McDonald, Vance lead Sickles to District Championship

Rocco Iervasi
PBR Florida Director of Operations/Area Scout

Tampa, FL - Last night I headed over to Sickles High School for the 6A District 6 Championship Game between Sickles and Gaither. Sickles came in as the 1 seed in the District with Gaither the 3 seed. Sickles had their ace on the mound in 2023 Caden McDonald who just recently committed to UCF. Gaither threw 2022 Anthony Dimillo.

After 1-2-3 firsts on both sides, 2022 Keaton Ference led off the 2nd with a bang driving a solo home run to left to give Gaither an early 1-0 lead. Sickles added 2 runs in the third on a Nico Berg RBI single and a fielder’s choice to take a 2-1 lead.

Keaton Ference

Caden McDonald
got the start for Sickles. The UCF commit has made a nice jump since the summer, now up to 91 mph with the fastball. He would go 5 innings, allowing 3 runs on 4 hits with 8 strikeouts.

Caden McDonald

On the other side, Senior
Anthony Dimillo started for Gaither. He worked in the low 80s going 4 innings, allowing 5 runs on 4 hits with 5 strikeouts.

Gaither would take back the lead in the 4th as Josh Choe singled in a run followed by a RBI groundout. A Luke Fikar double in the bottom half would tie things back up at 3 for Sickles.

In the bottom of the 5th, Sickles would take the lead and never give it up. Connor Vance singled in a run, Thomas Bly drove in a Sac Fly, and Justin Allen drove a run in on an error. Sickles would take a 6-3 lead.

Connor Vance
would add another RBI single in the 6th as Sickles would go on to win the 6A District 6 Championship over Gaither 8-3.

Scout Notes

2023 Caden McDonald, RHP/1B, Sickles (UCF)

McDonald has been making noise this spring as a two-way so a trip to see him was on my to-do list. McDonald is batting over .650 on the season with 8 home runs and 41 RBI but on the mound is where he impresses most. McDonald committed to UCF on Sunday and turned in another impressive outing last night. 6-foot-3, 190 pounds. Long legs that he uses well to drive down the mound. Short, quick arm action. He sat 87-89 through the first couple innings then ran the fastball up to 90 and 91 in the 4th and 5th innings. An impressive jump that he’s made since the summer where he was sitting 84-86 mph mostly. The breaking ball is developing but shows flashes of sharpness. The slider comes in at 76-79 mph with sharp left to right break when he gets on top. Overall the stuff was as impressive as I’ve seen from McDonald and looks like he could make another jump or two in the future. Certainly a high follow arm in the 2023 class.


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