SOLANO COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) — Two Solano County high school baseball players are headed to Atlanta, Georgia, to showcase their skills.
“He had watched Darryl play and was very impressed with his skill level,” said Darryl Dilworth Sr., Darryl Dilworth Jr.’s father.
That’s what Dilworth Sr. was told by a scout from the Chicago White Sox who picked his son to play in one of the nation’s most prestigious baseball tournaments, Major League Baseball’s Area Code Games.
MLB has selected the top 220 high school baseball players from across the country. Eight regional teams play in a five-day showcase in Georgia.
“I’m grateful for the opportunities to be able to play in front of them and even get this chance to be able to go out there and play,” Dilworth Jr. told FOX40.
The 16-year-old Vanden High School junior, who plays center field, is heading to Atlanta for the August games.
“I’m just glad his hard work is paying off,” said Dilwoth Jr.’s mother, Lisa. “I’m really proud of him for that.”
Dilworth Jr. said he looks forward to playing for the University of California, Berkeley, where he’s already committed.
His love for baseball began early. With a plastic bat and wiffle ball in the backyard, he started playing ball at age 2 with his grandmother.
“I started to notice his talent immediately,” Dilworth Sr. said. “He started at age 5, put him in little league.”
He advanced so quickly that they took him out of little league and into travel ball.
Then, as a freshman in high school, Dilworth Jr.’s skills got him on the varsity team.
“He kind of stood out, actually, his freshman year,” said Vanden High School baseball coach Ryan Adams. “He batted .356. He led our team in hitting.”
Coach Adams said the teen broke the freshman hit record that year with 25 hits.
Just before COVID-19 shut down the season, Dilworth Sr. said his son “was number one in the league and he was batting .837.”
“When I first saw Darryl, I knew right away that he was gonna be a special player,” said travel ball coach Dyron Rollings.
Another local player, Vacaville High School senior Kyle Bender, will also be playing in the Area Code Games for his second consecutive year.
“I’m super excited. It’s a really big event and I’ve always wanted to make it,” Bender told FOX40.
“I’m proud of him. He’s been working really hard,” said Bender’s mother, Heather.
Like Dilworth Jr., Kyle Bender’s love for baseball and his talent were apparent early on.
“Two, 3 years old, just what an arm he had,” Heather Bender said.
As a pitcher, 17-year-old Kyle Bender looked up to Giants pitcher Brian Wilson, along with Tim Lincecum, who had pitched for the University of Washington where the teen will be attending.
“I feel like I’m following in his footsteps a little,” he said.
For now, he’s following in the footsteps of his dad, who pitched for Sacramento State. Rollings played ball with Kyle Bender’s dad back in the ’90s.
“So, I knew he had pedigree,” Rollings told FOX40. “He’s always been one of my favorite guys. He’s funny, he’s different, he’s Kyle. Definitely a pleasure to have when I did coach him.”
“I’ve always wanted to play professional baseball, obviously, and whatever route that takes I’m willing to do. Whether it’s getting drafted out of high school or getting drafted after college,” Kyle Bender said.
“That’s all I hope, is that they get the best out of the experience, their opportunities and that they’re able to play this beautiful game as long as they can,” Rollings said.