Top prep lefty Liberatore named MVP; multi-sport standout Adams ends game in 11th
Por Fabian Ardaya
CHICAGO -- The stalemate of high school talents lasted 11 innings, but it was Jordyn Adams' walk-off single that broke the pitchers duel and gave the American League a 2-1 victory on Saturday at Wrigley Field in the Under Armour All-America Game presented by Baseball Factory.
After Jarred Kelenic and Nolan Gorman each reached via a walk in the 11th with no one out, Adams hit a roller through the middle past left-hander Mike Siani to bring home the winning run.
It was redemption for Adams, a Green Hope (Cary, N.C.) product, after what he called a rough workout on Friday.
"I've been hitting it pretty bad and haven't been catching good contact on the bat, but I knew on third he was getting a good jump early on," Adams said. "I felt if I could just put it in play somewhere, then he'll make it home."
Six-foot-5 left-hander Matthew Liberatore came in for the American League and threw scoreless 9th, 10th and 11th innings to get the win and earn Most Valuable Player honors. Liberatore, who comes from Mountain Ridge High School in Peoria, Ariz., joined Gorman (Sandra Day O'Connor/Glendale, Ariz.) in giving Arizona a clean sweep in awards Saturday after Gorman won the home run derby earlier in the evening.
"Once I got on the mound, I didn't care who it was in the box," Liberatore said. "I felt like I could strike anyone out. Whether that's true or not, I don't really know, but that's what you've got to think in your mind. I didn't even know who was up. I was just throwing."
The surplus of young stud arms dominated at Wrigley Field Saturday, with each of the game's first four pitchers hitting 95 mph or more on the radar gun. The game's first run wouldn't come until a wild pitch in the sixth inning, and the first extra-base hit didn't come until the top of the seventh.
"It was pretty hard [hitting] out there tonight," Adams said. "You're facing the best in the country. I plan on playing at the next level someday, so I have to face it sooner or later and get used to it. All of them really had good stuff. All of them had a really forceful fastball, a really good off-speed pitch, too."
The American League broke through for the game's first run in the bottom of the sixth against Ashdown's (Ashdown, Ark.) Jaden Hill. With runners on the corners and two out, Hill's 2-0 pitch scooted past Bishop Gorman (Henderson, Nev.) catcher Austin Wells and allowed Milton (Alpharetta, Ga.) outfielder Ben Harris to score.
A pair of B45 Home Run Derby participants sparked the offense in the top of the eighth for the National League. Montverde's (Montverde, Fla.) Nander De Sedas, who lost 6-5 in the final round to Nolan Gorman in the derby, sliced a single to right field and advanced to third after the ball skidded past Harris' glove and rolled all the way to the wall. American Heritage (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) first baseman Triston Casas -- who smacked eight homers in the first round on Saturday -- followed with a double into left to tie things up.
It would remain tied until Adams' single, giving the American League the victory in the first-ever night edition at Wrigley Field. It was a night he and Liberatore won't forget for a while.
"This is probably the biggest stage I've ever pitched on," Liberatore said. "To come out and perform like that, it doesn't feel real. Right now, it doesn't feel like that just happened."
Fabian Ardaya is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago. You can follow him on Twitter @FabianArdaya. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.