Tournaments | Story | 10/4/2019

Underclass World Day 1 Notes

Jheremy Brown         Brian Sakowski         Vincent Cervino         Greg Gerard         Jered Goodwin         Nate Schweers         Taylor Weber         Jerry Miller        
Photo: Brodie Chestnutt (Perfect Game)

2019 WWBA Underclass World Championship: Daily Leaders

Jacob Jenkins-Cowart (2021, Greensboro, N.C.) started day one of the 2019 WWBA Underclass World Championship with a bang, turning in an impressive offensive performance for the Dirtbags Bad Company. The East Carolina commit finished the day 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI, highlighted by a loud triple to the right-center field gap in his third at-bat. A primary first baseman, Jenkins-Cowart has a tall and slender frame has plenty of room to fill out and add strength. The smooth-swinging lefty already possesses some advanced bat-to-ball skills and some present power to the pull side. Jenkins-Cowart’s power tool will only continue to advance as the frame continues to mature.

Casey Gibbs (2021, Olney, Md.) had a good showing both offensively and defensively on Thursday, collecting a double in his first at-bat and showing advanced defensive skills behind the plate. Gibbs has some present bat speed at the plate and will continue to have strong days as his bat-to-ball skills continue to develop. Behind the plate, the VCU commit has a quiet glove and excellent receiving skills to complement present arm strength. Gibbs was able to nab a runner trying to steal second with a strong throw on Thursday and also flashed the leather at first base late in the game. The versatile Maryland native plays with a high motor and should continue to develop well as his prep career goes on.

Over on the diamond next door, Ryan Waldschmidt (2021, Bradenton, Fla.) flashed a lot of things to like at the plate and up the middle. Defensively, Waldschmidt shows excellent range at the shortstop position, making a couple of really nice plays on the run and showing the ability to make accurate throws from multiple slots. Though he only had one hit to show for it, Waldschmidt put together some good swings at the plate on Thursday, collecting an RBI and finding ways to make consistently hard contact throughout.

Malakai Vetock (2021, Elkhorn, Neb.) turned in a strong outing for the Nebraska Prospects 2021 Scout on Thursday, striking out six and allowing just three hits over 5 1/3 innings of work. Vetock challenged hitters with a mid-80s fastball up to 86 mph on Thursday, commanding the pitch to both sides of the plate and showing an ability to land a sweeping curveball in the zone as well. Vetock has a long and lanky frame and he has a clean arm path from a three-quarters slot. Though the arm action does get stiff in the back at times, Vetock is able to repeat his delivery well and create a consistent release point. The righthander is currently uncommitted in the 2021 class.

In the other dugout, Donald Lent (2021, Deer Park, N.Y.) showed a lot of things to like on the mound for MVP BEAST National. The southpaw hides the ball well a long delivery across the body, challenging hitters with a lively fastball in the low-80s, topping at 84 mph. Lent showed feel to spin a pair of secondary pitches on Thursday with his most effective pitch being a hard slider with late depth at 77 mph. Lent also showed feel to land a bigger breaking ball in the low-70s throughout his start and the frame is projectable to add more velocity over time.

Benjamin Ribicoff (2021, Maplewood, N.J.) was impressive for Jersey Boyz Baseball on Thursday, playing a strong center field and connecting on a pair of hard-hit balls at the plate. Listed at just 5-foot-8, 183-pounds, Ribicoff covers a ton of ground in the outfield and made a couple of really nice plays on the run. At the plate, Ribicoff has strong hands and good barrel control, showing the ability to get the hands extended and drive the ball to all fields. Ribicoff’s best swing of the day came on a line drive double over the head of the shortstop, and he was also able to add an RBI with a sacrifice fly the opposite way in right field. The New Jersey native has the mixture of strength and speed to make an impact at the top of the order.

A long and lanky infielder for Gatorball 17u, Whip Davis (2021, Brooker, Fla.) was impressive on Thursday night both at the plate and at third base. Davis connected on a hard-hit single in his first trip to the plate and finished 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs, showing excellent bat-to-ball skills and a fluid swing from the lefthanded batter’s box. While the Florida native’s offense is nothing to scoff at, his defensive actions really stood out. Davis plays through the ball well at third base and has the already present arm strength to play the position at a high level.

Cody Dimes (2021, Seaford, Del.) impressed during a one-inning relief appearance on Thursday, allowing just one hit and recording a strikeout to close out a victory. Dimes sat 83-85 mph with the fastball, topping at 86 and showing the ability to locate quality strikes to both sides of the plate. Dimes creates good linear direction down the mound and repeats the delivery well. The righthander showed feel to spin a curveball with 11-to-5 shape in the mid-70s which was an excellent complement to the fastball.

Blake Tipmore (2021, Wellington, Fla.) got the start for Elite. Squad 2021’s Black in the final time slot of the day, striking out six batters over 2 1/3 hitless innings of work. Tipmore is extremely explosive down the mound with his 5-foot-11 frame and he has good arm speed with a fastball that really shoots out of the hand. Tipmore challenged hitters with the fastball at 85-87 mph on Thursday, flashing feel to spin a tight curveball with 12-to-6 shape and late depth when on time. Though there is some effort in the delivery at times, the explosiveness is special from the uncommitted righthander.

– Nate Schweers

Closing out the Dirtbags victory in the first game of the tournament over at the 5-Plex was uncommitted righthander Jaden Winter (2021, Apex, N.C.) who ran his fastball up to 89 mph on the morning. There’s a lot to like about Winter’s profile starting with his long-limbed and projectable 6-foot-5, 210-pound frame. He rocks into his delivery, preserving his momentum nicely through release with a short, deceptive arm action. Winter worked a quick frame and lived in the 87-89 mph range with good life while going to his off-speed a good bit. His changeup showed some sinking action in the 78-80 mph range while the breaking ball showed good shape and the ability to be landed for strikes in the low-70s. This was a brief but intriguing appearance as Winter made quick work of the opposition while showing very good stuff.

