Prep Baseball Report

Participants Have A Blast At New England Procase

Bruce Hefflinger
PBR New England Senior Writer

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Participants Have A Blast At New England Procase

DANBURY, Ct. - Close to 100 players participated in the New England Procase and a group of some of the best players in the six northeast states had a lot of good things to say about the opportunity to be part of the prestigious event.

“I had so much fun at the 2023 PBR New England ProCase,” related Gabe Pitts. “I enjoyed reconnecting with many of the players who I went to the 2021 Futures Games with, as well as others who I’ve played with and against. So many have become close friends over the past two years. That’s the best part of participating in a PBR event – getting to spend time with all of your friends again and talking with them about their baseball development and future plans.

“PBR does a great job organizing and running these events, and they are excellent at promoting players to college coaches and professional scouts on social media,” added the Worcester Academy senior. “I’m extremely grateful to Dennis Healy, Trevor Brown, Steve Alhona, Dylan Hefflinger and Bruce Hefflinger for their constant support in my baseball journey.”

Gabe Tirado was back for a second time at the event.

“The Procase this year, much like last year, was filled with a talented crop of players from all across New England,” the Loomis Chaffee junior said. “It was a well-organized and a very well-documented event on social media making it much easier for prospects alike to have their performances broadcast to the world.”

Joel Strand is another that had been to the Procase before.

“Overall, I felt this was a great event to participate in,” the senior from Greens Farm Academy in Connecticut said. “I felt that despite there being a large number of guys attending, things ran smoothly and efficiently so that I never really felt like I cooled off or was just sitting around for a while. I felt I performed much better than last year and overall performed at my expectations for February.”

Cole Silvia was at his first PBR event.

“I thought it was great,” the Canterbury High School junior related. “It was my first PBR event and I feel like it was run super well. The talent there was obviously a ton. I had never been in the same place as that many talented players at the same time.” 

Others also expressed their pleasure with the event that included uncommitted players as well as 56 committed participants from area colleges like Connecticut, Rhode Island, Northeastern, Bryant, UMass Amherst, UMass Lowell, Boston College and Quinnipiac. Additionally, players headed to the likes of Houston, Wake Forest, Rutgers, Kansas State, West Virginia and Pepperdine were present.

Matt McDowell: “I thought the event was great! To be able to compete with so many of the best players in New England was awesome! I met a lot of new people and even some future college teammates.” 

John Mass: “The event was very fun. It was really good to see a ton of good players from all over New England and surround yourself with good players and good energy for the day. I enjoyed every second.”

Bennett Crerar: “I felt that this event was well run for the amount of kids. It gave me just the right amount of time needed to showcase my talent and perform for the scouts.”

Hunter Hoxie: “The event went pretty well in my opinion. They gave lots and lots of time to stretch out, plus provided us with the Trackman to go deeper into your performance.”

Randy Guzman: “I think it was a great event. It was structured very well and the environment was great! 10/10.”

Will Perkowski: “The New England Procase was great, a well-run event. I was grateful for the invite and enjoyed the competition the whole night. I enjoyed seeing future teammates and friends while competing against them.”

Nico Tambascia: “I loved the event, I think it was very well put together and the dome had lots of space.” 

Kevin Milewski: “Overall I thought the event was pretty fun and competitive. Going to events with college-bound guys and playing a sport we all love is one of the reasons I enjoy baseball so much.”


Guzman stepped to the head of the class when it comes to fastball velocity, with the Cranston East, R.I. senior righty topping out at 92.2 along with the top slider at 83.5.

“One of the biggest highlights I got was when I first stepped on the mound and realized how blessed I am to have the opportunity to even be there and be able to throw in front of pro scouts,” related Guzman, a Central Connecticut State commit ranked eighth among 2023 right-handers in New England.

Thomas Galusha, a Salisbury School senior right-hander committed to Connecticut, was second in fastball velocity at 91.2, while a pair of juniors, Mass and Tambascia, were next in line with velo at 90.4 miles an hour each.

“The highlight for me was getting my name out there and performing in front of lots of scouts,” explained Tambascia, a 6-3 195-pounder from the Winchendon School rated sixth among 2024 right-handed pitchers in Massachusetts. “I know what I did well and what I didn’t do well. I definitely need to work on my off-speed pitches but my control and velo was great.”

Will Perkowski, a senior from Goffstown High School and the top-rated 2023 in New Hampshire, was right behind with a fastball at 90.3, one of six in the field of 20 pitchers to hit 90.

“My highlights were being top three in exit velocity, and top five in mound velo,” the Southern New Hampshire commit said. “I was excited to show off what I was capable of doing.”

Elias Conway, a Columbia, N.Y. senior headed to Delaware, had the top fastball among left-handers with an 88.6 heater while Hoxie was right behind at 87.8, adding in a 77.1 slider with 2,514 spin rate.

