Prep Baseball Report

Future Games: Team Illinois Game 2 Recap

By Drew Locascio
Illinois Scouting Director

Team Illinois (2-0) continued to roll in Game Two of the PBR Future Games at LakePoint Sports Complex in Emerson, GA. Team Illinois’ bats started hot and never looked back, ultimately knocking off Team Midwest 10-1 in an eight inning contest. 

The offense pounded out eight hits in the first two innings to jump out to an early 6-1 lead. OF Khamaree Thomas (Kenwood, 2024) lined an RBI double into left-center field for the first run of the game and came around to score on a OF Brendan Tunink (Newman Central Catholic, 2024) line-drive single to left field.

In the four-run second inning, Kenny Perez (De La Salle, 2024), who eventually was named “Player of the Game” singled and scored to lead off the frame. INF/RHP David Cox (Nazareth, 2024) and Jonah Weathers (Marian Catholic, 2024) had run-scoring singles and scored in the frame. Jimmy Janicki (Downers Grove North, 2024), C/CIF Enzo Infelise (Providence Catholic, 2025) and Thomas all had singles in the frame as well.

The bats got going again in the fifth and sixth innings with two runs in each frame. Infelise delivered an RBI single in the fifth and Perez delivered the big blow in the sixth, a run-scoring ground-rule double to deep right-center field.

Tunink added yet another hit in the top of the seventh inning for Team Illinois, his fourth hit in two games.

Team Illinois, which put up eight runs in Game One and 10 runs in Game Two, has been extremely impressive to watch over the last two days, with multiple guys up-and-down the lineup contributing.

As for the pitching rotation, 2024 RHP’s Malachi Paplanus (Huntley), Tom Ford (Lisle), Nick Baffa (Notre Dame College Prep) and Nate Harris (Yorkville) all threw two innings a piece for Team Illinois.

Paplanus, listed at 6-foot-1, 200-pounds, struck out two, allowed two hits and one run in his two inning stint. 

Ford has a long, 6-foot-6, upside frame with plenty of more development to tap into down the road. The long-limbed right-hander did not allow a hit or a run in his two inning stint.

Baffa has a 6-foot-1, 155-pound, athletic, lean frame and all kinds of athleticism to tap into on the mound. The righty was changing his timing, delivery and tempo throughout his two innings, toying with hitters and allowing his low-to-mid 80’s fastball to play up. Baffa gave up two hits and no runs while striking out three.

Arguably the biggest winner of the day on the mound was Harris, who came in and flashed some of the best velocity for Team Illinois, so far on the week. Harris, who is built at a physical 6-foot-4, 205-pounds, was running his FB into the low-90’s while flashing an above-average CB at 72 mph and a SL at 77 mph. That arsenal led to three strikeouts, along with two innings of hitless baseball for Harris.

Team Illinois concludes the PBR Future Games on Saturday with a matchup against Team New Jersey at 4:30 PM.