Ga. – FTB Mizuno’s (2-0) Matt Ruppenthal (2014, Brother Rice
H.S., Mich.) threw six and two-thirds of three-hit ball to defeat the
Texas Blackhawks 17u (2-2) 2-0 in a Sunday afternoon matchup in 2012
WWBA 17u National Championship pool play.
walking one batter and allowing a single to another with two outs in
the seventh, the right-hander’s outing ended. He struck out nine
with two walks total. According to one Perfect Game scout, his
fastball ranged between 85-88 mph, topping out at 89.
he just finished his sophomore season at Brother Rice last month,
Ruppenthal is no stranger to Perfect Game events and making a name
his freshman year, Ruppenthal’s fastball was clocked at 91 mph
while pitching for the Midland Braves at the 2011 16u Perfect Game
BCS Finals in July 2011. He also threw a 74 mph curveball with an 80
mph circle changeup in that tournament.
said his summer 2011 performance caught the attention of a Florida
Travel Baseball coach.
was playing an USSSA tournament last summer and their founder, George
Gonzalez, saw me and asked me if I would play in the fall with them
at Jupiter, Fla.,” the six-foot-four, 225-pound pitcher said. “So
I did and I came back for this summer.”
this season, Ruppenthal said he lives with Karl Ellison (2013, Barron
Collier H.S., Fla.), who caught for FTB Mizuno on Sunday.
grown pretty tight over the last year, living together in Naples,
Fla.,” Ruppenthal said.
last July and the current summer season, Ruppenthal has seen his
national profile rise, earning him the number 38 ranking in Perfect
Game’s last national rankings for the class of 2014 prospects. He
even announced his verbal commitment to play ball at Vanderbilt
University in Nashville, Tenn., where Ellison is also committed to
gave Perfect Game credit for allowing him to be exposed to college
coaches like those on Vanderbilt’s staff.
definitely worth it,” said Ruppenthal of Perfect Game events. “The
way I look at it, I wouldn’t have had any offers or be going to
Vandy if it wasn’t for Perfect Game because that’s when everyone
asked about his experience with the Florida Travel Baseball
organization thus far, Ruppenthal did not hold back at all.
organization’s awesome,” Ruppenthal said. “It’s a lot of fun.
They just kind of let you do your thing.”
Mizuno head coach Alan Kunkel, in his third year in that role, gave
the rising junior pitcher high marks for his pitching performance on
job,” said Kunkel of Ruppenthal following the game. “Strike one
was imperative for him today. He got ahead early, was able to use his
offspeed stuff and kept his pitch count down with quality defense
behind him. We really couldn’t ask for more from a young man.
a workhorse, loves to compete and work fast and gave us an
opportunity to win the game today.”
said he thought he pitched well against the Blackhawks.
threw quite a few strikes and was able to get all three of my pitches
over the plate,” said Ruppenthal after the game. “And my fielders
backed me up very well.”
said Gonzalez and Jered Goodwin founded the organization around
four-five years ago.
continue to build a reputation, keeping the organization fairly small
with quality players,” Kunkel said. “Our job is to get these
players committed. We really do want to showcase and give them an
opportunity to play at the next level. Wiining has just been a
byproduct of the success that we’ve had.”
communication between Florida Travel Baseball and Perfect Game has
allowed the relationship between them to prosper, Kunkel explained.
don’t miss a Perfect Game event,” Kunkel said. “The Ford family
has been really good to us, and we have tried to reciprocate. Right
now it’s been a great marriage, and we’re excited to continue on
added that this specific summer team has been a tight-knit squad.
know the thing that is really special about this group is the
chemistry,” Kunkel said. “They just fight for one another. For a
travel ball team to come together and battle and compete and have no