Prep Baseball Report

PBR at The Rock 17U: Quick Hits Day 1

By Wisconsin Staff

Today marked the first day of the 17U PBR at The Rock Championship in Franklin, Wis. The four-day tournament features 33 of the best travel programs at the 17U age level across the Midwest. Throughout this week, the PBR Wisconsin and Illinois teams will be compiling end-of-day notes in a Quick Hits format, to provide you with the most impressive takeaways from that day’s action. You can find Day One’s notes below.


+ RakeCity and 29ers kicked off the 17U PBR at The Rock Championships with a good old fashioned pitchers duel. A pair of uncommitted 2020 arms dueled to a 2-0 RakeCity win, led by RHP Jared Novak (Benet, IL, 2020). Novak showed exceptional feel for three pitches and worked to induce weak contact all day cruising to an efficient complete-game win. Novak utilized a running fastball at 82-84 mph touching 85 throughout form a ¾ slot. His breaking ball and changeup complimented each other well with darting action to opposite sides of the plate.

+ On the other side of the ball, uncommitted LHP Emmett Olson (Maine West, IL, 2020) showed a similar three-pitch feel, working comfortably at 81-84 mph and consistently reaching for 86 mph with two strikes, even an 88 mph in the fourth. Olson's curveball plays with depth on a 1/7 plane and showed excellent confidence and feel for a 73-74 mph changeup that he did not waver from throwing behind in counts.

+ STiKS Black's 17U squad is off to a great start after its 16U Black team won last weekend's tournament. RHP Chris Byhre (Catholic Memorial, 2020; uncommitted) has harnessed his premium arm strength, which has translated to a better feel for the strike zone. Against Lou Collier's A's, a 2021 team in attendance, Byhre didn't need much other than his big fastball, which sat 85-88 mph throughout his four innings of work, touching multiple 89s. He's still honing in breaking ball feel, but once he gets better grasp of his curveball, he'll have an enviable two-pitch mix that will play at any level.

+ ProPlayer Canes (Stewart) started their day off with a 5-3 victory over Rhino (WI) on the back of RHP Aiden Smith (Marengo, IL, 2020). The 6-foot-2 right-hander ran his fastball up to 82 mph, living 79-81 mph with straight movement. He showed feel for a swing-and-miss curveball at 69-71 mph that he could throw at any point in the count. Smith tossed six innings of one-run ball, only allowing two hits and striking out eight 

+ The early afternoon contest between RakeCity and MN STARTERS featured a well-pitched duel between STARTERS's RHP Ansen Dulas (Watertown-Mayer, MN, 2020) and a trio of RakeCity arms. RakeCity opted to start Florida lefty Sebastian Bentz (Elite Squad Baseball Academy, 2020; uncommitted), a physical 6-foot-3 southpaw with upside. He sat 80-84 mph in his five innings, and the fastball was tough on both lefties and righties. Bentz hides the ball well and gets on top of it, generating arm-side run. He didn't throw the breaking ball much, but it flashed sharp/late on occasion, 70-72 mph, and has the makings of becoming an out-pitch – especially to left-handed bats – as he continues to find the feel for it. RakeCity also trotted out Lyons Township’s RHP James Severson (2020) in relief, who sat 87-88 mph in one inning of work. Dulas came away with the upper hand here, however, going the distance to seal a 2-1 victory for STARTERS.

+ A handful of STiKS Black bats impressed tremendously on Day One. Luke Fox (Catholic Memorial, 2020), a Duke commit, went 4-for-5 at the plate with three singles, a triple, and 2 RBIs. Fox swings a quick bat with a short path to the baseball and has game-changing speed. He’s also one of the top pitchers in his graduating class, making Fox one of the best overall players in the Wisconsin 2020 class. Matthew Klement (Catholic Memorial, 2020) was dominant on Day One, going 6-for-7 with six singles, a double, and two RBIs. A handful of 2021 graduates, Ryan Taylor (Verona Area) and Kyle Yu (Madison Memorial) also had big Day One performances playing up a level. Taylor went 4-for-6 with four singles and a double, barreling up the baseball well and hitting the right-field fence on a fly. After the summer circuit, Taylor has cemented himself as a high-follow in the Wisconsin 2021 class. As for Yu, he went 4-for-6 with three singles and a double. The 6-foot-2 middle infielder has present bat speed with a level path to the baseball and consistently found the barrel. All four players are follows as this talent-packed tournament continues. 

