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East Team Rallies in Ninth Inning for 4 - 2 Comeback Win Over West in 2008 Aflac All-American Game

Sunday, August 10, 2008 General News J E 4
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LOS ANGELES, Aug. 9 The East squad scored four runs in theninth inning to secure the 4 - 2 win over the West at the sixth annual AflacAll-American High School Baseball Game at Los Angeles' Dodger Stadium. TheAflac All-American Game is the nation's premier high school baseball game,featuring the best 38 players in the country entering their senior year. Thismarked the second year in a row that the West team was upended by the East inthe final moments of the game.

Trailing, 2-0, entering the top of the 9th inning, the East took the leadwhen Brian Goodwin (Rocky Mount High School) of Rocky Mount, N.C. drove in tworuns. Goodwin was named the game's MVP for his effort, which included going2-for-4 with two hits, two RBIs and one stolen base.

"This game is so big, not many people can say they won the MVP from theAflac All-American Game," said Goodwin. "It just feels great."

The West team jumped on the scoreboard early in the first inning whenSlade Heathcott (Texas High School) of Texarkana, Texas, drove in David Nick(Cypress High School) of Cypress, Calif. for the 1 - 0 lead. Then, in thefourth inning Matt Stassi (Yuba City High School) of Yuba City, Calif. startedthings off with a double and later scored when Matt Davidson (Yucaipa HighSchool) of Yucaipa, Calif. hit a double. The West's 2 - 0 lead would holduntil the ninth.

"It was a great job by the guys, because early on, it looked like they[the West team] had all the momentum," said East head coach Todd Fitz-Geraldfrom American Heritage School in Plantation, Fla. "And then, finally, we wokeup a little bit and had a couple of breaks go our way, and pulled it out. Thatwas a great character win right there."

Superb pitching throughout is what led to the mostly low-scoring affair as17 different pitchers got the chance to take the mound. The only pitcher withmore than two innings of work was Jacob Turner (Westminster Christian Academy)of St. Charles, Mo., who racked up five strikeouts in two innings pitched forthe West squad.

As part of the game day festivities, the final round of the Aflac All-American Home Run Derby featured several of the best sluggers from both theEast and West squads. Matt Davidson of Yucaipa High School, Yucaipa, Calif.,earned the title of Home Run Derby Champion after belting three home runs in ahard-fought battle that showcased high school power hitting at its best.

In Aflac's mission to help eradicate pediatric cancer, proceeds from eachyear's game are donated to official charity partners. The 2008 Aflac All-American Baseball Game raised $160,000 to benefit Coaches Curing Kids' Cancerand ThinkCure, the official charity of the Dodgers, which supports criticalcancer research at City of Hope and Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles. Since2005, the game has generated $685,000 to help in the fight against pediatriccancer.

Prior to the action of game day players were honored at the Aflac All-American awards dinner Friday evening. Mychal Givens of H.B. Plant High Schoolin Tampa, Fla. was named National Player of the Year and received theprestigious Jackie Robinson Award. Givens, a 6-foot-1, 185-poundinfielder/pitcher, was presented with the award by Sharon Robinson, daughterof the late Hall of Fame baseball player Jackie Robinson. The Aflac NationalHigh School Player of the Year recognizes the nation's top high school playerentering his senior year, who demonstrates outstanding character, exhibitsleadership, and embodies the values of being a student-athlete in both hisschoolwork and community affairs.

Also at the awards dinner, Matthew Purke of Klein High School, Spring,Texas, was named the National High School Pitcher of the Year. Purke, a6-foot-3 left-hander with overpowering major league skills struck out 147batters in 76.67 innings pitched his junior season. The Sportsmanship Awardwas presented to Beau Wright of Los Alamitos (Hi
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