Each year, Under Armour and Baseball Factory come together for the UA All-America Game to inspire and develop baseball’s top high school talent just as they are about to embark on the next stage of the game: major league, minor league or college ball.


The 2018 gathering of the finest young players from the US, Canada and Puerto Rico, the 11th annual UA All-America Game, recently wrapped up on an electric night in Chicago.


A committee of Baseball Factory scouts hand-select 40 of the top high school athletes from the US, Canada and Puerto Rico, who are then treated to a three-day, all-encompassing baseball experience: a formal workout in front of MLB scouts, a home run derby, and a staff made up of the very best players and coaches, including former MLB athletes and MLB Network personalities Sean Casey and Bill Ripken. 


It culminated with a game at historic Wrigley Field, just hours after the Chicago Cubs played the St. Louis Cardinals, with the American and National teams facing off on a rainy Friday evening. This year, highlights for many of the athletes included hearing from official ambassador of the All-America Game Cal Ripken Jr., meeting Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon and taking tips from current Cubs players like catcher Willson Contreras.


“It’s my second year playing in the All-America game and I think it’s the best baseball experience you can do all summer. It motivates me for whatever is next [because you are never perfect] you have to excel over and over again every season, every game and every day to get better.”

Two-time Under Armour All-American Rece Hinds

While the experience has evolved over its 11-year history, what stays the same is the pride that comes with being an All-American. It’s a distinction that to Bobby Witt Jr., who took home the game MVP award, puts things into perspective.


“Playing in the All-America game means a lot to me and has helped me become a better baseball player on and off the field. I am inspired to respect the game more, play the game harder, and have love for the game because I know there are so many other guys that want to be here. I don’t take anything for granted and just keep working. Fine tuning my craft to get better and better every day.”


Since the game’s inception in 2008, 318 of the 361 draft eligible players from the Under Armour All-America Game have been selected in the MLB Amateur Draft and 98 have been first round picks. Just this year, 15 of the first 35 picks in the 2018 MLB Draft were UA All-Americans. If their success is any indication of what players like Hinds and Witt have ahead of them, their potential is as bright as the lights they play under. 


“I think this experience means different things to different players. We’ve had some guys that have benefited most from the visibility; where they were able to put themselves on the map with a really good showing. I’ve seen them gain tremendous momentum and become a first rounder,” said Steve Bernhardt, Executive VP at Baseball Factory and Chairman of the Under Armour All-America Game Selection Committee. “For others, they might already be well known prospects and have had success at a young age and scouts have already seen them. For those athletes, I think it’s the whole experience; staying in downtown Chicago, playing at Wrigley Field, working out in front of scouts, picking up a tip or two from current or former pros like Cal Ripken. They take away some form of motivation or encouragement that helps their game, further enhances their development, gives them insight into what is needed to play at the next level – or all the way up to the highest level.”


On that damp field surrounded by the Wrigley ivy, the American Team came back from an early 2-0 deficit to the National Team and scored eight unanswered in an 8-2 victory. The 2018 class set the bar high for next year’s group of talent, and while some will be back in 2019, others headed to college or into the league, they all walked away as Under Armour All-Americans. 


For a play by play and full photo gallery of the 2018 Under Armour All-America Game, visit the Baseball Factory game recap here: https://www.baseballfactory.com/2018-under-armour-all-america-game-recap/.