Carter Stewart wins the battle of Top 10 2018's

By Doug Freeman

Florida Scouting Director

Melbourne, FL- In a matchup of two of the top ten player in the 2018 class in RHP Carter Stewart (Mississippi St) for Eau Gallie and RHP/C Mason Denaburg (Florida) for Merritt Island, the district matchup was much anticipated. While Merritt Island also featured one of the top players in the 2017 class in SS Brady McConnell, it would be Eau Gallie who would jump out to an early lead and hold off the powerful Merritt Island offense.

Thanks to a first solo home run by Florida Southern recruit Jacob Teter, who showed an impressive short swing with power from the left side driving a 92 mph fastball off of the light pole in right-center field. Teter would  later be followed by an opposite field grand slam by 2017 OF Clayton Stanley would put Eau Gallie up 5-0 and Carter Stewart would take it from there.

Stewart would go five innings, allowing one run on four hits while striking out six in the winning effort. He has been known for a plus breaking ball and that was no different this evening. Not only did he use the pitch as a swing and miss pitch, he also showed the ability to throw it in the zone for strikes. He worked his fastball from 88-90 mph touching 91 mph early. At times he would become a bit rotational and lose the extension, missing up in the zone. When everything was synced up and out in front he located the fastball with life down in the zone. He also showed a feel for a changeup that has continued to improve. He seemed to stay under control at all times and the stuff continues to get better with plenty of present ability with a lot of upside.

As for Denaburg, he struggled early with command and would get hurt on a pair of fastballs up in the zone for home runs. When Denaburg worked down in the zone the fastball was electric with late life and arm side action at 92-93 mph. He also showed a sharp, late breaking slider at 78-79 mph and a changeup at 84 mph. He pitches from a modified windup and seemed to rush down the mound at times, while also having a short front side which led to the inconsistent release point. When everything was balanced over the rubber and he didn’t rush down the mound is when both the fastball showed late life down in the zone and the slider looked like a plus pitch. Denaburg would also have some quality at-bats and showed all of the tools that have made him the top player in the 2018 class in Florida.

2018 Chase Victor would take over for Denaburg, going 5 innings and allowing only one run. He was was impressive, commanding a fastball at 83-84 mph to both sides of the plate. He also showed a curveball with depth at 67-70 mph and a feel for a changeup at 84  mph. Merritt Island would load the bases three times and pull the score to 6-4, but would fall short with the bases loaded in the seventh of a comeback.

2017 Justin O’Keefe would also have a big day for Eau Gallie, going 3-3 with a double ad two runs scored. While Brady McConnell for Merritt Island also looked very solid both at the plate and in the field. He had multiple quality at-bats, while he was a bit out in front he found the barrel in three of th four at-bats. Defensively he showed plenty of range and arm during the three plays he made at short with soft hands and strong accurate throws.

Merritt Island will look to even up the series when they re-match at Merritt Island on April 7th at 6 pm.


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