Florida Preseason Classic Day 3
February 22, 2019
BRADENTON, FL—The third and final day of the Florida Preseason Classic featured a highly anticipated pitching matchup with IMG Academy, FL, sending RHPs Brennan Malone and Kendall Williams to the mound to face RHP Joseph Charles (TNXL Academy, FL).
Malone, a North Carolina recruit, was the first to toe the rubber and sat 92-95 mph with his fastball, retiring the first seven batters he faced, three on strikeouts. He hit the second batter of the third inning and allowed a single before recording his fourth strikeout. He would have escaped the inning unscathed, but a catcher’s interference call was made and a run scored on a passed ball during the next at-bat. Malone mixed in two breaking balls, both of which were above average at times. His curveball was 75-78 with occasional sharp break and depth. His slider was 84-85 with late, darting action and accounted for two of his strikeouts. With IMG surging out to a 9-1 lead after three innings, Malone gave way to Williams in the fourth.
A Vanderbilt recruit, Williams started out 89-92, with slight arm-side run at the bottom of the zone, and dipped to 87-89 in his second inning. He was wrapping around his breaking ball, which sat in the mid 70s, causing it to have flatter, slurvy action. In two innings, Williams allowed a run on two hits and a walk while striking out three.
Opposite Malone to start the game was Charles, a North Carolina recruit. He started the game with a walk, but bounced back with two strikeouts and C Doug Kirkland helped end the inning by showing off his plus arm to cut down a base stealer. Charles was 92-95 in the first and flashed an above average breaking ball at 77-79. In the second inning, things unraveled for him as his control wavered. Two singles and an error put IMG on the board before Charles recorded the first out via a strikeout looking. A single that got past the center fielder plated two more runs and it became 4-0 on a wild pitch. Charles then hit two batters, but got a strikeout and another caught stealing by Kirkland to escape. After two walks to start the third inning, Charles exited. He allowed six runs (four earned) on three hits, three walks and two hit batters while striking out four.
The focus of this game was certainly on pitching, but OF Patrick Romeri (IMG Academy, FL) took advantage of the big stage. He went 3-for-3 with two triples and five RBIs. In his first at-bat, the Villanova recruit smoked a ball to center field off a 94 mph fastball that drove in two runs. He drove in two more with a triple over the right fielder’s head in right-center field and smacked another one to right center in his third at-bat for his fifth RBI.
Prior to the high school game was another junior college matchup with Chipola JC facing State JC of Florida. Like Wednesday, it was a high-scoring affair with Chipola winning 18-11. 2B Ivan Johnson had a big day, going 4-for-5 with a home run and three RBIs. The home run came on a changeup, as he stayed back, whipped the barrel through the zone with his quick hands and launched the ball off the top of batter’s eye in center field. OF Jordan Anderson (Chipola JC) was 2-for-4 with three runs scored and a triple, showing off his speed with easy, long strides. 3B Julio Carrion (Chipola JC) contributed to the offensive barrage with a 3-for-6 day that included a home run, three runs scored and five RBIs.