EMERSON, Ga. - Dominating the mound with his 88-91 mph fastball, Brenden Heiss was out to impress when he pitched a no-hitter leading his team, Top Tier 16u (Rominski), to a 5-0 victory against Evoshield Canes South 16u at the Perfect Game WWBA 16u National Championship on Sunday morning.
“Brenden had a great performance yesterday,” said head coach Dave Rominski. “One of the keys with him is working ahead, which he did very, very well.”
Top Tier scored five runs in the top of the first inning, giving Heiss a cushion, and a chance to relax on the mound. However, that didn’t stop him from pitching a phenomenal game pounding the strike zone and striking out eight batters.
“I knew if I threw strikes the whole game we would win since we were up 5-0, so that’s all I had to do,” explained Heiss. “I was just out there trying to battle. If they hit ground balls, they hit ground balls. If I struck them out, I struck them out. Whatever I could do to get an out.”
It’s not every day a 16-year-old is throwing over 90 mph. However, Heiss was consistently throwing 88-91 and topped out at 94 mph. He said the first time he hit 90 mph on his fastball was only six months ago.
“It just comes naturally I guess,” said Heiss about his fastball. “I’ve had good training throughout the years and my coach has helped me out a lot with my pitching.”
Not only is his fastball impressive, but also his secondary pitches upset many batters.
“Of his secondary pitches, his changeup is the more advanced, showing late fading life while maintaining his arm action on the pitch,” explained Perfect Game scout Jheremy Brown.
This is Heiss’ first time participating in Perfect Game events, and said he’s enjoyed it so far and is drawing a lot of interest from college scouts.
“I had only talked to two colleges until yesterday. After that, I’ve had a lot more,” said Heiss.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound right-hander has gotten interest from Arkansas, Louisville, Maryland, Nebraska, Illinois State, and Illinois. As of now, he doesn’t know where he wants to go when he graduates in 2016, but said he really likes the program at Arkansas.
“I still got a long way to go,” said Heiss about choosing a college, “[but] wherever I’m going to play the most, get the most exposure, and learn from.”
Heiss is quite the athlete, playing both football and baseball for his high school, Harry D Jacobs in Lake in the Hills, Ill; however, he said baseball is his main sport and that football is just there to help him improve his strength.
This is his first year with Top Tier, but Heiss has been playing with many of his teammates for years. Rominski has coached him for four years.
Top Tier is a program located on the south side of Chicago. They have two American teams and one National team at the 16u level.
“We’ve been very successful not only in developing the kids, but giving them an opportunity to play at the next level,” said Rominski about the Top Tier Program.
His team is now 3-1 going into their fifth pool game. They are currently the top team in their pool.
“We’re playing well,” said Heiss about his team’s performance so far. “We lost in the last inning one game, but other than that we’re a good team. We just gotta keep hitting the ball, playing good defense and I think we can go pretty far as long as we stay together.”
Heiss isn’t the only stud pitcher on this team though. Brady Huffman struck out nine batters in seven innings on Friday, while Tyler Hankins pitched a seven-inning shutout Sunday afternoon.
“Our pitching has been outstanding,” said Rominski, “[and] if your pitching is good then you’ve got a good chance in every game.”