Prep Baseball Report

Season Review: Flowery Branch

Phil Kerber
Georgia Scouting Director

Our goal at Prep Baseball Report is to promote high school players, and give them the exposure they need to be able to play at the next level. With the 2020 high school season cancelled, we want to continue to be able to promote players, even when baseball is not being played. We have sent surveys out to coaches around the state and got their input on the first weeks of the season. Over the next few weeks, we will highlight the season and standout players, team by team.

Flowery Branch Falcons

Record: 12-1 (10-0 vs teams from Georgia, only loss was to out of state Helena High School)

2020 Standouts 

Zander Sechrist, LHP, Flowery Branch, 2020
Tennessee commit
Season Stats: 3-0 with a 0.55 ERA with 34 K’s in 24 innings. 

Coach’s Notes: He was dominant, would have been all state and any other possible accolade you could throw at him.  Tremendous teammate, dominant pitcher, and a great young man.

2/12/20 - Tennessee commit. 6-foot-2, 165-pound left-handed pitcher, lean, but strong athletic proportional build narrow slightly slopes shoulders. Works out of a ¾ slot with quick, loose arm action.FB 84-87 avg command of two-seam quick AS life. Commanded four seam, down angle, direct. Uses on both on both sides of plate CB 73-76, commanded, has true CB depth, also shows SL character. Sechrist showed an advanced feel for pitching using both sides the plate with both the CB and the FB.  He used a two seam FB w/quick arm side life & 4 seem very direct down angle FB. The breaking ball had true CB depth as well as SL character. He pitched aggressively to both sides the plate throwing both theFB&CB backdoor and under a Righties hands in any count. He showed great tempo while dealing up 5 shutout innings and only 1hit. He’s not ready to go out right now, velo is light and so is the body, but the key components are firmly in place. Tennessee is getting a strong competitor.

Andrew Armstrong, LHP, Flowery Branch, 2020
Florida State commit
Season Stats: 2-0 with a 0.42 ERA  34 K’s in 17 innings with 1 save / hit .353 in 17 at bats (got a late start due to playing basketball).

Coach’s Notes: He was averaging 2 strikeouts an inning and was completely dominant. Like Zander he was in line for every possible post season award imaginable.
Video Credit: Full Count Baseball
2/19/20 - Florida State commit. 6-foot-2, 150-pound left-handed pitcher, lean, wiry strength, athletically proportionally built. Low ¾ slot. FB:85-89, mostly 88, scattered command. CB:75-76 with SL character, showed good command of CB. He uses a quick FB with sinking life combined with a more slider character, sweepy CB to keep hitter uncomfortable. He shows a quick high leg kick with a  stiff front leg delivery and a long low 3/4 arm angle combined with a two pitch mix he is very effective, FB is a little scattered but can throw strikes when he needs too, better feel for the CB is his bread and butter. Should be tough on left hand hitters, great guy to have in any staf

Tai Lizdas, RHP, Flowery Branch, 2020
Season Stats: 2-0 with 1 Save and a 0.00 ERA with 11 K’s in 9 2/3 innings. 

Coach’s Notes: Tai was huge for us out of the pen.  He was the stopper and picked up a couple of huge wins out of the Pen against Hoover and North Gwinnett.

Grant Lackey, OF, Flowery Branch, 2020
Lee University commit
Season Stats: hit .400 in 42 at bats with 14 hits, 2 doubles, 7 RBI and 9 runs scored.  He also had 7 stolen bases.

Coach’s Notes: Grant is the most underrated defender in the state, he catches EVERYTHING.

2021 Standouts

Connor Larson, MIF, Flowery Branch, 2021
Season Stats: hit .432 37 at bats with 4 doubles 5 rbi’s 15 runs scored and 10 stolen bases in only 13 games. He was also outstanding defensively.
10/1/19 - 5-foot-9 165-pound right-handed hitting shortstop, athletic build, strong lower half. Offensively, athletic, crouching setup, smooth rhythm throughout, hands load back as he uses a leg kick timing trigger, gets good use of his legs. Gap-to-gap type hitter, drives the ball, flashed the ability to elevate for power. 