Turning in a strong start for the Longshots on Thursday afternoon was uncommitted righthander Jack Rodi (2021, Hinsdale, Ill.) who struck out five hitters in 2 2/3 innings pitched while showing an intriguing package. A high-waisted and projectable 6-foot-3, 185-pounds, Rodi has a good amount of present athleticism and room to fill out. The delivery shows good athleticism with a short, quick arm stroke and he filled up the strike zone with his fastball that sat in the 82-85 mph range while touching 86 a handful of times. He spins off his front side at release but can still work the pitch to either side of the plate while mixing in good feel for a breaking ball in the low-70s. There’s intriguing projection with good feel for the operation at present that bodes well for Rodi as he fills out.

One of the louder performances from a prospect not currently ranked was from outfielder Emaarion Boyd (2022, Batesville, Miss.) who showed a lot of exciting tools and athleticism. Boyd showed off nearly every one of his tools during Easley Baseball’s victory and he is an extremely wiry, quick-twitched prospect with a good frame to fill out. He’s an excellent runner and stolen base threat as Boyd notched three stolen bases on the afternoon and posted a best run time of 4.04 seconds to first on a jailbreak ground ball. The speed might already be plus and the offensive tools show promise as well with very fast and loose hands. The whip and raw bat speed that Boyd is able to generate is notable and he’s a solid defender in center field. Boyd showed off the defensive chops with an excellent ranging catch toward left-center field late in the game and then showed off the arm by firing a strike to first to double up the runner. Boyd’s ceiling is extremely high and he was able to put on a clinic of his tools during Thursday’s game.

Showing some excellent stuff in his one inning of work was Rake City’s Ben Hess (2021, Charleston, Ill.) who sat 88-90 mph in his lone inning on the day. Hess, committed to Indiana, has a broad-shouldered 6-foot-4, 195-pound frame with tons of room to hold strength on the frame at maturity. The arm stroke is loose and fast with some length to the overall operation, but the fastball comes out well with good life on the pitch. The fastball quality was very good, generating whiffs up in the strike zone while he was mixing in a firm, lateral-breaking slider in the 78-80 mph range. Hess certainly warrants an extended look, but in a one-inning stint the two-pitch mix was certainly impressive.

Showing some promise behind the plate for the Hamden Yard Dogs was Tyler Gilligan (2021, Ringwood, N.J.) as the athletic backstop has some things to like with a strong lefthanded swing as well. Gilligan is athletic behind the dish with good flexibility and bounce while showing off a very quick arm, popping around the 2.0 range on throws in between innings. Statistically he stood out in the middle of the order notching two hits on the day and the swing has a flat barrel path while the barrel stays in the hitting zone for a good amount of time. There’s good feel both with the bat and with the glove as Gilligan is an intriguing prospect.

Collin McNeil (2021, Branford, Conn.) got the start as Gilligan’s battery mate and turned in a quality start with no earned runs over two frames for the southpaw. Needing just 20 pitches, McNeil didn’t allow a hit and showed off some deception and funk in the process. McNeil sat in the low-80s, topping out at 84 mph while sinking the fastball well. McNeil hides the ball until the very last second and leveraged the ball low in the zone for opposing hitters to get on top of it and get themselves out. He mixed in a few breaking balls that he could land for strikes as a change-of-pace offering. There’s still projection remaining on McNeil’s lean frame and he’ll be one to watch for when he gets another chance this weekend on the mound.

The performance of the night on the mound came courtesy of FTB/Giants Scout Team’s Anthony Ursitti (2021, Fort Myers, Fla.) as the Florida commit showed some of the best pure arm speed and fastball velocity of the day. At 6-foot-3, 195-pounds, Ursitti is a very solid athlete and the frame has a lot of room to hold strength as he continues to mature from a physical standpoint. He shows excellent arm speed and that whip allows him to get on top and pound the lower third of the strike zone with his fastball. Ursitti sat mostly in the 87-90 mph range on the evening while touching both 91 and 92 mph with the pitch early in the outing. The breaking ball shows good spin and depth around 70 mph and will undoubtedly firm up as he adds more strength while there’s already very good feel for a fading changeup in the 79-82 mph range. Ursitti certainly looks the part as one of the top arms in the class and Thursday night’s start only reaffirms that.

Ursitti’s teammate Jac Caglianone (2021, Tampa, Fla.) looks to be the next smooth swinging lefty out of perennial Tampa powerhouse Plant High School as Caglianone put a charge into an absolute moonshot during the night slots at Terry Park. At 6-foot-4, 192-pounds, the Florida commit has major upside from a physical standpoint as it appears Caglianone is only just scratching the surface of his physical potential. He generates excellent bat speed, loft and leverage to the stroke and he got his hands out to let the barrel eat and launch a ball deep into the night in right-center field. Caglianone is a talented two-way prospect but the offensive upside is vast and he’s continued to develop nicely in front of our scouts all summer long.

– Vinnie Cervino

The WWBA Underclass World Championship tournament is filled with top prospect talent and that was showcased in the very first game at the Stadium over at Terry Park. It was a pitcher’s duel between the Virginia Cardinals 2021’s and Iowa Select 2021 Sole/Rath as both teams sent out top 500 arms in their class.

Taking the mound for the Cardinals was 6-foot-3, 190-pound righthander Brett Allen (2021, Mechanicsville, Va.). Allen is better known for his play on the field but he has some things to like on the mound as well. Due to the early matchup, the goal was to keep the pitch count low for Allen to be used later in the weekend so he went just two innings. Though he allowed two runs, Allen’s stuff was very good. He generates arm speed into a three-quarters slot, using his length well and really working through extension to the plate. This helps his fastball creates some jump out of the hand and top out at 87 mph. Allen also added a couple of RBI in the 5-5 tie.

