Tournaments | Story | 10/1/2017

Kernels Day 3 Scout Notes

Patrick Ebert         Kevin Schuver         Perfect Game Tournament Staff        
Photo: Perfect Game

2017 WWBA Kernels Foundation Championship: Daily Leaders | Day 1 Notes | Day 2 Notes

Hitters Baseball advanced to the playoffs early on Sunday morning by beating Cangelosi Sparks 2018 White by a score of 5-0 and winning their pool. The mighty bats in the Hitters lineup didn’t come alive until the bottom of the sixth inning, putting up a four-spot on the board.

After A.J. Vukovich (2019, Mukwonago, Wis.) reached on a walk Alex Binelas (2018, Oak Creek, Wis.) blasted a two-run shot, his first hit of the game and only his second of the tournament. The ball left the yard in a hurry, as Binelas displayed his incredible hand speed and strength and overall bat speed on the swing. A well-built and still athletic 6-foot-2, 200-pound Louisville recruit, Binelas has filled in nicely over the last two years, having played for the Hitters squad as a sophomore when they claimed the championship at this event in 2015. He also made a very nice play defensively at third base on a bunt attempt, showing good instincts and quickness charging the ball, scooping it and firing a strike to first base nail the runner.

Vukovich, who was profiled in the Day 2 recap, hit another extra-base hit in this game, a double he hit to the gap in left-center, a popular destination for many of the balls he strikes with authority. Detailed in the scouting recaps two weeks ago at the Midwest Underclass Qualifier, Vukovich has such easy power thanks to his towering yet still projectable 6-foot-4, 190-pound frame, and it’s scary to envision the future Louisville Cardinals lineup that has Vukovich and Binelas hitting in the middle of it terrorizing ACC pitchers.

The four runs scored in the sixth gave starter Jacob Wilde (2019, Waukesha, Wis.) a bit of a cushion to finish his complete game effort, but it turns out he only needed the one run his teammates previously supplied him with. Wilde was in control the entire game, scattering just four base hits while pounding the strike zone with upper-70s fastballs that peaked at 80-81 mph as well as a sharp low-70s sweeping curveball that he was able to vary the shape of. The breaking ball really helped keep the Cangelosi Sparks’ batters off balance, and once they had that pitch in the back of their heads they really had difficulty squaring up his heater. Wilde is currently uncommitted.

There were plenty of loud hits in the first round of the playoffs as the St. Louis Pirates (RSB) knocked off the Illinois Patriots 7-3 to advance. Left fielder Tyler Fogarty (2019, St. Louis, Mo.), the second batter of the game, crushed a solo shot that he belted off of the scoreboard over the fence in left-center field. Center fielder Drew Stine (2020, Wildwood, Mo.) connected on a solo shot of his own, yanking a fastball over the fence in left field that tied the game 3-3 to lead off the third inning. Joseph Schmidt (2019, Washington, Mo.) added a hard-hit RBI single that found the hole on the left side of the infield. Stein, the youngest of the three, is already committed to Louisville while Fogarty, who went 2-for-3 with three RBI in the game, has committed to Notre Dame and Schmidt to Louisiana-Monroe.

For the Patriots Luke Seidel (2018, Inverness, Ill.) hit the ball hard in a couple of his trips to the plate. In the bottom of the first he turned on a low-80s fastball and ripped it down the left field line, turning on the jets and hustling his way to third base for a leadoff triple. In his second at-bat he hit a hard line out to center field.

Patriots catcher Billy Blank (2018, Cary, Ill.) got into the hard-hitting fun by driving a ball high and deep to left-center field for a two-run home run that briefly put the Patriots up in the bottom of the second inning. Like Seidel, he added two more hard hit balls that didn’t show up in the box score, lining out to the left fielder in the fifth and hitting a ball hard to the right-center field gap that was snared by the Pirates’ Drew Stine on a nice diving play. Blank showed really good pitch awareness and solid bat speed with a knack for barreling up the baseball.

