Colts Neck's Kay to play in All-America tourney

Colts Neck's Kay to play in All-America tourney

News

Colts Neck's Kay to play in All-America tourney

By

Tyler Kay is heading west.

The Colts Neck High School junior has been named a 2014 Under Armour Preseason All-American. The outfielder will compete at the Under Armour All-America Preseason Tournament at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Ariz.

The facility has served as the spring training home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago White Sox. The tournament has consisted of numerous top players, including New York Mets third baseman David Wright, a seven-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner, and outfielder Bryce Harper, now starring with the Washington Nationals.

“It feels great to be selected,” Kay said. “I am definitely honored. It’s a goal of mine to work hard and get better.”

Kay said he will play center field and right field.

“I prefer to play center field,” he said. “I get a better jump on the ball and there is more control of the outfield as a center fielder. I am real good in the outfield. My arm complements my fielding ability and I get a great jump on the ball. I don’t have amazing speed, but my ability to get a jump on the ball makes up for it without a doubt. That’s something you can’t teach.”

Players will be presented with their Under Armour Preseason All-American certificate at the opening ceremonies. Teams will compete in two days of wooden bat competition Jan. 17-19.

“We expect to have scouts from many of the professional teams in attendance,” Steve Bernhardt, executive vice president of baseball operations, said in a news release. Some of these scouts will not only be covering the event, but also instructing players on-field, giving them a better chance to get an in-depth look at each prospect.

Kay said he can’t wait to display his skills in front of the scouts.

“It’s definitely going to be really cool,” he said. “There are supposed to be more than 80 major-league scouts there. A lot of Division I college scouts will be there, too. I want to show them my ability to field the ball, my ability to track it and the way I can hit it. We’ll get to play in five to seven games.”

Kay earned a berth on the team after starring in tryouts. One tryout took place at Arm & Hammer Park, home of the Trenton Thunder, the New York Yankees’ Double-A Eastern League affiliate.

He has played summer traveling ball for the NJ Niners Prime, Team New Jersey Elite, Baseball U Texas Orange Prospects and Langan Baseball. Colts Neck coach Mike Yorke and coaches Eric Alvarez, Mike Condin and Steve Langan have played large roles in Kay’s development.

“I showed I can hit,” he said. “I showed the way I can track a ball and get a jump on it. I also showed people the strength of my arm. My ball has a lot of carry. Instead of looping, it goes straight on a line and has the potential to go even farther. It does not have a loop.”

Kay, a 5-foot-11, 178-pounder, played on the Cougars’ varsity team in 2013, seeing action in right and center. He started in right and got off to a fast start.

“At the beginning of the season, I led the Shore Conference in hitting for about two weeks at .585,” he said. “I wound up hitting around .385. I am primarily a line drive, gap-to-gap hitter.”

Kay, who also bowls for the Cougars, hopes to play for either Rutgers, Monmouth, Delaware, St. John’s, Connecticut or Elon.

“I am open minded right now,” he said. “I want to go someplace close so my dad, Jeff, can see some of my home games. I will probably be a business major. I want to be a state trooper after college. I want to earn a degree in a subject area that has a wide spread.”

More USA TODAY High School Sports