Prep Baseball Report

TN Juco: Around the Horn (2/9/21)

Colton Provey
Tennessee Scouting Director

Follow on Twitter: @PBRTennessee
Follow on Instagram: @pbrtennessee


The 2021 JUCO season is underway and after two open weekends, all 10 Tennessee Juco clubs have gotten their season underway with TCCAA conference play starting up in a few weeks. The season in the Volunteer State is gonna be much different, as the ten teams have been split up into East/West divisions with teams playing division opponents 8 times a pieces (4 DH dates Wed./Sat.). Here are the divisions below.

The East: Chattanooga St, Cleveland St, Motlow St, Roane St, Walters St.

The West: Columbia St, Dyersburg St, Jackson St, Southwest TN, Vol State

These teams are going to be quite familiar with each other when the conference tourney kicks off in late April, especially given many will play each other for designated non conference games as well.  The positive is the Wednesday/Saturday doubleheader format is going to be a nice setup to allow flexibility and eliminate overnight stays, and it allows college coaches/scouts to evaluate the state talent as a whole.  If you live nearby a Tennessee junior college, please check if they are allowing fans and find a way to support these great programs that provide some great opportunities for their players with limited resources.  High school players interested in playing in college, go out and watch the level of play and energy at a Juco conference double header. 

I hit the road on Saturday morning to USA Stadium for a triple header round robin between host Southwest TN, Dyersburg St, and Jackson St, and boy did it feel good to have Juco baseball back in full swing.  I've gotten eyes on six of the ten Juco programs thus far, and below we'll dive into some scout notes and box score watching with conference play approaching. We'll continue to provide boots on the ground coverage of TN Juco baseball with more videos, scout notes, and velo watch throughout the league.  



Top 50 Juco Rankings

Preseason Juco All Americans

Juco Heat Sheet

Follow on Twitter: @PBR_JUCO


Senators Sweep USC Salkehatchie

Nationally ranked 3rd in the PBR Juco Rankings, Walters State (3-0) opened the season with a three game neutral site sweep of USC Salkehatchie in Johnson City.  The Senators used 14 different arms in 20 innings to shutout the Indians over the weekend racking up 25 punch outs and only allowing nine hits. Preseason All American 1B/OF Alberto Osuna had a big weekend slashing .714 batting average with two doubles and two long balls for 9 RBIs.  C Matthew Ellis and OF Caleb McNeely helped pace a deep offensive attack that put up 37 runs on 8 doubles and 5 homers.  The Senators were off this past weekend and return to action today for a home doubleheader vs Roane State. Walters State Scout Day


Dyersburg takes two in Millington 

No. 36 Dyersburg State (2-0) opened up their season at the Flag City Juco Classic in Millington with a round robin against host Southwest TN and Jackson State this past Saturday.  Returning weekend arms RHPs Griffin Miller and Zane Morehouse posted a pair of strong starts while showing good stuff after rocky numbers in shortened '20.  Miller sat 89-93 (2162-2368 rpm) while mixing bending SL at 77-80 (2317-2446 rpm) and CB at 72-74 (2181-2381 rpm). Loose, easy arm worked four scoreless innings of two-hit ball with one walk and 8 strikeouts in the 10-1 game one win. Morehouse's command was up and down (4 walks), but the stuff plays and kept Jackson hitless through three frames while racking up 6 punch outs.  His arsenal features a heavy FB at 90-94 (1962-2250 rpm) with a late breaking SL at 77-82,  high end stuff that can be electric when he's around the zone. Veterans arms RHP Chance Denson and LHP Jayden Martinez (Nicholls State Commit) twirled three innings a piece in relief and look to play a key part on the backend with RHP Iroel Ruiz.  Offensively, a deep steady attack with good feel of balance, drawing 16 walks and slugging 7 extra base hits (3 doubles/ 2 triples/ 2 HR).  SS Chris Mondesi had a nice day picking up three hits including his 3-run homer to LF in game one and showing strong actions up the middle. Preseason All American INF Drew Reckart was pitched around much of the day, drawing four walks, adding a hit and a pair of RBIs.  CINF Stephen Cullen (Recent Southeastern commit) also laced a solo home run to get his season going.  Dyersburg will return to action at Millington this weekend with Frontier CC and Wabash Valley. 



Cleveland State hitting the ground running

Cleveland State (4-4) gotten eight games in to open the '21 season, by splitting a pair of weekend double headers with Columbia, taking two against Vol State, and dropping two to Chattanooga. Returning arms Bryce Jenkins and Kaleb Orr have gotten off to a slow start through their first two outings, but some arms have stepped up to keep them at .500 as they find the right mix in the early goings.  By the numbers, a capable offense that has put up some runs (6.5/game) with a heavy mix of walks (6.0/game) but touch high in strikeouts (7.75/game) up to this point.  The Cougars have had 17 position players log an at bat, so still a lot of shuffling with lineups as they prep to open conference on February 17th vs cross town rival Chattanooga. 


