Southeast Fall Championships: Day 3 Standouts


Austin Sharp
Director of Scouting

Hoover, AL - As the PBRT Southeast Fall Championships have come to a close, we want to thank all teams, coaches, players and parents for a great weekend of baseball at the Hoover Met Complex. Perfect weather and elite talent on the field made for a great tournament in these last few days. Congrats to Excel Blue Wave 2022 (Upperclass) and VBA 16U Vegas Gold (Underclass) for winning their respective divisions. Let's go back and take a look at some of the standouts from Championship Sunday's action...

 

8:00 Games

+ One of the players in the Upperclass Division that just continued to produce, both on the mound and at the plate, was ‘21 3B/RHP Brady Fuller (Auburn HS). In Excel Blue Wave 2021’s quarterfinal game, Fuller came ready to go at 8:00 AM as he roped an RBI triple in the back side gap that gave Excel an early 1-0 lead. Fuller showed excellent barrel awareness all weekend and creates great extension out front. Bat stays through the zone, chance to hit for power. Up to 87 mph on Friday night in 3.1 scoreless frames while allowing only one hit in relief. Breaking ball is a real weapon in the arsenal. Will not stay uncommitted for long.

+ Slotted in the 3-spot of the Excel Blue Wave 2021 lineup, ‘21 SS Brody Moss (Helena HS) saw the ball well on Day 3, as he recorded two doubles in the quarterfinals and added two RBI’s in the victory. Shows great plate discipline, was at the top of the leaderboards in walks in the tournament. Very selective approach. Auburn recruit.

+ ‘23 1B Grayson Howard (Hartselle HS) got things going early & often at the plate for Excel Blue Wave 2023’s. Listed at 5-foot-11, 195 pounds, Howard has an excellent frame to grow into and add more power, as it seems he already has the ability to hit for extra bases in the tweet below. Simple approach at the plate, not afraid to go the other way as he shows below.

+ In the Underclass Division, one young player that jumped out on the stat sheet was ‘24 SS/2B Jacob Pearl (Huntsville HS) of VBA 15U Black. Pearl hit well over .600 for the tournament while hitting in the 2-spot. In 3 of the 4 games this weekend, he recorded two or more hits in those games with 2 of them coming with three hits. Impressive week at the plate for Pearl.

+ The quarterfinal matchup between VBA 17U Black and Colt 45’s/Gray seemed to be back-&-forth all game, with both teams battling for a spot in the Upperclass Semifinals. With a 3-1 Colt 45’s/Gray lead in the 6th inning, ‘22 C Jacob Smith (Glenwood HS) came through with a single throw the left side with a runner on second base, but an excellent throw from the outfield cut down the runner at the plate to keep it 3-1.

+ After falling behind 3-1 early  in the game for VBA 17U Black, they turned to ‘22 RHP/SS Mason Swinney (Phil Campbell HS) to keep them in the game and ultimately give them a chance to win late. Swinney did that and more, as he showcased some electric stuff early in the outing and held the opposing offense to one run in 3 ⅓ innings of relief. In the windup, the 6-foot-2, 175 pound right-hander hurler lit up the radar gun sitting 87-90 mph with run into right-handed hitters. Lost a few ticks on the fastball from the stretch at 83-86 mph, but was still able to get outs on the mound. Slider showed late darting action. Breaking ball was a little inconsistent at the time but had bite break to it. Changeup showed tumbling action into right-handed hitters & mimicked the fastball. Punched out 5 while getting the W.

+ After VBA 17U Black was able to tie the quarterfinals at 4-4 in the 6th, ‘22 OF Christian Sutphin (Grissom HS) got the head out on a fastball and pulled it over the shortstop’s head to score the runner from 2nd in the top half of the 7th. Former Future Gamer in 2020, Sutphin has swung the stick well this summer.

‘22 OF Landon Baeder (Hazel Green HS) is an under-the-radar prospect that college coaches need to be aware of in the 2022 class in Alabama. From the right side of the plate, Baedar shows great hand-eye coordination and has a knack for finding the barrel. Never seems to be fooled at the plate and hits with a ton of confidence. Hit for two doubles in the quarterfinals and then hopped on the mound to close and needed only 10 pitches to retire the side. Up to 85 mph in his short stint.


10:30 Games

+ Easily the most dominant performance on the mound of the tournament came from the arm of ‘22 LHP Reid Gongwer (Chelsea HS). The 6-foot, 185 pound southpaw tossed a perfect game in Excel Blue Wave 2022 quarterfinal win. Finished with 16 (!) strikeouts out of the 21 outs he recorded. Fastball had pinpoint accuracy to the arm side vs. left-handed hitters at 81-83 mph. The equalizer in the outing was the breaking ball that was unhittable against either-sided hitter. Posted some elite RPM’s on the pitch at this summer’s Top Prospect Games, and had hitters baffled during his seven innings on the mound. Incredible stuff on the mound from the recent South Alabama recruit.

