While Saturday’s Under Armour All American Game in Chicago was about the combined 16 runs scored, Sunday’s Perfect Game All-American Classic in San Diego was more about the pitchers.
The East beat the West 3-1 at PETCO Park with the East scoring twice in the fifth inning and then escaping with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth.
Seven pitchers recorded two strikeouts in their respective inning of work.
The MVP award went to East outfielder Carlos Cortes, a South Carolina commit from Oviedo, Fla. He went 2-for-4 and made a stellar defensive play in the outfield. He was the only player with multiple hits for the East.
Neither team threatened to score through the first four innings and the teams combined for five hits.
Jason Groome from IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) showed why some consider him the favorite to the be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft when he shut down all three batters he faced in the first. Groome’s fastball his 96 mph on the radar gun.
The first run of the game for the East was scored by Alex Kirilloff (Plum; New Kensington, Pa), who had singled, stole second and moved to third on a fly out. He came home when Ryan Zeferjahn (Seaman; Topeka, Kan.) uncorked a wild pitch. Brandon McIlwain, the South Carolina quarterback commit from Council Rock North (Newtown, Pa.), then tripled and scored on an infield error for a 2-0 lead.
The West’s lone run came in the sixth when Walker Robbins (George County, Leaksville, Miss.) hit a triple into the gap in right center to score Ben Baird (Agoura; Agoura Hills, Calif.), who had walked. Robbins had two hits for the West.
In the eighth, the East got an insurance run on a triple by Nolan Jones (Holy Ghost Prep; Bensalem, Pa.) and also got a two-strikeout performance on the mound from Tony Locey (Houston County; Columbus, Ga.)
In the ninth, Robbins singled for the West, but Cortes then made a sliding catch on a shallow fly ball to right to help the East. After a walk put runners on first and second, Khalil Lee (Flint Hill; Centreville, Va.) made a diving grab off a shallow liner to left to save a run. After another walk to load the bases, a strikeout ended the threat and the game.
Home run contest
Kirilloff won the championship over Blake Rutherford from Simi Valley, Calif., by a score of 12-11 in the finals. He hit six consecutive home runs for the victory. The two left-handed hitters blasted homer after homer despite PETCO’s largely hitter-unfriendly dimensions to right field.
Kirilloff advanced with an 11-9 victory against Joe Rizzo (Oakton; Oak Hill, Va.) in the semifinals. Rutherford beat Ben Rortvedt (Verona Area; Verona, Wis.) by a count of 10-6.