– Patrick Ebert

The Reds Scout Team started the day with a bang defeating Team DeMarini Elite 12-0 in their final pool play game, winning their tie-breaker with the Wisconsin Panthers to advance to the playoffs. The Reds collected 12 hits in the game but did almost all of their damage in the top of the fourth inning, scoring 11 runs.

Zaid Walker (2018, Homewood, Ill.) and Anthony Herron, Jr. (2018, Chicago, Ill.) led the offensive charge for the Reds. Walker, a Michigan State commit, utilized a simple swing plane that generated consistent, loud contact throughout the game. The two-hole hitter collected three-hits showing the ability to control the barrel and work to all fields. Walker also showed the present bat speed to drive the baseball with authority, hammering a solo home run to deep left field to start the scoring in the top of the fourth.

Former National Showcase attendee Herron, Jr. showed huge strength in his swing with a naturally lifted barrel plane. The Chicago native consistently turned the barrel with authority and showed game-changing raw power at the plate. The top-ranked 2018 first baseman in the state of Illinois collected two hits in the game including a deep double to left-center field that short-hopped the wall just under the 378-foot marker at Perfect Game Field.

Luke Mann (2018, St. Louis, Mo.) was handed the ball for the Red and turned in a gem. Mann established his fastball early from a quick three-quarters arm slot that produced heavy life with late run to his arm side in the mid- to upper-80s. The University of Missouri commit showed very good feel for a 11-to-5 to near 12-to-6 breaking ball that has very tight spin with big depth. Mann consistently changed speeds throughout his outing showing the confidence in his breaking ball to deliver in both positive and negative counts. The top-ranked 2018 righthander from the state of Missouri finished with a complete game shutout allowing only two hits while striking out seven batters in a run-rule shortened four-inning game.

Will Frisch (2019, Stillwater, Minn.) got the ball for Minnesota Blizzard Blue 2018 as they took on the Northern Knights in Round 1 of the playoffs at Perfect Game Field. The TCU commit utilized a simple, side-step delivery showing very balanced actions throughout. Frisch flashed explosive arm speed through his finish that generated heavy run to his arm side with a fastball that sat at 88-90 mph in his first two innings of work. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound righthander consistently attacked hitters with his fastball and changed speeds with three other off-speed pitches. Frisch primarily worked to his curveball and slider offerings, creating very tight spin with late movement for each. He maintained his arm speed very well and was able to create an incredible speed differential with each of his secondary offerings. The Minnesota Blizzard cruised through his seven innings of work as Frisch allowed just one run on four hits while striking out 12 Northern Knights.

Righthander Ian Bahn (2020, Shoreview, Minn.) toed the rubber for the Blizzard in a quarterfinal matchup against the top-seeded Chicago Scouts Association. Bahn released from an over-the-top arm slot that produced very good downhill tilt through the zone with occasional cut to his glove side in the low-80s. The uncommitted prospect utilized a 12-to-6 breaking ball and changeup to alter speeds and he showed very good feel for his changeup, consistently going to the offering in two-strike counts. The 2020 grade did not factor in the decision but worked 5 1/3 innings, allowing zero earned runs while striking out 11 batters.

Aidan Maldonado (2018, Rosemount, Minn.) entered in relief for the Blizzard in the bottom of the sixth. Maldonado, an Illinois commit, featured an explosive fastball that generated heavy run with steep downhill tilt through the zone. The righthander aggressive attacked the strike zone with his fastball sitting between 87-91 mph. He flashed a 12-to-6 curveball with hard, late depth but did not need to utilize his off-speed stuff much as he went on to slam the door and receive the win. Maldonado finished pitching a perfect 1 2/3 innings striking out two batters.

