Rated PG: La Mesa’s Allen moves up to the head of his class in All-American Classic

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It’s an understatement to say that it was a highly successful summer all-star tournament season for San Diego County’s youth baseball teams. Checking off the top of the list, we note that Emerald/El Cajon Pony League’s Mustang-9 and Pony-13 teams both won World Series championships.

It’s an understatement to say that it was a highly successful summer all-star tournament season for San Diego County’s youth baseball teams. Checking off the top of the list, we note that Emerald/El Cajon Pony League’s Mustang-9 and Pony-13 teams both won World Series championships.

We can also note that Chula Vista South Pony League’s Colt Division team advanced as far as the Colt League World Series and that Encinitas Little League’s Junior League team finished runner-up in the western regional tournament – one step removed from advancing to the Junior League World Series.

Just last weekend, of course, Park View Little League, also from Chula Vista, punched its ticket to the iconic Little League World Series.

That’s a pretty impressive list.

But it’s not complete.

La Mesa resident Nick Allen, an incoming senior at the Francis Parker School, participated in two national high school-age showcase tournaments over the summer — one in late July in Chicago and the other this past weekend in San Diego.

In fact, Allen stole the spotlight in Sunday’s Perfect Game All-American Classic at Petco Park. Playing on a Major League Baseball field, Allen made a superb diving defensive play from his shortstop position to throw out one runner at first base, tagged out two other runners at second base later in the game and cut down one runner trying to score at the plate.

He also went two-for-three at the plate with a walk, scored one run and drove in one run. He also drew special recognition by playing the whole game in the West’s 13-0 victory against the East.

“It was very surprising considering there were a lot of great players on the team,” Allen noted in regard to playing all nine innings. “I was very excited to have the opportunity. It was a blessing.”

This year’s Perfect Game All-American Classic, the 14th in the series, featured 52 players between the two teams, including five from San Diego County, who are deemed among the nation’s top prospects for the graduating class of 2017.

The Perfect Game event serves as a fundraiser for research into a cure for pediatric cancer. Since the event’s inception in 2003, more than $900,000 has been raised for research into this field.

Players from both teams made appearances at the Rady Children’s Hospital last Friday

The Perfect Game event is not confined to just the game but included five days of festivities.

Players arrived Aug. 11, were treated to a day at the beach by former San Diego Padres’ Hall of Fame inductee/Perfect Game honorary chairman Trevor Hoffman, visited Rady Children’s Hospital and also engaged in a series of practices and scrimmages last Friday at the University of San Diego. The teams practiced again the following day at USD, attended a private awards ceremony at the San Diego Hall of Champions that night, and closed out the five-day event with a series of underclass All-American games Monday and Tuesday, again at USD.

The finals of a home run derby took place prior to the start of Sunday’s All-American Classic.

Notre Dame High Schools’ Hunter Greene (Stevenson Ranch) slammed five home runs on five pitches to win the home run derby finals while Rancho Bernardo’s Calvin Mitchell finished second with four. Greene, the 2016 Perfect Game National High School Player of the Year, advanced to the finals by hitting 11 home runs in the semifinals.

Greene, who started for the West on the mound and scored once, is being touted as a possible No. 1 pick in next year’s Major League Baseball draft.

Sunday’s event, which was broadcast live on the MLB Network, attracted 7,848 fans to watch some of tomorrow’s stars today.

Allen, along with Eastlake High School’s Ben Ramirez and Torrey Pines’ Kyle Hurt, have all made verbal commitments to continue their baseball careers at the University of Southern California.

The trio of players made the trek to Chicago to appear in the Under Armour All-America Game, part of a four-day showcase reserved for high school players who have proven to be some of this country’s rising stars.

The event provided athletes with a one-in-a-lifetime experience that included working with a top-notch coaching staff, a formal workout in front of Major League Baseball scouts, a home run derby contest and the game itself, which took place July 23 at Chicago’s iconic Wrigley Field.

Allen played six innings. He reached base in both of his plate appearances, though he did not get a hit. On one occasion he drew a walk and was hit by a pitch during his other plate appearance.

