Ashton Barzdell of Ramsey (N.J.) High School is in elite company. Truly elite company.
The center fielder has belted 18 home runs this season heading into Friday’s North Jersey Group 2 playoff game against Lakeland.
The 18 home runs equals the single-season New Jersey record that was set by Mike Trout in 2009. Yes, that Mike Trout, currently starring for the Los Angeles Angels, when he played at Millville High School.
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"He’s the man. He’s the best player in the league right now," Bardzell said. "So I mean, It’s an honor."
Trout is aware of Barzdell’s accomplishments.
"As I mentioned previously, the record is definitely something I’m proud of, but I know like most records, someone will come along and set a new standard," Trout said in a release provided to NJ Advance Media. "This is great for Ashton and the high school baseball community in the area."
So who is Ashton Barzdell and how did he reach this lofty perch? NJ.com provides some details:
Breaking Trout’s mark against Lakeland does not figure to be an easy task as Barzdell figures to face lefty Bo Gilligan, who will pitch for the Swedish National team this summer in the European Championships.
“It’s an amazing record,” teammate Matt Butler told NJ.com “It’s awesome. It never gets old. I’ve been playing with Ashton since I was 6 years old. He’s just incredible to watch.”
Barzdell’s coach agrees.
"It’s great to watch,” Ramsey coach Bill Chesney said. “He’s just a phenomenal talent having a great season, and he’s got things in its proper perspective. He loves playing the game, it’s team first and if he gets a good pitch to hit, you see what he can do.”