Prep Baseball Report

No. 1 Buford No-Hits No. 7 Parkview

Phil Kerber
Georgia Scouting Director

Buford, GA - In a highly anticipated opening day matchup, No. 1 Buford (1-0) played host to No. 7 Parkview (0-1). It was a clash of titans as the highly touted Buford team took on the two-time defending 7A state champs. A crowd of scouts were in attendance to get an early season look at Tennessee commit SS/RHP
Ryan Spikes (Parkview, 2021), Vanderbilt commit RHP Dylan Lesko (Buford, 2022), and Georgia Tech commit OF/RHP Riley Stanford (Buford, 2022). The game itself and the players did not disappoint, as it lived up to the hype.

Buford rolled out Lesko to start the game, and as expected, it was nothing short of electric. Lesko pounded the zone in the first inning with nothing more than a fastball, going to his changeup only twice, as he struck out the side. He sat 95-96 mph the entire inning, touching 97 twice. Lesko cruised through the rest of his outing, touching 95 into the fourth inning. He rarely had to use his offspeed, but when he did he showed his usual wipeout changeup and a swing and miss 12/6 breaking ball. Lesko exited the game after four innings, striking out nine, walking one and allowing zero hits.

Opposite of Lesko was the highly competitive Spikes. Spikes cruised through the Buford lineup the first time through. He made at-bats uncomfortable with his running fastball, throwing in on the hands and getting a lot of weak contact. Spikes can lull batters asleep with his effortless delivery. The ball jumps out of his hand, sitting 88-91. He occasionally went to his 12/6 breaking ball, but it was not needed much with how well he commanded his fastball.

The momentum of the game started to change in the fourth inning. Buford finally found some luck offensively and were capitalizing on some Parkview miscues. However, when Spikes needed his defense most, they came through. First, Morehead State commit C Bryson Stripling (Parkview, 2021) gunned down Georgia Tech commit INF Brant Baughcum (Buford, 2022) trying to steal second after he reached via error. Tennessee commit C Nathan Smith (Buford, 2021) then reached second base through a walk and an errant pick off attempt.

Buford appeared to be threatening, but Spikes buckled down and got the next batter swinging. With two outs and a man on second, Lesko smacked a ball up the middle. Parkview 2B Cayden Gaskin (2022) fielded the ball but bobbled it on the exchange, meaning the play at first was gone. However, Gaskin kept his wits about him and rifled the ball to third base where Smith had made a wide turn. 3B Cade Brown (Parkview, 2024) successfully made the catch and applied the tag, getting Parkview out of the inning unharmed.

After Lesko’s exit, it was Georgia Tech commit UTL Jackson Gaspard’s (Buford, 2022) turn on the mound. Gaspard came in and did exactly what he needed to do, throw strikes. He attacked Parkview with his fastball, locating up in the zone and low/away effectively. He did not need his secondary much, but he did show a tight 12/6 curveball and a solid changeup. Gaspard kept the slate clean for the Wolves, throwing two hitless innings, striking out four and walking one.

In the midst of Gaspard dealing on the mound, he also was the catalyst of the game-changing bottom of the fifth for Buford. Spikes appeared to be back in control of the game for Parkview, striking out the leadoff batter in the fifth, but Gaspard had other ideas. He turned on a pitch and drove it down the left field line for a standup double. Spikes was able to get a groundout to short and the Panthers were one out away from escaping another inning.

With a left-handed hitter coming to the plate and two outs, Coach Chan Brown decided to play the left-on-left matchup. Spikes excited the game after four and two-thirds innings, striking out five, walking one, allowing two hits. Kennesaw State commit LHP Mason Brown (Parkview, 2021) entered. Brown experienced some control issues, walking the first two batters. Setting up a bases loaded two outs situation for one of the top hitters in the state, Baughcum. Baughcum did what we have seen him do throughout his entire career, come up with big hits. The right-handed hitter lined a ball down the third base line that rolled all the way to the fence, clearing the bases and giving Buford the 3-0 lead.

Parkview were down to their final three outs, needing three runs to extend the game. The challenge was, they had to do it against arguably the top closer in the state in Stanford. The big right-hander came out with fire, sitting 91-96. He faced the minimum, attacking all three batters with just his fastball. And with the final pitch of the game, Stanford let out what has become his trademark move, a big roar and a double fist pump.

No. 1 Buford is back in action on Saturday as they host Lambert and Mill Creek at 10:00 AM and 5:30 PM, respectively. No. 7 Parkview will travel to Mountain View on Friday with a 6:00 PM scheduled start time.

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