The Iowa Select team called upon strong righthander Logan Runde (2021, Peosta, Iowa) to take the ball in their first game of the event. Runde has a lot of present strength at 215-pounds and stands at 6-foot-2. He utilizes his strong lower half well working down the mound, pairing a long arm action into a three-quarters slot. He also generates solid arm speed into his release creating life on his fastball touching 88 mph in this outing. Runde throws three pitches for strikes including both a curveball and a slider, both with sharp break through the zone. He had everything working in this game tossing six innings and allowing three earned runs while collecting eight strikeouts.

It was a very good, early tournament matchup between Tri State Arsenal Scout Team and FTB Rockets 2021 as both teams have a chance to make it deep into the event. FTB’s Cameron Clines (2021, Lake Worth, Fla.) took the mound with the goal of holding this tough Tri State team down. He worked through 3 2/3 innings allowing just a pair of earned runs. Clines has the build of a pitcher that can play this game for a while at 6-foot-3, 200-pounds and the appearance that he can continue to get bigger. He creates hard downhill plane on the fastball working up to 91 mph and sitting in the upper-80s with ease. He allowed just two hits and struck out seven batters, showing his swing-and-miss potential with a sharp 11-to-5 shaped curveball with late depth to the plate. The uncommitted righthander came into the tournament as a top 50 player at his position in the country.

On the mound for Tri State to start the game was another righthanded prospect ranked among the top 2021 players across the country in Caden Hare (2021, Phenix City, Ala.). Hare doesn’t have the frame that his counterpart Clines has, at just 5-foot-11, 160-pounds, but he does max out his potential with high-end arm speed and a repeatable delivery. He stays full through the back and into a three-quarters slot. Hare was basically untouchable through his first three innings, as he went 1-2-3 in the first with a pair of four-pitch strikeouts. In his second inning it was more of the same as he grabbed the leadoff hitter on one pitch and collected two more strikeouts. He wouldn’t allow a base hit until the fourth inning. He mixed pitches well and varied his timing to the plate to keep hitters off balance up and down the lineup. His fastball was tough to read up to 89 mph.

Coming in to relieve Hare was Generoso Romano (2021, Roseland, N.J.) who was very impressive in just two innings of work. The Duke commit is as close to all-out arm speed as it gets working to the plate with an extended slot. His fastball-slider combination was very fun to watch as he sat 87-89 and reached back and got up to 93 mph in his first inning. His slider was so effective due to the fact that his arm speed and release are near identical to that of his fastball. Romano was able to shut the door, allowing zero earned runs and sitting down five batters on strikes.

Elite Squad 2021’s got out to a hot start out of the gate with an easy 8-0 victory. The top of the order was great for Elite Squad with Lucas Torres (2021, Cayey, Puerto Rico) showing off the bat. He has quick hands staying compact to the ball. He’s aggressive for a leadoff hitter, looking to attack pitches early and get on base for the dangerous lineup behind him. He works through a slightly elevated path looking to get the ball in the air and let his strong frame and strong hands play at the point of contact. He got out onto the front side just a bit in his first at-bat and rolled a ground ball to the right side for an out. He made a quick adjustment in his next two plate appearances, staying back and driving the ball hard to the pull side for an RBI single and a two-run triple into the corner.

Elite Squad called upon big righty Connor Manning (2021, Coral Springs, Fla.) to lock up the fiving-inning, 8-0 win on day one. Manning is a primary pitcher committed to South Florida who stands at 6-foot-3, 205-pounds and projects well on the mound. He has a lot of zip on his fastball that shows hard cutting life through the zone and occasional sink in his lower velocity band. After striking out the leadoff batter, Manning allowed a walk missing a couple of times with his breaking ball down and away. Knowing that his fastball was going to be tough to hit, he stuck with it at 85-88 mph and struck out the next two hitters to end the game.

– Taylor Weber

The early afternoon starts saw four highly competitive games at JetBlue Park as action got underway on Day 1 at the spring home of the Boston Red Sox.

Lehigh Valley, Pa.-based Rising Stars Baseball 2021 National ran 6-foot-7, 180-pound righthander Devin Fletcher (2021, Bethlehem, Pa.) out to the mound to help get their pool play game off to a great start. The long and lean Liberty HS junior certainly did not disappoint. Using consistent yet highly deceptive mechanics, Fletcher worked with great pace and pounded the strike zone consistently. Pitching off his well-commanded and highly active 84-86 mph fastball, he routinely repeated his arm action and worked both sides of the plate competently. He complemented his fastball with a short and quick 12-to-6 breaking 76-79 mph curveball and a plus 72-73 mph changeup that showed late tumble at the dish.

Fletcher’s Liberty HS teammate, Wyatt Marshall (2021, Bethlehem, Pa.), sparked the Rising Stars offense from the leadoff position. The lefthanded swinging outfielder used a short, quick and direct path to spray line drives to the middle of the field. His understanding of his role and of the strike zone was noticeable. Marshall also possesses plus speed and is an aggressive and heady baserunner.

Leading the offensive efforts for the Baseball Performance Center out of Pleasantville, N.J. was 6-foot-2, 155-pound outfielder Brody McKenzie (2021, Ocean City, N.J.). McKenzie uses a fairly simple approach at the dish, which highlights his whippy bat action and long levers. His quick trigger and slugger’s swing plane saw him power a pitch deep over the left field fence on Field 5 at JetBlue to help get his club out to an early lead.

