Prep Baseball Report

PBR at The Rock 17U: Quick Hits Day 3

By Wisconsin Staff

The third day at The Rock helped highlight even more top Midwestern talent. Friday provided our PBR Wisconsin and Illinois staffs with some of the brightest talents in the region who are headed into the final seasons of their prep careers. In case you missed our highlights from Day 1 and/or Day 2, click on the aforementioned links. 

+ Our day was kicked off by a pitcher’s duel over at Fenway Park between Hitters 21’ LHP Tommy Meyer (Wauwatosa East, 2021; Northern Illinois commit) and Great Lakes Lumberjacks RHP Logan Grimm (Mounds View, 2021; uncommitted). Grimm and the Lumberjacks came out on top and he twirled a solid outing, tossing six innings of one-run ball, striking out three. He sat 77-78, touching 79 mph with his heater and mixed in a sinking changeup in the 70-71 mph range. There’s plenty of upside with Meyer, as the athletic southpaw’s 6-foot-4, 190-pound frame projects well. He works incredibly fluid on the mound and repeats his delivery well, with some deception added into the mix, too. Meyer’s fastball sat 81-83, touching 84 mph early in the game and ticked down into the 79-81 mph range by his fourth inning of work. The advanced feel to spin he has on his breaking ball is impressive; a change-of-pace pitch that works in the 69-70 mph range and froze the opposing hitters. Meyer tossed six innings, allowing two runs and struck out six. 

+ LHP Jack Stellano (Reed Custer, IL, 2021) for Rhino Baseball retired the batters of Game 7 Legacy with relative ease. Through four innings, Stellano struck out seven while allowing 4 hits and even picked a runner off first. Stellano uses his 82-85 mph, topping 86 with the fastball to blow by hitters and keep them guessing with a sweeping 1/7 68-69 mph curve and a 74-77 mph fading change. His low effort, high ¾ arm slot, with movement on every pitch makes him a challenging task for hitters. In relief for Rhino was RHP Mason Telford (Streatro, IL, 2021; uncommitted) who topped at a lively 87 mph. His 12/6, power, late-breaking 74-77 mph CB fooled a lot of Game 7 hitters. In three innings of work he allowed three hits and struck out a couple without allowing an earned run. RHP Joseph Crum (Springfield, IL, 2021) threw a complete game for Game 7. Crum threw 62.7 percent strikes while striking out six. Out of a short arm action and over-the-top slot, Crum’s fastball sat 80-83 mph, 11/5 shape curveball at 60-61, changeup at 71 mph. SS Daniel Mosele (Normal University, IL, 2021; uncommitted) got his team on the board early in the second with a two-run double to left-center.

Game 7 Legacy has been trending up as a team after a few impressive performances thus far. They looked exceptionally good today offensively, exploding for 14 runs in four innings of play. Uncommitted C/INF Ben Hartl (Springfield, IL, 2021) was the main run producer for Game 7, going 2-for-4 with a pair of loud extra-base hits and drove in four runs, too. Hartl has been trending up our prospect radar after several impressive looks this year and he remains one of the top uncommitted prospects in the Illinois’ 2021 class. Three other uncommitted bats collected two hits for Game 7: INF Mitchell Murphy (Normal Community, IL, 2021), C Andrew Briggs (Normal Community, IL, 2021), and the aforementioned Mosele.

Arguably the biggest takeaway from Game 7 Legacy’s victory today was the performance on the mound by Illinois State commit RHP MacCallan Conklin (Normal University, IL, 2021). The strong, athletic Conklin was dialed in from the start and rode that momentum wave throughout his outing, tossing four no-hit innings and striking out eight. Conklin sat 85-87 mph with his fastball through all four frames, getting heavy glove-side actions and missing plenty of bats. Although his fastball was plenty effective, Conklin turned to his slider when he needed to put hitters away. A 78-80 mph pitch with hard bite and late action, Conklin’s slider is a legitimate swing-and-miss weapon. Conklin’s stuff paired with his athleticism is impressive and gives him a fairly lofty ceiling on the hill.

+ Illinois Hawks - Black and Rhino were locked in a pitcher's duel until Rhino's offense exploded in the sixth to coast to the win. Rhino kept up despite a 1-0 deficit for most of the game because of uncommitted RHP Tyler Upp (Hortonville, 2021). Upp navigated danger well, maneuvering around his eight hits allowed for just one run and he K'd six in the six-inning complete game. Upp's a sinker-type with heavy 82-84 mph stuff that he uses to dodge barrels. As for Hawks - Black, they sent an incoming junior to the mound: RHP Matthew Cruise (Seneca, IL, 2021). We'll have to alert our Illinois colleagues of Cruise's work here, utilizing his offspeed very often. Cruise mostly sat 80-83 mph, touching 84, with hard run and sink that he spotted at times. He also showed advanced feel for his change, thrown at arm speed with familiar fade and run, 73-74 mph. And his curveball was also a pitch he started counts with, a 10/4 shape with some sharp break, 68-70 mph. Cruise allowed three runs in five frames and did not walk a batter, while striking out five.

+ In a week filled with high-follow arms, RHP Zach Kempe (St. Charles North, IL, 2021) still managed to stand out. Kempe has been electrifying the summer circuit as one of the top uncommitted arms in Illinois, and even the Midwest. The difference-maker Kempe brings to the mound is the spin, on both the fastball and breaking ball. Sitting 87-90 mph, touching 91, Kempe's fastball features a spin rate of 2,300 RPM on average, up to 2,400-plus. The slider is true swing and miss, a late breaking offering with big lateral action that also records huge spin rates (2,700-2,800 RPM). Kempe was a little wild on this day, consistently missing up in the zone, which led to five walks, but it sometimes worked to his advantage, as he earned some ugly chases – he K'd six in four without allowing a hit.

