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Ramirez Jr. crafting his own baseball success

Sun-Sentinel
Manny Ramirez Jr. bats at the Cleats Classic in Arizona

For Manny Ramirez Jr., it would be easy to ride the coattails of his well-known ball-playing father.

But that's not how the 6-1 standout at IMG Academy in Bradenton intends to write the script for his career in the sport.

So while his dad, a prominent slugger with both the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers, has taken his talents to Japan, the 18-year-old from Plantation is just starting to develop his own highlight reel. "I want to create my own success and not just be known as (Manny's) son," Ramirez Jr. said. "It's tough sometimes because people look at you and think of him, but I want to be me in both academics and athletics."

After transferring to IMG from American Heritage School in Plantation, Ramirez Jr. picked up with the IMG varsity baseball team and has played a big role in its success. IMG Academy recently rallied from a 1-3 record in pool play to win its next four games en route to the title in the Cleats Sports Classic Invitational tournament in Scottsdale, Ariz.

In the final of the Perfect Game organization-sponsored event, Ramirez Jr. broke the game open in the fourth inning against Desert Ridge (Mesa, Ariz.) with a grand slam to give IMG a 6-0 advantage. The locals went on to a 9-1 victory.

It was his second home run in the tournament. He also went yard during pool-play action.

Ramirez Jr., who has committed to Central Arizona Community College in the fall, supplied one big hit after another during the Cleats showcase. Along with his home runs, he had two triples and three doubles as part of a 12-for-23 showing at the plate. He totaled 15 RBI and added nine runs.

In the field, Ramirez Jr. splits time between first base and the outfield. He has now set his sights on being selected in this summer's Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

"My hitting is my strength, but I am working on my fielding skills also, "said Ramirez Jr., who believes he has a good shot at being among those selected in June.

Ramirez Jr. started his baseball-playing career at age 5 in the Pembroke Pines Optimist program.

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