Tue July 30, 2013
By Nathan Rode
For rising seniors that compete on the national stage, August is one of the biggest months of the year. Between events like the East Coast Pro Showcase, Area Code Games, Under Armour All-America Game and Perfect Game All-America Classic, it’s a whirlwind of high profile showcases. RHP Cameron Varga (Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy) was set to pitch in East Coast Pro and the two All-America games, as well as in the Connie Mack World Series with the Midland Redskins, but now he is shut down until September because of biceps tendinitis.
At the Perfect Game National Showcase in June, Varga’s stomach was bothering him and he visited a doctor upon returning to Cincinnati. At first, it was thought to be a bacterial infection and he was in the hospital for seven days. Doctors took a closer look when antibiotics weren’t working and found a cyst in his abdomen, behind his belly button. The cyst was removed in a minor procedure and Varga couldn’t throw until the stitches dissolved.
“He had to wait for the stitches to dissolve so he ended up having to wait about 28 days,” said Chad Varga, Cameron’s father. “He came back, pitched for Midland and was 93-96 through four innings, but when he was done his arm was a little sore.”
Varga got an MRI and learned of the biceps tendinitis, developed from going too hard on the mound too soon after the time off.
“They said the best thing for Cameron is to shut it down for three or four weeks and then it's going to be healed,” Chad Varga added.”
Varga is about two weeks into that period now and will get back on the mound in September. He will still travel to both All-America games where he will be able to do light throwing as part of his workout to get back to 100 percent. His next major event will be with Midland at the World Wood Bat Championship in Jupiter, FL, in October.
Varga, the No. 1 player in PBR’s overall rankings, is an early-round prospect for the 2014 draft thanks to a plus fastball and good curveball. He’s also a good athlete, having originally committed to Florida as a shortstop. He moved to Cincinnati last year and only pitched for Cincinnati Hills Christian. He also decommitted from Florida and is now verbally committed to North Carolina.
Team USA Starts 3-0
The Team USA 15U team is currently in Colombia for the COPABE Pan Am 15U World Cup and has started out 3-0. Team USA opened competition with a 12-2 win over Dominican Republic, which was fueled by OF Matt Moniak (La Costa Canyon HS, CA) and SS Chase Strumpf (JSerra HS, CA). They went a combined 5-for-8 with five RBIs and four runs scored. Strumpf homered while Moniak had a triple. LHP Jonathan Gettys (Gainesville HS, GA) pitched four innings and allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits and three walks while striking out five. The game was shortened to five innings because of the mercy rule.
The U.S. shortened its second game with the mercy rule as well, beating Mexico 12-1 in six innings. Moniak and Strumpf were the big hitters again with Strumpf hitting two doubles while collecting three RBIs. RHP Mason Thompson got the start and win after going five innings and allowing one run on three hits. He walked one and struck out nine.
Against Panama, the outcome was certainly closer with a 3-0 decision in Team USA’s favor. 1B Blake Sabol (Aliso Niguel HS, CA) went 1-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs while Strumpf added his second home run of the tournament.
Strumpf is currently the team leader in hitting through three games after going 7-for-13 (.538). He also has a team-best six RBIs. C Sam Ferri (Notre Dame HS, IL) has played in all three games (two starts) and is 2-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored.
Team USA has Tuesday off and returns to the field Wednesday against Colombia, followed by Cuba on Thursday and Brazil on Friday.