What a week. It all started back in June when the workouts began. Over 2,500 players were invited to 21 regional workouts for a spot in the 2011 Area Code Baseball Games presented by New Balance.
It is a process and while nerve racking for most, it is rewarding for all. Many believe that just being invited to a workout means a lot.
With all that said, the week at Blair Field had many highlights:
The performance by Clint Coulter was one for the books. In doing some calculations afterwards, and if our math is correct, he hit over .500. That is remarkable, not because Coulter is not a great player, but because pitchers tend to dominate. A pitcher's advantage is that the hitters have not seen them that much, if at all, and Blair is a pitchers park. What field have these guys played on measures 348 down the lines.
Three infielders made impressions during the week with great performances. Tanner Rahier, CJ Hinojosa and Alex Bregman made great plays on the field and at the plate squared up many balls. The plays that they made on the field were outstanding. They turned some Major League double plays and made them look easy.
The youngest player in the field was Drew Ward and he may have come from the smallest school, too. He said that his graduating class has less then 20 people in it. The only player in the class of 2014 held his ground.
We saw two homers, Dylan LaVelle and Courtney Hawkins (in that order). LaVelle did it for a Royals team that went 5-0 for the week and were perhaps the best team in the field. When they trailed to the Brewers early they chipped away at the lead and ended up winning 12-7. That may have have been one of the best comebacks that we've seen in the tournament.
Hawkins homer came in a big spot for the Rangers when they played the Brewers in the last game of the week. The Rangers trailed the Brew crew in the bottom of the seventh. It seemed that Hawkins put some good swings on the ball, but the off-speed pitches gave him a little trouble. But when he got a fastball on the inner half, to say he got all of it would be an understatement.
Lucas Giolito for the second year in a row had the hardest recorded fastball at 96.9 mph. That was according to TrackMan, who was back this year taking such measurements.
Early on during the batting practice session, the players made the park look small. Granted it was BP and they were smoking BP fastballs, but in the end players still made solid contact. Baseballs were flying out of Blair as if it was an average sized park and it seemed for just a minute that the bats would come out en masse during the week. That was set aside when the pitching took over, the marine layer settled and the spacious outfield swallowed anything in the air.
In summation it was another fun week in Long Beach. There were many great players out there and it looks like the 2012 high school season will be fun to watch. It will be interesting though how the draft will turn out next year. There will be some players who rise and others who slide but it all started in California. The great thing though is that all these players will have nine months to get stronger and improve their skills.
Let's see what happens.