The Rode Show: IMG Academy, South Hills Advance



By Nathan Rode
National Supervisor

Facing St. Petersburg HS, FL, in the second round of the IMG National Classic, IMG Academy, FL, pulled out a 4-2 victory to advance and will face Hewitt-Trussville HS, AL, Wednesday afternoon.

OF Danny Blair led the charge with a 2-for-3 day, scoring two runs. Both of his hits, a double and a single, were squared up as he showed his usual good, short swing. Blair doesn’t have a big frame, but he’s strong and packs a punch. He still tends to get jumpy at the plate and can pop balls up or swing through them, but when he stays back, he can drive it into the gaps and use his speed to leg out extra bases.

3B Ryan Karstetter (IMG Academy, FL) was 1-for-2 with a triple and run scored. The triple came in his first at-bat with SS L.T. Tolbert on first. The hit-and-run was on and Karstetter executed beautifully, squaring a ball up through the right side that had enough behind it to make it to the track in right-center field. Karstetter has a physical frame, but is a faster runner than you would expect. He got down the line in 4.3 seconds on a groundout in his third at-bat. He’s an effortless runner and moves well.

Tolbert continued to perform well, showing that his whole is greater than the sum of his parts. There is some length to his swing, but he consistently makes hard contact at the plate. He’s an average runner at best, running a 7.1-second 60, but moves well at short and makes tough plays look easy. He charged a slow tapper in no man’s land between the pitcher and shortstop today, scooped it up cleanly and made a quick exchange to get the runner at first.

2B Nick Derr (IMG Academy, FL) didn’t have anything to show for it, going 0-for-3, but squared pitches up in his first two at-bats, lining out to right and center field.

RHP Anthony Holubecki started for IMG Academy and logged 5.2 innings, allowing two runs (none earned) on two hits and two walks. His fastball ranged from 85-88 mph early and he threw minimal offspeed pitches in the outing.

Tolbert came in to close out the game in the seventh and needed just six pitches. After a leadoff single, he induced a pop-up, fly out and groundout. His fastball sat 86-88 with some arm-side life.

Also advancing in the winner’s bracket was South Hills HS, CA, after beating Pelham HS, AL, 8-1. Part of the offense was fueled by 2015 1B Frank Ramirez, who launched a home run over the batter’s eye in center field. LHP Ryan Mauch started for South Hills and pitched 5.2 innings, allowing one run on seven hits and two walks while striking out seven. He has long legs and a skinny frame and pitches with a deliberate delivery. He sat 85-87 in the first inning, but crept up to 87-89 when he found himself in a bases loaded jam. He was sitting in the 81-84 range when he exited with two outs in the sixth. He mixed in a changeup at 79-80 and a curveball at 72-73 with 2/8 shape. A 2016, Mauch is verbally committed to Long Beach State and is part of a rotation that has three other Division I arms. South Hills is in an enviable position with two games left and two frontline arms available—one committed to Cal State Fullerton and the other to San Diego State. IMG Academy is also in a good spot with 2016 LHPs Jason Groome (Vanderbilt) and Dion Henderson scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday respectively.

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