Lefty Braedon Scherer (2021, Hockessin, Del.) pitched a couple of highly effective innings in the middle of the ballgame for Performance Baseball. His efforts helped settle a give-and-take ball game that eventually went his club’s way. The 5-foot-11, 195-pound southpaw pitched with the poise of a veteran, working both sides of the plate and all four quadrants. He threw two fastballs. His 85-86 mph four-seamer showed explosive riding life at the dish. His 82-84 mph two-seamer was a heavy sinker that flashed consistent arm-side run. His smooth and easy pitching style was quite deceptive as his heater appeared to jump at the hitters. He complemented his active fastball with a sharp and quick-breaking 69-72 mph curveball that showed plus depth at the plate. His 74 mph tumbling changeup was almost unfair to righthanded hitters as it was thrown with the same arm action as his fastball and disappeared at the dish.

The Dulin Dodgers 2022 is a fundamentally sound club out of Memphis, Tenn. The Dodgers are paced offensively by their catcher and four-hole hitter Tucker Stockman (2022, Athens, Ala.). The righthanded hitting 6-foot-2, 214-pound athletically built slugger uses a solid lower half and a power hitter’s swing plane to drive the ball to all parts of the diamond. The Athens HS sophomore flashed some raw power with his no-doubt home run well over the left field fence on Field 6 at JetBlue. His drive helped carry the Dodgers to a first-game 4-2 victory.

Timely hitting and sound pitching helped pace the Blackhawks National club to a well-earned 4-3 win over a game TS Arsenal USA club in late afternoon action at JetBlue. Luis Valdez (2021, Navojoa, Mexico) was dazzling in his start on the hill for the Lancaster, Pa.-based Blackhawk team. The southpaw, who is listed at 5-foot-10, but appears closer to 6-foot-2, used an advanced three-pitch mix and a methodical pace to stymie a solid hitting Arsenal club. Valdez pitched off his highly effective and extremely active 86-88 mph fastball that appeared much faster than what the radar gun was reading. His slurvy, tight-spinning, 77 mph breaking ball was a swing-and-miss pitch to lefthanded hitters. His highly effective tumbling, 76 mph changeup was a great out-pitch to righthanded hitters. The young lefty pitched with the poise of a veteran hurler and his ability to work the edges with three highly effective pitches drew the attention of a number of scouts in attendance.

Righty Chase Renner (2021, Alburtis, Pa.), a Penn State commit, had an effective outing in relief for the Blackhawks. The long and lean, 6-foot-3, 185-pound, Brandywine Heights HS junior threw with great pace and leverage and a highly effective plan. His 86-89 mph fastball showed consistent arm-side run and heavy sink and was always around the plate. He broke more than one bat. His sharp-breaking 73-75 mph curveball flashed sharp, quick and late break and was a great complement to his bowling ball sinker.

Closing out the close, highly competitive and very entertaining game for the Blackhawks was righthander Marco Gutierrez (2021, Manvel, Texas). The 5-foot-11, 175-pound no-nonsense Texan unleashed an 88-90 mph fastball that showed explosive riding life at the dish. Although he showed an impressive 76 mph sharp-breaking curveball during warmups, he did not use anything but his overpowering heater to close out the ballgame. He struck out the only two hitters he faced, stranding the tying run at second base.

Pacing the offensive efforts for the Blackhawk club was their Alabama commit and cleanup hitting shortstop Luke Holman (2021, Sinking Spring, Pa.). The athletically built 6-foot-4, 180-pound Holman hit a ball to the deepest part of the ballpark in left-center field for an RBI triple, driving in the game’s first run in the first inning. The righthanded hitter is measured in with his approach. He has a short stride to load, a flatter path, a quick trigger and a power hitter’s lift at contact.

– Jerry Miller

The first time slot of the day brought Garrett Horn (2021, Kernersville, N.C.) to the mound for Dirtbags Bad Company. Horn is an uncommitted lefthander who had the opportunity to throw in front of 20-plus college recruiters. His fastball ranged primary from 86-88 mph while touching 89 mph once as well in his second inning of work. Horn pitches from an over-the-top arm slot and gets a downhill plane on his fastball when down in the strike zone. Horn struggled a bit in the first inning to land the heater in the strike zone but used a mid-70s curveball with depth to miss bats and produce outs. The feel to spin for Horn is pretty advanced as he also offered a 78-81 mph changeup. The lefthander from North Carolina really started to control the game after his first inning pounding the zone with all three pitches and working to both sides of the plate effectively.

Switch-hitting shortstop Logan Wagner (2022, Aurora, Ill.) is a top 100 player in the 2022 class and he showed why on Thursday. The Louisville commit had the opportunity to hit from the left side only in this look but has a lot to like in his young swing. The future Cardinal has quick and inside hands to the baseball. His eye is impressive as well as he had a nine pitch at-bat in one look fighting off good pitches and ripping several foul to his pull side. He has a line drive swing plane and the ball really jumps off of his bat when squared. On top of being a special talent at the plate, Wagner jumped onto the mound late in a one-run game touching 85 mph with his fastball and ultimately earning the save for his Longshot Baseball Teal club.

Mahrlon Torres (2021, Caguas, Puerto Rico) showed real talent in the middle infield in a tight battle between his B You Academy team and Longshots Baseball Teal. The shortstop for B You Academy has sure hands and athleticism up the middle. His footwork carries his weight well into his throws and his exchanges from his glove to throwing hand are very quick and clean. Torres displayed a real talent in the middle infield and also collected a base hit in the game.


Over a dozen college recruiters looked on as Rocco Bernadina (2021, New Castle, Penn.) took the hill in relief for Team Ohio Pro Select on Thursday afternoon. Bernadina is every bit of 6-foot-4 and well built with strength throughout and broad shoulders. Bernadina came out of the bullpen firing fastballs up to 90 mph early and sitting in the 86-88 mph range throughout. There is an ease to his delivery with an effortless arm stroke and a steep downhill plane to the plate. The fastball is straight but is tough to square up as he does a nice job locating the ball to the lower third of the strike zone and displaying that steep plane. The pitcher from Pennsylvania showed his best breaking ball in warmups with a sharp slider in the 79-80 mph range while only showing the bigger 12-to-6 curveball in the game at 73-74 mph. He also flashed a changeup late with sinking action down and out of the strike zone at 78 mph. There is plenty of upside to Bernadina who projects very well on the mound with continued reps and developed arm strength.

