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Tournaments | Story | 9/17/2018

Fall Championship Notes: Day 3

David Rawnsley         Brian Sakowski        

2018 PG Fall Championships Protected by G-Form Daily Leaders: Freshman | Upperclass
Scout Notes: Day 1
| Day 2

Canyon Thunder Black righthanded pitcher Jack Slominski (2019, Scottsdale, Ariz.) put on as solid a performance as one will ever see in a playoff game Sunday morning, throwing a 77-pitch complete game two-hit shutout in the Thunder's 2-0 win. Slominski relied heavily on his fastball, which sat at 84-87 mph and touched 90 mph, while mixing in some big-breaking low-70s curveballs on occasion. He threw 72 percent strikes while striking out eight and not walking a hitter. Slominski is listed as a primary shortstop on the roster, with a 6-foot-2, 165-pound build, but he is very likely a pitcher moving forward. He impresses especially with his projection, as along with his loose and slender body, he's added eight mph since this event last year, and five mph since he pitched at a PG tournament in late May. Slominski is a Grand Canyon commit.

Smolinski's Thunder teammate, shortstop Nolan Brooks (2019, Phoenix, Ariz.) was the other star of the game, going 3-for-3, including a ringing double off the left field fence. Brooks is a quick-twitch athlete with an interesting combination of running speed, bat speed and middle-of-the-field athleticism. The Evansville commit has been named the Most Valuable Player at two previous Perfect Game tournaments, including the 2017 PG Fall Underclass National Championship protected by G-Form, and has put himself in position to potentially take home another trophy. He is currently hitting .470 (8-for-17) to go with four stolen bases and a three-inning save on the mound for the undefeated Thunder as they head into Monday morning's semifinals.

Canyon Thunder showed their pitching depth by running out another hard-throwing lefthanded pitching prospect in the quarterfinals. Southpaw Matthew Bohnert Jr. (2019, Cave Creek, Ariz.) only went two innings, as the Thunder jumped out to a 9-0 lead, but he worked at 85-87 mph for those two innings to go with a 75 mph slider. Bohnert, who is listed at 5-foot-9, 155-pounds, has a fast-paced delivery that creates some deception and has an extended high three-quarters arm slot that creates good angle to the plate. He doesn't have a college commitment at this point.

Lefthander Jake Rons (2019, Carlsbad, Calif.) of TB SoCal Baseball was almost as efficient as Slominski in TB's first playoff win, needing only 64 pitches to complete five innings of three-hit baseball while throwing 67 percent strikes. Rons also relied heavily on a fastball that had nice running action in the 84-87 mph range and he showed that he could spot it to both sides of the plate. He showed good power to a mid-70s breaking ball as well. Rons is a Southern California commit.

Yet another talented lefthander to start on Sunday at the Reds quad was TB SoCal Baseball's Shane Telfer (2019, Encinitas, Calif.), a teammate of Rons at Cathedral Catholic High School. Telfer threw three innings, allowing two hits and an unearned run to pick up the win, working 83-85 mph with his fastball to go with a low- to mid-70s curveball and a nice changeup. Telfer attended the PG Sunshine West Showcase and received an 8.5 PG grade from the PG scouting staff. Notably, he is a 4.0 student with a 30 ACT who doesn't have a college commitment and would seem to be an ideal fit for an academically prominent school anywhere in the country.

TB SoCal has at least one other academically elite talented player who already has a commitment to Ivy League Cornell in catcher Alexander Steigerwald (2019, La Jolla, Calif.). Steigerwald is a 6-foot-2, 187-pound righthanded hitter with very good strength in his swing. He hit a home run earlier in the tournament and picked up two doubles, one of them which narrowly missed being a home run, while driving in three runs in TB SoCal's quarterfinal victory. To give younger players a perspective, Steigerwald attended the 2015 PG Sunshine West Showcase over three years ago and was listed at 5-foot-10, 155-pounds. The natural growth, combined with hard work, are obvious in Steigerwald's present game and future opportunities.

