Heiss Dominates In No. 3 Jacobs' victory

By Sean Duncan
Executive Director

Brenden HeissALGONQUIN, IL –It is no secret by now that RHP Brenden Heiss possesses the most electric arm in Illinois. From the Super 60 to the Future Games to the Illinois Underclass Invitational, the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Arkansas recruit has set velocity records at every high-level event he has attended.

The biggest question surrounding Heiss was whether he could harness his heater, throw consistent strikes and sharpen his secondary stuff all the while repeating his unorthodox arm action and mechanics.

If Wednesday’s outing shed any insight on those questions, the answers to them all are a resounding yes. Heiss was simply dominant in No. 3 Jacobs’ 2-1 Fox Valley Conference crossover victory over Hampshire.

Exactly how dominant? In six innings work, Heiss (2-0) didn’t allow a hit, struck out 12, walked three and the lone Hampshire (5-7) run was unearned. Eight of the first nine outs recorded were via strikeout, six of which were looking on 91-93 mph fastballs on the corners.

Heiss pounded the lower-quadrant of the strike zone with his fastball and power slurve, occasionally showing off a heavy sinking changeup to the dozen or so pro scouts in attendance for good measure. Despite pitching in chilly mid-40s temps, Heiss held his velocity as well as any prep pitcher in recent memory. In the first inning he sat 92-93 mph with his fastball, and then worked 90-93 through five innings and 89-92 in the sixth.

Heiss, who broke the Super 60 record in February when he popped a 96, also showed a vastly improved slurve that ranged between 77-78. In the sixth, when his fastball command began to wane a bit, he turned to the slurve to get a pair of strikeouts after Hampshire scored its lone run thanks to a walk, stolen base and an error on a chopper to the first baseman, making it 2-1.

Mechanically, Heiss isn’t picturesque by any stretch. He works across his body with varying degrees of a closed landing. The times when he was off the plate was mainly when he landed way across his body and pulled the ball down to the gloveside. And despite a big wrap on the backside, his supreme athleticism and arm speed enable him to get out front with consistency. At times you can’t help but wonder how he is able to consistently find the same release point, but he manages it. Jacobs coach Jamie Murray said Heiss had a similar dominating performance in his first outing of the season, too.

Jacobs (9-1) gave Heiss all the run support he would need in the fourth inning when the Golden Eagles pushed two runs across. Senior 3B Tim Randl led off the inning with a single, and the next hitter, Daniel Solomon, reached on an error. Both runners scored without the courtesy of a hit, with Randl scoring on senior 1BG Casey Dennison’s long sacrifice fly to center field.

Hampshire senior right-hander Michael Kruse pitched well in the loss, allowing only four singles with three strikeouts in six innings work.

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