– Kevin Schuver

The Minnesota Blizzard Blue team needed a big win in their final pool play game Sunday morning in order to advance in the tournament. Some good offense from their 6-foot, 185-pound left fielder, Charlie Fischer (2018, Edina, Minn.), helped get them there. The Southern Mississippi commit showed a bat that is very hard to find and ready for the next level. He drove a ball deep to straightaway center, that would hit about halfway up the wall, for an RBI triple. He also showed an ability to sit and drive balls the other way with authority as he would hit a line drive deep into the gap in left-center field.

Tommy Springer (2018, Apple Valley, Minn.), a 6-foot-1, 205-pound Missouri commit, is among the top righties in the nation, and he showed it Sunday for the Blizzard. However, he was also productive on the offensive side as well, getting good lift through contact and has good power to his pull side. He drove a line drive that rattled around in the left field corner for an easy triple. He also helped his cause with an RBI single right back up the middle.

On the mound, Springer – who was named the Most Valuable Pitcher at this event a year ago – relies heavily on his straight fastball that topped out at 87 mph but stayed mainly in the lower-80s. He throws from an over-the-top slot, giving him a little extra downhill plane on his fastball that he easily keeps around the knees of hitters. He’s also one of the few pitchers whose changeup is his primary secondary. He keeps the changeup at the knees as well and it features some deception sink and arm-side fade making it tough for hitters to square up.

It was another good game for the Hitters Baseball team in the first round of the playoffs as they put up 10 runs and got the win. Andrew Kim (2019, Libertyville, Ill.), a 6-foot-1 180-pound infielder, was right in the middle of the great offensive day. Kim, the team’s leadoff hitter, did a lot of damage driving in four of their 10 runs. He hit a hard line drive deep to center field that would give him an easy stand up triple, plating the first two of his RBI. The other two would end the game on a ball that was hit straight back the middle for a hard single.

Another player who continues to be talked about is 6-foot 200-pound Illinois commit, Jacob Campbell (2018, Janesville, Wis.). He has tremendous skill with the bat in his hands and is able to square up almost any pitch thrown to him. Campbell is also able to hit to all fields with good strength and lift no matter which field he’s hitting to. This was especially evident on a line drive double down the right field line and a line drive double to the wall in left field that plated a run.

On the mound for the Hitters was Alex Binelas, detailed above for his offensive exploits to open Sunday’s action. While Binelas isn’t a primary pitcher, he did show good presence on the mound, pounding the zone with a fastball that topped at 87 mph but stayed mostly in the 81-83 range. He got ahead of hitters early and was able to flip his curveball low in the zone to get some swings and misses. He pitched six innings of two-hit baseball, striking out six batters while giving up just one run.

It was an offensive explosion for the Iowa Select Black 2018 team as they plated 17 runs in a run-rule victor to advance to Monday’s semifinals. Four of those runs came courtesy of 6-foot-2, 195-pounder Evan Crawford (2018, Bettendorf, Iowa). Crawford stays behind the baseball and gets good lift through contact. He looks to drive the ball with good power, and that’s exactly what he did. He hammered a ball to left-center field that left the ballpark in a hurry for a grand slam. He would also have a line drive double that hit off the fence in left field.

Another outstanding two-way player on display on Sunday was Austin Krob (2018, Lisbon, Iowa), a 6-foot-2, 205-pound left/left athlete that has visible strength. Krob took the mound for the Iowa Select team and he shut down the St. Louis Pirates to advance in the playoffs. He has a good fastball that has some sink at 84 mph. He commanded it at the knees and rarely missed by much when throwing it. Krob paired his heater with a tight 1-to-7 curveball that had some late depth. Krob threw just three innings and gave up a couple runs, but the game was so out of hand early that he could afford it.

He also flashed his powerful bat, driving in five total runs in three at-bats. Krob was overpowering and drove the ball hard all three times, accumulating two triples. One was a hard hit ball to deep right field that plated a couple of runs, while the second was a laser down the right field line that scored one. He would cap his day off with a low line drive that cleared the fence for the game winning, two-run home run.

– Taylor Weber

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