Capitols shine at Area Code Games

LONG BEACH, Calif. - Some pleasant - and familiar - memories flashed before Ron McNutt on Thursday afternoon while managing the San Francisco Giants club in the Area Code Games baseball tournament at Cal-State Long Beach.

McNutt was watching members of the Carson Capitols contribute to a game-winning rally in the last inning.

In this case, Brett McMillan's seventh-inning single drove teammate Dustin Hahn home with the deciding run as the Giants rallied to pull out a 4-3 victory against the Arizona Diamondbacks in a game played at Blair Field.

It was certainly a thrill for McNutt, the Capitols' coach who has six of his own players in Long Beach this week, all from the Capitols - McMillan, Hahn, Dustin Pedroia, Billy Paganetti, Joe Hooft and Kevin Jepsen.

The Giants club is comprised of players from Northern California and Nevada as well as Southern Oregon.

"That's what I told Brett, coming back in the seventh inning like we did, it was just like the Capitols," McNutt said.

The Area Code Games feature top young prospects, all 18 years of age and younger, from around the nation for week of games in front of crowds that include college coaches and major league scouts.

"The thing that's exciting about this is that kids from all over the United States are here, kids who were selected by pro scouts, and they're all representing major league teams. It's really a fun thing to see.

"The talent here is really tremendous. We saw a pitcher from Arizona the other night who was throwing in the mid-90s. He's supposed to be a major prospect for the draft next year."

The young players find themselves performing in front of a captive crowd as well.

"You look up in the stands and you see coaches from all over the country ... Miami, USC, they're all there. And the scouts ... one organization alone might have 10 scouts here."

Among those scouts is Doug McMillan of the San Francisco Giants, whose son delivered the game-winning hit on Thursday.

"I've come down here for the last six, seven years, sitting up in the stands watching with my dad and his friends. It's just awesome to finally get a chance to be out there playing against the best talent in the country," said McMillan, a first baseman who spent his summer with the Capitols preparing for the start of his junior year at Ponderosa High School in Shingle Springs, Calif.

McMillan's team trailed the Diamondbacks 3-2 going into the last at-bat. Pedroia singled to ignite the rally and Hahn followed with another base hit. Pedroia scored on a passed ball that also moved Hahn to third. Billy Paganetti, another Capitol who is a senior-to-be at Galena High School, drew a walk and then McMillan came up and singled down the third base line to bring Hahn home.

"It was an outside pitch and and I went with it down the line," McMillan said. "That was so exciting. I can't remember having a game-winning hit before."

The Giants have won two of three games, including a 17-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday and a 5-4 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday.

Paganetti had three hits with a home run and six RBIs in Monday's contest.

"Paganetti has been hitting the ball, Pedroia has led us every game as far as getting hits to get us going, Jepsen threw well the other night," McNutt said. "Our kids have done well. I think this just goes to show what kind of talent we had on the Capitols this summer."

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