SAN DIEGO — Ryan Boldt didn’t have much to say Sunday night when San Diego Padre great Trevor Hoffman presented him with the 2012 Perfect Game All-American Classic MVP Award. It didn’t matter; his play had already said plenty.
The lanky 6-foot-1 centerfielder from Red Wing, Minnesota finished 2-for-3 with a triple to help the West squad secure a come-from-behind 7-6 victory at Petco Park Sunday night.
Boldt showed off his wheels roaming the spacious Petco outfield and when he slid into third base (pictured above) with an easy triple on a smash down the left field line.
“I try to use my speed as much as I can,” the Nebraska commit said. “I just try to put the ball in play and run as much as I can.”
The East team put Boldt to work early in the game. In the first inning after taking a 1-0 lead on a Clint Frazier sacrifice fly, LSU commit Justin Williams, who earlier won the Rawlings Home Run Challenge with four homers, lined a shot toward right-centerfield. Boldt’s diving attempt came up short, but he knocked the ball down and was able to throw a bullet to second base to hose Williams, ending the inning.
It would not be the last time the aggressiveness on the basepaths ended a scoring threat.
The West team tied the game in the second inning. USC commit Jeremy Martinez’s RBI liner to left field highlighted three consecutive singles, but after advancing to second base, Martinez was gunned down by South Carolina catcher commit Nick Ciuffo on a back pick to end the inning.
Martinez got an opportunity for redemption in the fifth inning. With the bases loaded, Frazier laced a line drive that one-hopped the fence in centerfield. However, the runners had to hesitate because Billy McKinney was almost able to track the ball down. McKinney quickly barehanded the ball and fired it in to Oklahoma shortstop commit Sheldon Neuse.
Martinez walled off home plate and applied the tag on a perfectly executed relay throw from Neuse to nail Oscar Mercado after he ran through a stop sign at third base.
The East squad did add another run against UCLA commit Jonah Wesely in the frame to push its lead to 6-1. That’s when the West offense finally woke up.
Facing 15-year old Mayky Perez, the first prospect from the Dominican Republic and the youngest participant to play in the All-American Classic, the West loaded the bases on two walks and an error. USC commit Dominic Smith lined the first strike he saw for a two-run single. A pair of RBI groundouts by Texas A&M commit Nicholas Banks and Neuse cut the lead to 6-5.
“I knew the pitcher was struggling. He walked a couple of guys at first,” Smith said. “I wanted to jump on him early. I knew he was going to throw a first-pitch fastball and he did. I just took my hit and a couple RBIs, so I’m pretty happy about that.
The East had an opportunity to add to its lead in the bottom half of the inning when catcher Brian Navarreto tripled to right field. But local product Stephen Gonsalves bared down, getting a ground ball to third base and before ending the inning by tagging out pinch runner Clinton Hollon at the plate when Hollon tried to score on a wild pitch. Gonsalves said it was really important to pitch well in front of a number of family and friends.
“The toughest part was getting that strike one the very first pitch,” he said. “I got one to get away from me, but the nerves calmed down a little bit and I was able to settle in.”
Gonsalves work was not done. After Martinez singled, Gonsalves pinch ran and swiped second base. Texas commit Kacy Clemens, son of former Major Leaguer Roger Clemens, drew a full-count walk, bringing up left-handed slugger Rowdy Tellez.
Tellez, a USC commit, fell behind in the count and took a Robert Tyler changeup that appeared to bend back over the inside corner for strike three. Navarreto jumped from his crouch behind the plate and took a stride toward the dugout, but the home plate umpire was not convinced.
Two pitches later, Tellez shot a tailing liner to the opposite field. The ball skipped under the left fielder’s glove and rolled all the way to the wall. Gonsalves and Clemens came around to score the tying and go-ahead runs while Tellez strolled into third base with the two-run triple.
It was all the West squad needed. Casey Shane, Derik Beauprez and Clemens combined for three scoreless frames, striking out five batters. Shane and Beauprez each had 1-2-3 innings and Clemens recorded the save, stranding a runner at second base to end the game.
Gonsalves picked up the win in front of the home crowd while Tyler took the loss for the East. Despite the intense competition, both teams took the opportunity to partake in the post-game dog pile beside the pitcher’s mound.
- Frazier, a Georgia commit who was honored as the Jackie Robinson Player of the Year Award winner on Saturday, finished 2-for-2 with two RBI. He was the only player with multiple hits and multiple RBI.
- Boldt and Martinez had multiple hits for the West squad while Smith, Tellez and Corder Sandberg each drove in two runs.
- North Carolina commit Chris Oakley was the only East pitcher to record a 1-2-3 inning.
- Ian Clarkin, a San Diego commit, and Florida commit Brett Morales were the only pitchers to strike out the side, but both allowed three baserunners.
- Oakley and Morales both hit 94 mph, but West starter and Texas A&M commit Kohl Stewart had the hardest pitch of the day, hitting 95 mph on the stadium radar gun.
- USC commit JP Crawford was the only player to steal multiple bases.
- Kacy Clemens was a perfect 1-for-1 with a walk. He pulled off the unusual feat of scoring the winning run and collecting the save. His father greeted him with a fist bump and a hug after the game.