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Showcase at Petco for Class of '14

06/26/2013, 9:41pm PDT
By John Maffei

Perfect Game All-American Classic will cap endless summer (of baseball) for top prospects.

Rancho Bernardo's Alex Jackson is mobbed by teammates after hitting a home run in the San Diego Section Open Division championship game.

The best way to end a summer crammed full of baseball, Alex Jackson said, is with a home game.

Jackson, the Rancho Bernardo High catcher, is the No. 1-ranked high school prospect in the country for the Class of 2014.

He and left-hander Brady Aiken and infielder Sean Bouchard, both of Cathedral Catholic, will cap a summer of showcases by playing in the 11th annual Perfect Game All-American Classic on Aug. 11 at Petco Park.

The game, which featured 13 first-round draft picks last year, is the culmination of a summer that has taken Jackson to North Carolina, the Metrodome in Minnesota, the Under Armour All-American Classic at Chicago’s Wrigley Field, the Area Code Games in Long Beach and finally San Diego.

“We’re just a bunch of kids doing what we love to do — play baseball,” Jackson said. “People ask if it’s stressful traveling and playing against the best players in the country.

“Stress is the last thing on our minds. Honestly, what could be better than playing against the best players?”

Jackson hit 17 home runs as a sophomore at RB and 14 last season. He has 36 career homers for the Broncos. The San Diego Section career record is 47 by RB’s John Drennen.

Aiken, ranked as the No. 1 left-handed pitcher in California, was 5-3 last season with a 0.92 ERA. He had 80 strikeouts in 53?1/3 innings.

“This game is a huge deal,” Aiken said. “Sure it’s a lot of pressure, but I thrive on pressure.”

Already this summer, Aiken threw two perfect innings in a showcase in Minnesota, striking out five. This week in North Carolina at the Tournament of Stars, he threw five no-hit innings, striking out 10.

Bouchard is ranked as the No. 3 third baseman in California by Perfect Game, a scouting service. He hit .316 for Cathedral last season with 16 runs scored and seven stolen bases.

“To have a chance to play against the best players in the nation means a lot,” Bouchard said. “We’re also playing for a great cause, and the opportunity to give back to the community means a lot, too.”

One of the beneficiaries of the game is Rady Children’s Hospital. The event has raised more than $700,000 to help fight and prevent childhood cancer.

“Obviously, the game is the focus,” said former Padres reliever Trevor Hoffman, the honorary chairman of the event.

“This is my third year with the game, and the real highlight is seeing the players visit and interact with the kids in the hospital.”

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