Monday, August 17, 2009

2009 Aflac All-American Classic Ends in Dramatic Fashion Tied 4-4

/PRNewswire/ -- A triple down the right field line by Rancho Buena Vista (Calif.) High School shortstop Tony Wolters sent the seventh annual Aflac All-American High School Baseball Classic into extra innings for the first time since the game's inception in 2003. A unique extra innings format saw both teams score a run in the tenth inning and the game ended in a 4-all tie Sunday night at Petco Park before a record crowd of 8,027. The overall East vs. West series record for the Aflac All-American Classic, which features 40 of the nation's premiere high school baseball players, now stands at 3-3-1.

Wolters' stellar play in the field and at the plate earned him the Aflac All-American MVP title. He finished the game going 2-for-3 with two runs scored and a steal. In the field, he flashed leather all night to back up his selection as the 2009 Rawlings Defensive Player of the Year.

"There are so many talented players on both squads," said Wolters. "I think all these guys (on both squads) should be receiving the MVP award. It is a huge honor and I feel very grateful to have had this experience."

The West squad wasted no time getting on the board as they took a 2-0 after both runners scored on a wild pitch and an error on the same play. Right-hander Jameson Taillon of The Woodlands (Texas) High School shut down the East squad with two scoreless innings -- including four strikeouts.

A single to left by Jacoby Jones of Richton (Miss.) High School drove in Trey Griffin of Martin Luther King Jr. High School (Stockbridge, Ga.) to tie the game 2-2 in the eighth inning. The East's Michael Arencibia of Key West (Fla.) High School scoring the go-ahead run off a wild pitch to give it the first lead of the game, 3-2.

Matt Lipka of McKinney High School (Frisco, Texas) walked in the bottom of the ninth off of Yordy Cabrera of Lakeland (Fla.) High School, to set the stage for Wolters' late inning heroics.

Due to pre-determined game rules, the game ended after 10 innings played. The bases were loaded with one out with each team having the opportunity to score. Both teams were able to put a run on the board to finish this year's Aflac Classic in a tie.

"These kids have the hearts of champions," said Steve Vickery, West team head coach from Lakeside (Calif.) High School. "It was great to see the kids step up and put it all on the line in the last inning. Their intensity and drive showed the true passion these kids have for the game of baseball."

Prior to the game, in a matchup of the top sluggers from the East and West squads, Cabrera hit five tape measure shots in the final round to win this year's Home Run Derby title.

Players were honored at the Aflac All-American awards dinner Saturday evening at the San Diego Hall of Champions. The top honor of the night went to Bryce Harper, a 6-foot-3,195-pound catcher from Las Vegas (Nev.) High School, when he won the Aflac National High School Player of the Year and was presented with the 2009 Jackie Robinson Award.

On hand to make the presentation was Sonya Pankey, granddaughter of Jackie Robinson, and Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith, the Aflac All-American Classic's honorary chairman.

Three other awards were given out at the ceremony. A.J. Cole, (Oviedo HS) of Winter Springs, Fla., was named Pitcher of the Year. For his outstanding abilities with his glove, Wolters won the inaugural Rawlings Defensive Player of the Year award. In a balloting of coaches, players and staff, Cameron Bedrosian (East Coweta HS) of Senoia, Ga., and Tyler Austin (Heritage HS) of Conyers, Ga., shared the Perfect Game Nick Adenhart Award. The award bears the name of Nick Adenhart, a 2003 Aflac All-American who was killed in an automobile accident hours after making his first start this season for the Los Angeles Angels.

During the banquet, Aflac, as part of its ongoing commitment to the fight against childhood cancer, donated $100,000 to Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego. Additionally, Aflac also made a $20,000 donation to Coaches Curing Kids Cancer. Since 2003, the Aflac All-American Classic has generated $805,000 for charity.

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