Kavares Tears (2021, Lewisburg, Tenn.) had a nice day at the plate and showcased the ability to really track down the baseball in the outfield. Tears, a verbal commitment to Tennessee, has really good bat speed to his simple lefthanded swing. He sets up in an upright stance with a big stride getting the hips and hands working to the baseball. Tears creates a downhill swing plane with jump at impact and present pop to his pull side. Roaming the outfield, Tears gets a good first step to the baseball and has closing speed with the ability to range to both gaps and cover plenty of ground. The outfielder from Tennessee was playing for Team Ohio Pro Select in this look collecting a pair of singles through the right side helping his team earn a big game one victory.

The top-ranked player in the 2021 class at the 2019 WWBA Underclass World Championship is outfielder Tyree Reed (2021, Vallejo, Calif.). Also an uncommitted prospect, Reed has exceptional hand speed at the plate and he was able to put that on full display in front of a slew of high-level Division I coaches. His MLB Breakthrough team put the pedal to the floor with their offensive eruption Thursday afternoon as Reed was one of the players who made hard contact. The lefthanded hitter connected on a two-strike line drive up the middle while also showing aggression on the basepaths. After his single, Reed wasted no time in stealing second and third base as well putting himself 90 feet away from a run with ease. There is quick-twitch throughout Reed’s game and the all-around skillset as well as the future projection that comes with him that makes Reed a very special player from the West Coast.

Mississippi State commit Jordan McCants (2021, Cantonment, Fla.) is another lefthanded bat in the MLB Breakthrough Series’ lineup that had a nice day at the plate. McCants has a really nice feel for the barrel, standout actions in the middle infield, and he displayed it all on this day. At shortstop, McCants made an impressive double play turn on a flashy play with his quick transfer and loose arm across the diamond. In the batter’s box, the Mississippi State commit has a line drive swing plane with an easy stroke and a feel for the barrel. Collecting a pair of hits including a line drive single, the lefthanded hitting shortstop is an impressive talent who finished the day with four RBIs in his team’s run-rule victory.

Probably the loudest day of any hitter in the event belonged to LSU catching commit Ian Moller (2021, Dubuque, Iowa). Ranked the No. 11 player in his class, Moller showed a pair of the loudest and hardest barrels seen at the 5 Plex on Thursday. In his first at-bat Moller smoked a baseball to the pull side that left his bat with serious jump. He followed that up with a no-doubter home run to left field giving him three RBIs on a perfect 2-for-2 day at the plate. Each of those hits were squared up in a huge way and the impact strength Moller has is among the top of his class. Behind the plate is no different as he has advanced catch-and-throw skills with the ability to really frame. Moller was handling upper-80s velocity from Aaron Calhoun with ease and the LSU commit is a standout talent offensively and defensively.

As noted, Aaron Calhoun (2021, Pearland, Texas) pitched for the MLB Breakthrough Series getting the start and really dominating during his three-inning start. The Oklahoma commit sat 86-89 mph with his fastball and showed an upper-60s breaking ball as well. Calhoun did a nice job of working to both sides of the plate and manipulating the strike zone. It is a loose arm with some effort to his delivery, but Calhoun is able to get the most out of his arm working downhill to the plate. Calhoun helped pitch his team to victory going three innings with five punchouts and not relinquishing a hit.

2023 graduate Miller Green (2023, Nashville, Tenn.) had a lot of heat in to watch his start on the mound for Knights Baseball 17u Premier. The lefthander has a very high ceiling with an easy delivery, ultra-projectable frame and clean arm action, and he is already touching 85 mph with his fastball. Green throws a lot of strikes as well with a fastball-curveball combination. Repeating his delivery so well, Green is able to work to both sides of the plate and down in the strike zone missing barrels efficiently. The curveball sits in the upper-60s with plenty of depth to the pitch and will continue to improve when repeating his fastball arm speed when releasing the secondary offering. His fastball comes out cleanly with varying life to the plate. Green is a high-level talent on the mound as was shown by his pair of clean innings with three punchouts as well as by who all was taking in the game from the Division I ranks.

It was a pretty electric outing for Maryland commit Andrew Johnson (2021, Mount Airy, Md.) on Thursday night over at Cape Coral Sports Complex. The lefthander was simply dominant in his outing punching out eight hitters over his five-inning start sitting consistently in the upper-80s and topping out at 90 mph multiple times as well. He mixed in a slider to accommodate the fastball and it flashed really sharp lateral bite with tilt as well. The pitch was best thrown in the 75-76 mph range showing its tightest spin in that range while he also did slow the arm down at times on it at 73 mph generating looser spin. Nonetheless, Johnson pounded the zone with his two-pitch combination. The future Terrapin has a live arm that is loose through the throwing circle with intent to his delivery while also not exerting so much energy that he was losing velocity. The lefty held his velocity well and really is an impressive young arm from the Mid-Atlantic as he displayed Thursday evening.

– Greg Gerard

The Upstate Mavericks INT club moved to 1-0 in pool play on Thursday night at Terry Park, taking down the Florida Burn 2021 Platinum by a score of 4-3. Caleb Logerwell (2021, McDonough, Ga.) got the start and was good, though he did not factor into the decision, striking out five over four innings while allowing three runs, none of them earned. A long, lean righthander who is ranked as the No. 255 player in the class of 2021, Logerwell has an intriguing combination of arm speed and projection, giving him a pretty significant ceiling. He ran his fastball up to 90 mph early on, settling more into the 84-88 mph range, doing a nice job of creating angle to the plate and pitching effectively at the top of the zone. The breaking ball is a slurvy curveball, thrown in the mid-70s with some sweep to the shape, doing a nice job of tunneling out of his hand and adding some deception.

