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Tournaments | Story | 3/9/2017

Showdown Day 1 Scout Notes

Vincent Cervino         Perfect Game Tournament Staff        
Photo: Perfect Game

The main attraction of Thursday's action was lefthander Jacob Heatherly (2017, Cullman, Ala.), the former Perfect Game All-American and Alabama commit. Heatherly attracted around thirty scouts or so, many of whom were high-level scouts and are probably considering taking him in the first round. The southpaw came out of the gate firing bullets and reaching 94 mph with his fastball early on while sitting pretty comfortably in the 90-93 mph range. Heatherly had a very simple, low effort delivery with an arm action that was clean through the back.

He is well-built, coming in at a listed 6-foot-3 and 200-pounds, and that size helped him maintain his velocity in the low-90s throughout the majority of his outing. Heatherly also has a very strong lower half and his hips fire forward with his entire delivery being very in sync for the outing. Heatherly made quick work of the opposing batters in the first few innings commanding his fastball extraordinarily well to both sides of the plate. The fastball had some plane to it and had heaviness down in the zone with slight arm side wiggle as well.

The curveball was the most devastating pitch he threw all afternoon showing an excellent feel to spin it and tremendous depth. The pitch had tight spin and was effective at both being thrown for strikes and inducing ugly swings. Heatherly showed a strong two-pitch mix, and had an impressive showing overall while showing an advanced feel for pitching and mixing speeds. He finished the outing securing the win and striking out eleven batters in 5 2/3 innings pitched. 

Righthander Levi Thomas (2017, Cullman, Ala.) stared game one for the Bearcats and turned in, perhaps, the most dominant outing of the young tournament. Thomas fired a complete game, one-hit shutout and struck out fourteen batters, while only throwing 83 pitches, in the process. The Troy signee has a long arm action with a slight stab through the back of his delivery. He leads with his glove side arm and fires downhill toward the batter with a glove point. He throws with a little of effort and dips his back shoulder to rear back for more velocity. Thomas hit 91 mph early on with his fastball and was consistently in the upper-80s for the entire game. He throws from an extended three-quarter arm slot and will work the fastball to both sides of the plate. The curveball is softer in the low-70s but he showed a decent feel to spin it. Oddly enough, the curveball operated as more of a called strike pitch and did not garner the usual swings and misses you would expect from a breaking pitch. Thomas also mixed in a hard changeup at around 80 mph with arm speed similar to his fastball. 

Doing a good portion of the run scoring for the Bearcats was centerfielder Owen Lovell (2017, Vinemont, Ala.) as the physical Mississippi State commit was all over the box score today. Lovell stands at 6-foot-4, 225-pounds with a ton of present physicality but is still remarkably athletic. His rare combination of advanced power and speed was on full display Thursday with an impressive inside-the-park home run during game one for the Bearcats. Lovell has extremely quick wrists with an inside path to the ball. The swing is a bit stiff at times but there is legitimate bat speed and power throughout the swing. He stands wide at the plate with active hands and gets into a good launch position upon arrival of the pitch. Lovell was timed at 4.3 seconds to first base from the right side highlighting his impressive speed. Lovell is the total package of a baseball player and we will get to see him toe the rubber on Saturday. 

Another senior lefthander who turned in a gem was Peyton Glavine (2017, Alpharetta, Ga.) for the Blessed Trinity Titans. The southpaw showed off his traditional loose arm action with relatively easy delivery. He does an excellent job at repeating his mechanics and hides the ball for a deceptive delivery. The fastball was in the low-80s early but once Glavine got comfortable and into a groove he was pretty consistently 84-86 mph. He touched 88 mph late in the game as he was being close to being taken out. The pitch has good arm-side run and almost nothing out of his hand is straight. The Auburn commit's curveball was very impressive as well with late, sharp downward bite to the pitch. He showed solid overall command of both of his pitches, but he wavered with control at times and did walk three batters. Glavine turned in 5 2/3 innings of one-hit baseball and was a big reason that the Titans were able to advance past Brookwood and into the final eight.

