Sahuaro ace Alex Verdugo wants to get used to playing in big-league ballparks.
He'll get his first taste later this summer.
The 6-foot 1-inch junior left-handed pitcher and outfielder was selected Friday for the Under Armour All-America Game, which will take place Aug. 24 at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
Verdugo is the first player from Southern Arizona to be chosen for the game, which features 36 of the best players from around the country and will be aired nationally, live on MLB Network.
"It's awesome for a day to get the big-league experience," Verdugo said. "It's going to be pretty exciting.
"I've played in training facilities and everything but never a big-league field itself. I expect there to be some nerves at first, going out on a field like that, but after a little bit, they'll die away and I'll become myself again."
This past season, Verdugo struck out 131 batters and had a 1.29 ERA in 65 innings pitched. He also batted .484, hit nine doubles, seven triples, seven home runs and drove in 41 runs as the Cougars made it to the state quarterfinals before losing to the eventual champion, Scottsdale Notre Dame.
Verdugo, who was named the Arizona Baseball Coaches Association Division II Player of the Year, believes those numbers are what helped him get picked for the game by Baseball Factory scouts. Another thing was his participation in the Under Armour All-America preseason tournaments held at Kino Sports Complex in January.
Sahuaro athletic director Sandy Novak said it's exciting for the school to have Verdugo selected for the game, especially with the Cougars' rich baseball tradition.
The All-America game caps off the four-day event that is in its sixth year and includes a formal workout for MLB scouts and a home run derby. Of the 136 players who have participated in it, 118 went on to be drafted.
"The ultimate goal of me playing is to get to the big leagues and make my living on it," Verdugo said. "That's what I'm hoping, that I will be in a ballpark like that every day and getting my paycheck like that."
Batters struck out
ERA in 65 innings
Runs batted in
Contact high school sports coordinator Daniel Gaona at firstname.lastname@example.org or 807-7761. On Twitter @DanielGaona13