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Tournaments | Story | 10/19/2018

World Championship Day 1 Notes

David Rawnsley         Vincent Cervino         Britt Smith         Jerry Miller        
Photo: Rece Hinds (Perfect Game)

2018 WWBA World Championship: Daily Leaders

Reggie Crawford (2019, Frackville, Pa.) has made some serious noise in the past few months as a physical lefthanded pitching prospect who has reached as high as 94 mph with his fastball at PG events. He got the ball for Blackhawks National on Thursday in their opening game of the WWBA World Championship and didn’t disappoint, shutting out Palm Beach Select over 3 1/3 innings, scattering three hits and a walk while picking up four strikeouts. Crawford has excellent size, looking every bit of his listed 6-foot-4, 206-pounds. There’s a fair amount of looseness to his arm stroke to go along with above average arm speed, and he sat in the 88-91 mph range for the most part with his fastball, creating outstanding angles to the plate from a very extended three-quarters slot. His best pitches of the outing came on fastballs located to his glove side against righthanded hitters, an almost impossible pitch to hit given the angle it comes in at. The breaking ball will need improvement, but if there’s one thing we’ve learned about the UConn coaching staff over the past few years it’s that they have no trouble teaching talented lefthanders how to spin the baseball.

The Chicago Scouts Association, as they always do, brought an extremely talented team to Jupiter and picked up a win on opening day, 2-1, over Team Warstic. Michael Prosecky (2019, Westchester, Ill.) was absolutely fantastic on the mound, recovering after an iffy first inning in terms of command to be wholly dominant over five frames, shutting out a talented Warstic club and allowing only a pair of hits and a pair of walks while punching out eight. Prosecky has been prevalent on the prospect radar ever since we first saw him as a sophomore, and now as a senior he’s making serious strides towards being a higher-round MLB Draft choice. With a long, lean build and present athleticism, Prosecky’s arm stroke is loose and easy to go along with solid repeatability of his delivery, though the cross-fire dependent front side does cause some inconsistencies in terms of command. However, when everything is timed up for him mechanically, it’s extremely effective.

Once he found his command on Thursday he was dominant pitching primarily with his fastball, working up to 93 mph a few times and settling into the 88-91 range, creating excellent plane to the plate and extending well through release. After the first inning was the best command this evaluator has ever seen from Prosecky, and it made his profile and overall upside even more exciting than it already was. His breaking ball, which he only brought out a handful of times, flashed pretty solid in the 78-81 mph range with good tilt. He’s an exciting MLB Draft follow heading into the spring.

Jason Hodges (2019, Park Forest, Ill.) had one of the louder offensive days overall on Day 1 of the WWBA World Championship, including hitting a screamer of a bomb in CSA’s exhibition to open the day and then following it up with a 400-foot, 103 mph exit velocity double off the base of the center field wall later in the day. An Arkansas commit, Hodges absolutely looks the part of an SEC slugger right now with great size and overall physicality, and his bat speed/strength combo is on full display seemingly every time he makes contact. He pulled his hands in nicely on an 86 mph sinker in the second game to hit the aforementioned double, showing off a good understanding of the barrel and enticing scouts at the same time, and we’re looking forward to seeing what else he can do over the course of the weekend.

On the other side, Team Warstic sent uncommitted 2019 righthander Roy Peguero (2019, Tampa, Fla.) to the hill, and while he ended up taking the loss he still showed enough to entice evaluators. An extremely physical righthander who is listed at 6-foot-8, 250-pounds, Peguero worked in the 87-90 mph range with his fastball, showing the ability to create significant plane to the plate when over his front side on time as well as generate good sinking life at times as well. There’s some funk to his delivery as well as some timing issues, but that’s to be expected given the length of his frame. He also mixed in a quality breaking ball at times as well, thrown in the low- to mid-70s with 11-to-5 shape and good depth when on top of the pitch at release.

