Area Code Baseball Donates a Ton of Gear
November 11, 2011
The Going to Bat Foundation received a significant donation of much needed equipment and apparel from Area Code Baseball and ESPN High School's Andrew Knepper. Co-founders Kyle Candalla and Kieran Lovegrove might consider changing their uniform numbers after pulling into the ESPNHS facility in Torrance, CA at exactly 11:11 am on 11/11/11 and leaving with a huge quantity of gear.
Thanks to the generous support of Andrew Knepper, Going To Bat now has top-quality helmets, cleats, baseball pants, baseball socks, caps and other desperately needed apparel and equipment to share with the most needy programs in the country.
Kyle Candalla noted, "We can now provide entire teams with matching uniforms all the way down to the socks. You can now expect to see baseball teams with matching Area Code uniforms in the most unexpected places. It is difficult to understand the impact these donations have until you see the pride with which the recipients take to the field dressed as a team, often for the very first time."
Kieran Lovegrove played for the Milwaukee Brewers in the 2011 Area Code Games.
Area Code Baseball
When the eight Area Code Teams from around the nation took the field in Long Beach, California in August 2011 it marked the 22nd year of the Area Code Games. What started out in 1987 as small regional event in Lodi California has grown into the highest regarded high school talent showcase in the country.
The founder of the Area Code Games was Bob Williams a Northern California native collaborated with the Northern California Major League Scouts to put together the best high school underclassman players from geographical areas based on telephone area codes. The premise was to have the top players compete against each other using wood bats and dress in the respective Area Code Teams Major League uniform. Additionally, exclusively major league scouts at no cost to the players would coach the Area Code Teams.
This process has proven to be a winning formula for high school talent identification and evaluation. The Area Code Games has produced over 300 major league players and this statistic continues to grow every year. The main ingredient of the Area Code success is the player selection process. In an era of high school showcases across the country that charge players a substantial fee to play in the event regardless of ability, the Area Code players conversely are not charged to play in the games or even at the official tryouts. In fact all tryouts are by invitation only and in the majority of cases players have to be nominated by several major league scouts to be considered for an invitation.
With these stringent requirements to participate in the Area Code Games the level of talent that is assembled each year is staggering. Every major league team is represented at the event with some teams having as many as 12 scouts from their organization in attendance. In addition, college scouts are also allowed to attend the games, which accounts for a large representation at the games. The uniqueness of the Area Code Games separates from anything that is available to the premier high school player.
In 2002 Student Sports Inc., the foremost authority in national high school sports, acquired Area Code Baseball. Since Student Sports has owned the Area Code Games players selected in numbers and percentage in the MLB Draft are at peak levels that the event has experienced.