+ INF Michael Maloney (Lincoln-Way Central, IL, 2021; uncommitted) capped off a three-hit day with a walk-off game-winner in the bottom of the seventh to lead Cangelosi Sparks Black to a 4-3 win. Maloney finished with two RBIs and a run scored. LHP Ryan Kraft (Lincoln-Way Central, IL, 2021; Indiana) got the start on the mound, striking out seven over five innings.

+ NorthStar Navy’s bats came alive early and often in their lone game of the day, scoring nine runs on eight hits over four innings. They were led by the hot bat of INF Evan Appelwick (Madison, SD, 2021; Indiana), who impressed on Day Two and went 2-for-2 with a standup triple today. INF Bennett McCollow (Bloomington Jefferson, MN, 2021; Minnesota) took some quality swings, including a bases-clearing double for his lone hit of the day. NorthStar was led on the mound by RHP Korey Dahlberg (Farmington, MN, 2021; uncommitted). Ranked inside Minnesota’s top-50 for the 2021 class, Dahlberg sat 80-83 mph with his fastball and relied heavily on his breaking ball; a low-70s offering with late, sharp break. The uncommitted righty tossed five scoreless innings, striking out six and allowed just one hit. 

+ SS Sawyer Smith (Shoreland Lutheran, 2021) went 3-for-3 at the plate recording three singles and two runs scored against Illinois Slammer. RHP Noah France (Union Grove, 2021) came in for relief pitching three strong innings. France faced ten, struck out six, and allowed just a couple of hits. France is one of Wisconsin’s top uncommitted arms; an athletic 5-foot-10 with a live arm, ¾ slot, that sat 85-87 mph and was up to 88. The sweeping slider features late horizontal action, thrown with feel at 75-78 mph.

+ INF/OF Andrew Chapman (Waterford, 2021; Wisconsin-Milwaukee) packed the punch for PTA Cardinal on Friday by slugging three home runs in the team’s two games. He started the day with a homer at The Rock Complex before his team travelled just down the road to Greendale High School where he hit two more. In game two against PBA Black, Chapman launched a towering two-run homer to his pull-side in left and he drove in a pair on a two-run single to right-center in the next frame. Later on, he barreled another ball for a two-run homer to right-center to show off his twitchy strength that uses the whole field. For PTA Cardinal on the mound, RHP Maximus Graetz (Oak Creek, 2021; uncommitted) went four strong and allowed just two hits while K’ing six. Graetz was 80-82 mph early and settled into the 77-79 range with an 11/5 curve at 65-68.

+ LHP Cody Bledsoe (Morris, IL, 2021; uncommitted) put Illinois Dynasty Black in full control of his team's night game against Indiana Landsharks. Bledsoe went four strong innings, allowing one hit and striking out seven. Late run action in his fastball, at 83-85 mph, with a sharp 1/7 curveball 66-69, and a straight changeup at 70. Teammate 3B Nathan Buchan (Plainfield Central, IL, 2021; uncommitted) went 2-for-3 with a two-run home run and he tallied three total RBIs.

+ Top Tier North dominated at Franklin Field yesterday behind big days by RHP Justin Fine (Deerfield, IL, 2021) and 1B Daniel Pacella (Mundelein, IL, 2022; Kentucky). Pacella, a Kentucky commit, got the offense going early on by driving a triple down the right field line. He has a quick and compact stroke that has produced consistent hard contact. Fine was dominant on the mound, sitting 80-82 mph, touching 83 in three no-hit innings in a 15-run victory. 

+ GRB Ray's got a 7-2 win over MN STARTERS as a pair of upper-80s arms dueled it out. North Carolina commit RHP Nicholas Argento (Wayzata, MN, 2021) took on uncommitted RHP Bryce Leedle (Markesan, 2021) who, with the help of C Trett Joles (Boyceville, 2021; uncommitted), 2B Cal McGinnis (Kimberly, 2021; uncommitted), and C Josh Caron (Sun Prairie, 2021; Nebraska), picked up the win. McGinnis and Caron each picked up two hits with Caron driving in two. Joles added a big two-run homer to right, his second of the tournament. His big bat strength was evident on the pitch as he looked to have gotten under one to the opposite way that just kept traveling until it drifted over the right field fence.

+ The Minnesota Icemen and ESP Black battled over a tight contest on Friday night that featured 10 runs in the final two frames. LHP Luke Loughlin (Mahtomedi, MN, 20210; uncommitted) tossed four solid frames and struck out seven for Icemen. 2B Bo Strecker’s (Tartan, MN, 2021; uncommitted) launched a bases-clearing double in a key situation which helped the Icemen regain a lead and he earned a walk-off walk to end the ballgame in the bottom of the sixth, completing another comeback in the game.

+ 3B Vytas Valincius (Baylor School, TN, 2021; South Carolina) hit his second bomb of the weekend, but his team fell just short in a 5-4 loss to STiKS Academy. OF Q Phillips (Brookfield East, 2021; Michigan) led the way from the top of the STiKS lineup with a 2-for-3 day with a double and two runs scored. Uncommitted LHP Alex Hayes (Muskego, 2021) got the start and held Americans to two hits over three innings, sitting 82-85 mph, topping at 86. Illinois-Chicago commit RHP Drew Stippich (Kettle Moraine, 2021) worked the final three frames with four punch-outs.