Midwest Future Games Day 2 Illinois Recap

By Sean Duncan
Executive Director

BLOOMINGTON, IN – Team Illinois finished the Midwest Future Games 0-3 after it fell to Pennsylvania, 6-4, on Saturday afternoon before a packed house of college coaches at Indiana University.

Similar to its 7-6 loss to Ohio on Friday, Illinois rallied late to make it interesting, scoring two runs in the seventh and had the bases loaded with one out, but failed to come through with the clutch hit.

Positionally, Illinois stacked up with the best of the top Class of 2015 prospects from around the Midwest. A look at some of the highlights during the loss to Pennsylvania (1-1-1):

+ OF Ryan Sargent (Jacobs HS) was one of the clear offensive standouts during the first two days. The 6-foot-2, 175-pounder barreled up top-level pitching all three games, showing excellent plate coverage and the ability to drive the ball to all fields. On Saturday, Sargent went 2-for-2 with a stand-up triple to right-center field. He also singled, stole a base, and scored a run to lead off the seventh inning. Sargent hit safely in his last four at-bats, and one of the two outs he made – a line-shot to centerfield – was arguably the hardest hit of the bunch.

+ 2B Ako Thomas (Mount Carmel HS) led team Illinois in hitting, tallying five hits in three games. Thomas seldom swings and misses while showing advanced barrel awareness and pitch recognition. On Saturday, Thomas went 2-for-3 with an RBI. He led off the game with a single and scored a run, and he also stole a base.

+ SS Cole Daily (Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin HS) proved over the three days that he is an elite middle infield prospect in the country. Verbally committed to Notre Dame, the left-handed hitting Daily has a highly athletic arm, one that has easy carry across the infield from multiple angles. He made a spectacular diving play up the middle, sprung to his feet and just missed getting the runner at first base. He also made several heady baseball plays, something that wasn’t frequently shown across the board during the three games. Daily tallied two hits on Saturday and stole a base.

+ 1B/OF Matt Hopkins (Alton HS) is an elite bat in Illinois’ 2015 class. The physical left-handed hitter singled in his first at-bat and smashed a shot right at the centerfielder in his second at-bat on Saturday.

+ SS Tyler Fitzgerald (Rochester HS), the only 2016 prospect on Illinois’ roster, turned on an 89-mph fastball in the fourth inning for a single and also drove in a run in his second at-bat.

+ 1B/LHP Cory Wright (St. Charles North HS) plays the game the right way, which is to say he plays hard and with controlled energy, and it’s plain to see he loves being on the field. He’s also a top-level defensive first baseman with highly athletic actions, and hits from the left side. And while he doesn’t flash eye-popping velocity on the mound (79-81 mph), he throws a high-volume of strikes and works fast.

+ LHP Kyle Shimp (Yorkville HS) opened plenty of eyes on the weekend. The 6-foot-5, 190-pound athlete worked another solid one-inning stint on Saturday, sitting 83-84 with his fastball, topping at 85, while flashing a solid 67 mph breaking ball and 70-mph changeup.

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