Prep Baseball Report

'Awesome' Event Showcases Talent In New England

Bruce Hefflinger
PBR New England Senior Writer

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‘Awesome’ Event Showcases Talent In New England

NORTH SMITHFIELD, R.I. - A new venue was just one of the many highlights at this year’s New England ProCase, which was moved to the Wide World of Sports, a more central location according to Dennis Healy, Prep Baseball Massachusetts Director of Scouting.

“I thought the ProCase was excellent,” explained Healy. “In terms of talent, it was very good across the board.”

It was the same feeling from Trevor Brown.

“All in all, it looked like all players were super excited to be there and showed great body language and tremendous attitudes,” pointed out Prep Baseball Connecticut Director of Scouting.

There were 38 participants from Massachusetts and 36 from Connecticut, with seven more from Rhode Island, six from New Hampshire, two from Maine and one each from Vermont and New York and the consensus was it was more than worthwhile.

“It was a very fun event,” explained Tyler Stone, a Cheshire Academy junior. “I came early to watch all of the positional talent that was there, and to say hi to all of my buddies. It was great to get to meet all of these committed guys I’ve heard so much about.”

Pittsfield sophomore Morrie Fried also had good things to say.

“The event was great, there was lots of hospitality from the PBR staff,” the top-ranked 2026 third baseman in New England noted. “We went through a pro-style workout hitting BP, running a 60-yard dash and doing a defensive showcase. It was all well run and well organized.”

Brookfield junior Matt McDowell concurred.

“I thought the ProCase was again run great,” the UConn commit said. “It’s the best New England showcase every year! I enjoyed the hitting to start it off and felt that everything flowed really well from there. It was very smooth this year with no waiting around.”

Others were also very positive in their thoughts.

Logan Martel: “It was a great event, very well run and very professional.”

Dom Gabardi: “ I thought the event was ran well! We had plenty of time to warm up and get ready and we were given a good amount of reps to show off what we are all about.”

Luke Gallo: “There was the best talent in New England coming together to show how good New England baseball really is.”

Bradley McCafferty: “The ProCase was run well and was a great experience. One thing that was an issue for me was the blast motion not being able to stay on my bat.”

Timothy Cap: “I think the event went very well overall. It was well organized and was a lot of fun.”

Jake Boudreau: “This event was one of the better ones I have attended because of the talent. I think the atmosphere made everyone have a lot of adrenaline which helped them perform well.”

Anthony Ruggerio: “I think the event is beneficial and exciting as a high school player. To experience an event with scouts and do it with your teammates is cool.”

Will Shaheen: “The event was great. It was fun playing with guys from all around New England and seeing how I stacked up against the best competition.”

Owen Rich: “The PBR ProCase was a great event. Everything was done efficiently and professionally. Trevor Brown and Dennis Healy always do a great job with events and I was definitely impressed with all the talent they gathered for the showcase.” 

Owen Widger: “I liked the event. It was set up really well and moved smoothly, and I liked how it showcased a lot of talent.”

Bennett Crerar: “The event was awesome. It was a great time to get out with some kids I know and get a great workout in.”


Out of the 91 participants, there were 26 pitchers along with a handful of two-way performers and most did not disappoint. Nine pitchers topped out at better than 90 miles an hour on the fastball, with four more exceeding 89. 

“The pitching stood out the most,” Healy noted. “We had nine or 10 guys above 90, with plenty of arms that had plus breaking stuff.”

Springfield Commonwealth Academy senior Cesar Gonzalez, a Boston College commit rated first in New England among 2024 right-handed pitchers, led the way with a 93.8 fastball to go along with an 88.8 sinker, 84.2 changeup and 77.7 slider.

“The arms were legit,” Brown said. “I thought the pitchers’ velocities were above average.”

Stone had the second-highest fastball at 91.9 and fifth-best spin rate at 2454.

“The highlight of my event was my fastball velocity coming in second among all of the pitchers, topping out at 91.9 and sitting 90-91.5,” noted the sixth-rated 2026 RHP in New England who is committed to Virginia Tech. “I was able to show off all of my offspeed pitches as well.”

That included an 84 mile-an-hour cutter with 2,429 spin rate, an 80.1 slider and 79.4 changeup.

