Prep Baseball Report

PBR at The Rock 13U & 14U: Day 1 Quick Hits

By Wisconsin Staff

Throughout this weekend, the PBR Wisconsin staff will be entrenched in Franklin, Wis., home of the PBR at The Rock Championships, 13U and 14U tournament. For the next three days, we’ll share with you our rapid reactions from each day of action. Here are the highlights from the first day at The Rock.

The PBR at The Rock Championships kicked off on Friday with 13U and 14U action starting us off in the early evening. The day’s schedule featured some of the best seventh- and eighth-grade level clubs across the Midwest, and the talent on the opening day did not disappoint.

+ I think it’s fair to say that the biggest takeaway from Day One at The Rock was the work of 2023 LHP Max Clark (Franklin, IN), for the 14U Indiana Bulls - Black squad. Clark is an elite left/left athlete and it showed on the mound. He’s going to command some real attention once he gets to high school, especially if he’s able to build off of what was an electric outing on Friday. The 2023 lefty came out firing, sitting 82-84 mph, touching 85 mph multiple times and even reaching 86 mph once. He coupled his fastball with a biting curveball, working off a 1/7 plane, with above-average depth, regardless of his age. Clark’s also an advanced left-handed hitter who patrols center field with premium instincts.

+ The 14U Top Tier Americans started off the day with an excellent pitching performance, turned in by Benjamin Oosterbaan (Hinsdale Central, 2023). The long and lanky right-hander was dominant on the day, tossing a complete game shutout while only allowing three hits and striking out eight batters. Oosterbaan had control of all three of his pitches, throwing 53 of his 80 pitches on the day for strikes. His fastball generated consistent soft contact while topping out at 78 mph and sitting between, 75-77 mph. Oosterbaan’s curveball sat between 68-70 mph with a 10/4 shape, while his changeup was thrown near fastball arm speed and ranged between 67-70 mph. His ability to locate his fastball, and throw his offspeed for strikes, kept opposing hitters off balance, leading to Oosterbaan’s dominant performance on the mound.

Another standout for the Top Tier Americans was left fielder Tommy Townsend (Sycamore, 2023). The 6-foot, 155-pound left-hander went 2-for-3 with an RBI double and a walk out of the four-hole for Top Tier. He consistently made hard contact to his pull-side and showed an advanced approach at the plate for his age.

+ For Indiana Elite 14U, RHP Ben Murphy was impressive in a 4-3 win over the ProPlayer Canes. Over four innings pitched in relief, Murphy surrendered just one run while striking out three, and earned the victory for the Elite. His fastball touched 78 mph and sat between 76-78 mph, featuring arm-side run. He also showed great feel for his curveball, thrown consistently between 67-69 mph off an 11/5 plane.

+ GRB Rays 14U finished off the night cap with an overwhelming 13-1 win against Lou Collier DBA’s. RHP Jack Shepski (Waunakee, 2023) got the win in dominant fashion, striking out eight in four innings of work in the run-ruled contest. Shepski is the younger brother to Jake Shepski, a 2014 graduate out of St. Rita HS (IL), who went on to pitch at Notre Dame. Jack looks well on his way following a path that looks a lot like Jake’s. His fastball jumped on hitters at 77-79 mph, working with relative ease. Kameron Gathers and Cam Collier were the only two batters to make solid contact against the right-hander – and Gathers and Collier are a pair of names you’ll likely hear more from this weekend.

+ RHP Nathan Cumberbatch helped lead PTA Cardinal 14U to a 2-0 start by pitching 5 innings of 3 hit ball and striking out eight,  giving up one run, en route to a 9-1 victory over PBA 14U.

+ On the 13u side, Eason Hurd (Ashwaubenon, 2024) helped propell GRB Rays Green 13U to a 17-1 win over Fox Valley Freedom 13U by blasting a two-run homerun over the left field wall. Hurd finished the day 4-4, collecting 4 RBI’s and also adding two doubles and a single to his line as well.