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Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston rooting for Rays, but has history with several Astros

In Winston’s high school baseball days, he participated in an national all-star game with three Houston players.

TAMPA — Jameis Winston is rooting for the Rays to win tonight’s decisive American League Division Series Game 5, but the Bucs quarterback also has some allegiances to the Astros.

“It’s always good when you’ve got teams from Tampa in the playoffs," Winston said Wednesday. "We got to be one of those teams, so that was big, and I’ve got a couple of friends on the Astros that I played some baseball with. ... I am happy (the Rays) evened the series out. It’s going to be a big game.”

The truth is that Winston might be tighter with a few Astros players than he is with anyone on the local team.

Back in Winston’s baseball-playing days, he participated in a high school All-American game with Astros third baseman Alex Bregman, shortstop Carlos Correa and right-hander Lance McCullers, a Jesuit High grad.

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston (second row, fourth from right) played with Astros shortstop Carlos Correa (second row, fifth from left) and right-hander Lance McCullers (second row, third from left) on the East team in the 2011 Perfect Game All-American Classic. Astros third baseman Alex Bregman, and Rays infielder Daniel Robertson, were on the West team. [Courtesy of Perfect Game]

All four players were among an incredible cast of future major-leaguers — and one future Heisman Trophy winner, No. 1 overall pick and Bucs quarterback — who played in the 2011 Perfect Game All-American Classic in San Diego as rising high school seniors

Winston was the starting rightfielder for the East team. Correa was the East’s starting shortstop and McCullers was the starting pitcher. Bregman played for the West team.

“Jameis could play!” McCullers said Wednesday, boasting that Winston could “absolutely fly” and had a cannon arm in rightfield.

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston slides back into first base after hitting a single in the 2011 Perfect Game All-American Classic, which showcases the best rising high school senior baseball players in the country. [Courtesy of Perfect Game]

Winston showed his exemplary athleticism in that game. His team didn’t win, but Winston had the East’s only hit and scored a run after stealing second, advancing to third on a wild pitch and stealing home with Correa at the plate.

Yes, he stole home. Check out the video below.

Other major-leaguers who played in that game included Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager, Rangers outfielder Joey Gallo, White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito, Rockies outfielder David Dahl, Cubs infielder Addison Russell, Braves left-hander Max Fried and Rays infielder Daniel Robertson.

Contact Eduardo A. Encina at Follow @EddieInTheYard.