Prep Baseball Report

State Championships: Friday Notebook

Trey Sofio
Louisiana Scouting Director

SULPHUR  ̶  The LHSAA baseball state championships are in full swing, and the Prep Baseball Report Louisiana staff was on hand Friday for the action. The two class 5A semi-final matchups were both outstanding contests, and our scouting staff was front and center for each.

West Monroe vs. Zachary

The No. 1 seeded West Monroe Rebels continue their winning ways, defeating Zachary 4-1, advancing to Saturday’s state championship contest.

Hinds CC recruit, 2017 RHP Austin Booth (West Monroe) got the start on the mound for the Rebels, and was dominant, tossing a complete game, allowing only one run, and striking out six. Booth sat 84-88 mph with his fastball, showing arm side run, and quality control in the strike zone. Booth kept hitters off balance with a 4-pitch mix, changing hitters eye levels, and was impressive in his ability to use both sides of the plate. Booth really settled in around the 3rd inning, when he found his slider, which showed sharpness with 10/4 shape and late, hard break at 79-80 mph.

Louisiana State recruit, 2017 OF Jacob Pearson (West Monroe) showed why he is not only one of the premier prospects in the state of Louisiana, but also the entire country on Friday. The Rebel centerfielder finished the day 3-for-3 with double, and gave a 4.00 home to 1st time on an infield single.

2017 OF Ryan Cupit (West Monroe) got the Rebel offense going in the first inning, as the unsigned senior got the bat head out on 90 mph fastball on the inner part of the plate, sending it over the right-field wall for a 2-run home run in the bottom of the 1st inning.

Northwestern State recruit, 2017 RHP Robert Burke (Zachary) got the start on the mound for the Broncos, and showed quality stuff in his outing. A lean, projectable 6-foot-4 right-hander, Burke sat 86-90 mph with his fastball, showing quality tilt and angle to the pitch. He also showed a sharp breaking ball with 11/5 shape, quality depth, and late, sharp break at 76-78 mph.

Central(BR) vs. Sam Houston

The nightcap in class 5A semi-final action, saw Central(BR) upset the No. 3 seeded Sam Houston Broncos, 4-1, as 2017 RHP Ma’Khail Hilliard was electric in a complete game outing.

Louisiana State recruit, 2017 Ma’Khail Hilliard (Central(BR)) had his best stuff on Friday night, and it would have been difficult for any high school lineup to push runs across, even one as talented as Sam Houston. The 6-foot-1 right-hander sat 88-91 mph for the entirety of his complete game performance. Hilliard has always had explosive, late, natural cutting action to his fastball, and he showed that again on Friday; but he looks to have added a wrinkle to the fastball offering, showing the ability to manipulate the pitch to go the other way with late, hard arm side run action. Hilliard also showed his usual sharp, hard breaking ball with 10/4 shape, depth and tight spin at 78-84 mph, consistently throwing the pitch at left-handed hitters’ back feet when needed. Hilliard allowed only one run on three hits, while striking out five, and walking one.

2018 OF/LHP Brant Husser (Central(BR)) finished the day 2-for-3 with double and one RBI. The left-handed hitter showed a simple, direct path with quality bat speed, and gave a 4.00 home to 1st time.

2018 OF Carson Balthazar (Central(BR)) finished the day 1-for-2 with a backside double and a run scored. A physical 6-foot right-handed hitting outfielder, he showed quality athleticism, giving a 4.3 home to 1st on his double.

2018 SS Hunter Hebert (Central(BR)) showed quality defensive ability with soft hands, fluid footwork, actions, and clean, quick transfers. A short arm action into high-3/4 release with carry and accuracy on his throws, Hebert showed potential of a quality middle-of-the-field defender. A right-handed hitter, Hebert hits from an athletic setup with a short, compact stroke with bat speed, finishing the day 1-for-3 with a run scored.

Tioga vs. Breaux Bridge

Tioga defeated Breaux Bridge, advancing to the 4A state final. Despite falling behind by four runs in the second, Breaux Bridge fought back and tied the game in the sixth inning but fell short, as Tioga scored one run in the seventh to take the lead and advance to Saturday’s final by a score of 6-5.

Northwestern State recruit, 2017 C Tyler Thibodeaux (Breaux Bridge) showed a simple, direct path, consistently making hard contact, finishing the day going 2-for-4. Thibodeaux showed quality defensive ability with clean, quick transfers, short arm action into a high-3/4 release with accuracy and carry on throws, giving consistent 2.00 pop times in-between innings.

Southeastern Louisiana recruit, 2018 RHP Dylan Coburn (Tioga) got the start, tossing a complete game, allowing five runs on ten hits, while striking out six and walking none. Coburn sat 82-86 with his fastball, with solid command and showed a breaking ball with 11/5 shape, solid depth and late break at 70-73 mph.

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