+ Over in the Underclass Division, ‘23 3B/RHP Matt Manley (Madison Academy) was lights out in his start on the mound for VBA 16U Vegas Gold. Fastball lived at the bottom of the zone at 82-83 mph in the outing. Paired that with a hammer of a breaking ball that fooled multiple hitters. Average spin rate of 2426 RPM’s at an event this summer. Tallied 11 K’s over six scoreless innings on the mound while only allowing two hits.

+ Hitting at the top of the Excel Blue Wave 2022 lineup, ‘22 SS Noah Jones (Wetumpka HS) wasted no time getting things going offensively in the 1st inning. Jones smoked a fastball over the CF’s head and turned on the jets to reach 3rd base on a standup triple. Scored on a home run in the next AB. Played a solid shortstop defensively on the weekend.

 

1:00 Games

+ ‘21 RHP Jack Hoppenjans (Vestavia Hills HS) got the start for Excel Blue Wave 2021 in their semifinal game and was very effective on the mound. The 6-foot-3, 200 pound right-hander creates a ton of downhill action on the fastball, working 86-88, 90 mph with late life & ride through the zone for strikes. Breaking ball showed 11/5 bite to it and played very well off the fastball. Lost the zone a little bit in the 5th inning, but finished with 10 K’s in 4 ⅔ innings of one run ball. Only allowed one hit. Still uncommitted.

+ VBA 16U Vegas Gold turned to ‘23 RHP/C Jacob Haley (Sparkman HS) in their semifinal game and got exactly what they hoped for out of the sophomore. Sat primarily 83-84 with the fastball with great command for the pitch. Featured solid secondary offerings to compliment. Clean, easy arm action that works quick & gets outs. Brings a ton of versatility to his game as he can also handle the bat well from the right side while defending at a high level behind the dish. Punched out six hitters in three innings of work on the mound.

+ After seeing ‘22 LHP Alton Davis II (Bessemer Academy) on Night 1 of the Southeast Fall Championships, he got the nod on the mound for Excel Blue Wave 2022’s semifinal matchup. Showcased some electric stuff, as always, in the 1st inning on the mound reaching 90 mph with the fastball after bumping 91 mph in relief a couple days ago. Flipped in a couple of well-located sliders for K’s at 73-75 mph. Lost the zone a bit on the back end of his outing. Struck out six and walked four over four innings of no-hit ball. Alabama recruit.


3:30 Games

+ ‘22 OF Ryan Storey (Helena HS) made an enormous statement this weekend at the plate for Excel Blue Wave 2022. Hitting from the left side, Storey handled the bat exceptionally well, as he was an extra base hit machine all weekend. Capped off an impressive tournament by hitting two home runs on Day 3, one coming in the Championship Game below. An elite athlete (6.56 runner) that plays at a high level and maximizes his play with his skillset. Played a great centerfield defensively, swiped numerous bags, and even laid down a couple bunt singles. South Alabama recruit.

+ Hitting in the 3-spot for VBA 16U Vegas Gold, ‘23 2B/SS Nick Causey (Sparkman HS) handled the bat well all weekend from the right side. Trailing 1-0 in the Championship Game in the Underclass Division, the sophomore tied things up at 1-1 with a single to RF. Really stays inside the ball and showcased a middle-to-oppo approach at the plate.

+ ‘22 3B Andrew Hunt (Oak Mountain HS) was a force hitting in the middle of the Excel Blue Wave 2022 lineup all weekend. After homering on Day 2, Hunt followed that up with this hard-hit RBI double to the back side gap to give his team an early 1-0 lead and never looked back. Short, compact stroke that recorded multiple extra bases hits throughout the weekend.

+ ‘23 3B/RHP Matt Manley (Madison Academy) showed what he could do on the mound in the semifinals, but the bat really stood out in the Championship Game. Manley is starting to fill out into his frame and has added some noticeable strength, as he crushed a ball to CF to bring home two runs for VBA 16U Vegas Gold and tie things at 3-3. A member of the 2019 Junior Future Games who continues to improve at each look.

+ ‘22 MIF Drake Seibert (Daphne HS) put together a solid performance at the plate from the left side for Excel Blue Wave 2022. Some quick twitch in the swing, Seibert showed the ability to adjust on the fly in AB’s. Good actions up the middle that will stick there in the future. Very reliable glove.

+ ‘23 C/3B Hudson Walburn (Vestavia Hills HS) enjoyed a strong summer for Excel Blue Wave 2023 after logging some significant innings as a freshman for 7A powerhouse Vestavia Hills in the spring. After doubling in the Championship Game earlier on, Walburn pieced up a fastball in his 3rd AB to CF but was tracked down. Twitchy, athletic player that has good top-hand strength at the plate. Defended exceptionally behind the plate all weekend.


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