Stone’s high school teammate, junior Garrett Snyder, a Notre Dame recruit, was right behind with a 91.8 fastball.

Boudreau, a Bishop Guerton senior headed to Maine, led the way in spin rate with a 2,563 fatball max, 2,430 fastball average, 2,815 curveball average and 2,818 curve spin max, with the 6-4 210-pound righty hitting 89 on the rader with his fastball.

“The highlight for me was just being there with new athletes along with how I executed my pitching,” noted the 12th-ranked 2024 right-handed pitcher in New England.

Seniors hitting 90 or better included Saratoga Spring NY’s Michael Mack (91.7), Hamden Hall Country Day’s Gavin Lyons (91.1), Winchendon School’s Nico Tambascia (90.4) and Portsmouth’s John Mass (90.3), while junior’s John Paone of Lawrence Academy (91.0) and McDowell (90.8) joined Stone and Snyder in the 90 category.

Winchendon School had another hurler throw well with Gabardi, a senior two-way standout committed to Fairfield, hitting 89.3 with the fastball.

Also topping 89 on the gun along with Boudreau and Gabardi were Phillips Academy Andover junior Robert Brown III, a Penn State commit (89.2), and Berkshire School sophomore Lowell Golub (89.0).

Putnam Science Academy junior Jacob Hines had the fastest curveball at 80.1, Snyder was 83.2 with the slider and Stone had an 84 cutter to go along with a changeup that had a12.5 mph difference versus the fastball.


Gonzalez was a standout at catcher as well, with the best pop time of 1.80 to go along with 84.0 catching velo, tied with Amity Regional senior Sam Gettinger for second behind the 85.0 throw by Portsmouth senior Nick Spaner.

Cap was 1.89 with pop in addition to 81 velo.

“Knowing my metrics helps me come up with a plan on what I need to improve on during the off-season,” explained Cap, a Amity High School senior. “It shows me my strengths and weaknesses so I know what I need to work on the most.”

McCafferty also impressed behind the plate with 83 velocity and 1.91 pop time.

“Being able to compete against the best catchers in New England was the highlight for me along with the catcher's defensive work out,” noted the Duke commit from Austin Prep.


There were 18 players that returned from the 2023 ProCase and that proved to be an advantage in the eyes of many.

“It’s always easier,” McDowell said of participating a second time in a row. “I have more confidence because I already know how it’s going to work and be more prepared.”

His fastball went from topping at 89.2 a year ago to 90.8 this year, infield velo rose from 92 to 94 and exit velocity went from 89 to 94.4.

Cap, the 10th-ranked senior catcher in New England, had similar thoughts.

“Attending this event previously helped me not to be nervous to go out there because I knew what to expect,” noted Cap, whose biggest improvement came in pop time, going from a best of 2.12 to 1.89, and distance max, which jumped from 329 feet to 389.

Ruggerio found being a returnee comforting.

“Being at the event previously was helpful due to understanding how metrics were evaluated and just having the experience of it and trying to play loose,” the Nipmuc Regional senior explained.

Crerar was another back from a year ago and while his infield velocity and 60 time was nearly identical, the exit velo of the fourth-ranked 2025 in New England moved from 94.6 to 99.3.

“After attending the ProCase last year, I knew what to expect,” the Cheshire High School junior pointed out. “I knew the format and it was awesome to see some great growth from where I stood last year.”


Competing with such great competition is helpful in many ways.

“From my performance at the New England ProCase I can take away that you can perform best when having fun and being relaxed,” noted Fried, a 6-3 215-pound sophomore. “I play my best when I’m not putting extra pressure on myself and trusting what I have been preparing for all offseason.”

McDowell, the 65th-ranked 2025 RHP in the nation, was happy to test his skills in such a strong field of participants.

“It was good to see where I stood amongst the best talent in New England for sure and it will help me to keep improving,” the number one ranked 2025 in New England said. “I would like to continue to increase across the board, I just have to keep working hard.”

Gabardi is another that was pleased with how things went.

