Imagine meeting your namesake and favorite player, then having that idol compliment your swing?
Yes, Smoky Mountain senior Cal Raleigh’s second day in Chicago for the Under Armour All-American baseball game was every bit as eventful as the first.
Raleigh worked out with the other 35 players hand-picked for this year’s nationally-televised game Thursday morning.
And that’s when the Mustangs catcher conversed with Baltimore Orioles legend Cal Ripken. The two briefly talked about Raleigh’s swing, with Ripken giving the teenager praise for its fluidity.
Raleigh was named after Ripken and has said in the past that the hall of fame shortstop is his favorite player.
The Under Armour All-American game is Saturday at Wrigley Field and will be broadcast Sunday night at 8 p.m. on the Major League Baseball network.
Raleigh earned All-Western North Carolina Athletic Conference and Citizen-Times All-WNC recognition last spring after batting .351 with 16 RBIs, 11 stolen bases, six doubles, a home run and 18 runs scored. He was 2-1 with a save as a pitcher with a 1.67 earned run average and 30 strikeouts in 37.2 innings pitched.
Since 2008, 151 of the 171 players selected to the Under Armour All-America baseball game have been drafted by MLB teams (including 42 first-round picks).
Raleigh has committed to play in college for Clemson and was also an All-WNC selection for Smoky Mountain’s sectional championship basketball team as a junior.
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