“It was an awesome experience being out there,” Allen explained. “My gosh, I had never been to Chicago and, of course, I had never been to Wrigley Field. When I first stepped onto the field I was surprised how it is so much greener in person than on TV.”

But nothing could beat playing at Petco Park, according to Allen.

“I think it’s one of the most beautiful of the Major League ballparks to play in,” noted Allen, who received the Rawlings Defensive Player of the Year award at this year’s Perfect Game national awards ceremony. “It was a great place to play and showcase our skills. It was humbling.”

It’s been a busy summer for Allen.

Prior to appearing in Sunday’s All-American Classic, Allen participated, along with Ramirez and Mitchell, in the Area Code Games in Long Beach.

The summer might not be over for Allen and Mitchell, who recently made the cut from 108 to 40 players for the USA Baseball 18U national team. Both players will travel to Houston in mid-September for another round of workouts at which time the roster will be further reduced to 20 players who will represent their country at the COPABE Pan Am AAA championship tournament Sept. 23 to Oct. 2 in Monterrey, Mexico.

Extra bases

The West team broke Sunday’s game open with five runs in the bottom of the second inning, scored once in the third inning, twice more in each of the fourth and fifth innings and tacked on three final runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. The West team finished with 11 hits, made one error, and left seven runners on base.

The 10 West tam pitchers held the East team to eight hits. The East team did not help its cause by committing six errors and stranding six runners on base.

RB’s Mitchell had one hit in four at-bats and scored one run while Ramirez, a second team all-section pick in 2016, went hitless in two plate appearances.

Hurt pitched one inning, gave up one hit and struck out one batter. Carlsbad’s Trevor Rogers, the fifth San Diegan on the West roster, also pitched one inning, allowed one hit and struck out one batter.

The 10 West pitchers combined for nine strikeouts. Rogers received credit for the victory while Tanner Burns (Decatur, Ala.) took the loss for the East.

Greene clocked 97 mph on the mound while Rogers reached 92 mph. Of impressive note, 19 of the 20 pitchers on the two teams managed to clock 90 mph or higher.

J Serra’s Royce Lewis earned recognition as this year’s Perfect Game All-American Classic Most Valuable Player after recording two hits and driving in two runs.

Sunday’s game was the first in the history of the event to feature such a lop-sided score since the West defeated the East, 7-0, in 2014. It also marked the first time in the event that a team scored in double digits.

Recent Hall of Fame inductee Ken Griffey Jr. attended this year’s Perfect Game event and offered an inspirational message to participants.

The Perfect Game All-American Classic has seen 128 alumni go on to play in Major League Baseball, including 180 who were first-round draft picks and eight who have had the honor of being No. 1 picks in the annual MLB draft.

La Costa Canyon High School grad Mickey Moniak, the No. 1 pick by Philadelphia in this year’s draft (and a 2015 Perfect Game All-American Classic participant), received a $6.1 million signing bonus from the Phillies.

In fact, the 38 Perfect Game alumni who elected to begin their professional careers in this year’s first-year draft signed for a collective $68 million.

Three Perfect Game All-American Classic alumni have gone on to win MLB Most Valuable Player Awards: Buster Posey (National League in 2012), Andrew McCutchen (National League in 2013) and Bryce Harper (National League in 2014).

Madison Bumgarner, another notable All-American Classic alumnus, won the World Series MVP Award in 2014. Eric Hosmer earned recognition as this year’s MLB All-Star Game MVP.

All-America

Since its inception in 2008, 71 Under Armour All-Americans have been selected in the first round of the MLB draft. Thirty-eight former Under Armour All-Americans were selected in this year’s draft, including 11 in the first round. Since the game’s start, 250 Under Armour All-Americans have been selected in the MLB Draft.

The Under Armour All-America Game is powered by the Baseball Factory, which has developed programs to provide players with world-class instruction and life-changing experiences.

Baseball Factory holds more than 600 events nationwide each year in all 50 states and over 150 cities. The organization prides itself on giving families an unbiased assessment of where they stand against other players nationwide.

Baseball Factory events have featured more than 400 players who have played or are currently playing in the major leagues and more than 75,000 players have gone on to play at the college level.

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