The Padres Scout Team/Chandler World club got off to a 1-0 start on Thursday afternoon, and got a solid, albeit abbreviated, start from Anthony Tomczak (2019, Boca Raton, Fla.) in the process. Tomczak, who really stood out at last weekend’s Florida Diamond Club event, only threw one inning in this one but still flashed quality upside. The righthander has a physical build in his lower half to go along with projection remaining in the upper half, and has a relatively easy operation on the mound, which speaks to future command projection. He worked in the 86-89 mph range with his fastball, with the ball jumping out of his hand pretty easily and showing the ability to work it to both sides of the plate. The curveball has average potential, inconsistent in this look but flashed sharpness and depth with 11-to-5 shape. It was, as mentioned, an abbreviated look but one certainly worth monitoring heading into the spring as it pertains to the MLB Draft.

Shawn Rapp (2019, Mendham, N.J.) got the ball for Tri-State Arsenal in their matchup with the Padres Scout Team/Chandler World, and while he ended up taking the loss, the UNC commit still showed plenty to like. The lefthander has good present size and strength to his frame and looks the part of a potentially durable starter at the college level. He has some deception to his delivery, hiding the ball relatively well through the back and creating good angle from a compact three-quarters slot release. His fastball worked in the 85-88 mph range with flashes of arm-side run and he does a good job of tunneling his breaking ball out of that slot as well. He worked in both a slider and a curveball, with both flashing average potential. The slider is thrown more in the upper-70s with sharpness to the tilt, while the curveball was a bigger-shaped, slower pitch that Rapp was able to land for strikes.

Later at night, BPA picked up an opening game win over MVP by a score of 4-1. Brooks Lee (2019, San Luis Obispo, Calif.), who enjoyed a loud coming out party of sorts at the Area Code games a few months ago, went 0-for-3 in the box score for BPA but found the barrel all three times. A switch-hitter, Lee is viewed as a little bit better from the left side of the plate but got three at-bats from the right side in this one and impressed, consistently getting the head out in an authoritative manner and barreling the ball up. He employs a whole-field approach with excellent hands and ever-developing strength, showing the ability to drive the ball up the gaps with good carry and jump, and his projectable frame indicates there is more power on the way as well. He’s also an extremely adept middle infielder who looks like he has a good chance to stick at shortstop long term, with near-elite level instincts to go along with quality athleticism and tools as well as a solid arm across the diamond.

– Brian Sakowski

Southpaw Jackson Phipps (2020, Dallas, Ga.) is the 14th-ranked player in the 2020 class and he threw 1 2/3 innings in the Braves Scout Team/Team Elite exhibition game that was undoubtedly just a tune up for a longer outing later this week. The 6-foot-5, 205-pound athlete looks the part of a top prospect, and threw like it too, working between 88-92 mph on his fastball to go with a late-breaking 80 mph slider that had curveball depth at times.

DBacks Langley Blaze center fielder Shane Sasaki (2019, Mililani, Hawaii) is a very talented outfielder who is ranked 147th in the PG 2019 class rankings but has likely been virtually unseen by the scouting community. Sasaki came to the 2018 PG Sunshine West Showcase and was the topped ranked prospect at that event, running a 6.5-second 60-yard dash, throwing 94 mph from the outfield and showing excellent righthanded bat speed. But the Hawaii native and Cal Poly commit didn't return to the mainland for the summer circuit and this is only his second PG event. Sasaki got his first Jupiter experience off to a fast start in a Thursday morning exhibition game, going 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and showing the bat speed we've seen before.

The Blaze ran out two interesting uncommitted and unranked 2019 right handers during the same exhibition game, both of whom topped out at 91 mph. Hayden Pilmer (2019, Learnington, Ontario) is an extra big and strong 6-foot-5, 235-pound athlete who throws from a mid three-quarters arm slot and a cross-body delivery that creates bat breaking running life on his fastball. Pilmer also threw a sharp upper-70s slider, although he did tend to over rotate in his delivery occasionally and pull the ball off to his glove side.

Pilmer's teammate, Ryan Scott (2019, Surrey, British Columbia) is an athletic 6-foot-2, 190-pounds with a simple turn-and-throw delivery and a quick arm. Aside from topping out at 91 mph, Scott threw both a 74 mph curveball with good spin and a fading 78 mph changeup and looks like a future starter.

