Patrick Ebert -- Saturday, August 10, 2013 -- 1:03 AM PDT
Jakson Reetz peaked at 93 mph during his one inning appearance
Teams workout, East squeezes by West 3-2 in scrimmage
For as powerful message and overall experience it is annually to visit Rady Children's Hospital, and for as powerful of an impressive visiting the Mariners Corp. Air Station Miramar, the players and coaches were anxious to finally take the baseball field on Friday night as part of the event's first team practice and scrimmage.
Each team took batting practice to open the evening, which was conducted at newly (and beautifully) renovated Fowler Park at Cunningham Field, the University of San Diego's baseball field. After BP, each team took infield drills before taking part in a six-inning scrimmage.
Monte' Harrison, who continues to make strong impressions both on and off the field, is a dynamic three-sport athlete that has committed to play for Nebraska for football. For as relatively inexperienced as he is in baseball, he swings the bat incredibly well with great strength in the batter's box, and shines in all aspects of the game (he also made a strong impression during the day's visit to Ray Children's Hospital). Harrison has performed incredibly well all summer long and may be looking at yet another bump up Perfect Game's class of 2014 player rankings after his strong BP performance, and he also added a single that he smoked to right field in the scrimmage.
Trenton Kemp didn't get a hold of any balls during BP, but continually stung the ball hard.
You can see why onlookers are so excited by Marcus Wilson's future. Incredibly slender through the waist, Wilson has very impressive bat speed and very quick hands, giving him the ability to drive the ball a long, long way.
While Bryce Carter didn't put on a dramatic show of power during BP, you'll be hard-pressed to find a better looking left-handed swing.
Alex Jackson and Jon Littell, who hit the in same BP group as Carter, both squared up the ball consistently well and drove it to all parts of the park. While Jackson hit more line drive lasers, Littell showed the ability to use his impressive natural strength to add loft to his swing.
Justin Smith, similar to Trenton Kemp, also his fair share of screaming line drives during BP.
Carl Chester continues to prove that he's much more than just his world-class speed, although him sprinting from second to home in the scrimmage was one of the day's biggest highlights, as he drove the ball high and deep to left field consistently during BP, evidence of his budding power.
Gareth Morgan didn't hit too many right on the screws, but the ones that he did travelled well over the wall in left-center and left the ballpark in a hurry.
Justin Bellinger is a ridiculously large and strong individual for a soon-to-be high school senior. He hit the most balls out that drew the most audible gasps from the crowd.
Ti-Quan Forbes is nowhere near Bellinger in stature with rail-thin yet wiry strong, lanky limbs, but he can put a charge in the ball and it's easy to dream on what he may become once he adds more strength.
Michael Chavis hit the ball consistently hard, adding loft to his quick swing while muscling a few out of the park.
Reese Cooley, somewhat similar to Monte' Harrison, is a strong and physical overall athlete with the ability to put a charge in the ball and send it a long way.
The last batch to take BP was easily the most impressive collectively: Michael Gettys, Greg Deichmann, Braxton Davidson and Kel Johnson.
The ball makes a different sound off the bat of Gettys, and it travels a long, long way. There's an obvious confidence about Getty's swing and overall approach, and he's an extremely fun player to watch in a situation like this, as his incredibly arm strength was also on display as part of the pre-scrimmage infield.
Deichmann's power was well chronicled at the PG National Showcase at the Metrodome, and he continued to show that power stroke through BP.
Davidson is such an accomplished hitter, he makes everyone look easy in the batter's box routinely driving balls hard to right field.
Onto the scrimmage, a contest in which the score really doesn't matter, but one we still keep for the records (and one the players clearly take seriously, as every athlete wants to win no matter what the situation).
Due to the importance of keeping pitchers fresh since they will be taking the mound for one-inning appearances during Sunday's Classic, not a single hurler expected to throw Sunday made an appearance in the scrimmage. Instead, three primary position players from each team went one inning a piece, with one pitcher on each squad (Kiko Garcia and Aaron Pinto) being added to the scrimmage that aren't on the Classic rosters to help give the hitter's more plate appearances. Garcia and Pinto are from nearby Chula Vista and West Covina.
Here's a quick rundown of what the pitchers threw, starting with the West:
Jack Flaherty (inning 1): Pretty easy 88-91 mph heat. Worked quick and added quality 71-73 curveball, using one to freeze Reese Cooley to close out the frame.
Jakson Reetz (inning 2): Not only does he have one of the strongest and most accurate arms as a catcher, but he also pumped easy 91-93 mph heat with a sharp 79-81 mph slider. He would have great success in college, should he honor his commitment to Nebraska, if he went to campus and was allowed to perform both as a pitcher and as a position prospect.
Scott Hurst (inning 3): Surprising stuff for a smaller athlete, working at 88-91 with is fastball and mixing a pretty effective if not sharp 74-75 mph curveball.
Kiko Garcia (innings 4-6): Pitched 85-87 with his fastball and a slow 73 mph curve.
The East pitchers:
Nick Gordon (inning 1): No stranger to pitching, Gordon continued to show his electric arm strength by sitting at 899-92 with his fastball while dropping in his usually sharp 74-77 mph curveball, striking out a pair of batters.
Braxton Davidson (inning 2): Davidson also struck out a pair of batters, and was surprisingly effective with his 83-86 mph fastball from sneaky a low three-quarters delivery. He looked comfortable lulling hitters to sleep with his slow, upper-60s curveball before busting them up with his fastball.
Reese Cooley (inning 3): Cooley was mostly 85-87 mph, touching 88, with his fastball and also threw a fairly impressive upper-70s changeup.
Aaron Punto (innings 4-6): Using a 82-84 mph fastball, you could tell Punto was a little nervous facing the talent-laden Classic roster. That said, he did a nice job overall, recording three strikeouts in his three innings of work.
Some quick hitters from the rest of the scrimmage:
• Alex Jackson threw a pair of strikes to second base to gun down, or at least to attempt to gun down would-be basestealers. In the second inning he threw out Michael Chavis, who reached on a walk, and in the fourth his throw beat Carl Chester, who reached on a single to left field, but Chester beat the tag. Ti'Quan Forbes had a pair of hits for the East squad during Friday's scrimmage.
• Sean Bouchard, who showed up to the Classic with a protective boot on after fouling a ball hard off of his foot, took the boot off today to participate not only in BP, but infield drills. He made a great play in the scrimmage look even greater considering his situation by charging a ball hit in front of him at third base prior to firing a seed to first base to record the out.
• Forbes had a pair of hits in the scrimmage, a single up the middle in the first and an RBI smash to right that gave the East a 2-0 lead in the fourth.
• Michael Gettys, who arguably had the most impressive round of BP, asked the umpire "can I hit again" after getting hit by a pitch. Showcase rules would have allowed Gettys to continue to hit, but such rules were not being observed for this game.
• DJ Peters hit a sharp RBI single up the middle in the fourth inning to put the West on the board.
• Scott Hurst, who also pitched an inning while also taking part of infield drills as a primary outfielder, made the scrimmage interesting by driving an RBI single up the middle in the sixth inning to pull the West within one of the East. That would be the last run of the game, as the contest finished 3-2, East squad.
Be sure to view the archived video footage, which is being streamed live from the 2013 Perfect Game All-American Classic presented by Rawlings, in this feature.