SAN DIEGO — Nolan Gorman may not have won the Home Run Challenge Sunday at Petco Park before the 2017 Perfect Game All-American Classic, but maybe he was just saving the power to show off in the game.
It’s something Gorman has shown off a lot recently.
Gorman tallied the first hit of the game for either side in the third inning, a two-run moonshot home run into the Home Run Deck at Petco to give the West a 2-0 lead.
The blast was against Mason Denaburg of Merritt Island (Fla.) a teammate of Gorman’s with the Central Florida Gators.
“I knew he knows how to pitch me because we’ve played together for a long time,” Gorman said. “But he gave me a fastball right there, and I did what I needed to.”
Gorman added two more RBIs with single in the eighth inning in a 6-1 win for the West.
Corona del Mar’s (Calif.) Preston Hartsell took home the Home Run Challenge title prior to the game after defeating Gorman in the semifinal round. However, the loss didn’t give Gorman any extra motivation to show his power during the game.
“Preston is a great hitter, he smashes the ball,” Gorman said. “But for the game I was still just trying to hit the ball hard.”
Gorman finished the game 2-for-3 with three RBI and took home the game’s MVP award.
Playing alongside and against the best high school talent in the country is big confidence for an already confident Gorman who looks to establish himself as first round MLB draft choice in 2018.
“We had confidence going into the whole thing, I mean we’re the best of the best,” Gorman said. “So if you don’t have confidence, it’s going to be hard to have success.”
The arms Gorman and the rest of the batters on both lineups were up against Sunday were on point. Top pitching prospect Kumar Rocker Watkinsville, Georgia topped out at 98 MPH on the radar gun. Ethan Hankins, J.T. Ginn, Mason Denaburg, Austin Becker and Cole Wilcox all topped out at 95 while several more still all eclipsed the 90 MPH mark during their time on the mound.
Gorman has performed especially well at Perfect Game events including making totaling three home runs at the 2017 WWBA 2018 Grads or 17U National Championship and making the All-Tournament team.
In his junior season for Sandra Day O’Connor (Phoenix), Gorman totaled 11 home runs while batting .361 and driving in 34 runs for the Eagles.
In the past year, Gorman has shown big league scouts he can put the ball over the fence in big league ballparks. Before his round-tripper at Petco Park Sunday, Gorman won the fifth annual High School Home Run Derby during MLB All-Star Week mashing five home runs at Marlins Park in the final round to win the event.
Gorman will hope to join the likes of Andrew McCutchen, Francisco Lindor, Jayson Heyward and others who have played in the Perfect Game All-American Classic and went to success in the major leagues.
“It’s just another game I guess,” he said. “But this one is a little more special with the 53 best high school players in the nation.”