JB Bell, MIF, Flowery Branch, 2021
Season Stats: Hit .289 with 10 RBI and 5 stolen bases. 

Coach’s Notes: JB’s batting average doesn’t tell the whole story.  He started switch hitting this year for the first time. He is a natural right handed hitter and in the 13 games we played JB only had 2 at bats right handed and was 1-2.  So JB having never hit left handed in a competitive situation hit .289 against the likes of North Gwinnett, Hoover, Cullman, Northview, Lanier, Marist, and Lake-side evans.  Tremendously impressive.  JB has a VERY bright future and along with Larson, the two of them make up what I feel is the best defensive middle infield in the state.

Kaleb Freeman, C, Flowery Branch, 2021
Season Stats: hit .343 with 9 RBI

Coach’s Notes: Kaleb was having a tremendous year.  Not only doing a fantastic job of handling two of the best arms in the state, he was crushing the ball from both sides of the plate (switch hitter as well) hitting .343 with 9 Rbi’s.  Kaleb has really matured into one of the best players at his position and he has a very bright future.
2/19/20 - Physically strong, good muscular development proportional throughout. Athletic frame, high set waist live bodied catcher.  Good arm strength with very good accuracy. Great target sets up low very flexible shifts weight to keep ball between shoulders works to get calls.  Outstanding ball blocker anticipates and controls the baseball. Here’s the kicker: GREAT intangibles/ leader. Talks throughout the entire game, heart beat of this team, leads by example blocking with nobody on all night. Tough kid is a difference maker on this squad.  Somebody is going to get an old school hard nose catcher that has thunder in his bat as well.

Austin Hatcher, RHP, Flowery Branch, 2021
Season Stats: 2.83 ERA in 12 1/3 innings with 12 k’s
Video Credit: Full Count Baseball

Underclass Standouts

Jake Beaver, OF/LHP, Flowery Branch, 2022

Coach's Notes: continued his stellar work when he started nearly every game as a freshman on his way to all region honors.  Jake did a great job on the mound and as a two way guy swung the bat very well while playing left field.

Nick Linkowski, OF, Flowery Branch, 2022

Coach’s Notes: Nick is a name to keep an eye on,  he led off for us this year while playing right field.  Plus defender with very good speed.  He has a short compact and competitive swing.  He is a ballplayer.

Baxley O’Brien, C/CIF, Flowery Branch, 2022

Coach’s Notes: Played multiple position this year (catcher, 3rd, and 1st and did a great job with all 3).  He had some big hits and is going to be a big part of the middle of our order for years to come.  Great young man and name to keep an eye on.

Kade Smallwood, C/DH, Flowery Branch, 2023

Coach’s Notes: Kade DH’d for us this year as a freshman and did a tremendous job right out of the gate with big hits in his first few games against signees from LSU and Stanford and kept swinging a good bat all the way through the end of the year.  He has a pure easy swing that plays and will be a force for years to come.

Mason Compton, RHP/3B, Flowery Branch, 2023
Season Stats: 10 1/3 pitched only allowing 1 run for a 0.667 era.

Coach’s Notes: Big time name to keep an eye on.  Had a big year for us at the plate as a freshman as well as dominating on the mound in limited work throwing 10 1/3 innings only allowing 1 run for a 0.667 era.  Big time two way guy to keep an eye on.

9/18/19 - 6-foot-1, 185-pound right-handed pitcher, strong, durable frame, proportional build. Arm works short and clean to a high ¾ slot, above-average arm speed, repeats, hides the ball well on the backside. Tall and fall delivery, works on-line, front side opens up, lands square, finishes upright with some recoil. Fastball played at 80-83, controlled around the zone, did a good job climbing the ladder with, getting batters to chase. Curveball, 11/5 shape, 67.

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