Righthander Andrew Devine (2019, Simi Valley, Calif.) isn't a very physical pitcher at 5-foot-9, 155-pounds but he has a big arm. The Texas Tech commit worked mostly between 91-94 mph while striking out five hitters in two innings for North East Baseball. There is understandably some effort to Devine's delivery and release, more so from the stretch, but he's athletic and holds together his mechanics well. He showed three pitches, with a 74 mph curveball flashing hard biting action and accounting for some of his strikeouts, plus an 82-84 mph changeup that is a promising pitch with some running life.

Lefthander Jonathan Blackwell (2019, Hurricane, W.Va.) is a rare top prospect from West Virginia and a Coastal Carolina commit. He has a prototypical starter's array of pitches, with an upper-80s fastball, a 71-75 mph breaking ball that he showed a very advanced ability to change speeds and shape with, plus an upper-70s changeup that was very good at times. In fact, during this four-inning outing for North East Baseball, Blackwell got into trouble a few times due to leaving his fastball in the middle of the zone and was most effective when he was mixing his three pitches interchangeably. He picked up a number of outs by shortening up the breaking ball and back-footing righthanded hitters.

Florida Burn shortstop/third baseman Joshua Rivera (2019, Avon Park, Fla.) has the type of tools that could get him plenty of scout attention this coming spring. The Florida commit – who is currently ranked 83rd in the PG 2019 class rankings – transferred this year from Avon Park High School to IMG Academy where he will have three PG All-American teammates to draw scouts to the park in righthanders Brennan Malone and Kendall Williams and slugger Rece Hinds. Rivera is a strong 6-foot-2, 205-pound righthanded hitter with outstanding raw bat speed, which showed in this game when he hit a rocket single up the middle that exploded off the barrel. Rivera is a very good all around athlete, with a 6.65 60-yard dash to his credit and 92 mph infield arm strength, both of which he got to show off as well during the Burn's 5-0 opening day win.

US Elite National shortstop Jose Torres (2019, Baltimore, Md.) has pretty much had his way with the bat over the last year at high level WWBA events dating back to the 2017 WWBA Underclass World Championship. Including Thursday’s 4-for-6 performance over one exhibition game and one pool play game, Torres is hitting .457 (27-for-59) over five events. The North Carolina State commit's righthanded swing is very, very smooth with lots of loose extension through contact that leaves his barrel on plane with the ball for a long time. Torres also has plenty of athleticism to stay in the middle infield at the next level as he continues to get stronger.

Righthander Evan Vanek (2019, Frisco, Texas) has made a big velocity jump since he last pitched at a Perfect Game event in July. The 6-foot-3, 165-pound Texas A&M commit topped out at 90 mph previously but was 91-94 mph for two innings of relief for the Texas Rangers Scout Team Thursday afternoon. Vanek has a very easy and fast arm action and there is lots of projection remaining in his young frame. His breaking ball was a 73-76 mph curveball that had good depth to it at times.

MLB Breakthrough Series had to fight back from a early 3-0 deficit to tie D-Bat Elite, with a pair of talented 2020's leading the way. After failing to score after loading the bases with no outs in the bottom of the fifth inning, MLB tied up the game on one swing when outfielder Chase Davis (2020, Elk Grove, Calif.) launched a two-run home run to right field. Davis, a very strong lefthanded hitter, also singled and scored MLB's first run earlier in the game and hit a deep and high fly ball to right-center field in his first at-bat.

MLB righthander Marquis Grissom Jr. (2020, Atlanta, Ga.) was outstanding in two innings of relief to finish the game and preserve the tie, needing only 16 pitches to retire six hitters. Grissom's arms seem to get longer every time we see him and he throws from a loose over-the-top arm slot that maximizes his downhill angle. Grissom worked three quality pitches into his quick outing, working 87-90 mph with his fastball and showing big 12-to-6 downer depth on his curveball. Along with his big league bloodlines, Grissom is also very young for his class and won't turn 17 years old until next summer.

