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Tournaments | Story | 6/30/2019

16u South Day 2 Scout Notes

Nate Schweers      Britt Smith      Andrew Jenkins     
Photo: John Rizzo (Perfect Game)

2019 16u WWBA South National Championship: Day 1 Scout Notes

L.D. Bell High School was home to a number of impact and noteworthy performances on Saturday, and John Rizzo (2021, The Woodlands, Texas) certainly lead the way. Rizzo came out of the bullpen for one inning of work on Saturday, retiring the side in order on just eight pitches and recording a strikeout. Rizzo has an athletic, 6-foot-1, 180-pound frame with an electric arm from the right side. Rizzo repeats the lower half well, and has a short, compact arm stroke from an over the top arm slot. Rizzo was exclusive with the fastball on Saturday, sitting at 89-92 mph, topping at 93 mph. Most impressive was Rizzo’s ability to attack hitters in the zone and the  recent Texas A&M commit competes at a high-level with focus and intent. This combination is one that comes with rarity, and one that should lead to more dominant outings in the future.

Mason Marriott (2021, Tomball, Texas) was another righthanded pitcher that was impressive on Saturday. Marriott tossed three innings, allowing just one run and striking out four batters. The Baylor commit has a medium frame with room to grow and add strength, and the arm works fast from a three-quarters slot. Marriott’s fastball was in the mid-80s on Saturday, topping at 88 mph with a good down plane and some late run to the arm side. Marriott showed an advanced ability to attack both halves of the plate with his fastball and hard slider with late depth at 77-79 mph. The slider was a swing-and-miss pitch on Saturday, and there is a lot to like in his approach to pitching.

Nomar Garcia (2020, Laredo, Texas) had a good day at the plate and in the field for Banditos – Black on Saturday. Garcia was 2-for-2 with a double and two RBI, and also made a couple of really nice plays on the run in right field. Garcia starts from an upright and slightly open stance at the plate, using a direct hand path and present barrel speed to drive the baseball. Garcia has a middle of the field approach at the plate, and also has a great first step and speed out of the box.

Heriberto Emmanuel Garza (2021, Rio Grande, Texas) was impressive behind the plate on Saturday, and he had a loud double over the head of the center fielder as well. Garza had a physical, 5-foot-11, 185-pound frame from the left side of the plate with a naturally lifted barrel plane. Garza controls the running game well behind the plate, constantly looking for reasons to let it fly around the diamond. Garza did just that on multiple occasions Saturday, back-picking a runner at first base on what was a strong and accurate throw. Garza is a Rice commit.

Malachi Lott (2021, Portland, Texas) was another Banditos Scout Team 16u player to have good day at the plate on Saturday. Lott, who swings it from the left side of the plate, was 2-for-3 with three RBI on the day. Lott has a young, 5-foot-8, 155-pound frame with plenty of room to grow and add strength. The Houston commit’s smooth swing and excellent speed make him a catalyst at the top of the lineup, and he was able to provide just that in Saturday’s game.

Robert Oropeza (2022, Tomball, Texas) is an intriguing two-way player in the 2022 class, and he showed off his projectable tools at both the plate and on the mound Saturday. Oropeza was 1-for-3 at the plate with well-struck single, and followed that up with 1 2/3 innings on the mound. Oropeza sat in the low-80s, topping at 86 mph with his fastball on Saturday, and he has very raw and developing mechanics on the mound. Though the lower half is inconsistent in it’s direction at times, Oropeza has a fast arm from an over the top slot. Currently ranked as the 35th-best player in Texas’ 2022 class, it will be exciting to see the Oropeza come into his own in the coming years.

Prior to being halted by weather, a pool play game between the Dallas Patriots 16u Sherard and Blackhawks National 16u brought a plethora of noteworthy performances. Max Miller (2021, Carlsbad, Calif.) got the start in the game for Blackhawks National 16u, pitching at 86-88 mph with his fastball that had good tilt and flashed some run to the arm side. Miller also showed an impressive feel for spin on Saturday night with a good curveball with 12-to-6 shape and late depth in the low-70s. Miller has a physical, 6-foot-3, 210-pound frame, and he is currently uncommitted in the 2021 class.

Derek Bender (2021, Latham, N.Y.) was impressive behind the plate for Blackhawks National 16U. Bender started his day strong with a hard-hit, backside single to right field. Bender has an upright and slightly open stance at the plate, and he was able to really see the outside pitch and drive it the other way. Behind the plate, Bender receives well and was consistently winning pitches on the edges. The Coastal Carolina commit is a hard-nosed player, taking a hard-hit at the plate and blocking and recovering with authority.

Alan Benhardt (2021, McKinney, Texas) made the play of the day in center field for Dallas Patriots 16U Sherard on Saturday night. Benhardt got to full extension to make a diving catch and steal a double in the left-center field gap. Benhardt has a good first step to the ball in the outfield, consistently keeping hitters from extra-bases with his routes to the ball. Benhardt makes things go in the leadoff spot for the Patriots, going 1-for-2 with a hard-hit single through the middle. The uncommitted member of the 2021 class is a name to keep an eye on as tournament action presses on.

– Nate Schweers

Jett Williams (2022, Heath, Texas) was impressive in his outing with fastball command, which sat 89-90 mph, topping at 92. The primary shortstop for Academy Select Baseball – Howard/Lowe squad, kept his fastball at the knees and below to both halves of the plate and controls an easy paced delivery with minimal effort and solid direction. Williams manipulates his position on the rubber in mid-delivery to create angles to both sides of the plate effectively. The addition of a swing-and-miss breaking ball, between 74-76 mph, with tight spin and late bite was easily his go-to out-pitch. Williams kept his curveball tunneled with the fastball slot and the amount of depth he created with the pitch made it nearly unhittable. Presently ranked as the No. 2 shortstop in Texas for the 2022 class, Williams may see an uptick in the interest on the pitching side of his recruitment as well.

