ford

Jackie Robinson Finalists released

The Jackie Robinson Award,named for the late Major League Baseball Hall of Famer and former Brooklyn Dodger, is awarded annually to the Perfect Game National Player of the Year – the All-American considered the nation’s top high school prospect. The award is presented to the player who exhibits outstanding character, leadership, is involved in his community and embodies the values of being a student-athlete.

Jackie Robinson came from humble beginnings as the son of a sharecropper in Cairo, Georgia, to become the first black player to break Major League Baseball’s color barrier that had segregated the sport for more than 50 years. Jackie Robinson was not only a skilled baseball player, he was an excellent all-around athlete. At UCLA, Robinson became the first athlete to win varsity letters in four sports: Baseball, football, basketball and track.

After attending UCLA, Robinson briefly served in the U.S. Army, and after receiving an honorable discharge, he played one season in Negro Baseball League in 1945. Two years later in 1947, Robinson was approached by the Brooklyn Dodgers about joining their franchise. When he donned their uniform, he not only became the first black player in Major League Baseball since the sport was segregated in 1889, he pioneered the integration in professional sports in America. Through his integration, Robinson courageously challenged the racism that existed in both the north and the south in America at that time. At the end of Robinson’s rookie season with the Dodgers, he won the National League batting title (.342) on his way to earning the league's Rookie of the Year and MVP honors.

Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962 and was inducted into UCLA’s Hall of Fame in 1984.

On April 15, 1997, exactly 50 years after he broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball, the entire nation honored his legacy. Robinson’s No. 42 jersey number was retired league-wide, the first and only player to earn this honor. That same day, President Bill Clinton paid tribute to Robinson at the New York Mets’ Shea Stadium in a special ceremony. Robinson was also honored by the United States Postal Service that year with a commemorative postage stamp.

Jackie Robinson’s life and legacy will continue to be remembered as one of the most important in American history.

The first recipient of the award was Justin Upton in 2004, the second year of the Classic. Hunter Greene, the Cincinnati Reds first-round pick in 2016 (2nd overall) and the starter for the West squad in the 2016 PG All-American Classic, received the honor last year.

Here are this year's finalists (listed alphabetically):

Will Banfield: .409 batting average, 7 home runs, 33 RBI
Nolan Gorman: .361 batting average, 11 home runs, 26 hits, 28 runs, 34 RBI
Joe Gray Jr.: .477 batting average, 7 home runs, 42 runs, 34 RBI, 19 stolen bases
Ethan Hankins: 0.90 ERA, 5 wins, 77 strikeouts
Kumar Rocker: 1.63 ERA in 55.2 IP, 5 wins, 68 strikeouts
Brice Turang: .465 batting average, 47 hits, 25 runs, 15 RBI, 2 home runs



Patrick Ebert -- Wednesday, August 9, 2017 -- 5:17 AM PDT

 
Jarred Kelenic was named the top prospect at the 2016 PG Underclass All-American Games

Scout schedule

The full schedule for baseball-related activities for the 2017 Perfect Game All-American Classic can be found here. Included on that page is the schedule for the 2017 PG Underclass All-American Games which will be conducted the two days after the Classic, Monday and Tuesday August 14 and 15. The event will be held at the University of San Diego's Fowler Park and Cunningham Field (Google Maps are also included on that page).

This annual event is held in conjunction with the Classic to showcase some of the very best players in future graduating classes. Last year, 13 of this year's All-Americans (Will Banfield, Austin Becker, Ian Bedell, Brandon Dieter, Jordan Groshans, Preston Hartsell, Jarred Kelenic, John Malcom, Noah Naylor, Anthony Seigler, Kendall Simmons, Vinny Tosti, Hunter Watson) participated, and almost all of which named to the event's top prospect list.

Some of the other All-Americans that attended this event before shining on national TV the following year include two of the game's brightest young sluggers, Kris Bryant and Bryce Harper.

In other words, this year's PG Underclass All-American Games will serve not only as a preview of some of the players we can expect to see in next year's Classic, but also gives us a glimpse at some of the future stars of Major League Baseball.




Patrick Ebert – Wednesday, August 9, 2017 – 5:04 AM PDT


Welcome to the Perfect Game All-American Classic blog, and congratulations to all of the players, friends and family members involved with the Classic. This page will be used to provide updates from all of the events that are part of the four-day festivities.

Be sure to visit the Media Room page to read past features from the Perfect Game All-American Classic. On that page you can find links to features on Ian Bedell, Nick Decker, Brice Turang, Jonathan Gates, John Malcom, Slade Cecconi, Alek Thomas, Nicholas Schnell, Jeremiah Jackson, Ryan Weathers, Christopher Willis, Anthony Seigler, Parker Meadows and Blake Burzell. Not included in those archives are features conducted on the players prior to the rosters were released on Tuesday, July 11. Here is a list of those features:

Player Feature/Event (Link)
Will Banfield 2017 National Showcase
Luke Bartnicki 2017 National Showcase
Austin Becker 2017 17u WWBA National Championship
Bryce Bush 2017 17u WWBA National Championship
Elijah Cabell 2017 National Showcase
Triston Casas 2017 National Showcase
Nander De Sedas 2017 17u WWBA National Championship
Mason Denaburg 2017 17u WWBA National Championship
Brandon Dieter 2017 17u WWBA National Championship
Xavier Edwards 2017 17u WWBA National Championship
J.T. Ginn 2017 17u WWBA National Championship
Nolan Gorman 2017 WWBA West Memorial Day Classic
Joe Gray Jr. 2017 National Showcase
Jordan Groshans 2017 17u WWBA National Championship
Seth Halvorsen 2017 17u WWBA National Championship
Ethan Hankins 2017 National Showcase
Jarred Kelenic 2017 National Showcase
Matthew Liberatore 2017 17u WWBA National Championship
Noah Naylor 2016 16u WWBA National Championship
Nicholas Northcut 2017 17u WWBA National Championship
Kumar Rocker 2017 National Showcase
Kendall Simmons 2017 National Showcase
Connor Scott 2017 17u BCS National Championship
Carter Stewart 2017 17u WWBA National Championship
Hunter Watson 2017 17u WWBA National Championship
Cole Wilcox 2017 17u WWBA National Championship

Visit the Roster page to access the individual player profiles, as well as the History page to learn more about the previous 14 games played including the inaugural event in 2003. The Scout
 page provides the daily schedule of baseball-related activities, including those for the 2017 PG Underclass All-American Games. And of course, don't forget to tune into MLB Network, as well as MLB Network Radio, at 5:00 pm PDT on Sunday for the game itself.

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