Prep Baseball Report

Badger State Battle: Quick Hits Day 3

By Wisconsin Staff

Mauston hosted the majority of Saturday’s action, and helped us identify even more prospects to know and follow coming out of the Badger State Battle. Our Wisconsin staff was locked into the Woodside complex that produced the Day 3 Quick Hits below.

We’ve already published Quick Hits highlights from Day 1 and Day 2 posts at the aforementioned links.

+ Our day was kicked off by a 17U competitive contest between ISA Stars Royal and Rhino Wisconsin 2021 that ultimately resulted in a 4-4 tie. Two right-handed pitchers, Thomas Ellisen (Kimberly) and Alex Windey (Wrightstown), tossed six combined innings for ISA, allowing only two earned runs in the process. Ellisen started the game and thoroughly impressed, sitting 84-85 mph, touching 86 mph in the first inning. He consistently mixed in a sharp 12/6 curveball that played at 73-74 mph and is certainly one of the better breaking balls we’ve seen all weekend. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Windey relieved Ellisen in the fifth inning, sitting 81-84 mph on a fastball that occasionally showed sink. Both are notable uncommitted follows in their class. 

+ RHP Eli Hoyt (Waukesha South) continues to solidify himself as one of the top uncommitted arms in Wisconsin’s 2021 class. Hoyt took the mound for STiKS Black for their lone game of the day. He was locked in right from the start and rode that momentum throughout, tossing a complete game shutout with 10 strikeouts. Hoyt primarily used his fastball in this outing, sitting at an effortless 85-87 mph and his athleticism and ease of effort allowed him to hold that velo and then some – he started climbing toward the end of the start an even touched a couple 90s at the end. An impressive feat. He spun a handful of sliders in the low-70s range, too. Hoyt’s clean delivery paired with his live, easy arm suggests he’s just unlocking a potentially special ceiling.

+ Rhino Wisconsin's 16U squad has a couple follow prospects, including one we're familiar with who's playing up a grade level this week: OF Deuce Musial II (Notre Dame Academy, 2023), who represented Team Wisconsin at the PBR Junior Future Games last summer. Musial has only stretched out substantially since, now listed at 6-foot-4, 170 pounds. Still growing into his new long, spindly frame, Musial has some looseness to his levers that project well and he's showing signs of putting it together early. He reached down and barreled a line-drive to left that tipped off the shortstop's glove. 

Bay Port looks well-positioned for the future, and add 1B Brandon Black's (2022) name to the list of Pirate follows coming from this tournament. With the bases loaded late in the ballgame, Black completed a big Rhino comeback, tied 7-7, with his three-run triple to the right field fence. A right-handed bat, Black's an imposing presence at the plate, with a long and uphill cut produces some real bat strength, especially for his age.

+ Velocity Baseball’s 15U squad has some interesting names to keep in mind for the future, and C Grant Gill (Bay Port, 2023) has continued to emerge among them. His compact swing and above-average bat speed from the right-handed batter’s box are noteworthy, especially considering he has a natural knack for the barrel. He went 4-for-4 yesterday with four line-drive singles and he touched home three times for Velocity. He showed well on the catch-and-throw in between innings, substantiated by an above-average performance at our Fox Cities showcase in March, popping in the 2.20 range.

+ For STiKS Academy Red’s 17U team, there are some really interesting uncommitted prospects to know for the rest of the summer, and OF Dayton Rozinski-Hicks (Reagan, 2021) looks to have some upside. He’s a strong, compact 5-foot-10 with a fast bat off a short and flat path with some twitch in the hands. Rozinski-Hicks went 2-for-3 on Saturday, including a hard-hit line-drive pulled into the left-center gap. As a 7.15 runner, he’s a mobile center field and moves naturally, and he also tossed out a runner headed for third base with an accurate throw.

+ On several occasions throughout his prep career, Thundercats’ John Ferguson (Verona Area, 2021) has shown some big, raw bat strength. The latest example came against PTA White, when he launched a three-run triple to straight away center field. He’s a big 6-foot-2 right-handed bat to know the rest of this weekend and beyond.

+ After falling behind in the first inning, PBA’s 15U Nathan Williams (Union Grove, 2023) played a pivotal role in his team’s comeback to tie up the game. Williams batted in the three-spot for Puma against GRB Yellow and provided plenty of offense, knocking hits in each of his three at-bats and driving in a pair of runs.

+ One of the hottest hitters of the weekend is on the ISA Stars White squad, INF Grant Meulemans (Freedom, 2022). Meulemans is already showing some premium foot speed, running a 6.90 at our Fox Cities event back in March, and he swings a loose right-handed bat geared for line-drive contact. On Saturday, tallied another couple hits from the lead-off spot, both hit hard to the right side. In total, Meulemans went 7-for-11 on the weekend, really standing out amongst the crowd.

+ Brew State Academy’s 16U’s squad won a pair of games on Saturday and the top of the order help set the table for an 18-run day. At the top is a high-waisted 6-foot-2 prospect from Wauwatosa West, OF Seth Thomas (2022). Thomas is light on his feet, especially for his size, and he recorded three total hits Saturday. His size and speed (ran a 7.06 at our Underclass Trials event in June) make him a projectable prospect to know.

+ RHP Jackson Hunley (Sun Prairie, 2023) showed out on the mound for GRB Green 15U this afternoon – yet another former PBR Junior Future Games member who performed well this weekend. His fastball ran up to 82 mph early, mixing in a breaking ball at 70-71 that flashed sharp downer action. Hunley went the distance against PTA Cardinal, allowing only four hits and one earned run over seven innings of work. He also showed excellent control, locating almost 69 percent of his pitches for strikes.

