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Trey Ball leads the 2013 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Baseball Team



New Castle (Ind.) pitcher and outfielder Trey Ball, who was drafted No. 7 overall by the Boston Red Sox, is the 2013 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Baseball Player of the Year. / Brian Spurlock, USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Baseball Team was selected by USA TODAY Sports' Jim Halley. All players are seniors except for Jack Flaherty, who is a junior.


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PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Trey Ball, LHP-OF
New Castle, Ind.
Ht.:
6-5.Wt.: 175.
Bats: Left. Throws: Left.

College/major league draft (round): Texas/Boston Red Sox, No. 7 overall (first round; signed).

Key stats: Went 6-0 with a 0.76 earned run average and 93 strikeouts in 46 innings. Also hit .329 with 10 homers, 41 runs, 29 RBI and 21 steals.

Wood bat: The past two summers, we used wood bats in every tournament. I figured this year, I could hit with wood during the high school season to show I can hit with wood(since he could be a pitcher or position player as a pro). I felt like it worked out. I only broke one bat all season. I think there was maybe one homer I would have had with metal that I didn’t get because I was hitting a wood bat.

Season highlight: Winning the North Central Conference championship. It was the first time we won it outright. We also set a new record for wins (22). This town (home of Steve Alford) is known for basketball, so it was nice to put baseball on the map.

Favorite video game: Usually in the offseason, I’m a Call of Duty guy. During the season, I stay away from video games.

Listening to: I’ll listen to a variety of things to get the blood flowing.

Embarrassing moment: Last summer, in the Perfect Game All-American Classic, I was in left field and a ball came to me. I was thinking about the throw home and the ball skipped when I went to field it and it went beside my glove. It was on national TV and everything, but fortunately because of the three-hour time difference, not a lot of people here saw it.

THE REST OF THE FIRST TEAM


J.P. Crawford, IF-RHP
Lakewood, Calif.
Ht.:
6-2. Wt.: 180.
Bats: Left. Throws: Right.

College/major league draft (round): Southern California/Philadelphia Phillies, No. 16 overall (first; signed).

Key stats: Hit .452 in 93 at-bats with 17 steals in 19 attempts. Had a .944 fielding percentage, mostly at shortstop. Pitched 71/3 innings and had a 0.95 ERA. Is cousin of Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford and younger brother of Cal State-Fullerton softball third baseman Eliza Crawford. His father, Larry Crawford, was a four-time Canadian Football League All-Star defensive back.

Favorite teacher: Ms. (Ellen) Noble for Earth science. Whatever your problem is, you can talk with her.

Favorite walk-up song: Slow Down by Clyde Carson.

Most overused app: Instagram, just to see what is happening with my friends.

Season highlight: Beating Wilson (Long Beach) 2-0. (Crawford made a diving catch and throw for a double play and drove in the insurance run.)

Pro advice: Aaron Hicks, the center fielder for the Twins, helped a lot through the year. My uncle told me pro baseball is going to be a grind and it’s going to be hard. You have to earn it.

Staying loose: The first half of the season, I was trying too much. The second half, I remembered to have fun and play my game.

Team as family: My mom has a tumor in her neck. All my friends on the team have been there for me. We’re not even a team. We’re more like a family.

Embarrassing moment: During a summer league game, I made four errors. The first one made me think and led to the rest.
 


Jack Flaherty, RHP-IF
Harvard-Westlake, Studio City, Calif.
Ht.:
6-4. Wt.: 205.
Bats: Right. Throws: Right.

College/major league draft (round): North Carolina/junior, not yet eligible for draft.

Key stats: Was 13-0 with 0.63 ERA and 112 strikeouts with only 10 walks in 89 innings. Hit .360 with 31 runs and 13 steals. Had a six-hit shutout and drove in the only run in the Division I championship of the CIF Southern Section.

Favorite teacher: My English teacher at Harvard-Westlake, Isaac Laskin. English is probably my least favorite class. I spent a lot of time with him and he was a very understanding teacher. He was able to connect with me and make me enjoy English.

