Prep Baseball Report

Carson at Lake Norman - Scrimmage

Brandon Hall
North Carolina Director of Scouting

The high school season is almost here and as teams prepare for the upcoming season, each school will play scrimmages.  Prep Baseball Report was on hand for a scrimmage on Thursday, featuring two teams with huge aspirations for the 2018 season, as Carson HS travelled to Lake Norman to take on the Wildcats. 

Each team looked to stretch out a couple of arms in the controlled scrimmage, with both staffs featuring several players with good stuff.  While score was not being kept officially, there was intensity present as each club looks to be at full tilt when the season fires up next week.

During the scrimmage, area high school umpires were getting their work in as well, as 4-6 different umpires were able to  roll through, see pitches behind the plate, and get a feel for their rotations.  In the 3rd inning, things got a little heated.  Carson struggled a bit defensively (more on this below), while Lake Norman was able to take advantage and begin to play with a lot of confidence.  As players begin to bark at each other, the Carson coaching staff reminded the umpires that they needed to take charge of certain situations.  It is preseason for everyone, but on a 78 degree day, it was a good reminder that spring is here.

Team Notes

Lake Norman Wildcats

+ Coach Wiggington will have some options.  The depth in the lineup may be the best in the state, with several middle of the order type hitters, sitting in the bottom third of the order.  When the Wildcats wen to their bench, they brought athleticism and speed, with athletic body types.  This lineup will have a chance to drive up pitch counts as there are threats, in multiple ways, up and down the order. 

+Extremely athletic group in the outfield.  Vance Anderson (OF, 2019) patrolled CF with ease.  A long strider in a lanky body type he made several above average plays look very easy.  In RF, a player to watch as a dark horse for NC Player of the Year, Sam Zayicek (OF, 2018, High Point commit).  Zayicek recently impressed at the PBR Procase.  A well above average athlete, hitting from the left side, he has shown an ability to handle high level pitching.  A little rushed through his load in the preseason, expect Zayicek to have a big year.

+To win a state title, teams really need to have at least 3, and probably 4 arms to work through good lineups, especially with the pitch count rules in place.  Check that box for the Wildcats.  Justin Jarvis (2018, RHP, UNC Wilmington commit) transferred into Lake Norman for 2018.  One of the elite arms in NC, he did not throw on Thursday but reports had him up to 91 earlier in the week.  The Wildcats started Jonathan Perez (LHP/OF, 2018, UNC Asheville commit) and followed with Zayicek, and Cameron Arnold (LHP, 2020).  Perez did not throw the number of strikes we are accustomed to seeing him throw, but the stuff firmed up throughout the outing.  Zayicek was up to 88, wildly effective, with a tight spinning breaking ball up to 74.  Arnold, entering his 2nd year with the Wildcats has gotten stronger.  The fastball is playing with more ease from an average frame, up to 80.  The breaking ball comes out of the same window with late, hard, 1/7 tilt, creating a lot of chase.  He did not show the pitch in the zone, but he did not need to either.

+The lineup will have the ability to score in a variety of ways.  The first inning featured a couple of runs without a ball leaving the infield.  Zayicek applied pressure on his first swing of the game, getting to 1B in 4.37.  In the three hole, Sam Crone (OF, 2019) ran a 4.26 from the right side.  Zayicek and Perez have good barrel ability and add in the physicality of Vance Anderson, Gage Smith (3B, 2019),  Carter Sheppard (OF, 2019).

Carson Cougars

+Four players from the Carson baseball team are still involved in the basketball playoffs, including the No. 1 ranked player in the 2018 class, Owen White (RHP/SS, 2018, South Carolina commit).  At least three of the players missing will play a role in the success of the 2018 team on the diamond.

+The Cougars will need to clean up defensively.  Several innings for Lake Norman were started or extended from defensive miscues.  Once several core players return, this will help, but this time is valuable for the young guys and the defensive issues stressed the rest of the Cougars game.

+Maddux Holshouser (LHP, 2018, UNC Greensboro commit) and Clayton Gilmore (RHP, 2018, Campbell commit) will be forces to contend with in games White is not throwing.  Holshouser sat 80-82, bumping up to 83 as tempers flared in his third innings.  Gilmore was up to 86 early, effectively wild at times.  Each are still working to polish secondary pitches, but it is only February and there is time to make the jump.

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