Since 2006, the best academic high school baseball players have taken part in the Surprise Academic All-Star Baseball Classic.
This year’s version featured an immense amount of talent, including Blue Ridge’s Danny Groebner, Shadow Mountain’s Chris Beresford and Boulder Creek’s West Tunnell.
All in all, 31 young men took to the field to represent the East and West teams, and the game turned out to be a slugfest, with the East coming out on top 15-8.
Groebner earned MVP honors, going 2-2 with an RBI double, a triple, two walks and three runs scored.
Groebner showed everyone on the field and in the stands that Division III baseball is not to be trifled with, as he let his bat do the talking.
Groebner admitted that he was nervous playing alongside and against Division I and II players.
“It’s a little nerve-racking at first, but once you break the ice, it’s smooth sailing from there,” Groebner said. “I’m so glad I did it, and I’m going to remember this forever.”
Groebner’s RBI double got the East on the board in the top of the first inning. They’d lead 2-0 after one.
The West would come back with three runs of their own in the bottom of the second. South Mountain High’s Gabino Avalos, who was the West starting pitcher, helped his cause with an RBI double.
That would be the last lead the West would have for the night, as the East would break it open with 10 runs between the fourth and seventh innings.
Beresford, who’s headed to play baseball at Linfield College in the fall, gave the East a 7-3 lead in the sixth with an RBI single.
Beresford relieved Mesquite High’s Jonathan Ferrendelli in the fifth inning, and kept the East’s bats quiet, while the West went wild with theirs.
“I felt like I had all my good stuff today,” Beresford said. “Our offense came alive and I owe it all to them.”
Tunnell killed several East rallies with his stellar defense at shortstop. Tunnell, who’s bound for Baylor University, knows defense is an integral part to any team’s success.
“Defense wins games,” Tunnell said. “You just gotta make the routine plays and gets outs to the pitcher and that gives them a little more support.”
The Surprise All-Star Classic is a great way to acknowledge talented, young athletes that work hard and excel in the classroom, as well as on the field.
After meeting Groebner, Beresford and Tunnell, and seeing what these young men are like, there’s no doubt that this Classic attracted the right group of players/scholars.