Season highlight: Beating Marina (Huntington Beach) for the section title was definitely the highlight. It was an unbelievable experience.

Baseball start: My mom would take me to Dodger Stadium when I was young. She would tell me to watch the game and not complain. I would sit there and watch the game the whole time. She bought me a bat one day, a foam bat and I would play with it all day in our apartment.

Favorite walk-up song: My sophomore year, it was ABC by the Jackson 5. It started as a joke. My school had never had walk-up songs before. I told my friend, if we had walk-up songs, I would do that song, not thinking they would ever use it. That was a fun one.

Future spot: I can see myself in the infield and hopefully proving everybody wrong by playing shortstop.

Most overused App: Probably Twitter. Whenever I’m bored I go on there.

Most embarrassing: It might have been this (year) at Tournament of the Stars (in Cary, N.C.). I was pitching and I’m not sure what happened but I balked and just lobbed the ball over the plate, like 30 miles per hour. Everybody thought I was hurt. I had eight people come out and talk to me at the mound.

People don’t know I: Was the valedictorian of my eighth-grade class.
 


Kevin Franklin, IF
Gahr, Cerritos, Calif.
Ht.:
6-1. Wt.: 220.
Bats: Right. Throws: Right.

College/major league draft (round): Arizona State/Cincinnati Reds, No. 67 overall (second round; signed).

Key stats: Hit .448 with 37 RBI and nine homers. Played on the Yak Baseball West summer league team alongside fellow ALL-USA first-teamers J.P. Crawford and Dominic Smith.

Season highlight: Winning (the San Gabriel Valley) league. We haven’t done it for a while. That was a big accomplishment for us.

Favorite teacher: Mr. (John) Klein for history. Besides the fact that he’s a Yankees scout, he was so knowledgeable. I love history and that was my favorite subject. We got to talk baseball and history.

Baseball background: I grew up in Kentucky, and my mom signed me up for every sport when I was little. I started playing baseball when I was 5 or 6. I just fell in love with the game.

Favorite position: I see myself being a third baseman. I’m going to work harder every day to stay there.

Favorite video game: MLB: The Show.

Other pursuits: I love watching The History Channel and Pawn Stars.

Overplayed by me: Only God Can Judge Me by Tupac Shakur.

Different tune: I am the only athlete in the family. My family is big-time into gospel singing. I think that’s why I’m in sports. The music gene passed me by, and they put me in the back of the choir.

Most overused app: Probably Instagram. I like to see new pictures and see what people are doing, posting whether I like or don’t like something.
 


Clint Frazier, OF
Loganville, Ga.
Ht.:
5-11. Wt.: 185.
Bats: Right. Throws: Right.

College/major league draft (round): Georgia/Cleveland Indians, No. 5 overall (first; signed).

Key stats: Hit .485 with 17 homers and 45 RBI in 97 at-bats. Had 17 fewer at-bats than last season because he was walked frequently after hitting 24 homers in 2012. He’s hoping to join his favorite player, Oakland Athletics outfielder Brandon Moss, as the second red-headed outfielder from Loganville in the major leagues. Has played summer baseball alongside fellow ALL-USA outfielder Austin Meadows of Grayson (Loganville) since they were 9.

Red alert: I love being a redhead because of the way that fans treat me. If I get knocked for being a redhead, it kind of drives me. If I make it to the major leagues, I think being redheaded will help me be a fan favorite.

Baseball start: When I was 3 years old and my dad was working, my mom would take me out in the front yard with my little Playskool bat. They put me in a church league T-ball league when I was 3.

Most overplayed by me: Drake. When I’m doing good, I listen to rap. When I am in a slump, I’ll listen to alternative or pop music to get back to hitting.

Not being pitched to: It wasn’t as frustrating as I thought it would be. They would pitch around me, give me poor pitches in the dirt, but I still got my fair share of swings. A lot of times they threw me off-speed stuff, and it definitely helped me slow down my approach.

Favorite homer: I hit two against Grayson, but the first one was the biggest because the score was 3-3 in the fourth inning.

