Taylor Guerrieri was as good as advertised as Spring Valley picked up a big early season region win over Blythewood, 7-6. Guerrieri worked 93-96 with his fastball and struck out 11 over six innings. He was not as sharp with his control as in earlier appearances, giving up five hits and walking three, but only two of the six runs he gave up were earned.
Blythewood catcher Grayson Greiner reached on errors in the first and third innings, before walking in the 4th inning, and singling off Guerrieri in the 6th.
Spring Valley plated two first inning runs off Blythewood starter Andrew Beckwith, with Trae Dent and Guerrieri coming home on a throwing error. They added a run in the second as Guerrieri singled home Gene Cone after he had singled.
Blythewood got on the board in the 3rd as a walk and an error led to two runs. Evan Polk gave Spring Valley a 4-2 lead with an opposite field home run in the bottom half.
Blythewood plated three runs of Guerrieri in the fourth to take a 5-4 lead. Hayden Banks and Taylor Eubanks singled to lead off the inning and eventually scored on passed balls to tie the game at four and leadoff hitter Brandon Burris plated the go ahead run on a passed ball before a Grayson Greiner walk.
Spring Valley fought back with two runs to take a 6-5 lead that they would not relinquish as Guerrieri hit a two-run opposite field home run on an 0-2 pitch. They also added an insurance run in the 5th on a Kevin Hastings RBI single. RHP Austin Hill came in to pitch a scoreless 7th to close out the win.
Guerrieri showed with his velocity as well as his athleticism and hitting ability why scouts are so excited with his early season performance. A great athlete with projection and present velocity is an asset for any organization. He has risen up draft boards and may be a first round pick.
Blythewood gets back into action Friday against Richland Northeast, while Blythewood will attend the International Paper Classic @ Georgetown this weekend. It features eight teams, seven of whom are ranked in the top ten of their class by the South Carolina Baseball Coaches Association.
RHP Taylor Guerrieri has shot up draft boards from a year ago. He showed great velocity at last year’s 17U WWBA National Championships topping at 95 and holding his velocity at 94 into the 7th innings, also showing a hard curveball with depth and tilt. The South Carolina commit is currently ranked #14 in the class of 2011 and generating lots of first round buzz. He has reportedly been in the consistently in the mid 90s this spring, up to 97.
Guerrieri will be on the mound Tuesday as Spring Valley takes on Blythewood in one of the marquee games on the South Carolina schedule this year. Blythewood opened the season as the 3rd ranked team in the Class AAAA poll, while Spring Valley came in 9th.
Blythewood has their own draft prospect in C Grayson Greiner, ranked 6th in the state, and battery mate of Guerrieri during their play with the Diamond Devils travel team. Greiner is a tall and athletic catcher, with pop times in low 1.9s as well as power to all fields at the plate. He has also committed to play his college ball at South Carolina.
Spring Valley also features sophomore CF Gene Cone, a projectable left-handed bat with a line drive swing, and 3B Trae Dent, a solid athlete with strength. 3B Austin Hill has shown a strong arm and good footwork at PG events, and has a smooth swing with very good plate coverage.
Grenier is joined by Brandon Burris, a speedy CF with a smooth swing, and Thomas Bessinger, a SS that has shown very smooth fielding actions, bat speed, and strong hands at the plate. 1B Daniel Young is another Bengal to watch as he returns from injury.
Blythewood Coach Barry Mizzell will start sophomore Andrew Beckwith opposite of Guerrieri, and looks for his team to take a simple approach at the plate against the hard throwing righthander . “…Just try to have good quality at bats. When we get our chances we have to take advantage.
This is Guerrieri’s first year at Spring Valley after transferring from North Augusta high school. Coach Charles Wentzky cannot say enough about what his addition has meant to his team. “Taylor becoming a part of our program has had a huge impact. Not only is he an unbelievable arm, he is a really good baseball player. I truly think the biggest impact he will have this year is drawing a lot of attention to our other guys. I remind them all the time that the 30-plus scouts are not there to see them, but that they can make themselves seen by how they play.”
Check back Wednesday for a recap of our National Game of the Week.
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