Prep Baseball Report

Scouting Notes: No. 7 Nazareth vs. Benet

By Sean Duncan

LISLE – Both No. 7 Nazareth and Benet Academy have lived on the razor’s edge this season, playing a string of one-run games. Nazareth has found itself on the happy side of those one-run contests most of the time, which is why the Roadrunners are 19-2 and state-ranked. Benet has not.

The two teams stayed true to form Wednesday, as Nazareth eked out a 2-1 road victory in East Suburban Catholic play. For the young Roadrunners, who graduated all their starters from last year’s Class 3A fourth-place squad, the win marked their 13th one-run victory. Benet (10-9, 2-2), on the other hand, has dropped eight one-run contests against top-level competition.

Senior DH Ryan Marske, who’s committed to Miami Ohio as a LHP, delivered the game-winning double in the top of the third inning to make it 2-1. Marske finished 2-for-3 and drove in both runs for Nazareth, which improved to 3-1 in East Suburban Catholic play.

Sophomore RHP Jake Bartels (4-0) handled the rest. Bartels limited Benet to four hits in 5.1 innings, and struck out three and walked two. Senior LHP Dominic Purpura worked 1.2 innings of shutout relief, ending in a 4-6-3 double play with two men on in the bottom of the seventh.

Scouting Notes:

  • The game featured a handful of impressive Class of 2014 prospects. Nazareth started three sophomores, including Bartels, who looks to be one of the top right-handers in his class. Bartels is a physically impressive 6-foot-4 right-hander with a strong lower half. In the first inning, Bartels’ fastball was in the 84-85 range, and settled in the rest of the way at 82-84. He kept Benet out of rhythm with a balanced diet of changeups (70-73 mph), curveballs (68-71 mph) and fastballs.  Bartels filled the strike zone and pitched to contact well.
  • Nazareth also featured two other sophomores: C Mike Stromberg and SS Tim DalPorto, who hit two and three, respectively, in the lineup. Stromberg is a left-handed hitting catcher who showed some arm strength, evidenced by him throwing two runners out at third base in the fourth and fifth innings. DalPorto showed advanced actions at shortstop during pregame and barreled the baseball in all three of his at-bats, one which resulted in a single. DalPorto came around to score on Marske’s double in the third inning. DalPorto’s older brother, Steve, was a standout shortstop at Nazareth a few years back and is currently playing at Rice.
  • The lone bright spot for Benet was sophomore SS Chris Whelan, who looks to be a top-level prospect in the Class of 2014. The 5-foot-10 Whelan did it all on the field Wednesday. Offensively, he’s quiet and quick to the ball; he went 3-for-3 with a double, a run scored and a stolen base. All three balls were squared up, two up the middle. Defensively, he has athletic feet, arm strength and plays on the move exceptionally well. Whelan made eight putouts at shortstop without an error, including one deep in the hole. He also made an impressive bare-handed play on the move and, instead of trying to get the guy at first, he fired to third base to get the lead runner. Whelan also has that unquantifiable bounce in his step on the field, which most good middle guys have.
  • Benet junior 6-foot-4 RHP Patrick McInerney yielded only five hits and one run in a complete-game effort. McInerney walked three with no strikeouts. His fastball topped at 83 mph, sitting in the 78-81 range.

IL Top Prospect Showcase slide 6-14-12