– David Rawnsley

As Jupiter begins, prospects that made adjustments or got hot towards the end of the summer and fall are often zoned in on early and Brett Baty (2019, Spicewood, Texas) would certainly fit that description. Baty, a Texas commit, was very good throughout most of the summer, including the PG National and the 17u WWBA, however it’s clear that he made a jump in his prospect status somewhere between then and now as he’s one of the top lefthanded bats in the prep class. The frame looks very strong at a listed 6-foot-3, 210-pounds with a quiet yet strength-oriented approach at the dish resulting in a lot of well-struck contact. His first hit in the contest on Thursday jumped off the barrel and was remarkably impressive as he showed off the hand quickness working over the inner half on the plate and still got the barrel head out in front with plenty of velocity. When you look at the track record, Baty has been one of the most consistent hitters in the prep ranks with some pop as well, but the true lefthanded stroke and improved athleticism at third base are sure to draw scouts all weekend.

Moving from one of the better hit tools in the class to Rece Hinds (2019, Niceville, Fla.), who has almost inarguably the best power in the prep ranks, as the LSU commit had himself a big afternoon during an opening win for the East Coast Sox. By now Hinds is one of the most well-known prospects for this year’s high school class of draft-eligible prospects, and he’s hard to miss at a super-physical 6-foot-4 and 210-pounds as the No. 7 overall prospect, and the main reason for this is his prodigious power. He has double-plus raw power, and the ball carries like no other to all fields and what he showed during this game wasn’t just his ability to impact the baseball, but the ability to drive the ball with power to the opposite field. After getting down 0-2 early in the count, Hinds fouled off a couple tough pitches until he drove a 90 mph fastball deep to the opposite field and carried out with an exit velocity of 99 mph. The East Coast Sox are a must watch with the amount of talent they have, and Hinds certainly added to that entertainment value with a long home run and a couple of knocks on the day.

Hitting a home run that went further than Hinds’ was Brian Kalmer (2019, Chandler, Ariz.), who turned in arguably the longest home run of the day with an exit velocity of 100 mph off the bat and an estimated distance of 410 feet. The Arizona State commit took advantage of an elevated fastball that just kept carrying to the deepest part of the ballpark in part of an exciting game between the Ohio Warhawks/643 and the AZ D-Backs Scout Team. Kalmer certainly looks the part of a power hitter at the next level with a physical 6-foot-2, 195-pound frame with a swing that’s geared toward power with a positive launch angle and plenty of prerequisite bat speed to boot. He’s going to be at his best when he jumps on fastballs but he made a quality adjustment as he swung and missed through a fastball just the pitch before depositing a moon shot to the pull-side gap. There’s a lot of physicality throughout the D-Backs Scout Team lineup and Kalmer was one to jump out on Thursday.

Jupter can be a premier opportunity to make a name for yourself as an underclass prospect and that’s certainly what Markevian Hence (2020, Pine Bluff, Ark.) did in his outing early Thursday afternoon. The Arkansas commit had just turned 16, though there’s a lot to like moving forward when considering present stuff and the projection, as his arms hang down to his knees with athleticism as well. Hence worked mostly in the 86-90 mph range but hit a couple of 91s early in the game; he’s touched as high as 93 mph in the past including this summer. Hence’s arm stroke is longer and offline through the back, but the arm speed and looseness of the stroke are all positives and he showed the ability to throw a lot of strikes as he worked the zone 67 percent of the time in a 77-pitch outing. He attacked the zone early and often, allowing a couple of hits, and mixed in his curveball as well, though that pitch needs a bit of refinement. There are a lot of positive indicators moving forward and Hence certainly made an impression on a big stage.

After performing as a standout at the Florida Diamond Club a week ago, Paul Labriola (2019, Bradenton, Fla.) got the start in the opening game for 5 Star National and is the picture of projection as a prospect moving forward. The Clemson commit is a lanky, lean 6-foot-6 and 188-pound southpaw with a clean, easy, and low effort arm stroke and delivery upon release of the pitch. The fastball peaked at 87 mph during this look, comfortably living in the 83-86 mph range during his start, and showed a feel for commanding the pitch when working east and west to hitters. Labriola operated primarily from a fastball-curveball mix, he flashed a changeup with some arm-side life in the upper-70s, The ease of the fastball coupled with good feel for his 12-to-6 breaking ball, working mostly in the low-70s with good shape and spin, all project well moving forward and he’s a prospect to monitor particularly if there’s a jump in the stuff next spring.

