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Baseball

Plum's premier prospect Kirilloff focused on carrying team to postseason

Michael Love
| Tuesday, March 29, 2016, 9:42 p.m.
Alex Kirilloff works out during a Plum baseball practice March 24, 2016, at Plum High School.
Louis Raggiunti | For The Tribune-Review
Alex Kirilloff works out during a Plum baseball practice March 24, 2016, at Plum High School.

Alex Kirilloff has been all over the country since his junior season at Plum ended in the WPIAL playoffs last June.

He showed his baseball talents at dozens of showcases, all-star games and tournaments and played in front of countless scouts.

Kirilloff made the most of a trip to the Perfect Game all-star event last August where he won the home run derby and played well in the all-star game at San Diego's Petco Park.

He enters his final season at Plum on the radar of numerous Major League Baseball organizations, and he is projected to be as high as a first-round pick in the MLB draft in June.

He would be the first WPIAL player taken in the first round since the Pirates drafted Pine-Richland's Neil Walker in 2004.

Kirilloff is taking the attention, including being named to several preseason All-American lists, in stride.

“It's definitely an honor to be selected for these preseason awards, but I want to put those aside and focus on what I can do at the moment,” he said. “I want to play the best I can for my team and not worry about who is watching.”

Kirilloff knows he will have several scouts at Plum's games throughout the spring. Scouts also came to his home in the offseason to see what the 6-foot-2, 195-pounder.

“People expect you to live up to the hype, and it's sometimes a challenge to live up to those high expectations,” he said.

Kirilloff is on the Louisville Slugger Preseason All-American list selected by the staff of Collegiate Baseball America.

He also is on All-American preseason teams for The Perfect Game, MaxPreps and Baseball America.

“(The All-American honors) are humbling,” he said.

Kirilloff enjoyed a monster season for the Mustangs last year as he batted .500 with six home runs, 29 RBIs and 24 runs scored. He recorded an overall .562 on-base percentage.

On the mound, he led the team with a 5-1 record and a 1.90 ERA in 33 innings.

Kirilloff hopes to have a similar season and help Plum get to where it wants to be in late May and early June. He is expected to make a transition to the outfield to showcase his speed and range, but he could also return to first if the situation calls for it.

“The expectations for this team, and for this program overall, is as high as always,” Kirilloff said. “Once you get into the playoffs, anything can happen. Last year, we lost 1-0 (to Shaler in the quarterfinals) on an unearned run.”

Kirilloff's recent accomplishments, at Plum and throughout the U.S., have impressed Plum coach Carl Vollmer.

“Alex is a potential high-round pick,” Vollmer said. “With that comes a lot of attention and scrutiny. He's prepared. He's been preparing for it his whole life. He has the mindset for it. He has the ability to keep things on a very even keel mentally. That allows him to perform on a high level physically. Not many players in the country have that preparation mentally and physically the way Alex does.”

Vollmer said Kirilloff is always putting what is best for his Plum team first.

“With all that he has going for him in the future, he's such a team player,” Vollmer said. “He's very humble. It says quite a bit about him as a person. He's one of a handful of players who didn't miss a team workout over the winter. The way he handles his work ethic and his approach to the game has a big impact on the other players.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at mlove@tribweb.com.

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