– Britt Smith

Edbarry Guzman-Ithier (2020, Fort Worth, Texas) is a 5-foot-8, switch-hitting catcher for Dallas Tigers Ahearne with a solid frame and a prominent lower half. Taking all his cuts lefthanded, Guzman-Ithier gained ground during his leg kick trigger, possessed quick hands into a linear path with slight lift to his swing. He had a sound approach that allowed him to get good pitches in fastball counts and despite going 0-for-4, squared up the baseball in all four of his at-bats. His tools behind the plate are serviceable and did an outstanding job blocking and keeping the ball in front.

Colton Shaw (2021, Richardson, Texas) is a 6-foot-1, lean-framed middle infielder with a high waist and long extremities. He used a middle-of-the-field approach, compact swing and kept his hands in the zone with a line drive bat path. He created lag and drove a ball down the right field line in his first at-bat and followed that up with two singles to lead the way for the Dallas Tigers Ahearne offense, going 3-for-4 with a double and one run scored. Starting at shortstop he used his quick feet to help him get in a good fielding position, showed semi-soft hands and made accurate throws across the diamond. Shaw is hitting .709 through the first two games of the tournament and should be an interesting follow entering his junior campaign at Plano East High School.

6-foot-3, 225-pound righthanded pitcher Chayton Krauss (2021, Coppell, Texas) has a big, projectable frame. He toed the rubber for Thrive-Haugen against D-BAT Elite Walden and had a dominant performance on the mound. Krauss tossed a no hitter in six innings of work, struck out 10 and allowed only one free pass. His fastball at sat 81-83 mph and occasionally touched 85-86 mph with arm-side run and he mixed in a sound 12-to-6 curveball with very good command. If Krauss improves his flexibility to his already projectable frame, he should be able create cleaner mechanics and more velocity.

Cooper Pieri (2021, Jonesboro, Ark.) was impressive in his start for Sticks Baseball Academy on Saturday, throwing three innings and striking out two. The righthander has a smooth delivery from a high three-quarters arm slot with repeatable mechanics.  His fastball was in the mid- to upper-80s and topped out at 89 mph, and he flashed curveball with tight spin at 75 mph. With tweaks to his mechanics, Pieri could add more velocity and should continue to devlope more command in the future. This uncommitted prospect is the No.3-ranked righthanded pitcher in Arkansas.

Arkansas State commit Dawson Chester (2021, Pocahontas, Ark.) had a strong performance offensively for Sticks Baseball Academy going 2-for-3 with one double and one run scored. Using a compact swing, Chester had no issue getting the barrel to the ball on time with good contact out front. Listed as a primary third baseman, he got the start at shortstop. Chester had good footwork, made all the routine plays and flashed some leather on multiple back-hand attempts where he showcased plus arm strength and good carry to his throws.

Oklahoma State commit Hagen Smith (2021, Bullard, Texas) had a very electric outing for Academy Select 16u Ingram. Smith showed good command of the fastball with late sinking action and run at 89-92 mph. Smith controlled both corners of the plate for strikes and showcased a sharp-biting slider at 80 mph with 2-to-8 shape. He has a projectable frame standing 6-foot-2, 190-pound with room to add strength. He worked a three-quarters arm slot with a very quick and whippy arm action. His delivery is had some funk, was deceptive and pitched downhill. Held to a pitch count to remain eligible to pitch later in the tournament, Smith worked 1 1/3 innings, allowed one hit and had three punchouts. The lefthanded pitcher will be a great addition to the Oklahoma State pitching staff as he will continue to grow into his own before he reaches Stillwater.

Out of the bullpen for Academy Select 16u Ingram was TCU commit Robert Fortenberry (2021, Frisco, Texas)whoalso had an impressive outing. The southpaw worked from a three-quarters arm slot with a fastball at 85-87 mph that had arm-side run, showing a feel for his curveball that had 1-to-7 shape at 72 mph and flashing a changeup at 76 mph with some fade. Fortenberry has the ability to command his fastball to both halves and controlled his secondary pitches nicely. Also, he was held to a pitch count to remain eligible to pitch later in the tournament, Fortenberry worked 1 2/3 innings, allowed zero hits and had two strikeouts. With added strength to his lower half, Fortenberry projects for more velocity over the next two years and should be a good pick up for the Horned Frogs.

Due to weather the game between the Dallas Patriots 16u Sherard and Blackhawks National 16u was delayed.

Getting the nod on the bump,Tyson Neighbors (2021, Rockwall, Texas) is a 6-foot-1, 205-pound, uncommitted righthanded pitcher for Dallas Patriots 16u Sherard. He had an online, max effort delivery with good extension out front. Neighbors located his fastball for strikes and worked his slider to both sides in the low-80s with a late fading 76 mph changeup.

Cayden Phillips (2021, Amarillo, Texas) was impressive at the plate and behind the dish for Dallas Patriots 16u Sherard. In his first at-bat on the day, Phillips hit a frozen rope double that jumped off his bat and scored two runs. In his second plate appearance, he hit a hard liner to shortstop for a loud out. He stands out behind the plate, is a field general and displayed athleticism in his blocking with plus arm strength and online throws.

– Andrew Jenkins

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