He also performed as a hitter, getting an elevated fastball out over the heart of the plate and hitting a missile of a double over the left fielder’s head on a line. It was a one-swing look, but that one swing was loud and definitely makes Logerwell at least an intriguing follow as a potential two-way player at the college level.

Satchell Norman (2021, Sarasota, Fla.), a highly-touted Florida State commit, was excellent for the Burn as he usually is, hitting atop their lineup. He had a couple knocks in this one including a well-struck double, and given his defensive prowess behind the plate, the upside for Norman is vast. He’s athletic and moves well with plenty of lateral agility at the catcher position, moving well and showing the potential of being a high-level blocker and overall defender back there, not to mention that he has one of the better throwing arms from the catcher position in his class as well.

The Elite Squad 2021’s took a quick win in their opening game of the tournament later on Thursday night behind the left arm of Carsten Finnvold (2021, Boca Raton, Fla.). An uncommitted lefthander, Finnvold is old for the grade but has tremendous physical projection remaining on his slender frame, and he was dominant to say the least in this outing. He allowed just one hit with no walks over four innings, striking out 10 and remaining totally in control the whole way. He ran his fastball up to 86 mph, pitching more in the 82-85 mph range, but the equalizer here is his changeup, thrown with conviction and fastball arm speed with tremendous fading action at the plate, getting whiff after whiff over the top of the pitch, then further doing an excellent job of throwing fastballs at the letters with two strikes, missing a fair number of bats that way as well.

The Scorpions 2021 Founders Club got a win late on Friday night in the stadium at Terry Park, playing an excellent game against Home Plate Chili Dogs-Thompson, coming out ahead 5-4. Tj Melani (2021, Lake Mary, Fla.) got the start and picked up the win, scattering five hits over four innings with no walks, allowing just one earned run. Melani is a medium-framed righthander with projection remaining on his build and is one of the more accomplished strike-throwers in the class to this point. A Stetson commit, Melani ran his fastball up to 87 mph with a fair bit of sink, pounding the strike zone at an 81 percent clip, working his fastball over both sides of the plate and living down in the zone. The changeup plays well off the fastball and mimics the action of the pitch with good velocity separation and he has feel for spinning a curveball as well, thrown in the low- to mid-70s with true 11-to-5 shape and good depth. He projects well and will continue improving the arsenal of pitches as he continues to physically mature, but the strike-throwing ability and overall feel to pitch stands out right now in the class of 2021.

An uncommitted lefthanded hitter, Ricky Reeth (2021, Windermere, Fla.) put his bat-to-ball skills on display in a brief look Thursday night, getting his hands inside the ball nicely and roping a single back up the middle over the pitcher’s head. It’s a direct stroke to the ball, with his hands working well through the swing and generating a good bit of bat speed, impacting the ball out front and showing a quality whole-field approach while staying committed to the middle of the field. His body projects well also, and he should come into a fair bit of power as he continues getting stronger.

– Brian Sakowski

It wasn’t the longest of looks at Baseball Performance Center righthander Francis Wright (2021, Egg Harbor Township, N.J), in fact it was just 12 pitches, but that didn’t prevent the young Wagner commit from garnering attention and making a name for himself on the national level. With his lone inning of work, it’s expected he’ll throw later in the tournament which’ll allow for a more complete look as he worked exclusively off of his fastball opening day, though his 12 heaters were certainly impressive. Wright isn’t the most physical of arms at just 5-foot-11, 165-pounds, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t arm speed as he showed one of the faster arms seen Thursday afternoon, sitting comfortably in the 86-89 mph range. Two of his three outs came via the punchout, working from an extended slot which allowed for running life when working to his arm side and more cutting action when going glove side. The fastball jumps out of his hand and given the athleticism he shows in his delivery there’s no reason to believe those upper-80s fastballs crack the 90 mph plateau.

Rj Johnson (2021, Franklinton, N.C.) was among the prospects who were slated to play in the opening time slot of the tournament, meaning it was a who’s who of college recruiters behind the plate with just a few fields happening. The quick-twitch, uncommitted lefthanded bat made the most of opportunity after a strong performance this past summer, showing both a handle for the barrel and his overall foot speed. Listed at 5-foot-11, 170-pounds, Johnson possesses plenty of looseness to his hands which in turn help generate whip to his barrel through the zone and finished the day going 3-for-4 with a couple of singles, as well as a double to center field. While the speed suits him well in the outfield, it’s also an impact tool on the bases as he displayed by scoring from first base on a line drive double to center field.

Bryce Dolby (2022, Ashburn, Va.) certainly looks the part on the rubber, standing 6-foot-5, 178-pounds, and despite Thursday being a quick two-inning look, the young Virginia Tech commit still impressed with five punchouts and just a lone walk. Deeper through the backside with his arm action, Dolby displayed plenty of arm speed as he sat in the upper-80s out of the windup with his fastball, peaking at 90 mph, while showing some jump towards the plate to get on hitters. As he continues to grow into his long frame and repeat his delivery more consistently there’s no reason to think there won’t be a few more jumps in the tank and he already shows the athleticism to fill the zone. He worked primarily off of his heater in this two-inning look but did manage to mix a few short curveballs with 11-to-5 shape in the low-70s for strikes.

Carter Jensen (2021, Kansas City, Mo.) enjoyed a big summer on both sides of the plate and his fall season appears to just be a continuation of the hot streak with East Cobb 17u Thursday afternoon. Standing at a strong 6-foot-1, 215-pounds, strength is at the core center of Jensen’s overall game as he shows plenty of pop off the barrel from the left side and high-level arm strength from behind the dish. The LSU commit was tasked with just hitting in game one for the Astros, serving as the team’s DH, and put one of the better swings on the ball on opening day. Facing off against Jace Jones, Jensen did an excellent job of getting his arms extended on an outer half 87 mph fastball, and rather than trying to pull around the ball to his pull side, he simply drove the ball to the opposite field gap for a double, showing big jump off of the barrel. Between this weekend and next at the WWBA World Championship in Jupiter there will be plenty of time to get a complete look at the talented backstop from Missouri.