“Overall I believe my performance was good,” the seventh-ranked senior outfielder in NE said. “I was happy with my velocity from both the outfield and the mound for it only being February. I believe that I can better my exit velocity, as I have hit up to 103 mph this off-season, and I can also improve in my 60 time, too. I’ve run a 6.9 this off-season. I will continue to get bigger, faster, stronger to maximize my baseball ability and give me the best chance to be a game changer at the college and, hopefully, professional level.”

Crerar enjoyed competing with other standouts from the area.

“It was a great environment, where there is high pressure and you need to perform,” Crerar said. “It’s good to be in situations like that, so when game time comes around you feel loose.”

Stone was happy to test out his abilities on the mound.

“It’s great to see how all of my pitching numbers stack up against all of the other talent in my area, and to be ranked amongst them,” Stone noted.

The same goes for Boudreau.

“What I can take away from the ProCase and other big events is to stay calm and be myself,” Boudreu related.

The top-rated senior outfielder in New England also found a lot to learn.

“My takeaway is to be more explosive,” Ruggiero said. “I know I had more in me on the 60, I just didn’t execute the way I knew and or wanted.” 

Others also found the event beneficial in the long run.

Shaheen: “I can use this data and experience to see where I stack up against some of the best competition in New England and have it motivate me to get better.”

Widger: “From my performance I learned I need to work on my speed and arm strength a little bit.”

Martel: “All of my stats will help me with recruiting. Also, I met a bunch of new kids that I will probably see down the road as well.” 

Gallo: “Just getting better day by day, trusting in the process by getting bigger, faster and stronger.”

Cap summed up the experience well.

“Meeting and playing with all the other great talent under one roof was a great experience,” the 10th-rated 2024 catcher in New England said.


Impressive numbers put up were in abundance at the event, including 102.5 exit velo from Fried, 6.5 60 by Phillips Academy Andover junior Danny Flynn, 94.0 infield velocity from McDowell and 95.0 outfield velo by Canterbury senior Myles Gythfeldt.

“I thought I had a solid showcase where I was able to increase my numbers for exit velo, infield velo and pitching velo, so that was really good to see,” explained McDowell, the top-rated junior in New England.

Other top exit velocities included: Gettinger 101.5, Avon junior David Pengel 99.7, Gabardi 99.4, Crerar 99.3 and Ruggiero 99.1.

“The highlight for me was getting in hundreds of swings and having a great round of BP,” noted Crerar, a Princeton commit rated 82nd in the country among 2025 shortstops, who also had the second fastest time in the 60 at 6.69, tying Pengel, a junior committed to Northeastern. “Being able to hit out in a large facility for the first time of the winter was awesome.”

Ruggiero also enjoyed swinging the stick.

“My highlight of the event was hitting,” pointed out the Northeastern signee. “I’m always prepared to swing it whenever.”

Fried certainly made an impression.

“The highlight for me was just being able to play the sport I love in front of professional scouts, showcasing my tools and what I got,” explained the uncommitted 10th grader.

Following McDowell in infield velocity were Portsmouth’s John Mass 93, Canterbury’s Cole Silvia 90 and Rich 89.

“I was satisfied with my metrics for this early in the season, but I was especially pleased with my infield velocity, hitting 89,” noted Rich, a left-handed hitting Lyman Hall High School junior.

Gabardi was second in outfield velocity at 92 while Lincoln-Sudbury Regional senior Jake Haarde was next in line at 90.

“The highlight of the event for me was being able to perform in front of professional baseball scouts and show them I got what it takes to make it to and compete at the next level,” explained Gabardi, the 53rd-ranked 2024 in New England.


If pitching stood out the most at the event, the performance of 13 sophomores was not far behind. Many were among the best in the field led by Fried, who not only had the best exit velo at 102.5 but second best hand speed max (27.0) and hand speed average (24.9) while producing 78.0 bat speed average.

Martel, the second-rated 2026 catcher in New England, had a personal best 97.0 exit velocity.

“The highlight for me was definitely the BP,” the left-handed hitting Canterbury School backstop said. “It was a great BP, the best I’ve ever gotten.”

McCafferty, the top-ranked sophomore catcher in New England,had solid numbers behind the plate but is always looking for more.

“I need to develop more speed and increase my exit velocity numbers,” pointed out the Duke commit, who is ranked 322nd in the nation in the 2026 class.

