Midwest Future Games Day 1 Illinois Recap

By Sean Duncan
Executive Director

BLOOMINGTON, IN  – Team Illinois rolled into Indiana University having never lost a game in the Midwest Future Games.  On Friday, Illinois got knocked off its perch … twice, dropping an 8-2 decision to Missouri in the first game, then falling 7-6 to Ohio in the night-cap before a packed house of college coaches.

The Midwest Future Games, which features the top uncommitted Class of 2015 prospects from eight states, certainly had its share of highlights Friday. Illinois, however, didn’t have many in the team’s first game against a tough Missouri squad that went 2-0 on the day. Missouri jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the top of first inning and never looked back.

Game 1 highlights against Missouri:

+ Illinois only tallied five hits in the game, two of which were delivered by left-handed hitting C Peyton Isaacson (Galesburg HS) – both sharp singles to left field. For the day, Isaacson went 3-for-3.

+ Diminutive 2B Ako Thomas (Mount Carmel HS) opened plenty of eyes on the first day, especially after he easily turned on an 89-mph fastball by RHP Ryan Mantle (Linn HS, MO) for a double to left field in the first inning. Thomas then stole third base and scored on the catcher’s errant throw. Thomas also delivered a sharp single in Game 2 against Ohio, and scored a run.

+ RHP Jeremy Orbik (Homewood-Flossmoor HS) threw two scoreless innings. In his first inning, Orbik’s fastball sat 86-87 mph.

+ RHP Tyler Lass (Belvidere HS) sat 86-87 mph with his fastball, touching 88. The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder also flashed a solid 75-77 mph slider.

+ SS Cole Daily (Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin HS) was one of the clear middle infield standouts on the first day. The left-handed hitting Notre Dame recruit impressed with his defensive actions and athletic arm (82 mph across the infield). He also had a single against Missouri and a bases-loaded walk against Ohio.

+ 1B/LHP Brett Newberg (Moline HS) smashed a run-scoring double in the first inning that one-hopped the fence in right-center field.

In Game 2 against Ohio, Illinois dug itself a 5-1 hole early, but rallied late to make it interesting. Trailing 7-6 in the seventh, Illinois had runners on first and second with no outs, but failed to push across any runs thanks to a game-ending double play.

Game 2 highlights against Ohio:

+ RHP Steven Skolarz (Lincoln-Way West HS) was sharp in his two-inning stint. The 6-foot-6, 215-pound Skolarz sat 86-87 mph with his fastball, and also showed one of the day’s best changeups, 74-77 mph with arm-side sink. Skolarz struck out three and yielded an infield single in the first inning. He allowed three hits in his two innings.

+ OF/C Andrew Shadid (Peoria Notre Dame HS) had three hits on the day, including two against Ohio. Shadid smashed a triple to centerfield to lead off the sixth inning, and scored a run.

+ C Jesse Forestell (Homewood-Flossmoor HS) delivered a two-run single up the middle to key Illinois’ three-run rally in the fifth inning. The left-handed hitter also had one of the day’s more impressive rounds of BP, and had consistent pop times of 1.94-2.00 in pregame.

+ 1B/LHP Cory Wright (St. Charles North HS) laced a run-scoring double in the sixth inning, stole third base and scored on a wild throw. He also made an impressive sliding catch at first base and pitched a spotless inning.

+ OF Ryan Sargent (Jacobs HS) delivered two hits against Ohio – a run-scoring single in the fifth and a sharp single to right field to lead off the seventh. The 6-foot-2 Sargent also ripped a shot right at the centerfielder in Game 1 and made a diving catch in centerfield.

+ Kyle Shimp (Yorkville HS), an extremely projectable 6-foot-5, 185-pound LHP, had a solid showing. Long and loose, Shimp struck out three behind an 83-84 mph fastball and a 65 mph curveball in 1.2 innings work.

+ 1B/OF Matt Hopkins (Alton HS) opened plenty of eyes during the BP session. The physical 6-2, 190-pounder showed big pull-side power from the left side. Hopkins has an aggressive plate approach and certainly doesn’t get cheated at the plate.

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