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300 of the best players from MLB youth academy teams competing for title during All-Star Weekend

Posted: 6:45 AM, Jul 05, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-05 06:49:37-04
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CLEVELAND — The MLB All-Star festivities officially kick off Friday, but some potential future all-stars have already hit the field.

More than 300 teenage baseball and softball players from across the country will battle it out to prove they're the best team around in the Jennie Finch Classic at Cleveland's Historic League Park.

They are all part of the Major League Baseball Academy. This MLB sponsored program has teams all across the country and they've picked the best of the best to come to the All-Star game for the tournament.

They were hand selected from places like Harlem, NY, Puerto Rico, Texas and New Orleans.

"I plan on winning every game," said New Orleans rising Junior Jardy Montgomery.

The 13-17 year olds that make up 10 softball and nine baseball teams, not only play in the tournament, they're also invited to lots of All-Star weekend activities including the Home Run Derby.

"Last year it was really fun cause we got to see all the big players and the home run derby was really exciting with Bryce Harper winning it and this year I'm excited to see all the new faces and the superstars, where I want to be," said Jardy.

"I'm very honored because you don't really see a lot of people, a lot of girls that look like me from Harlem from back home like traveling, getting this experience with the help of MLB," said rising senior and short stop Darlene De La Cruz.

Darlene says she's eternally grateful for the program.

"They expose me to great coaches, great people and I feel like the network helped me a lot because I made great connections and I'm still friends with people today," she said.

The Youth Academy games start Friday and the championship match happens Monday.

"We've seen kids that come from pretty tough places that end up going to college or being interns or becoming police officers or becoming major league players," said Tony Reagins from the MLB. "That's what its about just creating the opportunity, this is the stepping stone top greater things."

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MLB All-Star Week Schedule

Click here for a detailed schedule with links for information.

Friday, July 5

10 a.m.: Play Ball Park opens. The interactive baseball theme park will be open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day of All-Star Week

6 p.m.: Gates open for the All-Star Concert Series featuring Twenty One Pilots

8 p.m.: Twenty One Pilots concert begins

Saturday, July 6

6 p.m.: Gates open for the All-Star Concert Series featuring The Killers

8 p.m.: The Killers concert begins

Sunday, July 7

8 a.m.: The Color Run MLB All-Star 5K begins – time subject to change.

3 p.m. Gates open for the MLB All-Star Celebrity Softball Game and All-Star Futures Game doubleheader at Progressive Field. Double-header will feature performances by Welshly Arms and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. Following the games is the All-Star Rock 'n' Blast, a fireworks and multimedia show.

Monday, July 8

All-Star Workout Day

8 p.m. The T-Mobile Home Run Derby begins.

Tuesday, July 9

12:30 p.m. – 1 p.m. The All-Star Parade begins.

7:30 p.m. The 90th annual Midsummer Classic MLB All-Star Game, presented by Mastercard begins at Progressive Field.

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All-Star Game visitor's guide

Everything you need to know about the 2019 MLB All-Star Game