Prep Baseball Report

2020 Northeast Future Games - New Look, Same Excitement - Ohio Prospects

Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Ohio Senior Writer

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2020 Northeast Future Games - New Look, Same Excitement - Ohio Prospects

Complete Statistics

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DUBOIS, Pa. - New look … same excitement and enjoyment.

That was the general feeling from those that participated in the 2020 Future Games at Showers Field and Stem Field in Dubois, Pa.

The different look, based off of COVID-19 restrictions, resulted in eight squads combining to form the Northeast Future Games, including Team Ohio. Teams representing New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Michigan and Massachusetts as well as Team Select - with players from six different states - participated in the ninth annual experience.

“This is the best event of the year and even though we had to make some adjustments this year I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.,” noted Jordan Chiero, PBR Ohio Director of Scouting. “Having it regionalized at one field gave it almost a Williamsport feel. It was a very cool setup.

“Aside from the regionalization, the biggest thing that stood out for me was the tech that was incorporated. We had a livestream/trackman going throughout the workout and in-game. This allowed college coaches not only to see BP but see exit velocity/distance and in-game seeing not only velocity from the arms but spin rate as well. The technology utilized was a huge success.”

There was still more that impressed.Cheiro.

“The venue was phenomenal,” Chiero said. “I can’t say enough about Showers Field and the crew there that put together a first-class atmosphere. Also, the live broadcast was incredible. The guys doing it were knowledgeable and professional, giving the games a whole added dimension that I also believe helped give the players more exposure.

“Obviously not having scouts in person was different but I don’t think exposure suffered in the last bit with the ridiculous amount of scouts watching on the livestream/how busy my phone has been.”

Players came away impressed with the event as well.

“Thank you for the opportunity to participate in the Future Games with lots of talent all over,” noted Colin Ames, a Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy right-handed pitcher ranked 36th among incoming juniors in the state. “Thank you to the coaches that were there willing to help and make us better baseball players and people.”

Nik Copenhaver, a 2023 right-handed pitcher from Badin, enjoyed his time as well.

“The highlight of my Future Games experience was being around a group of great guys and forming bonds with them that will last a lifetime,” said the 6-4 190-pounder.

Caden Robinson is another that had positives to say about the PBR event.

“We have a superb staff with outstanding coaching,” pointed out Robinson, the 17th-rated uncommitted right-handed pitcher in Ohio’s 2022 class. “The atmosphere in the dugout was nothing but positive energy. It was great playing with teammates that share my love and respect for the game.”

Caden Bates, a sophomore-to-be at Alliance, saw a lot of benefits from being on Team Ohio.

“Participating in the Future Games showed me what it’s like to face high-level pitching every at-bat,” Bates explained. “This will particularly help me with creating better approaches at the plate and helping me understand the importance of playing team baseball.”

Sam Slodic, the number one uncommitted position player among Ohio incoming juniors, was at the Future Games for a second time.

“Being a part of the event last year definitely helped me prepare for what I would be facing this year,” noted the Notre Dame Cathedral Latin, who participated as a two-way player at the Future Games. “Last year I definitely struggled at the plate which definitely helped me and challenged me to make sure that wasn’t going to be the case this year.”

Getting looks from college coaches was different this time around due to the constraints from the coronavirus, but live streaming helped alleviate any concerns in that regard with an estimated 300-plus coaches from across the country looking on.

“The exposure from this event was incredible,” Robinson said. “PBR does their best to get players recruited and these games most definitely help showcase the skills and talent from participants.”  

The exposure brings hope to all players participating when it comes to a college offer and commitment.and two members of Team Ohio have already committed. Blake Bowen, a 2023 from Wooster, is headed to Kentucky and Quinn Benner, a 2022 from Mariemont, to the College of Charleston

Ohio came away with two wins in three games over the course of the Future Games.

“I was very pleased with how we performed,” Chiero said. “Recruiting moves fast traditionally in Ohio which typically means we are the youngest team at the event and this year was no different. We had four 2024s and several 2023s there and to go 2-1 against elite competition was an awesome accomplishment. It just goes to show how loaded our state is with talent and not only did Ohio guys perform well but we had several guys show well for Team Select.”

Robinson summed up the experience well.

“Thank you again for the opportunity to play with Team Ohio,” the New Albany junior said. “I am excited to see what the future holds and look forward to what comes next.”

A PBR thank you to all that participated and a special thanks to the following players on Team Ohio or from Ohio and on Team Select that gave their thoughts about the event (including what schools have been in contact with them since the event):

Billy Adams SS / 2B / St Ignatius, OH / 2022

PBR: What were your Future Games highlights?
My Future Games highlights were going 3-for-6 against all of the good pitching that we saw every game. My hit against Michigan with an 0-2 count to lead the bases stood out.

PBR: Assess your performance.
My performance during showcases are always “okay” though I’ve never really been a guy that has outstanding numbers during the Scout Days. But my performances during the games went really well and I think I played good defense and had some really solid hits/ABs

PBR: Give your thoughts on being part of Team Ohio and what stood out.
Being a part of Team Ohio was an amazing experience. The field was really awesome. What really stood out was not seeing them but knowing all of the schools were watching was really nerve-racking but also really cool.

PBR: Touch on the competition you faced at the event.
All of the competition was just all-around studs. Every kid that you looked at was either hitting balls off the wall or making a diving play in the field, but seeing every pitcher sitting at a consistent 86-88 was really incredible.

PBR: How can participating in the Future Games help you in the future?
Participating in the Future Games will really help in the future because these are the best of the best players in the country, so if you’re selected it says a lot about the level of baseball you can really play at.

PBR: What, if any, college coaches did you talk to at the event or hear from since the event ended?
The colleges that I was and still am in contact with are Bowling Green and Ohio University.

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Connor Walendzak OF / SS / Perrysburg, OH / 2023

PBR: What were your Future Games highlights?
My highlights of the Future Games were running a 6.69 60, 100 MPH exit velo, a diving catch in center field, and hitting a double off of the right-field wall along with a single through the left side.

PBR: Assess your performance.
I thought that I performed very well at the Future Games and I had a lot of fun.

PBR: Give your thoughts on being part of Team Ohio and what stood out.
I loved being on Team Ohio and being able to compete with and alongside the best players in the state. I also liked meeting all of them and getting to know them.

PBR: Touch on the competition you faced at the event.
The competition we faced at the Future Games was top notch, only the best of the best.

PBR: How can participating in the Future Games help you in the future?
Participating in the Future Games will help me in the future by giving me exposure to a bunch of coaches, and giving me an opportunity to play at the next level.

PBR: What, if any, college coaches did you talk to at the event or hear from since the event ended?
I have been in contact with Wright State and Miami of Ohio since the Future Games ended.

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