Prep Baseball Report

Badger State Battle: Quick Hits Day 2

By Wisconsin Staff

A jam-packed Day 2 at the Badger State Battle featured some exciting action and revealed some more follow prospects across Wisconsin.

Our most loaded day on the schedule, Thursday, made for a jam-packed Quick Hits Day 1 post. However, Friday featured some bright talent, especially late at night. You'll find the Day 2 Quick Hits below.

+ RHP Ryan Roehl (West Bend West, 2022) tossed a complete game win for 16u STiKS Red in a close contest over CBT 16u. Roehle gave up a pair in the first inning but settled in nicely to retire 17 of the last 20 batters faced. Roehl finished allowing seven hits over seven innings, striking out six. He pitched with a steady diet of located fastballs at 80-82 mph and a complimentary curveball at 67-69 mph.

+ GTS didn’t need much offense with RHP Brayden Marks (Elkhorn Area, 2022) on the mound. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound righty put himself among the tournament’s best pitching performances with a six-inning, 14-strikeout complete game – and he did not walk a batter. Marks was utilizing the slider first, a really sharp 72-75 mph offering with late bite, and he landed it for strikes when he wanted and tucked it low and away to righties for chases. The slider was spinning at an average of 2,300 RPM, too. The fastball was live through the zone, with arm-side action, mostly sitting in the 80-82 mph range, with the occasional tick below or above. Marks’ loose, quick arm speed and size have him as one of the breakout performers of the week.

+ RHP Alex Pechanach (Sussex Hamilton, 2021) of Brew State Baseball Academy 17U shutout GRB Rays White in seven innings, striking out seven along the way. Another noteworthy pitching performance from these first two days.

+ C Thomas Curry (Arrowhead, 2023) continues to impress our staff each time we see him play. He brings a different level of physicality into the right-handed batters box for his age and there’s plenty of raw strength in his proportional 5-foot-11, 190-pound frame. Curry continuously finds the barrel, rocketing an outside fastball for a double over the right fielders head in his second at-bat of the game and sending one back up the middle for a single later in the game. There’s plenty to like about Curry’s offensive game and he continues to solidify himself as one of the top overall prospects in Wisconsin’s 2023 class.

+ Matching Curry offensively for CBT was left-handed hitter Hayden Timm (Hortonville, 2023). Timm hit cleanup for the Wolfpack and went 2-for-3 on the day, driving in three runs. He helped seal a victory for CBT by barreling a double down the left-field line that scored two runs in the fifth inning. 

+ We saw RHP Thomas Burns (Hortonville, 2023) string together an impressive start two weeks ago at The Rock and he continued to ride that momentum today with another solid outing against STiKS Black 15U. Burns started on the bump and threw 3.1 innings, allowing two earned runs and striking out seven. His fastball worked around 79-81 mph, touching 82 mph and he relied on it heavily throughout his outing. He occasionally flipped in a breaking ball that sat between 66-67 mph, too. Burns is slowly becoming a name-to-know in Wisconsin’s 2023 class. 

+ Velocity Baseball’s 17U RHP Easton Vertz (Pulaski, 2021) is a durable, strong build with a heavy, running fastball that’s tough to elevate, sitting 80-81 mph, touching 82. Vertz allowed just the one run in five solid innings of work, scattering five hits, one walk while holding a talented ISA Stars Royal lineup at bay. Inside the lineup behind Vertz was lead-off man Derek Weber (De Pere, 2021), who swings a loose, rhythmic right-handed bat that was timing up barrels well. He’s an uncommitted name to follow the rest of this summer.

ISA Stars Royal scored seven runs in the final two frames to complete the comeback win and then some, and behind that offense today were a couple uncommitted right-handed bats to know: 3B Braydon Skenandore (West De Pere, 2021) and INF Parker Knoll (Fox Valley Lutheran, 2021). They both tallied three hits apiece, and Skenandore doubled hard twice. Skenadore is ranked inside the top-75 in the class for his advanced barrel feel and strength on contact, with a gap-to-gap profile. Knoll is an above-average runner with a quiet bat who repeats simple contact.

+ Ashwaubenon’s Eli Zollar (2023) is one of the more physical arms in the state’s 23’ class, standing at a hulking 6-foot-3, 225 pounds. He got the nod for ISA Stars Royal 15U on Friday afternoon and strung together a rather impressive outing. Zollar tossed 5.2 innings of two-run ball, striking out eight and allowing five hits. His fastball sat 80-83 mph, and touched 85,while consistently working around the zone. He showed feel for both of his offspeed pitches, especially his changeup, which is a mirror image of his fastball. The overall production didn’t stop there for Zollar, as he went 3-for-3 with a double and three barrels in ISA’s second game of  the day. Zollar continues to establish himself as a high level prospect in his respective class. 

Zollar’s high school teammate Boone Kirst (Ashwaubenon, 2023), was the main run-producer on offense for ISA Stars Royal against Velocity Baseball. He sent a fastball into the right-center gap for a bases-clearing triple in the first inning to get his squad on the board. Kirst showed well at The Rock a few weeks ago and is quietly emerging as a follow prospect in his class. 

