Prep Baseball Report

SoCal Underclass Games: Quick Hits

Les Lukach
State Scouting Director

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SAN DIEGO, CALIF. - The annual SoCal Underclass Games descended onto beautiful Cunningham Stadium on the picturesque campus of the University of San Diego last weekend. The event annually draws the top rising sophomores and freshman from around SoCal for an event that has proven to be a launching pad for players as they head into their fall seasons.

The 2021 version of the event was similar to past events that saw limited roster sizes in order to maximize playing opportunities during the 12-inning scout ball style game in which pitchers faced five hitters per inning. The roster size gave hitters at least four at-bats to show their wares in front of the PBR staff and the college recruiters in attendance. 

As we dive deeper into our notes, video, and data collected we will present a number of articles highlighting some of the top performances. But until then we present some of the early standouts in this edition of quick hits. 



Thomas Maher SS / RHP / Torrey Pines, CA / 2024

A sophomore at Torrey Pines, Maher impressed with his overall performance that saw him show very well defensively and on the mound. Maher worked 80-82 with a smooth, controlled and consistent delivery that would indicate more velo to come as he continues to fill out. Hides the ball well making it tough on hitters to pick up. Defensively he showed smooth actions at shortstop but it was in the outfield (86 mph OF velo) where the athleticism plays way up showing the ability to close on balls quickly with excellent footwork. Gets rid of the ball quickly with accuracy on throws.

Jamez Guerrero C / RHP / Summit, CA / 2025

Only a freshman Guerrero showed that his name will be one to follow in coming years as his work behind the plate was outdone only by his work at the plate. Pop times consistently in the 2.04-2.11 range during the workout portion but it was his ability to block, move laterally, and recover during the game portion of the event that really stood out. Had a very good plan with his pitch calling and quickly earned the trust of his pitchers. Batting practice round was good but in-game the bat stood out with three hits in five plate appearances that included a double into the RCF gap. It’s a simple, rhythmic swing that consistently gets the barrel on the ball registering a 92% on-plane efficiency via Blast Motion.

Josiah Palomino C / SS / Corona , CA / 2024

A starter as a freshman on a loaded Corona team last spring, Palomino showed why he earned that opportunity. While he played on the infield and at catcher, it may be too early to tell where he ends up in the long run given his talents at both spots. At catcher he popped consistently in the 1.99-2.06 range with accuracy to his throws that generally ended on the first base side of the bag. There’s strength to his overall game as evidenced by his 88 mph exit velocity, and while he didn’t have anything to show for his at-bats, he stuck to his approach while not giving in to pitchers. With peak hand speed of 21.1 mph there’s quickness not only in the hands but the barrel too allowing him to catch up to tough pitches.  

Benjamin Moulin LHP / 1B / Dana Hills, CA / 2025

Only a freshman, Moulin has the look of yet another quality arm that’s going to come through the Dana Hills program for head coach Tom Farris. Showed consistent arm speed with all pitches working up to 83 while living 80-82 with consistent run on the fastball. Was not afraid to attack hitters with the fastball/curveball combo that tunnel and mirror each other's paths out of the hand. For good measure he flashed a changeup that he used as a put away pitch to righties showing an innate understanding of how to attack hitters. Didn’t allow a hit while striking out three, walking one, and inducing weak contact on the infield for the rest of his outs.

Nathan Aceves RHP / OF / Huntington Beach, CA / 2024

Huntington Beach will likely be a Top 5 team in the state when we release our Preseason Power 25 and pitchers like Aceves are the reason why. While the Oilers have three D1 caliber senior arms, it’s the quality depth that will separate them. At 6-foot-3, 185-pounds, Aceves has the type of pitcher's frame that is easy to dream on considering how much room he has for added mass. Touching 86 and living 84-85 with some arm-side run, it was the changeup at 78-79  that hitters couldn’t get to. The FB/CH come out from the same tunnel with similar paths causing havoc for hitters. He flashed a slider at 68-69 that was, at times, hard and biting with late life. While the FB/CH combo showed to be present quality pitches, the potential for a third pitch with the slider really stood out. Gave up an infield single while striking out four and walking a pair in his two innings of work. 

Jorge Solares LHP / 1B / Etiwanda , CA / 2024

No player showed more defensively than Solares who made by my unofficial count 13 clean scoops on balls in the dirt to him. More importantly he made the plays look easy. The large frame has present strength to it with plenty of room to add more without inhibiting his smooth left-handed stroke at the plate. Showed a gap-to-gap approach during BP that carried over to the game portion where he smoked a ball to deep centerfield over the defense for a standup double that could have been stretched into a triple. He also added a walk and a laser single to left field. Showed very good plate discipline while also spoiling his fair share of pitches with one of the quicker bats we saw on the day.

Jack Haferkamp OF / Santa Fe Christian, CA / 2024

We last saw Haferkamp at the 2021 PBR Future Games where he had two clutch hits for Team California that allowed him to show off his 6.85 speed on the basepaths. Fast forward to the SoCal Underclass Games and Haferkamp looks like an entirely different player at the plate thanks to a small tweak in his setup that has him slightly open allowing the back hip to clear and use his present strength to drive balls. Put on a gap-to-gap show during BP with hard hit line drive after hard hit line drive to the tune of a 94 mph exit velocity. That same approach carried over to the game where he had an infield single (4.47 H-1) and a triple to RCF that nearly was an inside the park home run. 

Ethan Porter 3B / OF / Huntington Beach , CA / 2025

No player left a bigger impression on our team or college coaches than Porter did with his performance on the day. It started with balls flying all over the yard during BP that showed his present and projectable power. He favored the RCF gap before showing off his present pull side power (more on that later). When the game began he collected a hard hit base hit in his first at-bat before taking to the mound in the third inning. After the first few pitches we were left with a “what’s he going to do next” feeling. What he did on the mound was strike out three batters while allowing an infield single that took what seemed like 32 hops to the shortstop. In other words, it was weak contact. Working 84-86 with the fastball it was the wipeout slider at 77-80 that left hitters puzzled and onlookers wanting more. He landed both for strikes consistently with the fastball showing significant life in through the zone. His work on the mound was topped only by his performance at the plate where his BP approach continued while he racked up a pair of walks and a huge three-run home run that cleared the left field fence by a good 35-40 feet. 


Northern California Academic Games CA 10/16 Menlo College
Unsigned Senior Games CA 10/17 Hart Park