Prep Baseball Report

Dugout Chatter: Top Prospect Games - Day 1

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By Reid Maus
PBR Ohio Staff Writer

The biggest event of the year for recruiting in Ohio takes place on the most beautiful amateur field in the Buckeye state, Prasco Park. The stands behind home plate filled with coaches from the best programs in the state, some even traveling across the country. Players know this is where they will get seen, coaches know this is where they will find the players to fill their programs for the years to come.

From the class of 2018 all the way to the class of 2021, the next four years of high school baseball are represented. For the seniors, this could be their last chance to get connect with coaches and for the freshmen and sophomores this is just the start of the recruiting process.

Some players impressed in the games above the rest. These are the highlights from day one here at Top Prospect Games.

Interested in attending a PBR Ohio event? Check out our schedule by clicking here.

For now, please take a look at the statistical results by clicking here.

Dugout Chatter: Top Prospect Games - Day 1

Teams 1&2

Alec Sayre, RHP, Dover, 2019
Report: The first player to take the bump today, Sayre came in flashing a mid to upper-80s fastball, just sit them down with a nasty slider. In fact, after finding his groove, he struck out the last four batters he faced. “In the first inning my slider was working,” Sayre said. It was evident that his wicked slider was his get ‘em pitch. Sayre plays for the Brownee Lookouts and is currently getting recruited by Ohio State, Kent State, and Youngstown State.

Harrison Johnson, 3B, Mason, 2020
Report: Johnson was the player who broke the stalemate between the two stacked teams. The left-handed hitter came up in with runners in scoring position and poked a base-hit to left field scoring one run, but the runner on second was gunned out at the plate by outfielder Sergio DiCello, who is an incoming freshman at Hamilton Badin.

Ethan Bain, C, Max D Baseball Academy (Bahamas), 2019
Report: Bain has the size and athleticism to be “the guy” behind the plate. That was made abundantly clear when he lost the right fielder by hitting it over his head, bringing in a run in the process. “I was looking for something to drive,” says Bain “there was a runner in scoring position so I was looking to bring him home.” Bain plays for the Redskins but still doesn’t have many looks from colleges yet. The catcher also said he tries to model his game after Yadier Molina, and that definitely shines through.

Sergio DeCello, SS, Badin, 2021
Report: One of the few players in the class of 2021 at Top Prospect Games, DeCello hasn’t played one inning of high school play yet. He says he doesn’t play with a chip on his shoulder, “I’m just trying to show the college coaches what I have.” He has the attention of the PBR scouting team, let alone the collection of coaches in attendance. Knocking a ball up the middle and then getting to second after a lazy play from the center fielder. This kid is a gamer, and his smooth handles and swing present that.

Bradley Davenport, 1B, Bishop Fenwick, 2018
Report: Bishop Fenwick will have a big bat returning to their order in the name of Brad Davenport. The 6-foot-3 first baseman hit two ground-rule-doubles on the day, both to left field. “I’m just going to plate looking for a first pitch fastball to hit, and I’m reacting curve,” says Davenport “I rely on my hands when I fall back in count, hit it to right.” Davenport continued his hitting clinic by pulling a ball down the line for his third extra-basehit of the day.

Sammy Sass, C, Upper Arlington, 2019
Report: A catcher who is built well, swings for power, and has a cannon for an arm, it’s no wonder why Sammy Sass is being looked at by Big Ten schools such as Ohio State and Penn State. The Upper Arlington athlete plays for Bo Jackson Elite in the summer and he almost took one out of the park to left field. “I was sitting fastball, but he started me off with a changeup, and I just battled from the there,” Sass said “I got a curveball in the zone and I just got underneath it a little too much.” Sass says that every time he goes to the plate he looks to do some damage. This aggressiveness continued behind the dish, as he was trying to throw out runners left and right. “Don’t let the runners get on their heels and don’t let them let sleep. If they do, we will get an out,” said Sass.

Brody Ware, RHP, North Canton Hoover, 2019
Report: Ware traveled all the way from North Canton, where he goes to Hoover High School, to have to a chance to play in front of some college scouts. Ware said he hasn’t had many looks form college coaches and this was his chance. He made the most of it, as he struck a couple and made them look foolish in the process. “I was just trying to get anything over, but the fastball was working,” said Ware about his approach, “they were all late on the fastball.” The fastball wasn’t the only thing working for Ware, “I also had a slider that I was able to bring in on righties.”

Zade Richardson, C, New Richmond, 2018
Report: Zade was notable from the time he stepped on the field this morning. Showing off power in BP, speed in his 60 time, and defensive prowess behind the plate, coaches took notice. This all culminated in a bomb that was just inches away from getting out the park, after hitting the ball off the top of the fence. “I came up to the plate trying to swing out of my shoes,” said the catcher. That isn’t always his approach, “If you’re down in the count, you have to take a [different] approach.” Richardson has attracted the likes of Miami (FL) and Alabama, but remains uncommitted looking for the school he will get to play ball at.