+ RHP Cole Bensen (Bay Port, 2023) got the nod for ISA’s second game of the day against a talented GRB Rays Green squad. Bensen was dialed in from the start and rode that momentum throughout his outing. His fastball sat at 81-84 mph throughout his entire outing and he also spun a low-70s slider that flashes swing-and-miss potential. Bensen tossed six innings of two-run ball, striking out seven and allowing five hits. His performance on the mound over the last few weeks has him trending up on our prospect radar. 

Opposing Bensen on the mound for GRB Rays Green was RHP Braden Smith (Byron, IL, 2023). Smith caught our eyes at a preseason event this March and he showed well today, too. His fastball comes out clean from a loose arm slot and sits at 79-82 mph, touching 83. He relied on his heater heavily, but spun a few breaking balls in the 63-65 mph range. Smith settled in after overcoming some early adversity, allowing only one earned run through six innings and striking out eight.

+ On the 15U side, PTA Cardinal’s SS Parker Wyatt (Marquette University, 2023) helped the squad to a pair of win over Velocity on Friday, reaching base in all four of his plate appearances, lining a pair of singles up the middle, and he scored twice in the 5-2 win. OF Nathan Cumberbatch (Shorewood, 2023) and SS Max Hennemann (Oak Creek, 2023) continue to look like interesting follows inside this class. Cumberbatch’s long and lean levers help him gallop to fly balls in center at an excellent pace, with instincts – he was 2-for-3 in game two against Sluggers in the win. Hennemann has all-around actions to stick up the middle of the infield, with a left-handed bat that can spray line-drives to all fields. He doubled in game one and tallied a couple more hits in the second.

+ The 6-foot-5 RHP Michael Comber (Verona Area, 2023) took his talents to the mound for Edge’s game on Friday against GRB Rays MKE Yellow. The right-hander went six strong innings, striking out four and giving up two hits. Comber has a fastball that comes out of a tall slot that’s tough to pick up, at 72-75 mph, topping 77. He’s shown well on a couple occasions at the plate this summer already, so it’s been a breakout season for him.

+ JBA CLUTCH Navy’s Brandt Rice (Wausau West, 2023) was anything but an easy out for Braves’ pitchers. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound right handed hitter went 3-for-3 with an RBI during their game. During Rice’s first at-bat, he singled to left field and he doubled in his next two up the middle. A noteworthy performance from Friday.

+ One of the state’s top prospects took the mound on Friday evening against one of the state’s most talented lineups. It was CBT Wolfpack RHP Logan Schulfer (Stevens Point Area, 2021; Wisconsin-Milwaukee commit) against STiKS Academy Black. Schulfer features a sculpted, strong lower half and he harbors some huge arm speed and strength, helping him tap into his 90-92 mph velocity with relative ease. The fastball’s late run and carry through the zone made it tough to square up – and in STiKS’ left-handed heavy lineup, he spotted up several on the inner half for looking strikes. Schulfer’s breaking ball, an aggressive 72-74 mph offering, flashed bite, especially in warm-ups, so he’s still harnessing it. The changeup is the best offspeed for him right now, a firm pitch, 82-85 mph, that tunnels well with similar hard run/sink that breaks late. He made it through five allowing just one run on two hits, one walk, and he struck out five.

As good as Schulfer was, his uncommitted counterpart RHP Kellan Short (Catholic Memorial, 2021) helped keep his team in the ballgame and it ultimately led to a win for STiKS Black. Sitting mostly 81-84 mph, Short was pounding the zone while regularly mixing in a slower curve (64-66 mph) with tight bite and spin, off a true 12/6 plane, that fooled some bats. He went the distance, tossing a complete game having allowed two runs on five hits, one walks, and he struck out five.

+ In the final block of the night, Edge Baseball 17U sent out two of the state’s top uncommitted pitchers: RHP Spencer Buskager (Oregon, 2021) and RHP Jacob Kisting (Verona Area, 2021). Buskager sat in the low-80s throughout his three innings, hitting a couple 85s early. He K’d five in those three frames, scattering two walks and three hits. He showed a couple different offspeed, a sold curve at 63-65 mph with 11/5 shape, as well as a changeup with some run/sink. A on-the-market 2021 name to know. As for Kisting, the lean 6-foot-5 righty carries some big projection to his thin frame. His live and loose arm speed helped him shutout PTA Cardinal in his four innings of work from the ‘pen, where he sat 84-86 mph, with multiple 87s in his first two innings. Kisting also utilized a sharp 71-74 mph breaking ball with some late action that earned some chases – and he struck out six in those four total frames to team up for the shutout 2-0 win.

For PTA, uncommitted RHP Maximus Graetz (Oak Creek, 2021) is also very worthy of a mention here, as he went six strong innings and allowed just a pair of runs early and that was it. He sat mostly 77-79 mph, touching 80-81 occasionally, with some regular run. The breaking ball was good enough to fool some Edge bats, keeping Cardinal in the close contest. The aforementioned combo of Buskager and Kisting was just too overpowering for PTA on this day, however.