Tournaments | Story | 10/2/2017

Kernels Day 4 Scout Notes

Kevin Schuver        
Photo: Perfect Game

2017 WWBA Kernels Foundation Championship: Daily Leaders | Day 1 Notes | Day 2 Notes | Day 3 Notes

The semifinals began with a pitcher’s duel Monday morning between second-seeded Cangelosi Sparks 2018 Black and the No. 3 seed Iowa Select Black 2018. Cangelosi starter Ryan Palmblad (2018, Orland Park, Ill.) received the win showing great command and feel while locating his fastball to each edge of  the plate. The uncommitted lefthander utilized a simple, repeatable delivery while releasing from a three-quarters arm slot. Palmblad kept Iowa Select off balance by changing speeds with a 2-to-8 breaking ball and sinking changeup. The 6-foot-3, 180-pound pitcher worked seven shutout innings allowing only one hit (to the first batter he faced in the game) on 71 pitches. Palmbald’s performance earned him the 2017 Kernels Foundation Championship Most Valuable Pitcher award.

Stating opposite Palmbald was University of Iowa commit Clayton Nettleton (2018, Davenport, Iowa). Nettleton utilized a simple leg lift delivery and showed very good arm speed through extension from a loose three-quarters arm slot. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound righthander’s fastball touched 90 mph generating heavy arm-side run. Nettleton changed speeds with a 11-to-5 curveball and a 9-to-4 slider. He consistently located his slider to the back foot of lefthanded hitters and flashed hard depth with his curveball to righthanded hitters. The second-ranked righthanded pitcher from the state of Iowa worked five innings throwing only 58 pitches, his second appearance of the tournament.

On the opposite side of the bracket Minnesota Blizzard Blue 2018 took on Hitters Baseball. Hitters righthander A.J. Vukovich (2020, Mukwanago, Wis.) showed good poise on the mound for his age utilizing simple, repeatable mechanics. Vukovich hid the baseball very well generating good jump out of his hand from a high three-quarters arm slot. The 2020 grad worked over his front side very well producing steep downhill angle through the hitting zone. He changed speeds with an 11-to-5, and near 12-to-6, breaking ball that had very good late depth. The University of Louisville commit worked 3 2/3 innings striking out three batters.

Minnesota Blizzard’s first baseman Will Frisch (2019, Stillwater, Minn.) drove in five of the Blizzard’s seven runs going 3-for-3 against the Hitters. Frisch, who was profiled in the Day 3 scouting recap for his talents on the mound, showed very impressive bat speed with the ability to create lift and carry when squared. The TCU commit smoked the baseball three times in the game including an inside-the-park home run to left-center field and for what would be the eventual game winner to deep left field.

Sean Barnard (2019, Hudson, Wis.) received the win advancing the Minnesota Blizzard to the finals. Barnard has a highly projectable 6-foot-3 frame that is sure to add strength as he continues to matures. The 2019 righthanded pitcher utilized a loose three-quarters arm slot the produced a fastball that had good sink to the bottom of the zone between 85-88 mph. Barnard consistently pounded the zone through his six innings of work and created a lot of soft contact when mixing speeds with a fading changeup. The uncommitted prospect tends to slow his arm speed slightly with off-speed pitches, but was able to generate enough spin to create solid depth.

Cangelosi Sparks jumped on the Minnesota Blizzard early and often in the championship matchup scoring their first seven runs of the game in the second inning. The Sparks would end up scoring five more runs in the next two frames to beat the Blizzard 12-0 in a run-rule shortened game.

Jack Payton (2020, Orland Park, Ill.), Dylan Post (2019, Lincoln-Way Central, Ill.) and Branden Comia (2018, Orland Park, Ill.) all drove in multiple runs for the Sparks. Comia showed a very balanced approach at the plate with the present barrel control and bat speed to drive the baseball to all fields. The University of Illinois commit finished the tournament collecting nine hits, nine RBI and four stolen bases which was good enough to claim the 2017 WWBA Kernels Foundation Championship Most Valuable Player award.

Collin Witzke (2019, Oswego East, Ill.) received the win featuring a mid-80s fastball that showed good run to his arm side with occasional sink. The uncommitted prospect aggressively attacked the strike zone showing good feels for the edges of the plate with both his fastball and breaking ball. The 6-foot-2, 175-pound righthanded pitcher only needed 57 pitches to work through four scoreless innings, allowing only two hits while walking one batter.

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