• Kealani Bartlett

Allen measures up despite slight stature

Nick Allen shrugs off questions about his height

LONG BEACH—California Baseball Academy director Jon Paino remembers vividly the first time he met shortstop Nick Allen because it was also the last time Paino told his future star pupil that he was too small to play for him.

The tryout was for a travel team Paino was coaching and most of the players who showed up were 13 or 14 years old and preparing for high school baseball. And then there was Allen (Francis Parker High, San Diego), not yet out of elementary school and according to Paino’s memory, not even 5 feet tall, standing out immediately by flashing the defensive skills and baseball IQ of a player twice his age.

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