Baseball

High school baseball: Cary-Grove's Priester to compete at Area Code Underclass Games in California

When Cary-Grove right-handed pitcher Quinn Priester dueled McHenry’s Bobby Miller in a game this spring, Priester caught the eye of White Sox scout J.J. Lally. 

Lally must have liked what he saw because a few months later, Priester was named to the White Sox Area Code Baseball Underclass Games roster. 

The Area Code Games are a week-long tournament featuring more than 200 of the country’s best high school baseball players. The Underclass portion features 150 of the country’s top players in the classes of 2019 and 2020.

According to Area Code Baseball’s website, players have to be invited to try out based on recommendations from MLB scouts and the Major League Scouting Bureau. 

“I was really fortunate that everything happened and that Mr. Lally wants me to be a part of such a special group of guys,” Priester said. “I’m really thankful for the opportunity to be on the team.”

The Underclass games are in Los Angeles, California, and begin Aug. 10. The White Sox team is made up of players representing 15 states in the Midwest. There are eight teams, each with about 25 players, in the Area Code Games and six more competing in the Area Code Underclass Games. 

Priester, who will be a junior when the school year begins in the fall, is already committed to play Division I baseball at TCU. 

The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Priester follows Miller’s footsteps. The McHenry right-hander pitched for the Yankees’ Area Code team last summer. Miller was drafted in the 38th round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft by the Baltimore Orioles this spring, although he elected to maintain his commitment to play college ball at Louisville. 

Priester said he never made it to an Area Code Games tryout, but Lally watched Priester pitch again this summer with his travel team, the Crystal Lake Cardinals, and vouched for him. 

“I’m really excited to be able to compete against the elite talent,” Priester said. “It’s the best of the best. I’m hoping it’s just going to be a great group of guys. I’m hoping to learn a lot and build relationships with the coaches and be able to build relationships with my teammates.”

Coaches for the White Sox Underclass team include Lally and former Hampshire baseball coach John Sarna. 

Priester said he knows a few of his Area Code Games teammates from the travel ball circuit, including Grant Leader of Lyons. He also played against Nate Wohlgemuth of Owasso, Oklahoma, at a tournament in Georgia this summer. 

The competition will be tough. 

“In my opinion, from what they say, it’s the best of the best in the country, and I’m beyond excited to get the opportunity to compete,” Priester said.

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