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Tournaments  | Story  | 10/6/2022

TG D-Backs Ready to Roll in Jupiter

Blake Dowson     
Photo: Landon Stripling (Perfect Game)
| READ: 2022 Jupiter Guide |

JUPITER, Fla. -- TG D-Backs Scout Team arrives in Jupiter as a team to look out for, for multiple reasons.

One, they have 17 players rostered who are committed to play Division I baseball after their prep careers end. Colin Houck, Landon Stripling, Kyle Henley and Co. will anchor the lineup, which will deep and without an easy out in it.

The group also includes power arms like Mac Heuer, a Texas Tech commit, Luke McNeillie (Florida), and Francesco Capocci (North Carolina). Ford Thompson is the highest ranked player on the roster, the No. 42 overall prospect in the 2024 class, a top-10 left-handed pitcher committed to Georgia.

And it goes deeper than that, which is crucial in a tournament like the WWBA World Championship, which requires you to get through three pool play games, two rounds of playoffs on Sunday, and three more on Monday to crown yourself champs.

The depth of the pitching staff is one thing D-Backs coach Johnny Magliozzi feels good about, bright and early on Thursday morning.

“I’m really happy,” Magliozzi said. “They look to push themselves and push each other, so I’m looking forward to seeing them grow this week.”

This roster has quite a bit of continuity to it, the other reason the D-Backs should be a team to watch this week.

They’ve been together before, playing under the Georgia Bombers 17u Marucci moniker at the 17u WWBA National Championship in Atlanta over the summer. They got a taste of what it takes to win on a big stage there, fighting their way to the championship game before coming up just short.

The team established an identity in Atlanta that they hope to bring with them to Jupiter.

“We strive off of pitching, catching, and defense,” Magliozzi said. “So, that’s our main goal. I think we’ve got some big horses in the stall, and we’re going to roll.”

The D-Backs got their feet wet Thursday morning, in an exhibition game against Marucci Elite Texas, a game that they won 6-1 while allowing just one hit – there is that pitching that’s so important.

Stripling had a base hit and scored a run in the game, while the biggest contributions came from Armani Guzman (West Virginia commit) and Jett Johnson (Texas A&M), who both had a base hit and two RBI. Johnson will be used on the mound this week as well, and got some work in the exhibition game, running the fastball up to 92 mph in limited work. Alex Urias, an uncommitted outfielder hitting out of the 11-hole just to prove how deep the lineup is, also had a hit and RBI.

It was a good start for a team who wants to still be in uniform on Monday afternoon.

“We just want to get their feet underneath them, playing in an exhibition like we do every year,” Magliozzi said. “We had a workout last night that went pretty well. A couple of these guys don’t know each other, so we wanted them to get around each other as much as we can so we can get the ball rolling.”

Up next is what counts, their first pool play game against Premier Baseball Scout Team at 12:40 pm on Thursday.

Cason Engert gets the ball to start the game for TG D-Backs Scout Team, the right guy to get his team off to the fast start they need, according to his coach.

“I just want him to be Cason Engert,” Magliozzi said. “Good tempo, throw a ton of strikes, command the fastball, and eat innings. That’s why I started him, to get us going fast.”