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Gwinnett baseball trio play on national stage

Photo by Jason Braverman

Photo by Jason Braverman

Major League Baseball and most minor leagues had their All-Star festivities about a month ago.

Now, three different Gwinnett County high school baseball players are having their own All-Star weekend in national showcase events.

Brookwood's Lucas Sims and Parkview's Josh Hart are both spending the weekend in San Diego taking part in separate editions of the Perfect Game All-American Classic, while Hart's Parkview teammate Matt Olson was bound for Chicago and the Under Armour All-American Baseball Game.

As enjoyable as it has been for all three to be among only a handful of elite players nationwide to be selected for the games, perhaps the biggest thrill for all three has been being able to play at major league ballparks Sims and Hart at San Diego's Petco Park and Olson at fabled Wrigley Field.

"I was honored to be selected under any circumstances," said Olson, who earned the Daily Post's Co-Player of the Year honors by helping Parkview to the Class AAAAA state championship as a junior last spring with a .426 average, 17 home runs, 53 RBIs, plus an 8-3 record with a 3.65 ERA and 72 strikeouts on the mound. "Then I heard it was at Wrigley Field, one of the most storied parks in Major League Baseball. To be able to take batting practice and play a game in Wrigley Field is just so cool."

Hart -- who was another big part of Parkview's state title by hitting .449 with four homers, 22 RBIs, 53 runs scored and 18 stolen bases -- was actually the first to take the field in the Perfect Game event for rising juniors Thursday and Friday.

And the Panthers' outfielder put on quite a show with a pair of hits, a pair of walks and four steals as he and his East teammates split a pair of games over two days.

"It's a privilege to be here and to be facing the caliber of players out here," said Hart, who has already given a verbal commitment as a junior to play college baseball at Georgia Tech.

Meawhile, Olson, who recently committed to Vanderbilt, was on the field as part of a National All-Star team managed by former Major League shortstop Larry Bowa against the American All-Stars managed by another former Major League infielder in Bill Ripken in front of a national television audience on MLB Network.

Finally, Sims will take to the field at Petco Park today at 8 p.m. EDT in the Perfect Game seniors game.

"It's definitely going to be the biggest stage I've ever played on," said Sims, a Clemson commitment who hit .429 with three homers and 21 RBIs and went 4-1 with three saves, a 2.38 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 32 1/3 innings for the Broncos last spring. "It's really exciting. It's going to be awesome to play with some of the guys that I've been playing against all summer."