Prep Baseball Report

Team Carolina: Game 2 Recap

Brandon Hall
Mid-Atlantic Scouting Director

On Friday Team Carolina took on another tough test with Team Mid-Atlantic, a bordering rival, in game 2 of the PBR Future Games.  Team Carolina is quickly becoming one of the most exciting teams to watch, with an aggressive style of play and the 2nd game that was decided with the final at-bat in two days.

On the bump, Lujack Cole got the start for Team Carolina.  The big righty flooded the zone getting effect on his fastball that topped at 89mph.  Cole worked into the 3rd inning where Micah Simpson took over.  Simpson provided a significantly different look from Cole, a big righty from a high-¾ slot with over-powering stuff at times.  Simpson works from a low-¾ slot on the left side, mixing and matching his pitches, while moving his fastball to all four quadrants.  This combination allowed Team Carolina to turn the game over to Jake Cackovic for the final two innings.  Cackovic stands 6-foot-7 with a clean, athletic arm, ramping the fastball up 87 with downhill angle.  While Team Mid-Atlantic was able to put some runs on the board, all three Team Carolina arms were impressive and a strong contingent of coaches following their work on the bump.

Offensively, Team Carolina looked to continue the talk of this being one of the strongest lineups at the event.  Facing off with several advanced arms from Team Mid-Atlantic, Team Carolina would plate 9 runs.  Andrew Palmer had two hits, including a 2 run homer over the opposite field wall, giving him his 2nd homerun in two years at the PBR Future Games.  

The strength of the Team Carolina offense was not just an ability to get on base, but an ability to drive the baseball to create easier scoring situations.  In game two, Justin Sheffield, Stow Rogers, Zach Bender, Connor Robertson, and Wilmer Martinez all doubled.  Robertson finished the day 2-2, moving him to 5-5 on the week with 4 balls exiting the bat at over 93mph.  Along with the doubles Ayden Wall and Will Craddock each tripled, leading to run scoring opportunities for Team Carolina.

Team Carolina’s offense rolled 2 innings vs. Team Mid-Atlantic, meaning the inning was ended prior to a 3rd out being obtained to allow the pitching rotations to remain on plan.  Ultimately Team Mid-Atlantic would get the winning run to 3B in the bottom of the 7th.  Team Carolina walked the bases loaded but the winning run was walked in with 1 out.  The two teams decided to allow one more hitter to hit, and that hitter lined out softly to 3B, where Caden Davidson stepped on 3B for a double play.

While the point of the Future Games is not necessarily win or lose, Team Carolina has consistently put pressure on two different teams through two games with a loaded lineup.  On the bump, every arm that has thrown has shown an ability to get high level hitters out with an arm action and repertoire that should have college coaches wanting to see more.

Scout Notes:

Andrew Palmer, OF, Oceanside Collegiate, 2025
Athletic and lean 6-foot-2, 195.  Twitch and electric strength present.  Ran a sub 6.60 sixty on the workout day and is still learning to put that premium tool into action on the field.  Showed some feel for playing CF, a first for him, and a space he should get very comfortable with in just a short time.  Right handed hitter has strong hands and advanced bat speed.  There is some swing and miss, but it has been cut down a lot in the past year.  Singled on a hard ground ball up the middle and then lifted a pitch down and away for a homer over the opposite field wall.

Stow Rogers, C, James Island Charter, 2025
Athletic with strength present at 6-foot-2, 192 pounds. Excellent receiver.  Has meshed very quickly with each arm he has received.  Seems to flow well with pitch calling and sequencing with the different arms he has caught.  Offensively, a right handed hitter with a simple load and approach.  Direct path.  Solid strength at contact.  Geared to level, line drives, working gap to  gap.

Zach Bender, OF, Pro5 Academy, 2025
Strong build with defined strength in the lower half.  Has solid twitch.  Stands 5-foot-10, 165 pounds. Left handed hitter has a quick bat and got his swing off several times in this game.  Works to do damage each time he unleashes the swing.  Has good leverage and some lift through the swing.  Drove a ball off the base of the centerfield wall for a double.

Connor Robertson, 3B, Mooresville HS, 2025
Mentioned him after game 1, going 3-3 with 2 balls smoked… he continued to do what professional hitters do, just finds the barrel.  Good feel for approach, showing an ability to take breaking balls when the plan is to find a fastball.  Good feel for hitting with two strikes, and still doing damage while allowing the ball to get a bit deeper on him.  Two more hits on this day, each hammered off the barrel, one a double to the oppo gap.

Lujack Cole, RHP, Christ Church Episcopal, 2025
Physical with a lean frame at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds. Athletic over the rubber.  Simple kick, working level and on-line. Some plunge out of the glove as he works through a long arm swing to a high-¾ slot. Good arm speed.  Fastball is ahead of secondary, sitting 86-89 with ride and run.  The arm side action gave hitters issues with finding the barrel.  Saw swing and miss as he elevated in the zone.  Slider is still progressing, sitting 80-82 with short side to side action.  Occasional just a cut action, with some length at times.  Positioned to continue to grow toward his ceiling as the slider becomes consistent and the fastball works to reach its ceiling.

Micah Simpson, LHP, TC Roberson HS, 2025
Average build at 6-foot-1, 170 pounds. Athletic presence.  Repeats a delivery that has some coil with the hands breaking low.  Long arm swing to a low-¾ slot.  Good feel for locating the fastball.  Ability to work in to left and right handed hitters allows the fastball to play a tick higher than the velo.  Fastball has ride from the lower slot, with its run, spin up to 2300rpm.  Fastball sat 79-83.  Late horizontal action on the breaking ball at 68-71, 2300rpm. Pitch-ability and deception allow the overall stuff to play up.  Pounded the zone and made hitters make decisions within first 3 pitches of the at-bat.

Jake Cackovic, RHP, Holly Springs HS, 2025
6-foot-7, 200 pounds.  A follow on the basketball circuit as well as the baseball circuit.  Extremely clean over the rubber with good head stability and a long, clean arm action to the high-¾ release.  Creates angle when down in the zone. On top of the angle, the fastball has sink metrics with run, ranging 84-87, 1600-1900rpm.  Ground ball machine in the game setting.  Good feel for his glove side and more comfortable working away from hitters.  Fastball can grow as he gets comfortable pounding his sinking action underneath hitters hands.  Slider at 78-81 is still maturing.  Pulled it at times, but when behind the ball, the slider has horizontal action.  


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