Tournaments : : Story
Friday, June 29, 2018

Dynamic duo leads Scorpions

Nate Schweers        
Photo: Judson Fabian and Joseph Charles (Perfect Game)

EMERSON, Ga. – When Judson Fabian ran out to center field during the Perfect Game National Showcase earlier this month, he could see his future before his eyes. He knew right then and there that he would do anything to be back in that outfield in a major league uniform.

For a young man that has always attempted to emulate arguably one of the greatest center fielders in the game in Mike Trout, the chance to run out of the dugout at Tropicana Field and be the captain of the outfield was a dream come true.

“It's a major league stadium, so you walk out and for me taking outfield with all the stands it was pretty cool because you know hopefully I’m there playing someday,” Fabian said Friday afternoon.  “I had to remember to calm myself down a little bit and just play how I know I can play.”

While Fabian was in awe of his surroundings, Joseph Charles felt like he was living out a childhood dream. Charles, a native of Celebration, Florida, grew up going to Rays games with his family. The chance to pitch on that big league mound was one he won’t soon forget.

“Growing up in Florida I have been to so many Rays games,” said Charles. “Actually getting to go out and play in that stadium I’ve watched big leaguers play in so many times was unbelievable. Adding all the scouts in too just takes it to a whole new level.”

Two weeks have passed since the PG National Showcase, and these two return as members of the Orlando Scorpions Founders Club 2019 team at the 17u WWBA National Championship. This Scorpions team has 17 Division I commits, four top 50 players in the 2019 class and a great chance to win it all.

One of those 17 Division I commits, and top prospects, is Fabian, who is ranked as the ninth-best overall player in the class of 2019 and he is committed to playing his college baseball at Florida. A native of Ocala, Florida, Fabian lives just 45 minutes south of Gainesville, and has been a Gator fan his whole life.

“Since I live so close, I have been going to Gator baseball and football since I was a little kid,” said Fabian. “It was always my dream to play for them someday, and being committed there now makes it fun to be able to live out my dream.”

Fabian is part of Florida’s 2019 recruiting class that ranks as the second best in the country. He is joined by Scorpions teammate Andrew Roberts who had a two-run home run in the Scorpions pool play win Friday afternoon.

Florida came up just short of another trip to the College World Series Finals this season, and a player of Fabian’s caliber could be just the boost they need to get back to their championship form.

While Fabian will be playing baseball in the SEC two years from now, Joseph Charles is taking his talents to the ACC in North Carolina. Charles is a member of North Carolina’s 2019 recruiting class that ranks as the 15th-best in the country.

“I was always kind of knew that I wanted to get out of state and go see something new, but North Carolina isn’t too far so my parents can still come up and watch me play pretty easily,” said Charles. “Obviously academics was really important in my decision, and North Carolina is a great school. Overall, I just felt like I really clicked with the coaches and my personality really fit that school and their program.”

As noted, Fabian and Charles are not the only Scorpions that are going to play Power 5 college baseball. Bryce Boone, Tyrell Brewer, Caleb Cali, Grant McCray and Dylan Simmons will all be playing their college baseball for the Florida State Seminoles when their high school years come to a close. Simmons, who is a top 30 player in the state of Florida, hit a long grand slam in Friday’s win as well.

Other big names on the Scorpions roster that have made their college decision include: Dylan Crews (2020, Louisiana State), Jake Garland (2019, Miami), CJ Kayfus (2020, Miami), Austin Thomas (2019, Miami) and Connor Walsh (2019, Mississippi).

The Orlando Scorpions organization is no stranger to success on the diamond. Historically one of the better travel baseball organizations in the country, this team thinks they have what it takes to win it all.

“We have a good team, and we have been playing together since our freshman year. We really know how to click when we’re out there, and adding Joe [Charles] and Andrew [Roberts] to this team adds even more team chemistry,” said Fabian. “With this team we have, we feel like we can go pretty far because our pitching is pretty good and our hitting is really good.”

Though Charles is a newer addition to this Scorpions squad, he knows what it takes to win and believes this team can do it.

“Our biggest strength is that we come into every game having a lot of fun and bringing a lot of energy,” said Charles. “No matter if it’s a team we know we can beat or another stacked team, we’re going to pack a pretty hard punch. We always come out full steam ready to give anyone our best shot.”

While this Scorpions club is one of the most talented teams on the field, they are also making a difference in the community. This year, all teams participating in the 17u WWBA National Championship had an opportunity to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Hospital. A long-time partner with Perfect Game, St. Jude is a pioneer in child cancer research.

This year, the Orlando Scorpions Founders Club raised $21,000 for St. Jude Children’s Hospital. This number was good for the third highest among participating teams. A third place finish in this year’s fundraiser has earned the Scorpions half of their pool play games at LakePoint.

“Coach Rikeman, who is the owner of the Scorps, got us together and was basically telling us about this, and all of our parents and us were just so excited to help out for St. Jude,” said Fabian. “It’s an unbelievable feeling to be able to raise that much money for such a good cause.”

In his interview on Friday, Charles couldn't agree more about how cool it was to make an impact on so many families in need. Sometimes this game is bigger than baseball, and these two definitely understand that.

“It is always cool to have moments where you can go beyond the game of baseball,” added Charles. “I think it is really cool that Perfect Game teams up with St. Jude, and with over 300 teams in this tournament, getting everyone involved is really awesome.”

While it is sometimes lost in the shuffle of playing high-level baseball, Fabian and Charles are still enjoying their lives as high school kids off the field. From sushi to Harry Potter, these two are doing their best to soak in the special moments as they come.

“I love to eat sushi,” said Fabian. “That is something I would definitely say a lot of people don't really know about me. I could eat it all the time.”

While the concession stands at LakePoint don't sell sushi on a baseball game day, Fabian and Charles are doing some selling of their own on the diamond when they showcase their skills each day. Dozens of professional scouts were in attendance at the Scorpions’ tournament opener Friday, and as long as this team continues to play at a high level, expect that number to stay the same.

Maybe one day we will see these two take the field at the Trop wearing the navy blue of the Yankees or the bright orange of the Astros. Their journey is just beginning.



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