Uncommitted righthander Carson Swilling (2020, Smiths Station, Ala.) has pitched well at PG events in the past, including last weekend at the Ways to Play in Georgia, and Swilling was dominant in a short, 30-pitch relief outing on Thursday night. The Alabama native has a lively arm, and fastball for that matter, and ran roughshod through the opposing lineup with a lot of swing-and-miss, especially so when he challenged opposing hitters with elevated fastballs. The delivery itself is a bit raw with a good amount of moving parts and an inconsistent arm stroke. That being said, the arm speed and strength are very solid as he worked in the 90-91 mph range and punched out five batters in two innings. Swilling was in attack mode from the first pitch, and though his breaking ball in the mid-70s needs some refinement, Swilling is a definite prospect to monitor as an underclassman.

Looking to be one of the early top prospects for the prep catcher class, Jonathan French (2019, Lilburn, Ga.) had a good day at the office with a couple of high exit velocity doubles throughout both the exhibition and opening round games for the Braves Scout Team/Team Elite on Thursday. The Clemson commit has a strong, durable frame at 6-foot, 210-pounds with a very physical lower half as well. French has come a long way in terms of defensive ability from where he was as an underclassman, as French is now a solid player defensively who’s flexible behind the dish and can block balls effectively. The arm strength has never been the question as he popped a 2.00 pop time to nail a runner and has plenty of above average arm strength. French turned in one of the highest exit velocities of the day with a 106 mph double to the opposite field gap during the exhibition and in the night game went with an outer half fastball for a double down the line. French’s barrel skills are evident, with some power and plenty of righthanded bat speed, and he’s looking like one of the early names to know for catchers come next spring.

Turning in what might be the best performance this scout has seen from him, Gavin Collyer (2019, Buford, Ga.) was absolutely electric on Thursday night in front of a large crowd. The opening night slot of Jupiter is often well regarded for the high profile matchups and Collyer certainly did not disappoint with five strikeouts and only two hits allowed in four scoreless frames.

Collyer has been a name on the scene for a good bit now and the 6-foot-1, 155-pound righthander has a very intriguing combination of being young for the grade with an athletic frame and a loose and fast arm stroke to dream on when it comes to the physical projection. Collyer lands a bit cross-fired and whips his arm through the circle to get some short sink from an extended slot. This worked well for Collyer especially considering he sat 88-91 for the entirety of the outing while touching 92 mph on his final pitch of the first inning; his final pitch on the outing was at 90 mph. He held the velocity as well as this scout had seen before and the slider looked just as good with short bite and he buried it well in the 80-82 mph range while showing the potential to be an average or better pitch. He flashed a changeup at 78 mph, which got a foul tip, and looks to be on the rise when it comes to his draft status.

Outshining Collyer in terms of the box score, Evan Fitterer (2019, Aliso Viejo, Calif.) was fantastic in a complete game effort for BPA with seven innings, one run allowed and 12 punchouts. The UCLA commit dazzled during his performance that featured a ton of strikes and a good amount of swing-and-miss as well.

Fitterer’s athletic 6-foot-3, 195-pound frame is that of a top flight pitching prospect and to go along with plus arm speed from a compact arm stroke. The arm speed and arm action both project well in terms of throwing harder and throwing strikes, though he had no issues with doing either as he sat 89-92 mph for the entire performance while pounding in 70 percet strikes. Fitterer’s fastball featured some late life on occasion, often of the cutting variety, and he gets downhill very well from a low effort overall delivery. Fitterer’s breaking ball was sharp, routinely working in the 76-80 mph range with spin rates around 2500-2600 rpm while the shape would fluctuate. However, it still functioned as a swing-and-miss offering with late biting action. The righthander also flashed a firm changeup at 84 mph and he certainly looks the part as one of the better California arms for this year’s draft class.

