Prep Baseball Report

PBR at The Rock Fall Championships: Quick Hits Day 1

By Wisconsin Staff

The PBR Wisconsin staff is headed back to The Rock Complex one last time in 2020 to host the PBR at The Rock Fall Championships, a tournament featuring two divisions – an Upperclass and an Underclass – with prospects representing classes 2021 through 2024, and teams from Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota.

Because there are so many talented uncommitted prospects headed to Franklin, Wis., for this event, we previewed some of the names to know for you ahead of time:

Follow us along on Twitter for live highlights from The Rock, and you can check standings and scores via the Tourney Machine mobile app or at this webpage. The Rock Complex was also hosting Realplay, who was taking footage throughout all gameplay, and you can check out purchasing options at the following link. After a shorter first day of action, check out the highlights from Friday’s three-slot slate:


+ The Pro Player Canes 2021 squad collectively swung the bat well in their first game of the tournament, scoring 13 runs and barreling the ball up across the yard. Uncommitted 3B Mason Schwalbach (Marian Central, IL, 2021) hit cleanup and did so adequately, going 3-for-3 with three extra-base hits, including a no-doubter over the right-field scoreboard in his second at-bat. C/2B Camden Janik (Wauconda, IL, 2021; Illinois commit) crushed two baseballs into each gap, both of which going for extra bases. He’s an all-around athlete that plays with a high motor and is a top-15 ranked prospect in Illinois’ 2021 class. LHP A.J. Kutcher (Antioch, IL, 2021; uncommitted) started for Pro Player and pitched well, mixing three effective pitches throughout, including a 65-68 mph curveball that spun off a 1/7 plane and played up against left-handed hitters. His fastball sat at 77-80 mph, touching 81 mph and came out with relative ease, suggesting more is left to come.

For the PTA Cardinal 17/18U squad, INF/OF Andrew Chapman (Waterford, 2021; Wisconsin-Milwaukee) took an outside fastball late in the game for a ride, hammering it over the right-center fence for a grand slam. That type of all-around power is what we’re used to seeing from Chapman and he’s a threat to leave the yard each time he strides up to the plate. 

+ A pitcher’s duel took place over at Phillies field during the six o’clock slot between ISA Stars’ 16U RHP Brandon Black (Bay Port, 2022) and Pro Player Canes’ 2022 RHP Cole Kersten (McHenry, IL, 2022). Black left the game after five scoreless innings, striking out eight and allowing three hits. He sat 77-79 mph, touching 80 mph and holding it deep into his start, too. Kersten left after 5.2 innings with a runner on base that would eventually come around to score, and struck out eight batters before leaving. He too sat in the 77-79 mph range, touching 80 mph, but heavily mixed in a mid-60s curveball that he’s plenty comfortable throwing. His breaking ball had some loop to it off an 11/5 plane and got several ugly swings, messing with hitters timing throughout. PBR Future Games attendee OF Jaicee Foster (Green Bay Southwest, 2022) hammered a fastball into the left-center gap in the sixth inning to ISA a 1-0 before RHP Braedon Sonnabend (Bay Port, 2022) closed the game out, recording a six out save.

+ ISA Stars’ 16U squad was also in action and they earned a win in a complete performance. RHP Cole Bensen (Bay Port, 2023) has shown to be one of the state’s most competitive sophomores on the mound, working at an uptempo pace, controlling the speed of the game, sitting anywhere from 78 to 83 mph, adding and subtracting from the fastball wen he needs to. He struck out nine over five innings, allowing no runs, three hits, and he walked only one.

Offensively, SS/3B Garrett Hietpas (Appleton North, 2023) was all over the barrel and he sparked the run-scoring action with a deep double in his first at-bat. C Maxwell Kalk (Kimberly, 2023) is also looking like one of the top prospects in his ‘23 class. He’s an athletic receiver, soft on the block, vocal behind the dish, while also swinging a loose and fast left-handed bat.

+ Over at the Underclass level, 6-foot-4, 195-pound RHP Zachary Kwasny (Lincoln-Way East, IL, 2023) started on the mound for Top Tier 2023 and dominated, tossing 4 ⅔ scoreless innings while striking out eight. He competed heavily and brought a bulldog mentality to the mound, relentlessly attacking hitters with his 78-80 mph fastball, touching 81 mph. Kwasny showed real feel and comfort for an advanced breaking ball in the 68-69 mph range, throwing it regardless of count, but especially with two strikes. He’s a high upside arm that’s definitely worth following in the Illinois’ 2023 class. 

+ C Ryan Bakes (Huntley, IL) is one of the top 2023 prospects in the country and put it on full display in the first game block of Day 1. Bakes is a physical right-handed hitting catcher with a big bat and big arm. His bat led Pro Player to a 12-3 win over PTA Cardinal in the Underclass division, driving in seven runs on two home runs, a grand slam and a three-run homer that walked off the run-rule win for the Canes.

+ RakeCity 2022’s put up 19 runs on Midwest Halos today thanks in large part to 16 free bases given up by the Halo staff. RakeCity cashed in on all the mistakes with Cooper Ohlson driving in four runs on two hits with the help of a home run. 

+ In the nightcap of the Underclass division Cangelosi Sparks 2023 put together a strong pitching performance led by RHP Grant Tenuta (Sandburg, IL, 2023) and RHP Drew Zemaitis (Providence Catholic, IL, 2023), the pair combined for 13 strikeouts over seven innings allowing just five hits. Tenuta struck out eight in 4.2 IP while Zematis did not allow a hit over his final 2.1 IP. Both youngs arms will be high on the recruiting radar as they sat in the low 80’s with tremendously high ceilings.

+ CBT and Illinois Indians ‘22 had one of the better starting pitching matchups of the day. Gavin Sitarz (St. Charles East, IL, 2022) took the mound for the Indians, throwing a complete game and finishing with 16 strikeouts. His fastball sat 80-81 mph, topping at 83 mph and he maintained that velocity for the entirety of his start. He mixed in a nasty changeup with fade at 69 mph to help miss barrels. His counterpart, Ben Lee (Amherst, 2022), was also effective in his five innings of work, striking out seven while throwing strikes. also went the distance, finishing with 11 strikeouts. Lee’s arsenal features a heavy fastball that sat 82-83 mph, mixing in a slider at 70-72 with sweeping action. He was relieved by an upside righty Easton Zempel (Middleton, 2022), a 6-foot-6 lanky prospect who's shown well on a several looks throughout the year. Friday, he pitched two scoreless and K'd four.

+ Top Tier’s 18U squad in packed with follow uncommitted talent, and starter RHP Daniel Reischl (Loyola Academy, IL, 2021) earned himself some extra looks with an overwhelmingly dominant performance Friday night. In five innings, Reischl allowed just one hit, walked none, and he struck out 11. Sitting mostly in the 83-84 mph range throughout, touching the occasional 86, while spinning an above-average breaking at 69-70. Offensively, OF/LHP Lucas Spence (Crete-Monee) also has some surprising pop for his thin 6-foot frame. He barreled a couple baseballs from the left-handed batter’s box Friday night, including a homer over the right field fence.