“The highlight was the rush of adrenaline when stepping on the mound, which personally helps me with velo, and helps with overall performance,” noted Hoxie, a Jonathan Law, Ct. junior southpaw committed to Rutgers.

Not to be overlooked was McDowell, a sophomore right-hander from Brookfield, Ct. who hit 89.2 on the fastball, 79.3 on the change with a 2,398 spin rate (second highest), while throwing a curve 76.

“I really enjoyed the ability to perform in front of the scouts,” noted McDowell, called a “potential draft pick” by PBR New England Director of Scouting Trevor Brown. “I need to keep working on my speed and overall just trying to get bigger, faster and stronger each day.”


Three New England Procase veterans sparkled behind the dish at the 2023 event.

Milewski, a Notre Dame West Haven senior headed to Seton Hall, had the top catcher’s velo at 86 to go along with the second best pop time of 1.89 with Strand recording the fastest pop time of 1.82.

“The highlight for me was honing in on my throw-downs after starting poorly,” said Strand, an Amherst College commit who also had a 97.1 exit velocity. “My first two throws were a bit high, but after that I focused in and delivered my final six throws to the bag. I was excited to hear that all of my throws were in the 1.8’s despite my arm velo being slower than others.”

Tirado, the top-rated 2024 in New England, tied for the second best velocity at 85 while recording a 2.0 pop time.

“My personal highlight of the Procase had to be my catcher velocity along with my batting practice round,” pointed out the Connecticut commit. “In a span of just six months from my last showcase I gained five miles-an-hour on my throw-down giving me a new personal-best of 85, a goal I had been chasing for quite some time. My batting practice rounds were great as I powered the ball to the middle and right-center gap with a top exit velocity of 104.6 and an average of almost 97.”

A pair of other juniors also showed well behind the plate, with Matthew Conte at 85 on velo and 1.90 on pop time and Connor Lane at 85 and 1.97, respectively. Conte is a Wake Forest commit from Dexter Southfield while Lane is a UConn recruit from Old Saybrook.


A number of players were back from last year and pointed out the importance of learning from past experiences.

“Performing at this event was different than a year ago because I put in much greater, consistent work in the weight room, batting cages, on the field, and sprinting on the turf this off-season to improve myself as a player,” explained Pitts, a Central Connecticut State commit. “It boosted my confidence knowing that I put in more work, and it paid off with better metrics across the board this year as compared to last year. I feel like every season you have to reflect on the work you put in and go even harder the next season to keep improving. That’s always been my mindset.”

Tirado saw a big difference from the 2022 Procase.

“Last year, being a sophomore, the nerves set in early as I was competing against kids two and even three years older than me,” pointed out the 5-9 205-pound left-handed hitter. “This year, although there were some kids older than me by two years, I felt like a veteran as I had done this showcase before. It gave me the confidence to be able to perform at the best of my ability.”

It was the same feeling for Strand.

“This year, I felt much more comfortable having now returned to baseball for more than a year,” noted the 6-2 215-pounder. “Last year’s event was one of my first events after my shoulder surgery in December 2020, so there were still a lot of things to work out and improve on. Most notably I felt more fluid and relaxed, and I believe this composure made it a much more enjoyable event for me this year.”

Milewski, the third-rated senior catcher from Connecticut, was excited about the improvements made.

“My performance from this event to the last one is the difference made in the weightroom and taking care of my body,” explained the 6-4 230-pounder who recorded 99.4 exit velocity in addition to running a 6.97 time in the 60.


Where to begin when talking about promising positional prospects?

With the top exit velo of 105.4 to go along with a 6.98 clocking in the 60, 89 infield velocity, third best at the event, and the top hand speed of 29.3, Alex Marot, a Winchendon School senior committed to West Virginia, certainly made an impression.

The same can be said for Pitts, whose 6.40 time in the 60 was best at the Procase, an improvement of 0.24 from a year ago.

“My biggest highlight from this year’s ProCase was running the fastest 60-yard dash time of 6.40 seconds on thick turf,” the second-rated 2023 outfielder in New England said. “Speed has always been my greatest tool in my game, and my goal for this year and next year in college is to be a consistent threat on the base paths to get myself in scoring position for my teammates. I just try to get on base any way I can and find a way to score to help my team win.

“Honestly, I take pride knowing that I run the fastest 60-yard time out of all New England high school baseball players, and that always motivates me when a game doesn’t go my way,” added the 6-0 167-pounder. “I believe that my speed on the base paths and in the outfield help me to stand out among other players and assures me that I can bring a special value to any team that I play on.”

Additionally, Pitts had the best jump height max of 36.3 and was the lone participant with a jump height average of 30-plus at 30.5.