– Vinnie Cervino

Iowa commit Sam Link (2019, Dubuque, Iowa) showed many in attendance why he is bound for a career in the Big Ten for his in-state Iowa Hawkeyes. The 6-foot, 175-pound, dynamic infielder showed his considerable talents at shortstop. He has outstanding anticipatory skills and truly understands positioning. He shows advanced first step quickness and his lateral movement is on par with the best in the tournament. At the plate, his patient approach and pitch recognition ability allow him to see a lot of pitches and use his short, quick, compact swing path to spray line drives to all parts of the park. Once on base, the senior at Dubuque HS is a heady and aggressive runner who can and will press the action.

The Louisiana Knights club is a tremendously talented outfit from Bayou Country. Leading their efforts on the diamond on Thursday was their starting righthanded pitcher Casey Ouellette (2019, Pflugerville, Texas). The 6-foot-2, 170-pound Louisiana Tech commit is a strike thrower with smooth and repeatable mechanics. His high three-quarters arm slot allows him to throw his very effective three-pitch mix to both sides of the plate. He is especially effective pitching down in the zone. His fastball, which showed advanced arm-side run and sink, sat in the 88 mph range for four-plus strong innings. He complemented his well-commanded heater with a sharp 69-71 mph, 12-to-6 breaking curveball and a deceptive, tumbling 81 mph changeup.

Southpaw Kirby Connell (2019, Blacksburg, S.C.) of the Upstate Mavericks turned in one of the top pitching performances of the day in pacing his club to a 2-0 shutout victory over the talented Toronto Blue Jays Scout Team. The Tennessee commit tossed a two-hit, seven-inning, complete game at the heavy hitting Blue Jay club and used a plus tempo and pace and outstandingly smooth and efficient mechanics to mix and match four advanced and projectable pitches. The 6-foot-1, 175-pound Blacksburg HS senior pitched off his well-commanded and lively fastball (87-88 mph) that he threw to both sides of the dish. He also mixed in a sharp and late-breaking 12-to-6 curveball (71-74 mph) and a 11-to-5 breaking slider (74-76 mph) that showed plus tilt. His swing-and-miss changeup (75-78 mph) completed this heady lefthander’s repertoire.

U.S. Elite 2019 National showed up in Jupiter with an enthusiastic, fundamentally sound club that plays hard from start to finish. Leading their efforts was their dynamo of a shortstop, Jose Torres (2019, Baltimore, Md.). The 6-foot, 165-pound high-energy middle infielder is the unquestioned vocal captain for US Elite. He uses his ultra-quick feet to get his smooth glove in position to play behind and through the ball. He has a quick trigger and plus arm strength. His throws show consistent carry and accuracy. At the plate, the North Carolina State commit has a short, quick and compact swing path and seemingly always gets his barrel to the ball. He is an instinctively aggressive runner who will force the action and take the extra base.

Solidly built Elon commit Stephen Paolini (2019, Fairfield, Conn.) showed his projectable power hitter’s swing for U.S Elite 2019 National Thursday afternoon. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound slugger showed his ability to consistently drive the ball to the big parts of the ball field. He sits on his strong lower half that he incorporates in every swing he takes. He gets his bat on plane and shows plus lift at contact. He also shows great plate discipline and timing and regularly gets his barrel to the ball.

Lefthanded pitcher Alexander Ayala (2020, Doral, Fla.) made a middle innings relief appearance for US Elite and showed some highly projectable stuff. The uncommitted 6-foot-1, 175-pound junior from Brito Miami Private HS has a long and lean frame that should allow him to add strength and power as he matures. He pumped his active fastball (88-91 mph) to both sides of the plate with relative ease, showing advanced command. His fastball was especially effective to his arm side and down in the zone.  He complemented his plus heater with a solid, 12-to-6 breaking 74-76 mph curveball and a plus average changeup (77-78 mph) that had fade at the dish.