Jace Jones (2021, Fort Myers, Fla.) and Thomas Allman (2021, Farmington Hills, Mich.) both hopped on the mound for the Florida Pokers in their opening game of pool play and both righthanders showed things to impress.

Already committed to Florida Gulf Coast, Jones got the start and topped out at 90 mph on his first pitch of the game, and given his long and lean 6-foot-3, 180-pound frame, it’s easy to envision another velocity jump or two in the near future. The physical projection, coupled with his present ability to live in the upper-80s with a relatively low effort release, stand out, and though he works across his body at release which causes bouts of inconsistencies with his release, the upside is certainly there. The off-speed continues to make strides for the young Florida native as well, showing a short and tight slider in the 73-74 mph range, though it was the changeup he went to on back-to-back pitches that stood out in the mid-70s with late-diving life.

Allman looks to be yet another prospect out of Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, a school in Michigan that continues to produce prospects for the next level, and it’s safe to say he has made a jump since his last Perfect Game event. At the 2018 Fall Academic Showcase Allman topped out at 80 mph, a mark he never came close to Thursday afternoon as he consistently sat in the 84-86 mph range with his fastball and appears to have more in the tank. Utilizing a slight gather on his backside, the arm stroke is clean and efficient for Allman, showing some running life to his arm side while pounding the strike zone and showing the ability to move the ball around the zone. Like Jones above, the uncommitted Allman showed a short slider up to 77 mph, and though the pitch doesn’t show much bite to it, he did keep it down like similarly to his fastball. Allman rounded out his arsenal with his changeup that he tunneled to look like a fastball out of his hand, and while he’ll tend to slow his arm stroke at release, he shoed confidence in going to the upper-70s pitch often.

A strong talented bat from the Midwest with a Louisville commitment listed next to his name isn’t much of a shock as the Cardinals have done well in this region recruiting and third baseman Will Cook (2021, Miamisburg, Ohio) appears to be the latest in line. Suiting up in just his second Perfect Game event of the summer, Cook certainly looks the part in a uniform as he stands 6-foot-5, 190-pounds, and as appealing as his present tools are, you can’t help but envision what the performance will look like at physical maturation. While there’s plenty more to come, don’t overlook what Cook is already capable of doing at the plate as he finished day one going 1-for-2 with a walk. There’s present fluidity to his barrel and he uses his length well to generate leverage and whip to the barrel as he showed with his passes at the ball, including on his double that snuck down his pull-side line before showing balance and long strides down the line and on to second base.

Erik Ritchie (2021, Telford, Pa.) was called upon out of the bullpen by the Rising Stars Baseball coaching staff and it’s safe to say he delivered as he came out attacking during his four innings of work, punching out 10 without allowing a base hit. The lefthanded East Carolina commit opened his outing sitting in the 83-85 mph range but quickly ran his fastball north of that, sitting mostly in the 85-87 mph range, bumping 88 mph, from the second inning on. And while his age, size and lefthandedness are an intriguing package, it’s the simplicity of his delivery and the athleticism to repeat his delivery that truly stand out. Ritchie’s arm action is plenty compact through the back, showing ease to the stroke while retaining his balance and pounding the strike zone with a complete three-pitch mix.

Working up to a higher three-quarters release, Ritchie was consistently on top of the baseball and powered the fastball downhill, generating occasional cut action through the zone. Of his 10 strikes, several came on empty swings as the fastball jumped on the opposing hitters, though he’s more than just a one-pitch prospect. Both his mid-70s slider and low-80s changeup come out from a similar release point which aid in their deception as the slider shows short, tight bite and the changeup offered cut action at times as well as tumble when he turned the pitch over.

Griffin McMillan (2021, Oshawa, Ontario) certainly made the most out of his first career Perfect Game event, going a perfect 3-for-3 on the night for the Toronto Mets while spraying line drives around the yard. A strongly built lefthanded hitter at 5-foot-10, 195-pounds, McMillan opened the game with a hard and loud line drive single to the middle of the field only to turn on the ball in his next at-bat with another well-struck single, this time to his pull side. It was a run-shortened game with the Mets winning 10-0 and McMillan was responsible for driving in three of those runs and scoring another.

Uncommitted righthander Turner Spoljaric (2021, Lisle, Ontario) took the hill for the Mets, and though the young righthander didn’t have his timing in his opening frame, he was able to make an adjustment and pitch around a couple of free passes. With long limbs on his 6-foot-1, 180-pound frame, Spoljaric works with a long, loose arm stroke through the backside, and once he found the timing with his strike foot, he was able to sink his heater down in the zone, topping out at 88 mph while living comfortably within the 84-87 mph range while inducing steady ground ball contact. There’s undoubtedly more velocity in the tank at physical maturation and with added drive out of his lower half, but the current ingredients are plenty intriguing for the college recruiters looking on. Along with the fastball, Spoljaric mixed in a short slider with some tilting action down in the zone, living in the mid-70s which played well off of his fastball.

– Jheremy Brown

To open up pool play, 5-Star National 2021 Moss threw a couple high caliber arms. Dillon Haines (2021, St Augustine, Fla.) is a compact southpaw that repeats his delivery extremely well with loads of athleticism. He matches his release point on three pitches and did a great job of locating his mid-80s fastball, that peaked at 87, to both sides of the plate. The Stetson commit used his secondary pitches effectively, and his mid-70s slider was tough to square. It had 10-to-4 shape with late break and he located it well to the glove side. The third pitch is a developing changeup around 80 that will get batter with reps. Overall, Haines threw three shutout innings, surrendering one hit and striking out four. The competitive lefthander is polished and looks like he will step in and help right away at the next level.

