“This was probably the most fun I ever had playing baseball, especially going to Wrigley. I’ve always dream’t about just going to a Cubs game and actually being able to play on the field was just surreal and life changing,” Tyler Locklear said.
Locklear, a 17-year old Abingdon resident and incoming senior at Archbishop Curley High School, was one of 40 baseball players selected across the country to participate in the annual Under Armour All-America Baseball Game at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Ill.
The game was played Friday night, following the Cardinals-Cubs major league game. “They pretty much just drafted two teams, they took 40 of the best kids in the country and split them up randomly,” Locklear said. “I played first base and I believe I played pretty well, to not play first base as much as I usually do. I played the fifth through the ninth and I went 0-for-2. Two pop-ups to first.”
First base is not where Locklear, a 6-3, 215-pound athlete has been spending much time. At Curley, he’s been on the left side of the infield all three years. “I played third base in freshman year, but the last two years I played shortstop,” Locklear said.
Locklear was a member of the National roster, which was beaten by the American club, 8-2. Locklear says the game was close, until late.
Some events that led Locklear to the game were August 2015: Kelly Kulina Classic (Bel Air); April 2016: Baseball Factory College Prep (Bel Air); July 2016: Baseball Factory Southwest Championships (La Verne, CA); August 2016: Kelly Kulina Classic (Bel Air); January 2017: Under Armour All-America Pre-Season Tournament (Mesa, AZ); June 2017: Baseball Factory National Showcase-Florida (Sarasota, FL); August 2017: Kelly Kulina Classic (Bel Air); and January 2018: Under Armour All-America Pre-Season Tournament (Mesa, AZ).
“I’ve always wanted to be a baseball player my whole life, but it really struck me in high school when I started to lift and get big and fill into my body. Hit my growth spurt a little bit,” Locklear said. “Then the recruiting process happened and thinking about college, it all struck me about my freshman year.”
The recruiting process landed Locklear with an accepted offer from Virginia Commonwealth University, where he plans to study exercise science and play baseball. “I want to be a physical therapist,” Locklear said.
Locklear says he also had offers from Towson University and Gardner-Webb University.
As for the future, Locklear says he’s really unsure. “Maybe eventually get drafted one day and sign a contract to play with a major league team,” he said.