Digging In: Area Players Shine At Under Armour All-America Game
August 17, 2015
By Sean Duncan
CHICAGO – The 2015 Under Armour All-America Game began with a bang, as RHP Riley Pint (St. Thomas Aquinas HS, KS) ignited the crowd with an electric fastball that ranged between 96-99 mph in his first seven pitches, ultimately settling in at 95-97.
The premium velocity continued to flow, as RHPs Alex Speas (McEachern HS, GA) and Forrest Whitley (Alamo Heights, TX) each ranged between 94-96 mph during their one-inning stints following Pint. The procession of high-velocity arms assembled at Wrigley Field on Saturday afternoon was truly impressive. With so many dominant arms, each ramping it up for a brief outing, one would think the eighth-annual celebration of the nation’s top prep talent would be a snappy low-scoring affair.
Not quite. The National squad won the three-plus-hour contest 11-5. Certainly 18 combined walks contributed to the high score, and at times slow pace. However, what astounded me more so than the pitchers’ raw fastball velocities was how well the hitters handled it.
In a stark contrast to Friday’s showcase workout, in which the position players took generally uninspired rounds of batting practice in front of a throng of pro scouts, the hitters stole the show from the more celebrated pitching prospects in attendance. It began during pregame batting practice, through an impressive home run derby in which INF Bo Bichette (Lakewood HS, FL) defeated 1B Joey Wentz (Shawnee Mission East HS, KS), and carried over into the game.
The Under Armour All-America Game featured two home runs, first by left-handed hitting C Andy Yerzy (York Mills Collegiate SS, ON), then later C Mike Amditis (Boca Raton HS, FL) broke the game open with a no-doubt grand slam. Yerzy, a physically impressive 6-foot-3, 215-pound Notre Dame recruit, took a 92-mph fastball away from RHP Zach Linginfelter (Sevier County HS, TN) for an opposite-field homer in the second inning. Yerzy also impressed during the first round of home run derby, showing a loose and easy swing with natural lift. Amditis, a 5-foot-10, 190-pound Miami recruit, has a simple, compact approach at the plate. He doesn’t over-swing, maintaining excellent balance through contact. He didn’t show big power during any of the BP sessions, but he caught RHP Nick Hanson’s (Prior Lake HS, MN) upper-80s fastball square and deposited well into the left-field seats ...