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Tournaments | Story | 2/18/2020

President's Day Classic Notes

Connor Spencer        

As the college and high school seasons got underway on President’s Day weekend, the young class of 2024 was out to start their spring schedules as well at the PG Presidents’ Day Classic in Irvine, Calif. There was plenty of competitive baseball being played over three beautiful days in SoCal with Tri County 24’s squaring off against MVP Hustle 14u in the 14u finals.

California Blues 14u got off to a real hot start in the tournament and pushed across 10 runs in their first win. Shortstop Ben Reiland (2024, Irvine, Calif.) checks off a lot of boxes early on in his playing career. At 5-foot-9, 140-pounds, Reiland has a ton of room to grow and fill out as he continues to develop, and he possess an intangible ball player’s athleticism that serves as a strong foundation to his game. At the plate, he uses an upright and even stance and gets his front foot down early. He looks to use the middle of the field and he does a nice job of throwing his hands at the baseball. In his first appearance at the plate, Reiland slashed a line drive over the second baseman that split the outfielders into the right-center gap for a double. Later in the ballgame he put his athleticism on display and made a full extension diving catch on a blooper over the third baseman. He then added another knock with a base hit up the middle in his second at-bat. His baseball IQ and presence on the field are mature for his age and he’ll be a force to be reckoned with as his slender frame strengthens.

GBG Ventura County 2024 tied 0-0 in their first game of the tournament thanks to a strong performance by righthander Braylen Dritz (2024, Westlake Village, Calif.). Dritz has a projectable athletic frame with a free and fluid motion that generates easy velocity to the plate. As he comes up into a lower leg lift he turns closed then swings back open down the hill. Everything he throws moves in some way and his fastball was up to 83 mph on the day. He showcased a large 12-to-6 breaking ball with a larger overall shape to the plate. However, he also throws a tighter breaker that could be considered a cutter and that sits in the high-70s and possesses a small and effective late bite down and away to the plate. His changeup sits around 75-76 mph, and although the pitch lacks a significant velocity differential from his fastball, the actions on the pitch are promising and he was able to generate some swings-and-misses with it when located down and away from lefthanded bats. He finished fanning eight through five innings of work.

His teammate, Bryce Rainer (2024, Simi Valley, Calif.) came in to hold the ballgame at 0-0 and was dominant through his two-inning close with a live fastball up to 85 mph and solid pitchability overall. Rainer has a long and lengthy build for his age and finds good downward angle on his fastball to the plate. His high three-quarters slot generates occasional arm-side run as well. He throws both a breaking ball and an off-speed, but the off-speed is what makes him so impressive. His changeup already has a mature feel to it and it can only stand to improve as he continues to develop. He throws it with a great mimicking arm action to his fastball and it comes in around 69 mph, which is devastating after pounding 85 inside. Later on day two he impressed at shortstop with good mobility up the middle and he made an impressive play to his left that forced him to spin and make a strong throw at first base to get the runner. There’s a very high upside to his arm and understanding on the mound and he’s a must follow as he prepares for high school next year.

Class of 2025 southpaw Cam Caminiti (2025, Scottsdale, Ariz.) pitched his heart out on the mound for Scottsdale Dirtbags Black and went toe-to-toe with GBG Ventura, holding them to no runs in the ballgame which eventually forced a time limit tie. Caminiti’s stuff isn’t wildly overpowering, however, he has a strong feel for his arsenal and locates to all four quadrants of the plate effectively. Throughout his outing he found great success with his breaking ball and showed an ability to put it in the zone for a strike as well as locate it out of the zone as an out-pitch. Another promising arm, he struck out 10 through his six-inning outing.

Evann Smith (2024, Pacifica, Calif.) impressed in his abbreviated outing with a fastball that sat 79-81 mph. Smith has a strong feel for his arsenal and his long and whippy arm action generates good speed to the window. He also mixes in a large shaped 12-to-6 curveball that he was able to locate for a strike an out-of-the-zone chase pitch. Smith also started the championship game, topping out at 82 mph and fanning three.

At the start of day two Top Tier Americans 14u just edged out Scottsdale Dirtbags Black 7-6 in a game that came down to the final out. Shortstop Wes Hickey (2024, Yucaipa, Calif.) went 2-for-5 with an RBI on his day at the plate. Hickey uses an upright and even stance in the box with a mid leg-kick trigger. He starts in a low handset that comes up and back into his quiet load. He possesses great hands at the plate and works hard to stay inside the baseball. In his second at-bat he showcased his good hands by driving a lined shot back up the middle for his second base hit of the day. His short and compact stroke serve as a solid hitterish foundation to build off of as he continues to develop. At short, he displays strong athleticism with the awareness you like to see out of middle infielders. In the middle frames of the ballgame, he made a few key plays including a tough slow roller that he made look easy with his fluid action and strong arm on the move.

