CHICAGO -- Bobby Witt Jr.'s performance Friday night was a fitting one after his High School Home Run Derby win Monday in Washington, D.C. -- he hammered a three-run homer in the ninth inning of the Under Armour All-America Game presented by Baseball Factory.Witt provided the final burst of offense
CHICAGO -- Bobby Witt Jr.'s performance Friday night was a fitting one after his High School Home Run Derby win Monday in Washington, D.C. -- he hammered a three-run homer in the ninth inning of the Under Armour All-America Game presented by Baseball Factory.
Witt provided the final burst of offense in the American League's 8-2 win at Wrigley Field in the annual showcase game for 40 of the top high school prospects.
"I was just thinking hit the ball hard," said Witt, who is the son of longtime Major League pitcher Bobby Witt. "See it, react and hit it."
The 18-year-old shortstop from Colleyville (Texas) Heritage High is a leading contender to go No. 1 overall in the 2019 MLB Draft next June.
Witt walked twice and was hit by a pitch in his first three plate appearances. He finished 1-for-2 with the home run and three RBIs and earned the game's Most Valuable Player honors.
"It's been unbelievable playing with the best guys in the country," Witt said. "You build off their confidence. They're always rooting for you. It's just something special to have going on for you."
His ninth-inning blast was far from the only highlight-reel moment in the contest.
The National League's Riley Greene demolished a two-run homer off the right-field scoreboard to get the action started, a shot that mimicked the first of Cardinals' first baseman Matt Carpenter's three home runs in their game vs. the Cubs on Friday afternoon.
"Being able to hit that home run in the first inning was awesome," Greene said. "I don't really think about it. I just go out and I just hit. I usually try to find the gaps or put balls over the shortstop's head. I just got the right pitch."
That pitch was a curveball that caught too much of the plate after he fouled off a tough mid-90s fastball with two strikes already on him. Greene, 17, a Hagerty High (Oviedo, Fla.) product is committed to play at the University of Florida.
The AL jumped ahead, 3-2, in the third inning when Gunnar Henderson (John T Morgan Academy/Selma, Ala.) roped a hard grounder through the right side for a two-run single. Jackson (Miss.) Prep outfielder Jerrion Ealy drove in the AL's fourth run in the fifth inning with a single up the middle. Ealy and Maurice Hampton Jr. (Memphis University School/Arlington, Tenn.) both played in the Under Armour All-America football game this year as well, becoming just the third and fourth players ever to participate in both events.
Right-hander Daniel Espino, 17, from Bulloch Academy (Statesboro, Ga.) dialed up the radar gun with a fastball that topped out at 99 mph, which he followed up with a 76-mph curveball in the second inning for the NL.
AL righty Jack Leiter (Delbarton School/Morristown, N.J.), son of former Major League pitcher Al Leiter, struck out the side in the fourth inning after allowing a leadoff walk and a one-out infield single.
Matthew Martell is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York.