+ Andrew Petsche (Oswego East, IL, 2020) started for Naperville Renegades in their 15-1 win over STARTERS 17U. Petsche featured a fastball that ran up to 84 mph and primarily sat between 81-83 mph with life, while showing the ability to throw it on either side of the plate. His best overall offering was a breaking ball that sat between 71-73 mph with real swing-and-miss actions and clear feel for the pitch. He tossed five innings of one-run ball, striking out eight and walking none in a dominant performance by the right-hander. 

+ Chicago Elite won its first game of the day against one of the best 17U teams in the state, Hitters Baseball Navy, and a 2022 bat turned some heads. 1B Connor Misch (Andrean, IN) put the game out of reach late when he slugged a three-run home run on Routine Field, a shot that nearly hit the scoreboard. This kind of bat strength at this age, against competition two years older than him, is exactly what has him as a follow through the rest of the weekend and beyond.

+ Brendan Tupper (Normal University, 2020) is a 6-foot-2, 175-pound left-handed-hitting outfielder who also starred for Chicago Elite on Thursday. He finished the game 3-for-4 with a pair of singles, a line-drive double off the top of the right field wall at Routine Field, a pair of RBIs, and a couple of runs scored.

+ Day One really started to heat up in the 3:30 p.m. timeslot, thanks in large part to RHP Zach Hise (Joliet Catholic, IL, 2020). Hise pitched Chicago Elite to an 8-0 shutout in five innings, and the uncommitted right-hander collected 10 strikeouts with plus type stuff for his age. Hise sat 90-91 mph in the first, touching 92 mph, with a hard breaking ball at 77-79 mph and gradually mixed in a change in the later innings. The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder held his velo too, touching 91 mph again in the fifth, sitting 87-90 mph.

+ At the same time on another field, RHP Connor Gill (Oswego East, IL, 2020) tossed a complete game for Go Pro Daly. He utilizes an electric three-pitch mix with a fastball, change, and slider. Gill lived in the upper-80s in his start and regularly touched 89 mph. He finished the outing with seven Ks.

+ Also in that timeslot, STiKS Red’s RHP Luke Skudlarczyk (Marquette University, 2020) pitched 3.1 sound innings, striking out six in the process, sitting 82-84 mph, touching 85 mph, with a hard-running fastball and also showed offspeed feel with a breaking ball and changeup. He’s yet another uncommitted prospect on this Quick Hits that clearly has what it takes to make it at the next level. In that same game, fellow uncommitted 2020 OFs Avery Owusu-Asiedu (Waukesha West) and Dylan Nevar (Wisconsin Dells) made sure that their arrows are still pointed straight up after this busy summer season. Owusu-Asiedu crushed a 3-0 fastball for a home run and also threw out a baserunner headed to third from right field with a strong and accurate throw that nabbed the runner by plenty. Nevar confidently roams center field and also wields a loose, fast bat that he punishes baseballs with, tallying two more hard hits on Thursday.

+ RHP Quinn Berglin (Pewaukee, 2020) starred in the evening for GRB Rays Yellow when he shut down 605 Sox, from South Dakota. Fastball plays with arm side run and sat 76-79 mph, touching 80 mph early on. Breaking ball at 66-69 mph with 10/4 shape and sweeping action. Maintained fastball arm speed on off speed pitches. Berglin was carving up the 605 lineup all night, finishing with over a dozen strikeouts. Final line: 6.1 IP, 0 R, 4 BB, 3 H, 13 K.

+ Day One ended with one of the top right-handed arms in the Midwest in the form of West Virginia commit Tyler Chadwick (Marshall, 2020). A handful of pro scouts were in attendance to see the 6-foot-5, 200-pounder, and he showed a big fastball up to 94 mph that sat 90-93 mph in the first. That tremendous fastball helped Chadwick punch out seven batters in four innings of work before he was relieved.