Friendly rivalry: Austin (Meadows) and I are definitely more friends than rivals. Last summer, we played on the same team, and he had a bigger name than me and I had to deal with the hype. I am not going to be rivals with someone who pushed me to be where I am right now.

Most embarrassing: Last year, I went through a spell where I could not run around first base. I fell one time, but I stumbled two or three times. In one game, I was 3-for-3 with two homers and a double. I hit another ball that was going to be a double, but I fell going around first.

Favorite teacher: Miss (Kelly) Tompkins for environmental science. She’s very young and she had a good sense of humor. We did practicals and we got to badger the kids on their projects in the front of the class.
 


Rob Kaminsky, LHP
St. Joseph Regional, Montvale, N.J.
Ht.:
5-11. Wt.: 191.
Bats: Right. Throws: Left.

College/major league draft (round): North Carolina/St. Louis Cardinals No. 28 overall (first; signed).

Key stats: Was 9-0 with 118 strikeouts and five walks in 58 innings. Hit .506 with three homers. Was involved in a charity effort called the Strikeout Challenge, which helped raise $30,000 to fight pediatric cancer at Englewood (N.J.) Hospital and Medical Center.

Strikeout challenge: It meant a lot for me. The idea got started when I was invited to the Perfect Game All-American game in California. One of the mandatory things the players did was visit Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego. It put everything in perspective for me. I consider myself pretty blessed. I am not a big stat guy, but when you’re raising money, that’s when strikeouts do matter. No matter where I go, I will definitely do charity work.

Baseball background: I started playing around 4 or 5 with my older brother. He was 11 or 12. I started playing on his teams. He was good about it. He helped me out. He beat me up and toughened me up.

Curve ball weapon: I always threw a regular basic curve ball that was decent. Then one of my coaches taught me an 11-5 spike curve ball that really has a bite.

Season highlight: Probably the Bergen County championship. I pitched the semifinals and we won 2-0, then in the championship, I was the designated hitter and went 1-for-2.

Favorite major leaguer: Gio Gonzalez on the Nationals. He loves pitching inside and he’s also 6-foot, like me. People telling me I’m too short only adds fuel to the fire. I’ve been told I can’t do this or that.

Most overused app: Twitter. I like following all my teammates and all my coaches and mentors. I have 2,000 followers.

Favorite walk-up song: Eight Second Ride by Jake Owen.

Favorite teacher: Augie Hoffmann, my English teacher. He’s just a good guy and he’s very down to earth. He’s definitely a role model.

People don’t know that I: Love basketball almost as much as baseball. I’m a huge (New York) Knicks fan. It was a good year for them.
 


Reese McGuire, C
Kentwood, Covington, Wash.
Ht.:
6-1. Wt.: 195.
Bats: Left. Throws: Right.

College/major league draft (round): San Diego/Pittsburgh Pirates, No. 14 overall (first round; signed).

Key stats: Considered a strong defensive catcher with a particularly quick throw to first, He hit .436 with three triples, four homers, 20 RBI and 30 runs to lead Kentwood to a fourth-place finish at the state tournament. One brother, Cash, is a second baseman at Seattle University. Another brother, Shane, will be a freshman next season at Kentwood and is hoping to be a varsity catcher.

Baseball background: As early as I can remember, I was playing baseball as a kid. Growing up, I played baseball, basketball and flag football. My dad didn’t let me play tackle football until I got to high school.

Favorite teacher: My baseball coach, Mark Zender, for marketing. It was a really fun and the class was interactive. I got to practice my public speaking more. We also got to work a trade show. All the big companies like Starbucks were taken early, so I repped for my friend’s clothing group, Clik Clothing, which is based in Seattle and does T-shirts with a lot of Seattle-type designs like the Space Needle and rain.

Baseball in the Northwest: I think guys in the Northwest are getting more noticed now with all the different national showcases. While California players are getting in a lot of games, guys in the Northwest are indoors, practicing more and simplifying everything.

Favorite sport: I played basketball until my sophomore year. I could have continued doing that. On the basketball court, I loved throwing passes. Just like on the baseball field. I was a point guard.