MVP Hustle 14u received yet another quality start, this time by Steve Jimenez (2024, West Covina, Calif.), who went 4 2/3 innings while allowing just two hits and striking out nine. Jimenez has a longer arm action that comes up to a high three-quarters slot. He’s slightly crouched and hunched over his front side as he sways back and forth before starting his windup. Once he smoothly sways into his mid to high leg lift, the motion works freely down the hill from there. His fastball sat 73-78 mph on the day and he touched 79 mph. He wasn’t afraid to go right after hitters with his fastball and he filled up the zone well. He also mixes in an 11-to-5 shaped curveball with some depth and developing actions. Overall, he grinded throughout his outing and helped MVP Hustle to their second win of the tournament.

California Blues 14u solidified their spot in the playoffs after tying with Force Baseball-Prime. Righthander Matthew Champion (2024, Fontana, Calif.) sat in the low-80s and touched 84 mph as he closed the ballgame out and helped the Blues to their tie. Champion has good size on the mound at 5-foot-11, 180-pounds and projects to continue to fill out his physical frame. He uses a long but quick arm action, along with a quick overall motion down the hill. His sweeping arm action comes up to a high three-quarters slot. His breaking ball has a high 11-to-5 to 12-to-6 shape and shows good promise when he’s able to get it out in front and across body. Champion also made an appearance in the semifinal round against MVP Hustle 14u and stopped the bleeding against a potent MVP offense.

No. 2 overall ranked righthanded pitcher in the state of Nevada, Kamdyn Perry (2023, Las Vegas, Nev.), struggled with his command throughout his 6 1/3-inning outing, but grinded through and finished allowing just two hits while fanning seven. Perry has plenty of projectable length to his frame with quick motions through his delivery that help his fastball to get in onto the hands of hitters. His long arm action feels a little whippy and comes up to an over-the-top slot. His fastball sat 80-82 mph while touching 83 and he finds strong arm-side run on his fastball that becomes more exaggerated the higher his slot gets at the window. Perry mixes in an 11-to-5 shaped breaking ball that shows good depth. He’s also able to manipulate the shape of the pitch to both lefties and righties. He stuck to a two-pitch mix in his outing against GBG Ventura County 2024 and it was impressive how he stayed poised and grinded through despite not having his A command on the day. Expect his arm strength to make a jump soon thanks to his frame, and if it does, he has the potential of becoming a highly rated prospect.

MVP Hustle 14u advanced to the semifinal after some late offensive production in the sixth and seventh innings. Utility man Paul Dominguez-Walker (2024, La Mirada, Calif.) did a little bit of everything for MVP Hustle on the weekend, including a 3-for-3 day at the plate in their first game, as well as closing the quarterfinal game out on the mound. Dominguez-Walker has a simple approach at the plate and he does a nice job of throwing his hands at the ball. His load is quiet and he creates good tension with a slight upper body coil. On the mound, his arm is strong and he shows plenty of promise as his fastball was up to 85 mph on the night. He uses simple and repeatable mechanics with a mid-leg lift and he works with good direction down the hill. His shorter arm action from a three-quarters to high three-quarters slot does create some arm-side run on his fastball. He also mixes in a solid slider with tight spin and some late bite to the plate that will only continue to improve as his arm and build develops. Dominguez-Walker is a high follow moving forward as he could turn into a true two-way threat in high school.

Tri County 24’s advanced to the championship on day three behind a stellar performance by Brandt Munger (2024, Visalia, Calif.) who threw six full innings while allowing just one run off of three hits while fanning five. Munger has a pretty conventional looking motion with a shorter arm action that separates early after he lifts. His fastball possesses good cutting actions and sat around 76-80 mph while topping out at 82. At times it felt as though he was taking something off his fastball to gain more cutting action to the plate. His breaking ball is a high 11-to-5 shaped curveball that has good depth and shows an ability to blossom into a plus pitch when located down in the zone. The more he’s able to stay on top of the pitch the more bite it has late to the plate. Munger also mixes in a straight change that has some sink. Although he didn’t throw it much, he showcased a solid mimicking arm action on the pitch and it sat around 69 mph. He cruised through his first three innings of work then ran into trouble in the fourth. He was then able to battle through the trouble and stop the bleeding with only one run allowed.

Tri County Prime 24’s defeated MVP Hustle 14u 5-2 in the championship to take home the Perfect Game Presidents’ Day Classic crown.

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