Prep Baseball Report

2020 Preseason All-State Underclass Wrapup - An Opportunity To 'Show Their Skills' For Underclassmen

Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Ohio Senior Writer

Follow @PrepBaseballOH

Complete Statistics

To view the Positional Stats, Click Here.
To view the Pitching Stats, Click Here.

2020 Preseason All-State Underclass Wrapup - An Opportunity To ‘Show Their Skills’ For Underclassmen

COLUMBUS - A glimpse of what is to come in Ohio high school baseball took place on Sunday at the Bo Jackson Elite Training Center with the 2020 Preseason All-State Underclass Showcase. The outlook is obviously promising after 51 players from across the state showed off their talents with hopes of getting invited back to the Upperclass event next year.

“Like all PBR events, everything they do is professional,” explained Lexington sophomore Cole Pauley (Video). “The Preseason All-State Underclass Showcase was very well organized and I feel like the PBR staff not only knew me, but knew everyone. It was also nice to be around all of the talented ball players from all over the state.”

Centerville’s Matt Graveline was one of 25 sophomores in attendance.

“I really thought it was an honor to be asked to participate in this event,” said Graveline, the top-rated uncommitted 2022 in the state and one of the many standouts at the showcase. “This event was well run and I thought the staff gave everyone a fair opportunity to show their skills.”


Graveline (Video Below) was one of eight catchers that participated and one of three that bettered a pop time of 2.0. The 12th-ranked sophomore in Ohio not only had the best pop time of 1.87, but the 6-1, 165-pounder also had the number one catching velo of 82, tied with Kasey Kish, a sophomore from Walsh Jesuit.

“This event can get you noticed by colleges and even some scouts,” noted Graveline, who admitted his highlight of the event was pop time.

Mason Eckelman added to the depth behind the plate at the showcase. The Walsh Jesuit freshman had the second-best pop time of 1.95 and third-best catcher velo with an 80.

“I liked the showcase and I thought it was a good chance to re-evaluate myself and update my numbers,” pointed out the ninth-ranked 2023 in Ohio. “I liked the environment that was put out for me and the other players. I also felt that I was surrounded with very skilled players. By being surrounded by these kinds of players, it makes me motivated to be the best player I can be.”


A 5-11, 180-pound left-handed hitter, Eckelman also showed off his game with an exit velo of 89, with only four players hitting 90. Cameron Gilkerson (Video Below), a Hilliard Darby freshman outfielder rated third in his class, led the way at 92 with sophomores Will Harding of Walsh Jesuit and Dylan Gamber of Mayfield.right behind at 91. Cooper Robinson of Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy, a two-way participant, was at 90. 

“I thought the event was a great experience for me,” noted Harding, an outfielder. “Participating in this event allowed me to know where I am at physically and where I need to improve. It helped highlight strengths and weaknesses that I have.”


Harding showed off more than just a strong stick, with the 6-2, 200-pounder running a 6.78 time in the 60-yard dash, the best in the field of 33 that ran. Alex Boles (Video Below), a freshman shortstop from Waverly, was second with a time of 6.91 while Canal Winchester sophomore outfielder Zade Fusselman was the third to better 7.0 with a clocking of 6.97.

“I love how PBR is always developing and incorporating new technology into their events,” Harding said. “From laser times to using the rapsodo, there is always some cool technology.”

Others best in respective categories were Kish at 89 in outfield velocity and Pauley at 84 in infield velo.

“This is the third event I’ve participated in, and participating in any PBR event is helpful, but this one seemed like a bigger deal than the others,” explained Pauley, the 28th-rated sophomore in Ohio. “Maybe it was because all the other participants were extremely talented.”

Eckelman was second at infield velo with an 83 while Boles and Quinn Benner, a Mariemont sophomore two-way participant, were second in the outfield velo category each with 85.


Pauley showed his all-around game with the top fastball at the event. The hard-throwing right-hander was clocked at 89, two miles per hour better than Robinson and LaSalle sophomore Luke Schlimm, a 6-0 180-pound left-hander rated 29th in the state’s 2022 class.

“A highlight for me personally would have to be pitching,” Pauley said. “At first it’s a bit intimidating with everyone watching with all their equipment and radars, but after a few pitches I started to tune everything out.”

Four others hit 86 on the radar gun, sophomores Connor Bourn of Olentangy Liberty, Colin Ames of Cincinnati Hills Christian, the seventh-ranked uncommitted 2022 in the state, and Graveline, along with freshman left-hander Blaine Albright (Video Below) of Lima Bath, an Ohio State commit rated fourth in his class.


Obviously, making an impression is a key part of the showcase.

“This event, along with the other PBR events, have really helped me get my name out there,” explained Pauley. “It definitely gives me more exposure while the pro-style showcase helps me prepare for pressure situations during actual games.

“I also loved the location of the event. It is amazing. They have everything you could possibly need to train, including a full-size diamond.”

But there was more that the participants enjoyed at an event that included six players that have made a college commitment, four sophomores and two freshmen.

“The highlight for me was seeing old friends and meeting new ones,” Harding noted. “Through playing baseball, I’ve met people from all around the state and built relationships over the years. It was great to see people I don’t usually see often and to meet some new faces.” 

Eckelman summed it up well.

“I liked the batting practice on the field and how all of the the stations were explained and simple to do,” Eckelman said. “PBR events like these are a huge factor in getting better and helping me develop as a player and also a person. It helps me understand my strengths and weaknesses, not only from the statistics outcome standpoint, but also from a coaching standpoint. It has helped develop relationships with players and coaches that have benefited my baseball career.”