Young Southwest team drops two

Head Coach Erik Schoenrock really likes his batch of freshmen, as many look to plug some major roles this season. Fr Dru Yopp looks to be the lead man behind the dish and a middle of the order contributor, didn't have anything fall in the first two games, but took some great swings with hard contact.  Fr OF/1B Gaylen Rutledge has a great build and flashes some easy juice to the gaps, interested to see how the hit tool plays out, but should be an easy double digit home runs this season. FR RHP Avery Hastings had to make his debut against a stout Dyersburg lineup, and turned in a gutsy performance working through 4 innings.  FB sat 83-86 with low spin (1793-2039) and great feel for the off speed throwing his 76-80 changeup and 74-75 curveball in any count.  FR Nick Vaccaro is an intriguing, athletic arm coming out of the pen sitting 86-88 from multiple slots and showing a solid three pitch mix.  Fr RHP Landry Borden snuck a few up to 87 in his outing. The Saluqis dropped the first two games of the year, but they have some young pieces that can get them in the mix, as they wait for SS Eli Hammonds and RHP Matt Riley to get back.   


Mangrum and Odle leading Chargers

The Chargers (5-3) lost some arms heading into the Spring, leading to twenty arms making an appearance and twenty position players logging an at bat through their first eight games.  They split a pair of double headers with Cleveland and took three of four from Roane State this past week.  RHP Raleigh Odle has been spectacular in his two outings (10.2 IP | 3 H | 0 R | 2 BB | 11 K). The competitive righty has been in the swingman role, coming out of the pen and starting when needed. Consistently 85-87 this fall with feel for sharp CB at 73-74, and seems to embrace the big pitch moments.  Preseason All American OF Haven Mangrum has lead the offense, slashing .409 with three double and two triples while scoring a team-high 11 runs for a steady Charger attack (8.25 runs/game).  

Chattanooga State takes two to open season

Chattanooga State (2-0) took two from Cleveland State this weekend, winning 7-0 and 10-5 to start the season.  The Tigers got out to an early lead, and RHP Cam Hansen twirled a one-hit shutout, punching out 8 and only walking two.   Returning 1B Eddie Satisky lead the Tigers with 5 RBIs and 3 runs scored. Chattanooga will go home-n-home doubleheaders with Columbia St. this week. 


Jackson State looking to take a step

The Greenjays (2-2) are looking to put the shortened 2020 season in the rearview mirror and they've gotten off to a solid start after splitting with Motlow and splitting at Flag City Juco Classic.  Veteran bat 1B CJ Clark returns to the middle of the order, and the Greenjays have added a few pieces, such as FR 3B Brandon Jernigan, to the mix to help bolster the offense.  OF Khalil Dunn and C Nathan Massey look to be the anchor up the middle with Massey a solid defender behind the dish and Dunn showing the ability to really track it in the OF.  Looks of a young pitching staff with lot of arms getting some looks early to see who will emerge in time of conference play.  



Roane State working to relevance

Head Coach Cam Hamsley has set his sights on getting the Raiders (1-3) back to relevance in the TCCAA.  Heading into the season, the Raiders lost ace RHP Joe Bertram for the year, which is a big loss of innings for the young pitching staff, but transfer RHP/UTL Brayden Osborne tossed a 5-inning gem against Columbia to get Roane in the win column.  Returning SS Nick Spardone got off to a nice start going 5 for 9 and playing errorless baseball up the middle. He looks to be a key piece as an offensive contributor and above average defender for a pitching staff that doesn't rely on the strikeout (3.91 K/9). We'll learn more about the Raiders after this week where they are slated for six games (2x Tues @ Walters; 2x Wed vs Vol State; 2x Friday @ Spartanburg).  


Motlow State off to a 3-1 start

Motlow State (3-1) split a double header with Jackson on opening day and swept two at Vol State this past weekend.  Bucks got an early lead, as FR RHP Reece Milam posted a solid start working 5 inning, 4 hits, 2 runs, 3 BB, 1 K turning it over to the pen to close out an 8-5 win.  They'll host Vol State this weekend for another two game set.  


Vol State early struggles

The Pioneers (0-4) are out to a slow start dropping the first four contests to Cleveland and Motlow. They've all been relatively close ballgames, and it just seems like a youthful club just trying to figure it out. They'll be on the road this week with a DH at Roane State on Wed. and a DH at Motlow on Saturday. 


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