Another 10th grader that made a statement is Widger, a 5-11 195-pound corner infielder who had the best distance average at 299 feet and number one bat speed average of 87.4.

“My highlight was getting to meet a bunch of new kids with similar skill sets to me and also hitting there,” explained the Southington High School sophomore.


Coaches in search of recruits yet to commit would be pleased to note all the uncommitted players that performed well at the ProCase.

Sophomores Fried, Martel and Widger are all still looking for a future home as are juniors Shaheen and Rich, while Cap was the lone senior in the field yet to sign.

“It was awesome,” Martel said of participating in front of all the scouts at the event. “I didn’t really feel nervous like some would. I kind of enjoyed the pressure.”

Widger is hoping he made a statement.

“Performing in front of them was fine for me,” the 10th-ranked 2026 in New England said. “I felt comfortable and confident and it was great knowing they were there to see that.” 

Shaheen found a lot about the event to be helpful.

“My highlight was the down time in between specific testing to talk to kids from all around the area and hear their story,” said the St. John’s Prep junior, the 11th-ranked 2026 shortstop in New England.

There was nothing not to like about the ProCase according to Cap.

“It was exciting to perform in front of all the scouts,” Cap said. “I greatly appreciate having that opportunity to showcase my skills.”


While pressure may have been a bit more on the uncommitted, all the participants found playing in front of scouts as beneficial for the future.

“It was a great experience being able to showcase my abilities on both sides of the ball in front of the highest level of scouts there is in the game,” Gabardi related. “Hopefully I made an impression for the future and I look forward to playing in front of them throughout the rest of my high school and college career.”

It was the same for Stone, McDowell and Ruggerio.

“It’s always fun to perform in front of scouts,” Stone said. “I’m always chasing that adrenaline rush I would get performing in front of them.”

Said McDowell: “It’s always fun and exciting for sure! Having done it last year and having been at a number of other showcases with scouts, it was easier to just relax and do my best.”

Added Ruggerio: “I think it’s a cool experience performing in front of all the scouts and getting some attention. It adds an extra chip on your shoulder.”

Rich was also happy to do it.

“Performing in front of scouts is great,” said the uncommitted two-way prospect ranked ninth in New England among junior shortstops. “It adds a special competitiveness that pushes me to compete at a higher standard.”

Others are getting used to the experience.

“The first time I played in front of scouts I was definitely nervous,” Fried noted. “As I’ve continued playing in front of scouts it becomes easier and I let my game speak for itself.”

Said Boudreau: “Performing in front of all the scouts was a new experience for me. I looked at it the same way I did college scouts, just execute your ability to pitch.”

There are always different ways to look at it.

“For me, I just tried to have as much fun as I can, and this made performing in front of the scouts extremely easy,” Crerar explained.

Gallo, a Phillips Academy Andover junior committed to Boston College, summed up playing in front of scouts well.

“I would say it was a pretty cool experience,” said the second-rated 2025 shortstop in New England who is ranked 105th at the position across the country. “Some people aren’t able to do this, so to have this opportunity is something that I most definitely do not take for granted.”


To be able to see how the offseason workouts have improved numbers was just part of what participants found enjoyable with being part of the ProCase during winter time in New England.

“Thank you for the amazing opportunity to attend the event,” concluded McCafferty, the number one junior in the area.

McDowell was more than thrilled to participate.

“Overall, I loved the event and think it’s incredible that PBR puts on such an amazing showcase with the most talented players in New England,” McDowell said. “There were so many D-I commits and great players, it’s really awesome to meet new people and compete!”

Feelings were similar for Cap.

“Participating in the ProCase was a really interesting and great experience,” Cap said. “I’m happy that I went and I encourage others to participate if they have the opportunity.”

Boudreau also had good things to say.

“PBR has been a crucial part of my recruiting process and has helped me be on the platform I am on now,” Boudreau noted.

Some of the underclassmen are hoping to return.

“The event was definitely worth going to and I am looking forward to future events,” Rich said.

Added Widger: “Overall it was a good event. I would like to attend again next year.”

After all, a February day inside playing the game you love is what it is all about as Fried summarized in conclusion

“Prep Baseball does an amazing job scouting and giving high schoolers an opportunity to play at the next level,” Fried said.

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