Etowah and Central turned in a classic match that lasted twelve innings and saw the Eagles advance past the Red Devils. Not to be lost in the loss was the outstanding performance from starting pitcher Evan Baber (2017, Phenix City, Ala.) as he turned in nine innings while only allowing one earned run and striking out thirteen batters. Baber has a whippy arm action that highlights his impressive arm speed from the mound. He has a very clean delivery with his hips and weight firing forward upon landing. In the past and on Thursday, Baber made good use of a strong two-pitch mix of fastball and slider. The fastball wasn't as high in velocity as it has been but he was in the mid- to upper-80s with good riding arm side life to the pitch. The fastball moves a lot and it is very difficult for hitters to square up. The slider has short, tight movement and is very effective as it looks like his fastball coming out of his hand. 

Troup County had two very big wins during Thursday's action and shortstop Ryan Bliss (2018, Lagrange, Ga.) was a big reason why. The Auburn commit is very athletic with a smooth, aggressive stroke from the right side of the plate. Bliss has a quick line drive plane with a compact swing and shows excellent hand speed with some good bat speed as well. He swings with a lot of intent and is looking to drive the baseball and he often does with hard backspin coming off the bat. Bliss has a hanging leg lift trigger as a timing mechanism and showed good patience at the plate recognizing off-speed pitches and keeping his weight back on them. Bliss had a couple of stolen bases on the day including a steal of third base which his combination of speed and intelligent baserunning allow for him to make with relative ease. Bliss is also very solid defensively with clean, athletic actions.

– Vincent Cervino

A lot of great high school talent was present today in Emerson. The IMG Academy Ascenders took on a tough Redan Raiders team at 3:30 and took home the win with a score of 7-5. Top Ranked and Florida State commit, righthanded Tyler Ahearn (2017, Jupiter, Fla.) started the game for the Ascenders. He threw six innings, giving up three runs on six hits and four walks while striking out six batters. The ball explodes out of Hearn’s hand and he displayed a nice, quick and solid arm action. Hearn’s windup can become a little erratic at times as he threw his fastball with max effort, which lead to his four walks and control issues throughout the game. His fastball sat from 88-92 mph and he showcased a good changeup with fade than ran from 83-86 mph. Hearn also threw a pretty decent curve, that flashed potential that he struggled with getting down at times. He still has room to grow and has a high ceiling, so it will be exciting to see the velocity his arm will reach later down the road in his career.

Shortstop Kelvin Smith (2018, College Park, Ga.) for Redan looked great at short, making plays look routine and showed great defensive instincts. Smith also had many quality at-bats and went 1-for-3 with a opposite field double and a walk. Orlando Adams Jr. (2018, Atlanta, Ga.) shined with the bat today for the Raiders, going 3-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI. Adams also showcased solid catch-and-throw skills, throwing out a speedy Jose Vasquez of IMG when he attempted to steal second base in the top of the third

Tyler Esplin (2017, Lake Bluff, Ill.) showcased his pop today going 3-for-4, with a three-run home run and a RBI double. Esplin has a medium, strong frame and hits with an open stance with hands high close to his head. He uses that back elbow to generate quality bat speed and hit the ball with hard, solid contact. Esplin’s home run traveled 392 feet with a 101 mph exit speed. Esplin also received the save against the Raiders, throwing 2 1/3 innings. His fastball ran from 89-91 mph and he displayed a sharp-breaking curve that generated a few swing and misses.

The Winder Barrow Bulldogs lost to the Denham Springs Yellow Jackets in the late innings of their first game by a score of 5-4. The Yellow Jackets score two runs in the seventh on passed balls, with Cade Doughty (2019, Denham Springs, La.) recording the save. Winder-Barrow’s Pat Demarco (2017, Winder, Ga.) had a decent game going 1-for-3 with an RBI groundout. The Bishop McLaughlin Catholic Hurricanes were down 12–7 and put up six runs in the top of the seventh inning to come back and defeat the Saraland Spartans. The Spartans and Hurricanes combined for 25 hits. Dillon Morton (2017, Tampa, Fla.) went 2-for-3 with a single, triple, walk and two runs.

