Prep Baseball Report

Preseason Classic: IMG Academy vs. TNXL Academy

Phil Kerber
PBR Florida/JUCO Wire

- The finale of the 2019 Preseason Classic was also the most anticipated matchup of the entire event, IMG Academy versus TNXL Academy. The game featured 18 DI recruits and one JC recruit, including: 1B William Bartlett (IMG; Arizona), SS Rece Hinds (IMG; LSU), RHP Brennan Malone (IMG; North Carolina), RHP Kendall Williams (IMG; Vanderbilt), RHP Joe Charles (TNXL; North Carolina), C Doug Kirkland (TNXL; Florida State), SS/OF Tyrell Brewer (TNXL; Florida State).

Two of the top prep arms in the entire country were set to square-off as Malone and Charles took the mound. The first inning lived up to the hype. Malone came out touching 96 mph with his fastball. He made quick work of the first three batters of the game, getting a groundout to himself, a flyout and finishing things off with a strikeout.

Charles came out and matched Malone, working up to 95 mph in the inning. Although walking the first batter of the game, Charles came back with  two strikeouts. On the second, Tripp McKinlay (IMG; Washington) attempted to steal, but Kirkland showed off his cannon and nailed McKinlay with relative ease.

The second inning was more of the same from Malone as he worked another one, two, three innings. For TNXL and Charles though, it was a totally different story. The inning started with Bartlett squaring up a 95 mph fastball for a single up the middle. Tucker Mitchell (FAU) followed with another single and all of a sudden it was men on first and second, no outs. Charles rolled up ground ball to third base, however, in the attempt for a double play, second base was overthrown. Bartlett came around to score and Mitchell advanced to third.

It did not stop there though. Pat Romeri (Villanova) added to TNXL’s woes when he drove a line drive into center field. In an attempt to make a spectacular catch, the center fielder dove for the ball. Unfortunately, it was misjudged and the ball scotted underneath the defender. Romeri advanced all the way to third and both runners scored. IMG would add another run and leave the second with a 4-0 advantage.

TNXL was able to get one run back in the third inning on a passed ball, scoring Alejandro Fulgencio (Florida International). That was all they could manage and it was right back to the potent IMG offense.

Back-to-back walks to begin the inning chased Charles from the game. The TNXL bullpen was unable to stop the floodgates from opening. Mitchell loaded the bases up with a single. Once more, a ground ball was rolled up to shortstop. With the infield playing in, a play to home was made, however the throw was errant and the run scored. C Jax Cash (South Carolina) then added a sacrifice fly to make it 6-0

Once again, Pat Romeri came to the plate with two men. Once again, Romeri squared one up, this time into the right-center gap, and off he went galloping for a triple. He would add another triple and run in the fourth inning, put the game over the edge at 11-1. The team’s would trade run’s in the fifth inning, with a walk-off run rule win for IMG, 12-2.

Brennan Malone pitched three innings, allowed one hit, hit one batter, struckout four. Offensively, Romeri (3-for-3, 2 3B, 5 RBI), Mitchell (3-for-3), Bartlett (1-for-1, 2 BB) led IMG. For TNXL, Charles, Fulgencio and John Holl Jr. (Florida International) all collected one hit in the game.

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