“It was pretty cool to have the highest jump,” Pitts admitted. “I have dreams of robbing home runs at the outfield fence.”

Silvia, called by Brown “a super athletic high defender, good runner and sleeper,” also sparkled with a 6.59 time in the 60, 92.6 in exit velocity and 80 infield velo.

“The highlight for me was probably my 60,” the Pepperdine commit rated third among New England 2024 shortstops said. “Running a 6.59 and the second fastest time there was definitely something that was a highlight for me.”

One other performance note is the top bat speed of 87.0 established by senior John Lucas Hernandez, a Dexter Southfield shortstop headed to San Jacinto Junior College.


A discussion involving the top positional prospects can not be made without looking at the sophomore class at the Procase.

In addition to McDowell, the 199th-rated sophomore in the nation, there were a trio of others that had numbers worth mentioning.

Pengel had a time of 6.61 in the 60, 90 outfield velocity and 94.2 exit velo while Lucas Ametrang, an uncommitted sophomore from Hamden Hall, was at 6.65 in the 60 with 81 outfield and 94.7 exit velocity. 

Another that stood out was Crerar with a clocking of 6.68 in the 60 in addition to 94.6 exit velo and a throw of 80 from the outfield.

“The highlight for me was talking to the scouts after two eye-opening rounds of BP," the top-ranked uncommitted 10th-grader in New England said. “As a sophomore, I can see where my metrics and skills compare with Division I commits who are older than me. It shows me where I need to be in one to two years to be a pro prospect.”

Brown was surely impressed with what he saw in the sixth-rated 2025 in New England.

“Crerar is super athletic, can play shortstop and center field at the next level, is a plus-runner and a very good athlete,” the PBR New England Director of Scouting said. “He will be a high draft pick at some point.”


One from each class was exceptional in showing off their potential abilities as a two-way performer at the next level.

While hitting 90.3 on the radar with his fastball, Perkowski, the second-rated senior first baseman in New England, showed off his bat with the third best exit velocity of 102.3 while adding in the fourth best infield velo of 88.

Mass, the only pitcher to throw a splitter (78.7) and knuckleball (72.2) in addition to tossing a 90.4 fastball, was no slouch as a position player with the best infield velocity throw of 92. The Boston College commit from Portsmouth, R.I., also had a 95.9 exit velo and a 6.72 time in the 60.

“A highlight for me was getting my 60-yard down,” the fourth-ranked junior shortstop in New England said. “I also had a very good round of BP and a good bullpen.”

McDowell stood out among the sophomores, both on the mound, at the plate and in the field. The 53rd-rated shortstop in the country tied for the best infield velo at 92, recorded 89.0 exit velocity and had a time of 7.10 in the 60. All that on top of a three-pitch mix of change, curve and fastball that topped out at 89.2.

“I felt like I did well on both my pitching and infield velo,” the UConn commit said. “I was able to increase both of them at the showcase.”


When participating in events with peers on or even better than your level, it is important to learn some lessons along the way. That was the case at this PBR event.

“Something I did and can take from my performance to the near future is being able to stay calm when being put under pressure,” related Guzman, a 6-0 190-pounder. “Staying calm will for sure help me stay under control and find my groove with some pressure on me.”

Silvia also learned one item of importance.

“What I can take out of my performance is that I need to work through the ball more in the infield as my infield velo wasn’t as good as others,” Silvia said.

Dealing with a long event was where Mass learned a lesson.

“I can take the improvements and use it as motivation to do better in the future,” Mass said. “I can also learn how to get loose and stay loose in a six-hour event. There is a lot of down time, especially as a two-way guy, so in the future I need to learn how to prepare for that.”

Hoxie had the same feeling.

“Something that I could have done better was time management,” the 16th-rated junior in New England noted. “I may have started my routine a bit early, and found myself waiting around watching the other pitchers, which was still entertaining, and forced myself to not rush into the bullpen.”

Back for a second time, Stand learned a lot from the year prior.

“Staying within myself and not getting caught up in other guys' numbers/status/commitment was a huge key for me this year,” the top-rated 2023 catcher from Connecticut said. “I believe that staying true to my game can help continue taking me to the next level in the future.”

It was the same for Tirado with being back at the Procase for a second time.

“The idea of staying relaxed and poised will only aid success and I personally saw that this weekend,” the 11th-ranked junior catcher in the nation explained. “The more fun I had, the easier everything seemed to come to me.”

Perkowski pointed out a valuable lesson all should incorporate into their game.

“I think something I can take away from the event is staying calm and having fun,” Perkowski said. “I think lots of people got too stressed out. I think I was able to stay in control of my body the whole time which is important.”


There was a lot to enjoy, nothing more so than having scouts see what you are all about.