We had a pretty good pitchers duel between Garrett Brown of the James Clemens Jets and Anthony Seigler (2018, Cartersville, Ga.) of the Cartersville Hurricanes.  Seigler threw seven innings, giving up one run on two hits while striking out nine and only walking one. Seigler throws with a slow, smooth delivery that’s easy to repeat with a high three-quarter arm slot. His fastball had life to it and ran from 87-90 mph. He attacked the outer half of the plate and mixed in his curve to generate swings and misses. He threw a 11-to-6 curve with very tight spin, with decent depth which ran from 70-72 mph and a hard changeup from 82-84 mph. Garrett Brown (2017, Madison, Ala.) threw six innings, giving up two earned runs on six hits while striking out twelve and walking none. Brown ran into trouble into the first surrendering two runs in the first including a lead off triple to the opposing pitcher Siegler, but settled down tremendously afterwards. Brown threw an electric fastball that ran from 88-91 mph. He showed solid command and live arm action with the ability to pound the strike zone often and did an excellent job of locating his curve ball low in the strike zone.

The IMG Academy Ascenders and Denham Spring Yellow Jackets also provided the Lakepoint crowd with another great pitcher’s duel. The Yellow Jackets defeated the Ascenders 1-0 thanks to the heroics of Cade Doughty and his game winning RBI double down third base line off of Matt Mitchell. Taylor Higgins (2017, Denham Springs, La.) received the win for the Yellow Jackets and threw a complete game shutout, allowing three hits while striking out ten and walking two. Higgins did an excellent job of changing the hitters eye levels and showed great mound presence. He has a balanced delivery with an easy over the top arm slot and was able to get hitters off balanced by throwing his low-80s fastball up in the zone and throwing his hard breaking, 12-to-6 curveball low in the strike zone to keep the Ascenders from putting up a run on him. Matt Mitchell (2017, Las Vegas, Nev.) threw well also, giving up only one run on two hits while striking out four and walking one. Mitchell does a great job of maintaining the same delivery and arm speed with each pitch. His FB sat from 83-86 mph, touching 87 mph in the earlier innings and has a nice late breaking 12-to-6 curve that generated a decent amount of swings and misses.

Blake Diggle (2017, Mountain View, Calif.) went 2-for-2 with a single, triple and a walk. Blake has a large, strong frame and showed he can run when he mashed a hard groundball triple to right field in the top of the sixth. Diggle has a long, rotational swing that makes loud, hard contact. He looks to get his hands extended away from his body and drive the ball to the right field gap. Sometimes he can put too much weight on that back leg, which causes him to rise and on top of the ball too much.

The Sparkman Senators defeated the Houston County Bears 4-1. Carter Vickers (2017, Madison, Ala.) received the win throwing a complete game giving up one run on six hits while striking out four and walking one. Jacob Foster (2017, Madison, Ala.) went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run and Garrett Bodine went 2-for-2 with two runs and two walks. The Parkview Panthers defeated the Saraland Spartans 4-0. Braden Hays received the win throwing 6 1/3 scoreless innings, while giving up five hits, while striking out six and walking one. Joseph Demasi's (2017, Lilburn, Ga.) power was on display as he hit two solo home runs, one in the first inning and the other in the third. Demasi first home run traveled an estimated 338 feet with an exit speed of 98 mph and his second home run traveled an estimated 369 feet with an exit speed of 101 mph. DeMasi has a medium athletic frame and is able to generate power with excellent bat speed, with his a good solid swing on a line drive plane. Demasi makes solid, hard contact each time his bat connected with the ball. 

– Brandon Lowe

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