SM East baseball star Joey Wentz invited to All-American game at Wrigley, Junior Home Run Derby at MLB All-Star Game

University of Virginia commit Joey Wentz will be playing at Wrigley Field in August.
University of Virginia commit Joey Wentz will be playing at Wrigley Field in August.

A big summer for SM East baseball star Joey Wentz got even bigger this past week.

Wentz was one of just 107 high school players from across the country invited to the Tournament of Stars in Chapel Hill, N.C., that served as a try out for Team USA’s under-18 squad. While Wentz didn’t end up making the cut for the 40-man roster, he appeared to have turned the heads of a few prominent scouts over six days of play and practice.

After the first day of workouts, Wentz got a call that he had been invited to participate in the Under Armour All-American game, widely considered one of the top showcases of high school talent in the country, August 15 at Wrigley Field in Chicago.

“I’m not exactly sure how that happened, but we think one of the scouts [at the Tournament of Chamipions] saw me and suggested the invite,” Wentz said. “It’s pretty exciting. I’ve never gotten to play on a Major League field before.”

Then on Sunday, at the end of the Tournament, Wentz was one of six players organizers pulled aside and invited to participate in the Junior Home Run Derby to be held during the All-Star Game festivities in Cincinnati next month. Wentz doesn’t know if he’ll be able to attend because his summer league team has a tournament scheduled at the same time, but he said the opportunity was enticing.

He said getting to play in real games with other top young players from across the country over the past several days was the most fun experience he’s had in baseball this year.

“A lot of these showcases, you’re kind of playing for yourself — you get a few at bats, and that’s it,” he said. “But we got to really play on teams over a few days, so you had a goal you were working for together. That was a lot of fun.”

Wentz’s Tournament of Stars team ended up taking bronze in the event. And while Wentz was drawing attention in North Carolina, his future college team had baseball fans across the country cheering: Virginia beat Vanderbilt to win the college World Series on Wednesday.

“I texted the coaches to congratulate them,” Wentz said. “It was awesome to see them win it. I’m just excited to get there and see if I can help contribute to keeping that success going.”

But Wentz isn’t done raking in Prairie Village just yet. He’ll be back for his senior season with the Lancers next spring.

“We expected to win [the state title] this year, and it didn’t happen,” he said. “We’ve got the same goal next year. We expect to get there and expect to win.”