Professional Baseball Players, Skipworth and Lollis, Are Playing for a New Spotlight
Athletes play many years with hope of making it professionally and for two Riverside locals these childhood dreams became a reality in high school.
Who Are They
This path to the major leagues starts with 6-foot-3 Kyle Skipworth and 6-foot-9 Matt Lollis. In 2008, Skipworth was drafted in the 1st round by the Florida Marlins. Now he currently works behind the dish for the Double-A Jacksonville Suns, a minor league affiliate.
Lollis, picked in the 14th overall round of the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft by the San Diego Padres organization, now pitches for the Lake Elsinore Storm in the advance Single-A team. Both players journey begins in high school where they first played together during their freshmen year at Rubidoux.
A Transition Together
Playing in the Sunkist League during the 2004 – 2005 season, their team the Falcons finished in second with a 20-7 overall and 12-3 in league. Next season they would take first place with both players excelling offensively and defensively.
With each year came new players and even a location change to a new school. Despite this, Skipworth and Lollis bonded the team through their performance. Again, during their junior year they were no match for their opponents as they scored a league high 250 runs and allowed only 65.
The Dynamic Duo
Skipworth with his left-handed stroke undoubtedly brought leadership and power to the table, and Lollis added similar hitting talents along with a healthy arm for pitching. They seemed ripe for pruning into the professional leagues.
Unfortunately, tendinitis in Lollis arm during his senior year would prevent him from pitching effectively during his final year, ultimately costing him a draft spot. On the other hand, Skipworth’s last year would be the cherry on top as he led his team to another league title finishing 14-1.
He along with other team members would receive CIF honors. Notably, he received the Gatorade High School Player of the Year Award for 2008, and he also received over a $2 million dollar signing bonus from the Marlins.
Although both teammates departed from the high school spotlight, Lollis’ future seemed dim. This motivation lead to a noteworthy season at Riverside Community College and eventually a professional contract.
Even though these former teammates are miles away, their passion for the game has placed them on a similar mission. Like thousands of other minor leaguers, they will have the opportunity to reach their dreams.