Jacobs 2016 Heiss comes out hot against Conant

By Sean Duncan
Executive Director

ELGIN, IL - The moments are few and far between. But every now and again, while sitting in the stands, an undeniable star emerges, doing things on the baseball field not seen every day.

Jacobs sophomore right-hander Brenden Heiss had one of those moments Saturday morning at Judson University.

The 6-foot-1, 185-pounder led Jacobs to a 5-2 victory over Conant, pitching six strong innings of three-hit baseball, recording seven strikeouts, three walks and no earned runs. Beyond his solid, but ordinary stat line, though, is a more impressive line of numbers – the type of numbers that bodes extraordinarily well for Heiss’s future:

Heiss, who’s currently ranked No. 5 in Illinois’ 2016 class, came out firing 91-92 mph fastballs in the first inning, working 90-91 out of the stretch. Must be the adrenaline of his third start of his varsity career, finally pitching in some decent weather, right? Well, the second inning was 90-91; third inning, 89-91; the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, 88-90, with more 90s that 88s. High velocity numbers have become more commonplace in recent years, but seldom have I seen a sophomore sustain it for six innings.

Heiss’s athleticism shined in the game as well. He has extremely athletic feet, evidenced by his five putouts he made, including one on a slow-roller down the third-base line in which he got to it in a blink, stopped on dime and threw a strike to first to edge the runner and get out of the inning.

The game didn’t actually start well for Heiss, either. He struck out the first batter of the game on a 92-mph fastball, but the catcher couldn’t handle it. The runner was then sacrificed over, and junior OF Anthony Forte proceeded to turn on a 91-mph heater for a run-scoring single.

With the score tied 1-1, Conant took a 2-1 lead in the fifth when Heiss walked two of his three batters of the game, and hit another batter. He nearly got out of the inning unscathed, but a passed ball allowed a run to score. He then proceeded to finish out the inning with a strikeout.

Jacobs (12-4) responded in the bottom half of the fifth with four runs to put the game away. The inning began with two costly errors. Senior first baseman Ben Murray delivered a run-scoring single, followed by a two-run single by senior Grant Kale. Kale later came around to score on a wild pitch.

Kale finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBI. Senior LF Danny Vandewalker had two hits, including an RBI single in the first inning to tie the game at 1-1.

In a three-team event at Judson, Conant also lost to Niles Notre Dame, 6-1. Conant dropped to 5-9 on the season.

More in-depth scouting notes will be posted in the Illinois Scout Blog later

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