EMERSON, Ga. – A recognizable young shortstop by the name of Hudson Sanchez took the field as part of the reputable DBAT organization, and both him and his teammates put on a captivating performance with the lumber Monday afternoon at Perfect Game Park South at LakePoint on the fourth day of WWBA 16u National Championship action.
DBAT-Bonesio put on an offensive clinic in a shortened 9-1 win over CageRat Baseball Blue to move to 3-0-1 and the top of their pool.
“We were 2-0-1 and tied in pool play, so we knew that our guy starting, we needed to have him throw a complete game so that we have our pitching,” said head coach Ryan Bonesio. “We’ve got some tough games coming up at the end of pool play and obviously the objective is to win the pool to get into bracket play.”
Sanchez and his teammates came out of the gates taking big hacks and driving the ball in all sorts of gaps. It seemed every gap there was the DBAT hitters found it. The team collected a total of seven extra-base hits in the six-inning ballgame, including four extra-base hits in the opening frame.
“We got up the first inning and hit the ball well and just kept it going, played good defense, and our pitcher worked well and threw a lot of strikes,” Sanchez said.
The smooth-handed shortstop accounted for much of the offense, starting his day with a triple in the right-center field gap in the first inning and ending his in similar fashion when he took a first-pitch fastball for a ride over the left field fence in the sixth.
“I was just thinking first-pitch fastball and jump on it,” said Sanchez. “Three out of four times, I’ll swing at a first-pitch fastball if it’s right there and I get my success from there. When I get deeper in the count, I’ll try and go opposite field and if they throw it in, just turn on it.”
The Grapevine, Texas native recorded his third straight multi-hit game and his second straight game with a home run. He’s now hitting .636 (7-for-11) and leading his team in hitting, which says a lot for a team hitting .355 (38-for-107) through four pool play games.
“I’ve been coming around the ball, but then I made a few adjustments and started barreling it up a lot more and started seeing the ball better,” Sanchez said.
Seeing his shortstop hitting long balls comes as no surprise to Bonesio, who estimates the home run today to be Sanchez’s eighth of the summer, all with a wood bat.
“He’s been doing that all year,” said Bonesio. “I think we’re getting a little used to it now. As a player, he’s as high of a prospect as they come. As a person, he’s a high character guy, a great teammate. He’s one of the best that’s come through DBAT in a long time.”
That speaks volumes about the kind of talent Sanchez possesses, playing for an organization whose alumni include Dylan Bundy (Baltimore Orioles), Archie Bradley (Arizona Diamondbacks), and Brandon Workman (Boston Red Sox). However, his talent is evident and was recognized on the big stage when he attended the Perfect Game Jr. National Showcase in Fort Myers, Fla. in early June.
“It was great,” Sanchez said. “I loved the fields and I just had a great time playing against the best competition. I feel that seeing the better pitchers helped me with all these other guys and it helps boost my confidence a little.”
The 6-foot-2 shortstop “showed a smooth long swing with good bat speed and projectable strength to develop power” in batting practice at the Jr. National, according to one Perfect Game scout. He also showed off multiple tools, running a 6.78-second 60-yard dash and throwing 84 mph across the infield.
Sanchez is currently ranked No. 78 in the 2016 national high school class and No. 9 in the 2016 Texas high school class, in large part thanks to his performance at the well-scouted showcase.
“It makes me wanna work harder just to see how far I can go and how good I can get,” said Sanchez. “Nothing means anything till it’s final, so I just work as hard as I can and see what I can do. I wanna get drafted out of high school and be in a position to make my decision from there.”
The power-hitting shortstop has made his verbal commitment to Texas A&M University, located about 200 miles south of his hometown.
“I went and visited and I love the school and the facilities,” Sanchez said. “They’re a great baseball team and the SEC is the best baseball conference, I think.”
He’s still a few years away from even being draft eligible, but if he continues on the path he’s on then he will have a big decision to make between Texas A&M and the pros.
Tall but strong, and very smooth and versatile as a middle infielder, Sanchez tries to model his game after All-Star shortstop and Colorado Rockies superstar Troy Tulowitzki.
“He’s a big shortstop and he’s a power hitter and I feel like I can do that,” said Sanchez.
Sanchez may be to this DBAT team what Tulowitzki is to his Colorado Rockies organization. His DBAT team has outscored their opponents 28-5 through four games and Sanchez has been a crucial part to the team’s tournament success, but he is well aware that one player doesn’t make a winning team.
“They’re all great guys and they work as hard as they can,” Sanchez said. “We battle every game, every inning, every at-bat, and hopefully we’ll finish on top.”