Prep Baseball Report

Early Top 20 JUCO Matchup: Walters State at Gaston

Brandon Hall
NC / Mid-ATL Director of Scouting

Prep Baseball Scouts were in attendance for a Top 20 JUCO matchup on Friday February 2nd.  The double-header featured No. 9 Walters State visiting No. 19 Gaston College.  The Friday double-header in Gastonia, NC was followed on Saturday with a double-header between the same teams at Walters State. 

Gaston took the first two games of the series.  Game 1 saw three “bang-bang” plays at the plate that all went the way of the Rhinos as they won 3-1.  The Rhinos ran three solid arms out with Mason Smith getting the start and working 4 innings, striking out 4.  Maryland transfer, Wagner Morrissette bridged the 7 inning affair to the Rhino closer, Landon Carr.  Carr worked a perfect 7th, getting the save, while Morrisette took the win.  

Sean Sullivan had 2 hits and scored a run for Gaston.  The big blow in game 1 came from Caleb Estes as he slammed a 5th inning double, plating one and Estes later scored himself.

Game 2 was dominated early by Walters State starting RHP, Taz Butler as he punched 4 in his first two innings of work.  Gaston starter Calvert Clark battled to find the zone early, but made pitches to keep the Rhinos level.  The 4th inning would see the Rhinos plate two and Clark would turn the lead over to his bullpen.  

In the 6th, a Logan Sutton doubled and put two Walters State runners in scoring position.  After a SAC Fly, Andrew Grande tied the game with a single to right-center.  The bottom of the 6th would see Gaston answer right back.  Tyler Burke led off with a walk and would advance around the bases on wild pitches and passed balls.  Again in the 7th, this time with a 1 run lead, Gaston handed the ball to Carr to slam the door.  He worked a perfect 7th, getting a strikeout to end the game.

On Saturday, Walters State would take game three of the series in extra innings, 7-6.  Gaston would answer in game 4, taking the series 3-1 by winning the finale 9-3.  Both teams should have learned a lot about their clubs playing high caliber talent early in the year.  Both teams saw a lot of Freshman, and first year guys, get experience in high leverage situations. Look for both of these clubs to be in the mix as we get closer to May.

Player Notes:

Deniel Ortiz, 3B, Walters State, SO
No. 70 in the Prep Baseball Top 150 JUCO Prospect Preseason list.  Physical frame at 6-foot-1, 230 pounds. Moved well for his size.  Nimble feet with solid reactions side to side.  Showed range to the glove side with an ability to get depth and reset his feet.  Good bend in the hips.  Arm has solid carry.  Some effort in the exchange and release creating some fade on throws.  Right handed hitter

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