Abel Dominates In Jesuit Win


Shooter Hunt
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Portland, OR-- The sun broke through in the afternoon in Portland on Opening Day for the Oregon High School baseball, as teams from around the state were preparing to compete in the first real games of the season. Not easing into things at all, two of the state’s top teams, Jesuit and South Salem, squared off at Sprunk Stadium on the grounds of Jesuit High School. The expectations for both teams are high, and each brought a considerable amount of energy to the game, and will likely continue to do so all year.

But this day belonged to 2020 RHP Mick Abel (Jesuit HS, OR).

The Oregon State recruit was stellar over six 1-hit innings as he struck out 12 Saxon batters without allowing a run, in what would end up an 8-0 victory for the Crusaders. Blazing fastballs up to 96 mph that exploded through the zone, Abel was untouchable as he sat mostly 92-94 throughout his first start of the year. Though it was more control over command with the pitch, as he looked to throw the ball by each batter that stepped to the plate, Abel was able to manipulate some sink when going to the arm side, and showed the ability to go in on some hitters late in counts. His slider flashed as an above average offering that he varied the shape of at 82-86. Firmly thrown at times with more cutting action, the best one that he threw came on a strikeout in the middle innings at 82 mph, and exhibited tilt with late-break on multiple planes. It was a true swing-and-miss pitch. Abel demonstrated feel for throwing it for strikes, and he threw it early in counts as well as when putting hitters away late. He also flashed a few changeups at 88-89 that still look to be developing.


The long-limbed, 6-foot-5, 190-pounder oozes projection on the frame, and while he was poised throughout each inning, he showed some good emotion after making some big pitches in a display of competitiveness. The arm works whippy-loose and quick, delivering out of a high ¾ slot to create a downward plane through the zone. There is plenty to dream on for the future as Abel continues to develop, and should he continue the dominance seen in game one against one of the top teams in the state, Jesuit could end up being a very difficult team to deal with late in the season.

GAME NOTES:

+ Uncommitted 2020 INF Ethan Wilson (Jesuit HS, OR) got the scoring going for Jesuit with a laced single up the middle in the third inning. The junior finished the game 2-for-3 with a walk, and utilized a short path to the ball to produce some firm contact as he locked down the three-hole for the Crusaders.


+ Uncommitted 2020 INF Kevin Blair (Jesuit HS, OR) looked very comfortable at the plate all evening long, and got his season off to a great start going 2-for-2 with a triple, a walk, and a hit by pitch. He was also a major threat on the bases with two steals. The 5-foot-9, 160-pounder has some compact, proportional strength with a direct path and ability to spray line drives to all fields.

+ Uncommitted 2020 CIF James Porter (Jesuit HS, OR) has noticeable strength throughout a barrel-chested, 6-foot-1, 215-pound frame, and certainly looks the part of one of the bigger power-threats in the state. His reputation preceded him as South Salem chose to intentionally walk him three times on the evening. His only real at-bat ended in a firm, 2-strike line out to centerfield. He will likely take full advantage of the shallow centerfield fence at Sprunk Stadium this year.

+ Making the most of his pinch-hit opportunity, uncommitted 2019 OF Conor O’Reilly (Jesuit HS, OR) stepped to the plate and busted the game open with a 2-run double. The left-handed hitter kept his hands inside the ball slicing a line drive to the back side gap.

+ Though the sharpness on the mound for South Salem was not there, the outings of all three pitchers that threw showed promise. Uncommitted 2020 RHP Jacob Winstead (South Salem HS, OR) came out working 80-83 with his fastball with a longer arm stroke and some cut out front. He demonstrated some feel for an 11/5 curveball with gradual break at 67-68, and an almost screwball-type changeup with darting action to the arm side at 66 mph. Relieving him was Pacific Lutheran recruit, 2019 INF/RHP Noah Ferguson (South Salem HS, OR). The 5-foot-9, 155-pound right-hander is athletic on the mound, and spun a tight breaking ball. His competitiveness stood out on the evening, and he could be a key relief arm for the Saxons the rest of the way.

+ Uncommitted 2021 C/3B Danny Alvarado (South Salem HS, OR) is definitely a name to get used to hearing about. The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder does not get cheated at the plate, and with his durable frame, there is plenty of power on the way for him. He was able to get off some solid swings against able without anything to show for it, but singled in his final at-bat of the evening against Jesuit’s new pitcher. He has an easy rhythm at the plate with the hands loading down and back with a leg hang before striking the barrel through the zone on a slightly uphill path. He exhibits some impressive hip rotation as he gets the most out of his lower half, and demonstrated the ability to make adjustments late in counts.
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