Kenai Central seniors Paul Steffensen and Gavin Petterson helped the Alaska Baseball Academy to a 4-1 record in the Arizona Fall Classic from Thursday to Sunday in Peoria, Arizona.
The Classic allows players to face talent from across the United States and Canada and to be scouted by colleges and professional organizations.
Tony Wylie, the manager of baseball operations for the Alaska Baseball Academy, said there is a waiting list of over 300 teams looking to get into the event.
Wylie, who worked for the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau for 17 years before recently becoming an Arizona Diamondbacks scout, said the Alaska Baseball Academy has been around for 14 years, and has been coming to the Classic for 13 years. This year’s team had 14 players from the Anchorage area, Southeast and the Kenai Peninsula.
The tournament uses wood bats, and there is a maximum of six batters per inning to increase scouting opportunities.
There is no official score kept in a game or a tournament champion, but Wylie said it is common to keep score for the purpose of keeping stats.
The Alaskans won twice Thursday, defeating an Arizona Diamondbacks Canadian scout team 13-3 and a San Diego Padres scout team 1-0.
Friday, Alaska Baseball Academy defeated Team California, an all-star team from Southern California, 3-2. Saturday, Alaska kept rolling by defeating MVP Baseball, an all-star team with players from 20 states, 8-1.
Sunday, Alaska lost 5-2 to an all-star club out of Northern California, an organization that has had 51 current or former Major Leaguers go through the team.
Steffensen played center field at the tournament, splitting time with another center fielder.
He was 3 for 11 at the plate, but turned heads with his speed, swiping six bases.
Wylie also said that after 27 of the 69 teams had run the 60-yard dash, Steffensen had the third-fastest time at 6.7 seconds.
“I know we fielded several inquiries from high-end academic schools because he’s a really good student,” Wylie said. “Hopefully, we can get him hooked up at a school.”
Petterson threw an inning against the Diamondbacks scout team Thursday, striking out one and giving up no runs and no hits.
Saturday, Petterson threw four innings against MVP Baseball, striking out six and walking one. He gave up four hits and one earned run.
Wylie said Petterson is young for a senior, and still needs to physically mature a bit. He said Petterson is in the low 80s, while other Alaska pitchers were at 86 to 91 mph.
“Gavin is going to be a good college pitcher,” Wylie said. “Right now, he just needs to work a little on strength.
“He may stick around another year for the opportunity for more physical maturity, or he may get an offer this year.”