– David Rawnsley

Over at Camelback Ranch, the Freshman division of the PG Fall National Championship had their playoff day and several players stood out. Demitri Diamant (2022, Las Vegas, Nev.) got the start for 3D West in their quarterfinal game and the young freshman stood out on the mound, though he's well-known as a legitimate two-way talent as well. Diamant, as you'd expect given his age, is a very projectable righthander with a lean build, and he has a lot of components that evaluators look for in projecting out young pitchers. Diamant worked up to 85 mph early on with his fastball, settling into mostly the 80-83 mph range and reaching back for 84 mph when he needed it. He's got a very good combination of present arm speed and physical projection, making it easy to see him throwing harder and harder as he continues to develop. He generates pretty significant life on the fastball, and his best pitches of the day were firm fastballs up in the zone, riding in on the hands of righthanded hitters. He's certainly an exciting young prospect to follow moving forward. 

Diamant's teammate, freshman Ethan Hott (2022, Paradise Valley, Ariz.) hit leadoff for the 3D West club and impressed immediately, launching a leadoff double over the center fielder's head towards the right-center field gap. There's an enticing combination of bat speed, physical projection, and athleticism to Hott's profile right now, with quality run times for a freshman (4.51 dig, 4.78 turn), and he shows the ability to generate backspin in his swing with intent to get the ball into the air and do damage. A center fielder by trade, Hott wasn't tested defensively in my look but looks to have the athleticism and speed necessary to play the position well at this juncture. 

Dykstra Baseball won their quarterfinal matchup with CBA Wave on Sunday morning, advancing to the semifinals, on the back of Tyler Gough (2022, Perris, Calif.), who pitched five strong innings, allowing a single run and striking out seven. Gough is a solid-size, solid-build young righthander who worked up to 87 mph in a relief appearance a few days ago, and has been on our radar in the 2022 class as a power-armed pitcher. He worked up to 86 mph in this outing, mostly in the 80-83 mph range, and showed good ability to get downhill, over his front side, and leverage the baseball to the bottom of the strike zone. 

The LVR freshman team ended up losing to GBG Marucci Navy in the quarterfinal round, but not before we got an extremely impressive look at Zane Kelly (2023, Las Vegas, Nev.), who was absolutely dominant for five innings until an elevated pitch count helped GBG break through against him in the sixth inning and ultimately claim the win. Kelly is a lean, very projectable lefthander who has all the makings of being a legitimate prospect in the years to come, and though only in eighth grade, he has a lot to like about his present profile as well. He hides the ball extremely well through the back of a compact, inline arm stroke with very good present arm speed, creating very good angle to the plate and giving hitters tough looks. He worked up to 82 mph with his fastbal, cruising in the 79-81 mph range for the majority of his outing, and showing the ability to both cut the fastball in on righthanded hitters' hands as well as to run it away with more of a two-seam action. He's also got very good feel to spin the baseball, with a breaking ball up to 70 mph that is more of a slurve in terms of shape right now, but has very good spin to it as well as sharpness to the break. 

The 3D West club punched their ticket to the championship round on Sunday afternoon via a 8-0 decision in their semifinal game with GBG Marucci Navy, and Logan Saloman (2022, Chandler, Ariz.) had a lot to do with that. Soloman got the start and went the run rule-shortened distance, throwing a five inning shutout allowing only one hit and walking no one while striking out nine and throwing 80 percent strikes. Saloman has good present size with projection remaining, working in the 80-83 mph range with his fastball and absolutely attacking the strike zone. There's some herky-jerky to his mechanical operation, but that aids in the deception he creates and he does a good job staying balanced throughout his delivery, getting inline with his hips downhill, and being on time with his arm at coming through at foot strike. He also has an innate ability to spin the baseball, working in a true curveball at 70-71 mph for the most part with excellent, late breaking depth. He's also a pretty solid hitting prospect as well, and was responsible for four of the 3D West RBI on this day.

– Brian Sakowski

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