Team GA National showed many in attendance that they are deep and talented and have the roster composition to compete for the WWBA World Championship. Their lineup is unrelenting. Leading the charge for the group out of Georgia was their shortstop Reagan Burford (2020, Germantown, Tenn.). The Ole Miss commit is a twitchy, athletic player who has many projectable tools. He shines defensively and shows a heady approach and smooth, sure actions. His quick feet allow him to get to many grounders that others could/would not. He has active hands and shows a great ability to get the ball into and out of his glove with a veteran’s confidence. He has plus arm strength and his throws are consistently on target. At the plate, the talented, 6-foot-1, 180-pound junior at St. George’s HS uses a flat path and strong hands to get his bat on plane and through contact. He has a middle-of-the-field mentality and shows consistent barrel-to-ball ability.

Big and powerful 6-foot-2, 205-pound Mitchell Fleming (2019, Milton, Ga.) can drive a baseball. The solidly built catcher for Team Georgia showed consistent bat-to-ball ability in hitting the baseball to the deepest parts of the field. He has natural raw power that should only continue to develop as his career progresses. The Montevallo commit also shows projectable ability at the all-important catching position. He has a smooth and easy set-up and is a confident receiver of the baseball. He shows advanced ability to frame pitches. He also has sure and quick feet that allow him to transition well and get the ball on its way. He shows plus average ability to throw the baseball and those throws regularly find their mark.

A pair of Auburn commits also had commendable performances for Team Georgia as they defeated a very good Dallas Raiders club. Third baseman Travis Odom (2019, Franklin, Tenn.) is a 6-foot-2, 185-pound athletically gifted player. He shows very instinctive ability at the hot corner. He has outstanding first-step quickness and possesses a very strong and accurate arm. At the dish, he shows consistent ability to drive the ball from gap-to-gap. He has a flatter path the he quickly gets on plane and through contact.

Johnny Ceccoli (2020, Tyler Texas) also had a big day at the dish for Team GA National. The solid built 6-foot-2, 200-pound Texan used his classic lefthanded swing path to drive the ball consistently to the middle of the diamond.  In the field, he is a sure and confident defender who shows agility and a plus arm that is highly accurate.

In late game action, the PG Navy Select club used a collective, never-say-die approach to match the Scorpions Founders Club pitch-for-pitch. Sturdy James Rolle (2019, Nassau, Bahamas) is a big, barrel-chested lefthanded stick in the middle of the PG Navy attack. He doesn’t get cheated when he swings the bat. He stands on top of the dish, clears his hips and lets the bat head go. His swing path has a pronounced lift at contact and he shows ability to be on time. He powered more than one ball to the deep pull side.

Also showing plus power for PG Navy was Adam Conte (2020, Wayne, N.J.). Like Rolle, Conte is a sturdily built and very strong individual. The stout, 5-foot-10, 198-pound well-muscled Conte used his solid lower half and powerful core to drive a ball out of Cardinals 3. His big blow helped his team pull even with the gifted Scorps Founders Club.

– Jerry Miller

Sanson Faltine III (2019, Richmond, Texas) continued to show the level of consistency that has come to be expected from him in a start against the Costal Prospects Upperclass on Thursday. Working five innings in an efficient 81 total pitches, the 6-foot-3, 185-pound righthander attacked hitters with a darting fastball early and often. Sitting in the 87-89 mph range, while tapping 92-mph, Faltine, a University of Texas commit, created solid tilt and angle to lower reaches of the strike zone. With a complementary slider between 81-83 and 12-to-6 shaped curveball at 78-mph, he limited the Coastal Prospects to two hits and allowed a single run, exiting with a 3-1 lead after five innings.

Izaac Pacheco (2021, Friendswood, Texas) showed advancement in his hitting approach as well as his physical maturity. The power that the 6-foot-4, 210-pound lefthanded hitter has in the bat is well documented, but the Texas A&M commit showed that the days of the all-or-nothing approach are in the rear-view mirror. In a tight game with the go-ahead run on second, Pacheco, facing a left-on-left two-strike breaking ball, delayed the launch of his hands and planed off a line drive RBI single to the opposite field to put his team on top. The physical tools are present and as he continues to grow to maturity physically, the biggest impression was the development of his hitting approach.

– Britt Smith

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