+ Uncommitted 2021 prospect, RHP Thomas Hunt (Almond-Bancroft), has been stirring some interest here at Badger State after a couple of strong showings earlier this summer. On Saturday, Hunt primarily lived in the mid-80s, with a lot of 84s and several 85s, while mixing in a feel breaking ball off an 11/5 plane that he could land for strikes when he wanted, or drop out of the zone. He struck out six in his 4.2 innings of work.

+ A big/sturdy right-hander from Sluggers Baseball 15U looks like an interesting arm strength follow: RHP Sean Reilly (Dodgeville, 2023). He K'd six in 4.2 innings while sitting 79-81 mph, touching 82, for the first few innings of his start, showing confidence in his 10/4 curve that he was spotting at an above-average rate.

+ It was a productive day offensively for the middle of the Midwest Halos 17U order, especially OF Will Brust (Greendale, 2021) and SS/3B Joe Toetz (Greendale, 2021). Brust went 3-for-4 on the day with three RBIs and continued his hot tournament by seemingly finding the barrel in each at-bat. Toetz made a name for himself over the winter at two different preseason events and continued to show well, going 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI. Both are impact performers offensively for the Halos 17U squad. 

+ In one of the most competitive and entertaining games of the weekend, the PBR Wisconsin staff had a front row seat at some high-profile 2022 arms, all of whom are uncommitted.

It all started with STiKS starter RHP Logan Dobberstein (Pewaukee) – a spindly, long-levered 6-foot-6 prospect with a high, thin waist. Dobberstein came out of the gates with some extra juice, pumping an 88 and back-to-back 87 mph fastballs in order before settling back down into an 84-85 range. Dobberstein has impressed in the past with a variety of offspeed offerings, including a couple different breaking balls. He showed off both, a slider with sweep 67-69 mph, and a curveball that was a little more firm off a 10/4 plane – both flashed sharp action, though were inconsistent at times. Dobberstein was working hard and living in the low-80s come his fourth and final frame, but this game was more so an example of the lanky righty scratching the surface of his immense potential.

And it was RHP Gradin Taschner (Neenah) who relieved Dobberstein in a dominant two-inning outing. Built at a powerful 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, Taschner was another example of an arm who came out hot this evening, sitting mostly 82-85 mph, but he reached back for 87 or 88 in multiple instances with two strikes. The ease in which Taschner operates suggests he’s in possession of some of the 2022 class’ biggest upside and ceiling. He K’d six in two without allowing a hit or run, and he walked just one.

Opposite Dobberstein to open the game was RHP Sam Dodd (Hortonville), who was turning some heads of those in attendance. While sitting 80-82 mph, mostly throughout, Dodd’s fastball comes from a loose, clean, and easy arm action that makes it look a little more firm, with life in the zone. He also matched it very effectively with his 12/6 breaking ball that featured tight bite, 67-70 mph. Dodd did not allow a run in his four innings of work, struck out five, walked two, and pitched around four hits. He was relieved by RHP Caden Capomaccio (Notre Dame Academy), an athletic 6-foot, 170 pounds, with some wiry strength. He, too, posted some personal bests at a PBR-hosted event, sitting 85-87 mph in his first inning of relief with some arm-side life. His slider flashed some late 10/4 action, though he’s still harnessing his control overall.

The ballgame itself was obviously a competitive, though low-scoring affair, given the quality of arms listed above. The offensive difference-maker was clearly STiKS Black 3B Emiliano Ramos (Arrowhead), who clubbed a clutch three-run triple into the right-center gap that tied the game, and he came into score the winning run on a sac fly the very next at-bat.

+ On the same field as the 16U meeting between STiKS Black and ISA Stars Royal, was more talented more 16U action between CBT and Midwest Halos.

The pitching match-up was particularly exciting; for CBT, they sent RHP Ben Lee (Amherst, 2022) to the mound, a raw and lanky 6-foot-5 arm that projects very well. As for Halos, they sent one of the top 2023 arms in the state to the bump, playing up a level, RHP Presley Wachowiak (Catholic Memorial). Both are another pair of prospects who showed well in the Fox Cities showcase last March.

Lee was impressive for a multitude of reasons, one being that he’s clearly gotten considerably better and gained a greater feel to pitch since he took the mound last March for us. Early on, he was sitting in the 84-85 mph range, and settled into a more 81-82 area, but he was very effective throughout. His go-to offering looked like the changeup on this night, an above-average offering with run and fade that bats swung over consistently. Lee showed a loopy 67-69 mph curveball that projects well as he refines it, but the feel to spin it is there. The Amherst-area prospect allowed just one hit in 5.1 innings, with three walks, and four Ks.

With a loose, quick, clean arm action from a high ¾ slot, Lee is looking like yet another upside arm to know in the ‘22 class.

As for Wachowiak, he sat in the 81-83 mph range early with that same sharp, tight 12/6 breaking ball – when it was on, it was one of the best of the weekend, regardless of class and age. He struck out four in four innings while playing an age group ahead.

Offensively, this game was one-sided in CBT’s favor, though closer than the final 8-0 scoreline looks. High-follow Campbellsport 2022s SS/3B Jalen Gellings and OF Joey Nerat, while 1B Wendell Waukau Jr. (Menominee Indian, 2022) pulled a couple hard-hit singles to right for a total of three RBIs. Brandon Vlcko (Stevens Point Area, 2022) singled up the middle again, staying hot, and he also popped an in-game 2.20 on a ball down and to his right that he athletically gathered and threw while still crouched with his big arm strength.

A quick note on Halos offensively, C Will Johannes (Mukwonago) is a major arrow-up prospect in the state’s 2022 class. He recorded the team’s only hit on Saturday night when he roped a line-drive to left for a base hit against Lee. He’s quick out of the crouch, with arm strength, and his quiet right-handed bat, and big frame, make him a real prospect worth following.