Scouting Notes: Hazleton Area at #24 North Penn

By Jacob Gill
Philadelphia Region Director of Scouting

hazleton area hs @ #24 north penn hs (march 28)

A back-and-forth non-conference affair that saw both teams use three pitchers ended with a youthful Hazleton Area squad, boasting five sophomores in its starting line-up, taking down #24 North Penn by a score of 8-6 in nine innings.

HAHS 2014 SS/RHP Sal Biasi impacted the game with both his bat and his arm, going 4-for-5 and picking up the win in relief. Biasi rocks his weight to his backside to load and is a pull-oriented hitter who showed a feel for finding the barrel. He exhibited quality actions and solid arm strength in between innings, but did not have a grounder hit his way during the game. On the bump, the 6-foot, 165-pounder's high-3/4 slot and loose arm produced a FB at 82-85 and a slurvy, 11/5 breaking ball at 68-70. The breaking ball has a chance to be a quality pitch for him, although he had a tendency to drop his slot which caused it to flatten out.

Hitting in front of Biasi in the order was 2015 OF/LHP Joey Baran. His short, simple path produced a double to left plus line-drive singles to center and right. The left-handed hitter even showed an ability to execute when needed, hitting a ground ball to second base with a runner on second and none out. At 5-foot-11, 165-pounds, Baran is a quality athlete who tracked the ball well in CF and posted a 4.44 home-to-1B time on a turn. Toeing the rubber in the middle innings, he worked at 79-82 and flashed a solid 11/5 CB at 71-73 when he wasn't falling toward third base and getting on the side of the ball. He has a deliberate wind-up, but still manages to have good arm speed out front.

Tony Hernandez2014 LHP Tony Hernandez (left) went the first four-plus innings in front of Baran and Biasi. The 6-foot-2, 180-pounder has a loose, gangly body and a strong lower half. He pitched from a high-3/4 slot with a 79-82 FB and 63-64 CB. Even though he isn't blessed with tremendous arm speed, Hernandez's frame and arm action should allow him to make strength and velocity gains going forward.

Biasi's double-play partner, 2015 Chris Panzarella, who moved over to SS when Biasi was called on to pitch, is another youngster to keep an eye on. Panzarella showed plus actions and a loose, easy arm action in the field. He hits from an upright stance and drops his hands to launch. With three years to add strength to his 6-foot-1, 170-pound frame, Panzarella should see the offensive side of his game catch up to his defense.

Binghamton-bound 2013 catcher Eddie Posavec led the way offensively for North Penn, finishing a double short of the cycle. Behind the plate, Posavec receives and blocks well. While there are other catchers with more raw arm strength, he more than makes up for it (1.97-2.13 pop times) with very good feet, a quick transfer, and an accurate arm.

Chris KerseyBaby-faced IF Chris Kersey (right) was one of only three non-seniors in the line-up for North Penn. The lanky 2014 grad is an average runner (4.47 home-to-1B) and finished the day 1-for-3 with two walks. Despite a late-game bobble where he got caught on an in-between hop, Kersey plays through the ball well with his feet, although his arm is currently a bit short for the left side and he may profile better at second base at the next level.

Although he ultimately was saddled with the loss, 2013 RHP Dylan Borawski gave North Penn a chance to win with his relief work in the middle innings. At 5-foot-10, 135-pounds, Borawski isn't an imposing presence, but he is a strike-thrower with some arm speed. His mid-70s FB appeared to have occasional cut to it, which, along with a decent slider, kept him off the barrel the first time through the order. He pitched completely out of the stretch and did a nice job controlling the running game (sub-1.2 to the plate).

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