West tops East in AFLAC all-star baseball

Game at Ripken Stadium is hit with all concerned

High Schools

August 07, 2004|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

The West edged the East, 4-2, in the AFLAC All-American High School Baseball Classic at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen last night.

The game was organized by Sports America, which founded the McDonald's Classic in basketball.

Pitcher Steve Johnson of St. Paul's was the only local player among 40 rising seniors chosen for the game, with the West representing nine states and the East seven.

Johnson, The Sun's first three-time All-Metro player in as many years before his senior season, came into the game in the seventh inning with two outs, a runner on second and the West leading 2-1.

After striking out Zach Putnam to end the inning, Johnson was the victim of a dropped popup by much-heralded Chesapeake, Va., shortstop Justin Upton on the batter leading off the bottom of the eighth.

Johnson then hit a batter and struck out the next man before being removed as the West went on to score two runs and take a 4-1 lead.

"I thought I did pretty well," said Johnson, who as the hometown player received the biggest applause when he was introduced before the game and later upon entering. "I let one pitch get away from me and my curve ball hit the guy. Other than that, I hit my spots."

Cal Ripken, the honorary chairman of the second annual game, said "I was always a big fan of the McDonald's All-American basketball game and I wondered if we would ever get an opportunity to have a baseball equivalent.

"It has great potential and I think it's going to be something to look forward to every year. For me personally, being around the kids at this level is very energizing and it takes me back 25 years when I was a senior in high school."

AFLAC and Sports America officials were so pleased with the Ripken facility and the entire week in the Baltimore area that the game will return to Aberdeen in 2005 with an option for a third year.

The game was played in Fort Myers, Fla., last year, with Hall of Famer Stan Musial as honorary chairman. It drew 2,462 fans as compared with 4,006 in Aberdeen last night

"As you know, I've been involved in a lot of big events and this is really big time," said Arundel High's Bernie Walter, the East team's head coach who guided the U.S. Junior Olympic team to the world title over Cuba in Australia in 1988.

"They're spending a lot of money and doing a lot of good things for a lot of good players. The speculation is that about 10 of the players among the 40 here will be first-round draft picks next June and probably 30 or more of them will be drafted at some time."

NOTES: Outfielder Jordan Danks of Round Rock, Texas, won the Home Run Derby contest with just one homer in the finals. Danks, a 6-foot-5, 200-pound left-handed hitter, hit five in the first round, but needed only one to top Cameron Maybin of Arden, N.C. in the finals ... Fox Sports Net will show the game nationally at 4 p.m. tomorrow, with Bob Rathbun and ex-major leaguer Tom Paciorek calling it.

East 010 000 001 -- 2 6 2

West 110 000 02x -- 4 4 1

Zeid, Quigley (2), Volstad (3), Clark (4), Funk (5) Lea (6), Sebastian (7), Johnson (7), Posey (8) and Egan, Henriguez (5); Tucker, Jones (2), Massingham (3), Mitchell (4), Hellickson (5), Lyman (6), O'Sullivan (8), DeLaughter (9) and Paramore, Maxie (4).HR: W - Davis.

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