Season highlight: Probably just getting as far as we got in the playoffs. We only had five seniors and most didn’t expect us to be a .500 team. To bring the young guys up to a high level, to be a leader of the team on and off the field this year will help me moving forward.

Favorite video game: Call of Duty, when I have time.

Most overused app: Instagram.

Most overplayed: I like country. Probably the one I hear a lot is Cruise (by Florida Georgia Line).

Embarrassing moment: Not this past summer, but the one before at the Area Code Games (in Long Beach, Calif.). There was a pop-up in the seventh inning behind the plate. I took off my mask and was running full speed. The net goes straight up toward the back wall. When I looked up, I thought I had 20 feet to run, but instead I ran right into the wall. Everyone was kind of laughing. It knocked me out for a second.

Ultimate position: Catcher. For USA Baseball, I moved around a lot, playing third base, left field and designated hitter, but I think that catching is where I want to stay. I love throwing runners out, but I really love having that game within the game with the pitcher. It’s pretty special to be back there and have that trust from a pitcher to know on a 3-2 count, when I call for a curve ball, I’m going to keep it in front of me in case it goes in the dirt.
 


Austin Meadows, OF
Grayson, Loganville, Ga.
Ht.:
6-2. Wt.: 195.
Bats: Left. Throws: Left.

College/major league draft (round): Clemson/Pittsburgh Pirates, No. 9 overall (first round).

Key stats: Hit .535 with a .930 slugging percentage with 14 doubles, 28 RBI and 17 stolen bases in 71 at-bats. Played on same summer league team, the Georgia Storm, as ALL-USA outfielder Clint Frazier of Loganville.

Favorite walk-up song: The one I used this year, Time of Your Life by Kid Ink.

Most overused app: I’m always on Twitter.

Favorite teacher: My language arts teacher, Mr. (Adam) Jackson. He’s a very cool guy and has supported me throughout this process.

Embarrassing moment: Playing in the National High School Invitational in Cary, N.C., I was up with a runner on first. I hit a pop fly between second base and right field. I ran all the way to second but forgot my teammate was standing there. I ended up falling backward.

Season highlight: Despite that play, from a team standpoint, I enjoyed playing in Cary. Playing against that level of talent and having fun for a couple of days. I liked playing the better competition.

Baseball start: I was always a multisport athlete, but baseball was my first sport. I started out playing T-ball when I was 3.

Favorite video game: MLB: The Show for Playstation.

Favorite player: Josh Hamilton. He makes the game look so easy.
 


Dominic Smith, IF-LHP
Serra, Gardena, Calif.
Ht.:
6-0. Wt.: 185.
Bats: Left. Throws: Left.

College/major league draft (round): Southern California/New York Mets, No. 11 overall (first; signed).

Key stats: Hit .493 with 37 RBI and seven homers in 67 at-bats. Was walked 24 times. Was also 4-0 with a 2.08 ERA and got the win in the CIF Southern Section Division 3 championship, striking out nine in an 8-1 defeat of Mira Costa (Manhattan Beach).

Favorite teachers: At Serra, all of them were good, but Kristine Sullivan, as well as being a good teacher, helped me in my personal life. She always helped me make the right decisions in my life and that was very important for me.

Season highlight: Winning the (CIF Southern Section) Division 3 title. We’ve been working hard for four years now. When I was in the eighth grade, the team was 3-25. Then we were 13-13 when I was a freshman. Then 20-5 last and this year we went 28-5.

Versatility: I’ve been playing first, but I can play all positions. I am not a one-dimensional player.

Most overused app: Probably Instagram. I like to take pictures and show what I’m doing with my life. Especially with kids I know around Serra.

Early start: I started playing baseball early and at the age of 7, that’s all I wanted to do year-round.

Most embarrassing: Probably dropping a fly ball in the outfield my junior year on our scout team. It was a night game, and I just said my eyes got watery.

Favorite homer: Against St. Paul (Santa Fe Springs), we were down 1-0 in the fifth inning when I came up and hit a two-run homer that they said went 415 feet.

Plate patience: Early in the year, I was trying to do too much and I was trying to show everybody what I could do. I started to realize, if they were going to walk me, I should take my walks. When they finally did pitch to me, I didn’t miss the mistakes they gave up.
 


