Founded in 2003, and hosted in San Diego since 2006, the Perfect Game All-American Classic serves as a high school all-star game for top baseball players in the country. MLB players to participate in the past include 2008 number one overall pick Tim Beckham, Cubs rookie star Kris Bryant, World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner, Padres All-Star Justin Upton, Astros rookie Lance McCullers, Nationals superstar Bryce Harper, Cardinals All-Star Jason Heyward, Marlins ace Jose Fernandez and 2011 number one overall pick Gerrit Cole, among others.
The game serves to raise funds for research into pediatric cancer, with over $850,000 raised since the inaugural game. Although numbers are not yet available for the 2015 Classic, last year’s game alone raised just over $60,000, with Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego being the main benefactor.
But beyond the worthy cause of fundraising for cancer, there is an extremely exciting game to be played as well, and SMBA ’16 was there to help pull off the operation. Tyler Aubertin, Megan Parker and Anthony Simonetti volunteered at the August 16 game, helping check in attendees and passing out giveaways and donation request cards for Rady. Additionally, the SMBA volunteers sold baseball card packages for the players in the game as an additional fundraiser.
After all the attendees were in the building, there was a game to be played. The first inning moved briskly, with East pitcher and potential 2016 number one overall pick Jason Groome breezing through the first three batters, hitting up to 96 MPH on the radar gun. Groome’s perfect inning would serve as a foreshadowing, as pitchers from both teams dominating throughout the 3-1 East victory. Beyond Groome, other players to shine included Liberty commitment Alex Kiriloff, who scored the first run of the game and won the Home Run Contest; South Carolina commit and Perfect Game MVP Carlos Cortes, who went 2-4 along with a strong defensive effort; Mississippi State commit Walker Robbins, who tripled and drove in a run; and Virginia commit Nolan Jones, who tripled and drove in a run.
San Diego County had two players in the game, with Mickey Moniak of Escondido and Avery Tuck of San Diego representing the West squad. Moniak, a UCLA commit, singled in the fourth before stealing second and third. Tuck, a future Aztec, had a single and played solid defense in the outfield.