Former Philly HS Teammates Face Off in College World Series

Completing a title run is never simple and having to earn it by facing off against your former teammates and boyhood pals must make it more complicated.

This is a situation soon to be experienced by some former Philadelphia standouts, now in search of the College World Series Title.

Christian Walker (South Carolina), Keenan Kish (Florida), Tommy Coyle (UNC), John Barr (UVA) and Robert Amaro (UVA) are all on teams that have already secured spots in the championship tournament.

Kish, Coyle and Barr are graduates of Germantown Academy, Walker of Kennedy-Kendrick Catholic High School and Amaro of Penn Charter.

They have been playing for years with and against each other, on various high school and independent teams.

Coach Mike Manning had the opportunity to instruct them for years on his All Star Baseball Academy team in West Chester when they were in high school. Now he couldn’t be prouder of the players and people they have become.

“They’re prepared,” Coach Manning says, “We’re all still close, and I feel spoiled that I can watch them now at night on TV.”

Of his former players competing this year, only Walker has a national championship, which he won last year with South Carolina.

“I’ve known Christian since he was nine, I always knew he was going to be a talent,” says Manning. Christian had committed to South Carolina by his junior year in high school and Manning says the question was always when, not if, Walker would become a recognized as a star player.

South Carolina has been mentioned again as one of the top contenders for this year’s title. They were ranked sixth in the nation as of last month.

Tommy Coyle, who has played on multiple All Star Baseball teams with Walker, is also starring on an elite team. UNC is ranked first in the tournament and has reached the World Series after going undefeated in the Regional and Super Regional rounds.

Kish’s Gators advanced to the World Series on Sunday after hitting five home runs in a victory over Mississippi State.

On Monday night the University of Virginia defeated UC Irvine 3-2, giving John Barr and Robert Amaro (Ruben's nephew) a spot in the CWS and a chance to compete for the title.

When asked how these competitive players will handle potentially having to play again each other, Manning laughed.

“They’ve played against each other in high school, but teammates are teammates, they bonded quickly. They’re still close.”

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