Riley Unroe, IF
Desert Ridge, Mesa, Ariz.
Ht.:
5-11. Wt.: 180.
Bats: Both. Throws: Right.

College/major league draft (round): Southern California/Tampa Bay Rays, No. 60 (second round; signed).

Key stats: Hit .553 and had 10 homers, 59 RBI and 25 steals. Was 2-1 with a 2.63 ERA as a reliever. Son of former major leaguer Tim Unroe.

Favorite teachers: Miss (Stacy) Endman for English and Miss (Kathleen) Cobb for history. They care about their students and they know how to interact with their students as well.

Favorite walk-up song: Until senior year, it was Hero by Skillet. Now, it’s I’m Shipping Up to Boston by the Dropkick Murphys.

Most overused app: I don’t use a smart phone.

Baseball start: Just growing up around the major league atmosphere. I vaguely remember some of the guys hanging out in the clubhouse.

Favorite major leaguer: After my dad, I would say (Colorado Rockies shortstop) Troy Tulowitzki. I like the way he plays the game. He goes hard and he’s smooth in every aspect. He tries to polish every tool that he has.

Season highlight: Our 15-game winning streak.

Pro advice: My dad taught me to always stay even, not to let your highs get too high or your lows too low. You can’t let one game affect you.

Favorite homer: My sophomore year, I hit two homers against Gilbert, one from the right side and one from the left that I destroyed. We have a JV field just 20 feet past our fence, and I hit it onto the JV field.

Embarrassing moment: The biggest letdown I had was giving up the grand slam to (Mountain Pointe hitter) Brantley Bell in the playoffs. I gave him his pitch. It happens.
 

SECOND TEAM

IF | Christian Arroyo | 5-11, 185 | Hernando, Brooksville, Fla.
Florida signee hit .524 with 55 hits, 35 RBI, 42 runs and 11 HRs. Drafted No. 25 and signed by the San Francisco Giants.

OF | Andrew Benintendi | 5-11, 175 | Madeira, Cincinnati
Arkansas signee hit .564 with 12 HRs, 57 RBI and 38 steals in 30 games. Drafted No. 945 overall by the Cincinnati Reds.

RHP | Phillip Bickford | 6-4, 200 | Oaks Christian, Westlake Village, Calif.
Selected No. 10 overall by the Toronto Blue Jays. Was 12-1 with 0.84 ERA, 146 strikeouts and 11 walks.

RHP | Tyler Danish | 6-2, 190 | Durant, Plant City, Fla.
lorida signee was 15-1 with 156 strikeouts, 16 walks and a 0.00 ERA in 94 innings. Also hit .411 with nine homers and 27 RBI. Drafted No. 55 and signed by the Chicago White Sox.

C | Jon Denney | 6-5, 205 | Yukon, Okla.
Arkansas signee hit .459 with 11 homers and 46 RBI. Drafted No. 81 and signed by the Boston Red Sox.

RHP | Hunter Harvey | 6-3, 175 | Bandys, Catawba, N.C.
Struck out 116 in 542/3 innings with a 0.38 ERA. Picked No. 22 overall and signed by Baltimore Orioles.

IF | Ryder Jones | 6-3, 185 | Watauga, Boone, N.C.
Stanford signee hit .461 with 43 RBI and 11 homers. Drafted No. 64 and signed by the San Francisco Giants.

LHP | Jared Poche | 6-1, 195 | Lutcher, La.
LSU signee was 11-0 with a 0.80 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 75 innings and hit .429 with 40 RBI.

RHP | Kohl Stewart | 6-3, 205 | St. Pius X, Houston
Drafted No. 4 overall and signed by Minnesota Twins. Was 5-1 with a 0.18 ERA in 40 innings this season, with 59 strikeouts and 16 walks. Also signed to play football at Texas A&M.

IF | Rowdy Tellez | 6-4, 220 | Elk Grove, Calif.
Southern California signee hit .500 with nine homers and 46 RBI. Drafted No. 895 by the Toronto Blue Jays.

 

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