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Inaugural States Play tournament a huge hit

2019 Draft top prospect Witt Jr. wins MVP; Texas beats California
August 26, 2018

ARLINGTON -- The inaugural States Play tournament took place at Globe Life Park this weekend, and the top rising seniors participating from Texas and California got a peek inside the Rangers' clubhouse on Saturday.It was an eye-opening experience for Garrett Frechette, a first baseman and outfielder from Cathedral Catholic High

ARLINGTON -- The inaugural States Play tournament took place at Globe Life Park this weekend, and the top rising seniors participating from Texas and California got a peek inside the Rangers' clubhouse on Saturday.
It was an eye-opening experience for Garrett Frechette, a first baseman and outfielder from Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego.
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"It's been great just being able to play at the Rangers' stadium," Frechette said. "It's been a blast, being able to go into the clubhouse. We're being treated like big leaguers. Seeing it and being around it just makes me want to work even harder in the long run, because this is the ultimate goal I want to achieve."
The left-handed-hitting Frechette has plus raw power that stands out, according to scouts. He collected five hits in the three-game series, including a two-run triple in Team California's seven-inning, 8-2 win over Team Texas on Sunday.
"Just trying to stay loose and relaxed," Frechette said. "I feel like the main thing for me has been pitch selection -- lay off the bad pitches. When I get to two strikes, just battle and put the ball in play. The main thing is to stay loose, see it up and hit it hard."

The coaching staff for the event included former Major Leaguers Jerry Manuel, Homer Bush, Royce Clayton, Ken Hill, Gerald Laird, Darren Oliver and Andy Stankiewicz -- all of whom have ties to the two states. Frechette said he was looking forward to getting an opportunity to learn from the coaches.
"They're all former big leaguers," Frechette said. "I wanted to pick their brain, talk to them, ask what they used to do [when they played]. Just learn and kind of master the game at some point."

Joseph Naranjo made another big impact for California on Sunday. He singled in what was a five-run first inning for California, and he drew two walks overall.
"It's been amazing playing in a Major League ballpark," Naranjo said. "Not a lot of people get to do this at such a young age. I'm very fortunate to do this. Most of my friends are on the team, and it's been fun."

Naranjo got the scoring started on Friday with a two-run homer in the first inning, and he also made an impressive catch in the first on Saturday.
With a runner on first and one out in the inning, Naranjo attempted to catch a popup near first base. Naranjo bumped into second baseman Kyren Paris and fell to the ground, but he recovered to make the catch on his back and throw out Trey Faltine III at first.
"I was just looking up and all of a sudden I got tripped," Naranjo said. "I just kept my eye on the ball and made the play."

Texas middle infielder Bobby Witt Jr. has been no stranger to Globe Life Park over the years, playing at the ballpark five times during his high school career at Colleyville Heritage.
"It just feels like you're comfortable," Witt said. "There's scouts in the stands, there's people watching you, but you don't really see that when you're out there playing. You're just comfortable and you're having fun."

Witt was named the Most Outstanding Player for the tournament after Sunday's game. He batted 5-for-12 with a double, triple, two home runs and five RBIs in the series. Witt is committed to the University of Oklahoma and is regarded as the top prospect in the 2019 Draft class.

California held Texas to two hits in the finale. Right-hander Cole Kitchen struck out three in three innings, and left-hander Jacob Widener fanned three in two frames.
Texas, however, won the series after taking the first two games. As of now, the plan for next year is to feature Georgia and Florida in the tournament, according to Tony Reagins, MLB's executive vice president of baseball and softball development.

Wesley Dotson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Arlington.