Hundreds of the top high school prospects gathered in Long Beach to begin the week-long Area Code Games, recognizing and developing the top MLB-ready talent at the high school level.
Luckily for the Trojans, many of their top players from the recruiting class of 2014 are amongst the top competition battling it out from Long Beach.
The biggest of stars to watch this week will be Jacob Gatewood, a 6-foot-5 shortstop prospect who returns to the Area Code Games for the second straight season. Reigning from Clovis, the same high school as current USC Baseball infielder Blake Lacey, Gatewood has a huge target on his back.
The eight teams include the White Sox (consisting of players from the Midwest), Reds (four-corner states and Hawaii), Royals (Pacific Northwest), Brewers (Southern California), Yankees (Northeast), Athletics (Northern California), Rangers (Texas, Louisiana) and Nationals (Southeast, Virginia).
Stepping into the batters box for Oakland around the middle portion of Monday morning batting practice, Hart blasted a monstrous home run with his wooden bat. Catching the eyes of plenty MLB and College Scouts.
On Monday, Gatewood opened up festivities knocking in a run with an RBI groundout in the first inning as part of a 4-3 victory over the Northwest Royals squad. This, from a player who spent the MLB All-Star weekend hitting home runs at Citi Field during the commercial break.
“I kind of just went with the flow and soaked it all in,” Gatewood recalled to Area Code when asked about his once-in-a-lifetime experience. “I really wanted to make sure I enjoyed the time I had out there.”
While less-touted recruits,Brad Wegman and Solomon Bates are the Trojans’ remaining Area Code game participants and will represent the Yankees roster. Plus, Bryce Dydra, Mitchell Hart and Mason Perryman are making waves of their own alongside Gatewood on the Oakland roster.
A member of the Yankees roster, Brad Wegman is a 2013 Underclass 3rd Team player and is clocked with a 92 MPH fastball. Solomon Bates is a local product from Junipero Serra High School, and played a major part in the Cavaliers Division IV CIF Championship.
Bryce Dydra has yet to receive a call to the mound, but is anxiously awaiting the opportunity to compete against the nation’s best. As the Trojans’ only junior-to-be, Mitchell Hart possesses a clean leg-raise delivery, long loose arm action and life on the fastball. Mason Perryman brings raw potential on the mound and has the best potential to forgo the draft and play for the Trojans next fall.
Action resumes throughout the week from Blair Field, home of the Long Beach St. Dirtbags, giving prep athletes the chance to shine with New Balance swag plastered all across their chests.