Ian Clarkin started his day in San Diego, ready to fly to Atlanta and pitch for the San Diego Show in their second round playoff game Thursday morning. Little did he know that he would find himself in the bullpen warming up to enter a bases loaded, one out jam with the Show up two runs in their first round playoff game against Team Mizuno Midwest.
Clarkin left San Diego at 9:55 am PT, had a stop in Phoenix before getting into ATL Airport at 7 pm ET. At around 8:15 he was running through the front gate at the East Cobb Complex, straight to the bathroom to change into his uniform, and then to the bullpen as Show starter RHP Michael Martin, after four shutout innings, struggled a bit in the 5th, allowing three earned runs. When Martin walked Mizuno OF Austin Boden to load the bases, Show coach Brian Cain called on Clarkin, after 25 pitches and an hour and a half in the state of Georgia.
Clarkin responded by striking out Braxton Martinez and Colton Howell to get out of the jam and end the 5th and came back out in the 6th to strike out the side and give the Show a 5-3 win and send them into the 2nd round.
When asked if he had planned to use Clarkin Wednesday night, Show coach Brian Cain said, “We planned on starting him tomorrow. But the kid is a tenacious competitor, I knew he would respond.”
Clarkin was just as surprised, especially with this being his first time on the mound since straining his groin during the Junior Olympics in Arizona a few weeks ago. Clarkin threw 30 pitches last night, 24 of them fastballs and topped out at 88. He is a projectable athletic lefty, currently ranked in the Top 1000, but sure to go up after a strong performance at the Sunshine West Showcase as well as last night’s game.
The Show move on to a second round matchup with the Houston Banditos Black, the #9 seed, who have scored 57 runs during five pool play games against only 13 giving up. Clarkin or RHP Bobby Zarubin look to get the start for the Show against a Banditos offense led by OF Nick Williams, SS CJ Hinojosa, 1B Austin Dean, and 3B Ralph Garza in what is one of the most intriguing second round matchup of the day.
Click here for the entire bracket of today’s playoff games.
Around the 17u WWBA National Championship
-East Cobb Astros 16u RHP Travis Demerritte, who is one of the best 3B in the 2013 class, had a shaky first inning in the Astros first round playoff game vs. TGBA 17u, struggling with his control and walking three in the first inning. Demerritte got a couple of big strikeouts to get out of the jam and then rolled thru six more innings, throwing a complete game with 13 strikeouts and allowed just one more walk and a single hit in the Astros 5-0 win. He sat 88-90, topping at 91, holding that velo into the 7th inning.
-In the other game at the East Cobb Complex, the East Cobb Braves got a complete game 10 K performance from RHP Tucker Simpson in his return from an injury as they took down the San Gabriel Valley Arsenal. Simpson, a Georgia Tech commit, topped out at 92.
- Clarkin, DeMerritte, and Simpson starred at the East Cobb Complex, but pitching was on display everywhere in last night’s first round playoff games. In the 16 games, there were 9 different pitchers who hit at least 90 mph, and an astounding 17 more who hit at least 87. The 16 playoff games last night featured 32 teams from 18 different states with Florida and Georgia leading with five teams apiece. Today’s 16 playoff games will feature teams from 14 different states.
-Those stats are a testament to why the 17u WWBA is the biggest and most prestigious high school baseball tournament of the summer and is circled on every scout and major college coaches' summer schedule.
-Follow @highschoolPG on twitter throughout the day and the rest of the tournament for updates on top teams and prospects.