Zach Schone, SS, Watkins Memorial, 2018
Report: The 2018 grad, was wearing out the right side of the field. “If a kid is throwing hard, I’m not going to try and pull anything,” Shone continued “If a kid is throwing soft then I’m going to try and hit backside so I stay up the middle.” So it doesn’t matter if you throw fast, slow, and a lot of breaking pitches, Shone is going to try and take you back side. He hit two doubles right along the right field line. Even from the start of the games, it was evident that this was his game plan as he laced one, which unfortunately was targeted right for the first baseman.

Teams 3&4

Blake Smith, LHP, Badin, 2019
Report: If it takes being 6-foot-3, throwing 83 mph, from the left side to get some murmurs in the sea of college coaches here at Top Prospect Games, then be ready for Blake Smith. The Badin high school lefty was flashing some velocity from the left side just to break off hitters with a huge curveball. Changing speeds effortlessly and effectively, Smith set down the first few batters he faced, and while he had some problems with control later in his outing, the “stuff” was there.

Jack Laird, RHP/1B, Elyria Catholic, 2019
Report: The right-hander from the class of 2019 was dicing hitter up, with an arsenal of pitches including a four-seam, two-seam and slider. Striking out nearly every hitter he faced, the confidence he displayed on the bump translated well to results. The incoming junior has already received looks from Ohio State and Ohio University, and it’s easy to see why when you can play with hitters the way Laird was.

Trent Belli, 1B/OF, Dublin Jerome, 2019
Report: The lefty showed he favors the back side, with the some power. He had the first extra base hit of the second group, losing the left fielder in the process. I guess lighting strikes in the same palce more than once, as he went backside with power again later in the game. Lefty hitters are always favored more than right handers, but when the 6-foot-4 left-hander from Dublin Jerome proved that he can hit to the opposite field with some regularity. He put himself both literally and figuratively head and shoulders above the rest. 

Tyler Murphy, RHP, Oak Hills, 2018
Report: Throwing low-80s up in the zone can be tough to hit, especially when you have a plus curveball like Tyler Murphy, class of 2018 from Oak Hills. He was very successful working backwards, starting off the hitters with his plus curve then setting them down by lighting them up with fastballs at the top of the zone. He only faced five hitters, but he struck out four. The lone contact being a weak groundball to the right side.

Kyle Westfall, OF, Moeller, 2019
Report: Speed never goes in a slump, that’s why Kyle Westfall stands out. Running a 6.60 in the 60, every aspect of Westfall’s game benefits from his speed. If he gets on base, every single, every walk is perpetually a double. Westfall covers so much ground in the outfield. Speed is the singular tool of the famed “five tools” that have the ability to help everything. Arms help in the field, power helps at the plate, but Westfall helps everywhere.

Kade Grundy, SS, Somerset (KY), 2021
Report: Imagine not taking one single high school class and already knowing where you’re going to go to college. That’s Kade Grundy’s life as he is already committed to Louisville, while just graduating middle school. Throwing as hard as 83 mph on the bump, and also holding his own in the field it is easy to figure out why the college team that sat at the top of rankings here in 2017 wants him.

Jacob Greer, RHP, Hicksville, 2018
Report: The arm on the 2018 grad from Hicksville high school, Jacob Greer, has remained a relative secret. He hasn’t heard much from many schools, but after today he will get a lot more attention. Throwing mid-80s with a curveball that would make Sandy Koufax sick, Greer was dominating hitters. “Throw it the mit and throw hard,” Greer said was the key to his success. The simple approach proved to be effective. When facing tough hitters like he was today Greer said he just relies on his defense, that’s modest and all, but when you are striking out more batters than batters are putting the ball in play, a good defense seems like overkill. Greer graduates next year and is looking for a school to call home in the fall of 2018. A great late get.

Greg Gilbert, SS, DeSales, 2018
Report: The fourth and final game of the day was relatively quiet on the offense side of the ball, but that silence was broken when Greg Gilbert, class of 2018, ripped a ball right over the second basemen’s head. The ball ran through the gap and it was off to the races for Gilbert as he got all the way to third base on a triple. “I wasn’t ready for the first fastball,” said Gilbert “I fouled a couple off, then I got a fastball and I just went with it.” Gilbert claims that speed is big part of his game and his always looking to turn a double into a triple. As to Gilbert mental approach to the game he lets his talent do the talking, “I try not to think too much, I just try to simplify the game.” Well, he has that mastered, hit it hard then run.

Jackson Eyink, SS/RHP, St. Ignatius, 2018
Report: Jackson Eyink has the typical three pitch arsenal, a fastball, changeup and curveball, yet there is nothing typical about them. The mid-80s fastball was overpowering the hitters, but Jackson wasn’t a one-trick pitcher, as he could keep hitters off balance at the plate with a nasty changeup and finishing them off with a curve that broke on two planes. Eyink wasn’t just exciting on the hill but at the plate as well. Stringing together a couple of sterling at-bats, hitting the ball hard on more than one occasion.