“It was good that there were scouts in attendance,” Mass noted. “It was great that I got to show them what I could do. I just played the game I always play and was being myself despite having some more eyes evaluating my game.

“Scouts did talk to me,” the 5-11 180-pound left-handed hitter added. “One of them reached out to me about an Area Code Tryout invite in June which was awesome.”

McDowell is another that has Area Code tryouts in his future.

“Being a 2025, it was great to start getting my name out there and having them get to know me will hopefully help my future,” the 6-3 190-pounder said. “I didn’t actually talk with any scouts at the showcase, but I did get an invite from the NY Yankees’ scout the next morning for Area Code tryouts. So overall I really think PBR doing a Procase event is great to give the New England players exposure and opportunity for future guys to be drafted.”

Tirado realizes what the value of getting in front of scouts can mean.

“Being on the national stage for almost a year now, the scouts being present last year did frighten me a bit, yet having experience playing in front of many eyes this year I felt as comfortable as ever,” Tirado pointed out. “Some scouts did talk to me. We conversed briefly about how things have been going as well as talking about the spring/summer.”

Based on the Procase, Crerar has a big future ahead.

“It felt great performing in front of some big named scouts from some of the top MLB teams in the country,” the 6-3 180-pounder from Cheshire High School in Connecticut said. “It gave me the ability to really show people who I am and open some eyes.

“I talked to a plethora of scouts at the event,” Crerar added. “It felt great to receive some feedback about how I compare to minor league prospects and MLB players today. We talked about what colleges have offered me and what my plans are for the summer. It meant a lot to me because I was able to showcase my talents and get advice from some very well respected people in the baseball scouting world.”

Others were not as fortunate when it came to talking with scouts, but understand the importance of what this event can mean in the future.

“Performing in front of all the scouts was a huge blessing,” Guzman said. “Not many people have that opportunity, so for me to have a chance to do so at 17-years-old is a blessing. It was very nerve racking, but I settled in and kept calm.

“Unfortunately I did not get the opportunity to talk face to face with any scouts but I did realize while I was throwing there were a few scouts taking video of me pitching, and all the scouts had a radar gun up at me. So seeing that means a lot to me and gives me a realization of how my dreams are right in front of me and that I am capable of achieving my dreams.”

Just getting to be seen was without a doubt a great feeling.

“Performing in front of scouts was fun,” Perkowski said. “I had never been in front of pro scouts before so the experience was special and I enjoyed trying to impress them.”

Others felt the same.

Milewski: “Playing in front of scouts is a very cool feeling because it's an opportunity to showcase your skills and potentially catch the attention of professional teams.”

Strand: “Performing in front of the scouts was a great experience. It provided a very professional edge to the event, and it was awesome to be able to play in front of so many organizations.”

Pitts is another who was thrilled to have scouts on hand to watch his game.

“Overall, it was such an amazing opportunity to perform in front of all the pro scouts who attended,” Pitts said. “Seeing all of the scouts representing their MLB teams was truly special, and I’m grateful that I got to showcase my talent to them because I know many people don’t have this opportunity.

“While no one directly spoke with me during this event, I’m confident that I made a positive impression on them and that I have a skillset that translates to playing at increasingly more competitive levels.”  


For all involved, the New England Procase was a memorable event and can only benefit a future in the game.

“It was a fun experience and a great time to PR to update your numbers with PBR,” Hoxie said.

Tambascia had a great time, even if there were some nerves.

“I was definitely a little nervous performing in front of the scouts,” the uncommitted junior said. “Seeing all the cameras and scouts behind home plate made me more nervous than I thought, but overall the event was very enjoyable and I got a lot of exposure by putting myself out there.”

Silvia was more than pleased with his initial PBR event.

“It was cool performing in front of the scouts,” Silvia said. “I’ve played in front of colleges before, but never pro scouts. It was definitely a rare experience. Overall, I couldn’t ask for a better event.”

Perkowski felt the same.

“It was an awesome event per usual,” the 6-4 190-pounder said. “A 10/10 experience meeting new people and competing with the best in New England.”

Nobody enjoyed the day any more than Pitts.

“This ProCase was just the beginning for 2023,” Pitts said. “I’m going to keep working hard and improving because there will likely be pro scouts observing potential draft prospects at some of my spring Worcester Academy games in our Central New England Prep School League as well as during the summer when I play for the Brockton Rox in the Futures Collegiate League.

“Most importantly, I do this because of my passionate love for the game that I’ve had since I was old enough to swing a bat. I will always be ready to play and to showcase my skills to the best of my ability because you never know who will be watching on any given day.”

The goal for Pitts is the same as the others.

“My ultimate dream is to one day play in the MLB!” Pitts concluded.

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