Brodie Chestnutt (2021, Warner Robbins, Ga.) came in relief for 5-Star and showed his usual upper-80s fastball that peaked at 91. He does a good job of elevating his four-seam fastball and sinking his two-seam, getting two very different actions out of the heater. The two-seam fastball had opposing hitters beating the ball into the ground regularly. The Florida State commit showed a sweeping breaking ball that peaked at 79. The pitch shows good shape and has good potential, though he mostly attacked with his fastball during the outing. Chestnutt threw four innings and struck out six batters.

The MLB Breakthrough Series has an absolutely loaded roster as it’s very balanced from top to bottom with a good collection of runners and bangers. Out of the guys that can really drive the ball, Deundre Jones (2021, Manvel, Texas) may have the most natural thump of the group. He took a quick batting practice before the event and consistently drove balls deep to the right-center field gap with many clearing the wall. He took his intent-based swing to the game and banged a double down the right field line. The lefthanded hitter has one of the better hit and power combinations in the class. Jones runs well for a big guy and also shows some ability to move around at first base. The Houston commit gobbled up a ball moving to his right, having to leave his feet to make the play, then quickly got up and flipped to the pitcher covering first base for an out. He should be watched closely as he moves through the showcase circuit.

The Midwest Prospects 2021 have an impressively physical lineup that look like they can get rolling in a hurry. Cole Brennan (2021, Cincinnati, Ohio) and Q Phillips (2021, Elm Grove, Wis.) hit back-to-back and will be a tough duo to get through.

Brennan is a wiry lefthanded hitter with long limbs and a high waist. He shows the ability to work counts and consistently made the opposing pitchers work. He had good strike zone discipline and very good eye-hand coordination, spoiling many pitches. The young outfielder has plenty of flick in his bat, very easy projection as his slender body fills out and closes ground well in the outfield. In his last at-bat on Thursday night he went with an outer-half fastball and drove it deep to the opposite field gap for a double. There was no cheating to his approach and the pitch recognition seems to be real. This is an exciting bat to follow as he gains strength.

Phillips is an explosive athlete with easy well above average bat speed. He is tightly wound and fiery actions when in the batter’s box. The lefthanded hitter has excellent barrel awareness and uses it well in an all fields approach. It was easy to see the pure barrel speed and the hand adjustments at that pace are thrilling to evaluate. The Michigan commit should be able to stay in center field with very good speed. He anticipated well and showed a good first step, running down some balls in the gap with ease. His routes and instincts play well in the middle of the field.

The Louisiana Knights never disappoint, playing the game with energy and passion. They are also not short on talent with a lineup that showcases multiple hitters that have very high ceilings. Addison Ainsworth (2021, Baton Rouge, La.), Josh Pearson (2021, West Munroe, La.) and Gavin Schulz (2021, Meraux, La.) hit at the top of the order and were relentless in their attack.

Ainsworth led of the game with a sharp single the opposite way to left field and the hitting did not stop. He has a tight lefthanded swing, with a direct path and the ability to hit from line to line. The uncommitted prospect got a pitch to drive in his second at-bat and got out front and hit a long home run over the right field wall. He has good hand strength and the ball jumped off the bat all night. The center fielder has very good wheels and lots range as he will be able to stay in the middle long term. This should not be a guy that is uncommitted much longer and will be fun to watch as he physically matures.

Pearson had the first big blow of the game from his two-hole position. After Ainsworth led off with a single, Pearson took the first pitch he saw and banged it off the right-center field wall for a triple. The lefthanded hitter has effortless bat speed and lightning quick hips that allow him to consistently get his hands out front. He has consistently shown one of the better hit tools on the circuit and he has matching pop. He runs well underway and uses it efficiently in an aggressive style of play. The LSU commit looks to punish baseball and has typically done so at every Perfect Game event he plays.

Schulz is fun to watch play the game. He is an energizer bunny, whether it be at his shortstop position or causing havoc offensively. He has a shorter, athletic frame with a body that can add some natural bulk. The righthanded hitter is very short to contact and has some twitch to his wrists. The barrel skills are obvious and still has plenty of whack that allows him to drive balls to the alleys. He stayed with a middle-of-the-field approach, collecting two hits including a triple that came off the bat with authority. Defensively, he made one of the better plays of the day. Ranging to the six-hole on a hard line drive, he seemed to come out of nowhere while leaving his feet with full extension for an out. It was an impressive play that showcased his very good lateral movement. He has enough arm to stay at short stop with lots of polish to his overall game.

Scout Updike (2021, Eustis, Fla.) has really made strides over the last year. He is a two-way player with a physical frame and lots of strength in his core. Offensively, he had a three-hit day with a double; there’s lots of hand strength and the barrel is heavy through the zone. He did a good job not expanding the zone and uses the middle of the field well. He jumped on the mound late in the game and uses and up-tempo and athletic delivery. The uncommitted righty has a quick shoulder and clean arm stroke. He locates his mid-80s fastball well and has feel for a low-70s breaker that he landed well to the glove side. The overall operation is clean and a good natural jump is coming soon.

The Scorpions Founders Club 2021 did not disappoint in the opening game of pool play on Thursday night. They are athletic with loads of high-end talent from top to bottom. Aidan Meola (2021, Toms River, N.J.) has a huge presence in the middle of the lineup for both his physicality and ability. He has a big 6-foot-2 frame with tons of projection left when he fills out his wide shoulders and long legs. The uncommitted prospect has fierce bat speed and length through the zone. The barrel plays heavy and never slows through impact. For a big and strong player, he is light on his feet at third base showing good lateral range. He has plenty of arm to make all the throws at the hot corner and also shows the ability to change slots when necessary. This young hitter has massive upside.

– Jered Goodwin

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