BLWS Qualifier: Sunday

By: Nick Nickles-January 6, 2008

DP was in Roebuck, SC on Sunday to take in some early baseball action. Two of the best programs in the state, Dorman and Laurens, hooked up to go through some exhibition baseball in the Big league qualifying games. The teams played a doubleheader on a pleasantly warm Sunday at Dorman High School. The Dorman team left making a statement of what kind of force they will bring to the table in 2008 and the Laurens team flashed its strengths of what has promises of being a memorable year.

Prospect Info: Dorman

Sloan Gilliam-Senior, Spartanburg Methodist signee, OF/1B/RHP: Gilliam can flat out hit. He terrorized the pitchers from Laurens on this day. He hits the ball solid all around the baseball field. Gilliam projects as a first basemen/corner outfielder that is going to be an offensive presence in the line-up. Gilliam got on the bump and has really cleaned up his throwing actions in the off-season. He was much more fluid in the release phase of his throws. He threw strikes and got outs. His pitching days will likely come to an end at season’s close, but he can log some innings this spring for his high school. Gilliam could easily contend for player of the year honors for the Cavaliers this season.

Dylan Cole-Junior, RHP/C: Cole (left) had a banner day going yard twice. He hit a line drive homerun to right field and a massive tank bomb to left-centerfield. Cole also recorded a double. Cole is a solid two-way guy and was very good on the bump today. He has a solid arm and throws strikes. He will be counted on heavily for Dorman this year as a #1 or #2 starter. Cole is solid behind the dish and has plenty of arm strength. Cole is a definite guy for colleges to start evaluating. Cole could easily be in the running for post-season awards if he plays up to his potential.

Will Muzika-Junior, 2B/SS: Muzika projects as a college second basemen. Muzika is a scrapper. He plays the game hard and makes the plays he should make. Muzika competes.  He could easily play on the left side of the infield for his high school this season, but today he really stood out at second. His actions are good and arm is average. Muzika is a hard groundball/solid singles type of hitter that is solid in all phases of the game. Muzika is guy that should attract smaller schools attention and a mid major Division I school is not out of the question.

Fisher Easterling-Sophomore, OF/P: The sophomore drove two doubles in the gap and added a single in a days work at the plate. He continually grabbed attention by jumping on baseballs in his at bats. Easterling got on the bump and was able to throw strikes and compete. Easterling is another good young player at Dorman who is ready to contribute and is worth an early noting.

Hunter Cole-Freshman, SS/RHP: College coaches go ahead and add this name to your board. Cole is going to be a “big time” player a lot sooner than later. Cole’s demeanor on the mound is simply special. He is very confident in his arm and his mechanics are fundamentally sound. His arm is above average and control is very good. He gets some sink on his fastball that induced some ground balls. Cole looks the part already at shortstop featuring a good arm across the diamond and quick hands. He is a treat to see and his potential is quite evident in one viewing. Cole will contribute this season on a top team as a freshman.

Jake Kirkland-Junior, 3B/1B/OF: Kirkland, pretty much like everyone else at Dorman today, ripped the baseball. He had several hits and made a nice defensive pick at first base. Kirkland can run a little bit and that gives the Cavaliers some versatility in where to play him this season. Kirkland has some strength and has a stout build. He brings more offense to the table for the Cavaliers and plays with a mean streak.

Notables: T.J. Young-Dorman and Cameron Holmes- Boiling Springs HS.

Prospect Info: Laurens

Travis Burnside-Junior, OF/RHP: Burnside (right) is undoubtedly one of the best athletes in the state. He runs under balls with ease in the outfield utilizing his plus wheels. He has noticeably been in the weight room this off-season and filled out a good bit. Burnside has another good tool in his arm, and is a force on the mound. Burnside is a definite guy garnering Region I-4A player of the year as a sophomore, and will generate some pro attention as an athlete the next two years.

Luke Tollison-Junior, Laurens Academy, 3B/RHP: Tollison is a short sack of lightning. He has some juice in his bat. His opposite field homerun he flicked over the rightfield wall was impressive today. Tollison has plenty of arm strength to get it across the diamond. Tollison could use some work on cleaning up his infield actions and could develop a little more discipline in the box as a hitter. Tollison is very talented, and could easily put up some impressive numbers in college because of his natural abilities. He is more of a thrower and max effort guy on the mound and could possibly be suited better as a closer. Tollison is a definite prospect for colleges to evaluate.

Tori Patterson-Sophomore, SS: Patterson projects to play 2B/3B in college. He has good actions and a slightly above average arm in the infield. Patterson plays the game hard and has gathered a lot of experience since starting as a seventh grader at Laurens High. Patterson has a little pop in the bat and will be counted on heavily by the Raiders for offensive production this season.

Dre Watts-Junior, USC commit, RHP/OF: Watts threw an inning and was throwing strikes and inducing groundballs. He has good arm strength with a sneaky quick fastball. Watts has trimmed down a bit and looked in better physical shape after the off-season. Watts puts together consistent AB’s and has a solid approach in the box and a deceptive, quick left-handed bat. 

Marc Johnson-Unsigned senior, LHP: The 6’5” lefty seemingly popped out of nowhere. He recently attended Thornwell High before the school closed and he transferred to Laurens High. He missed a good portion of last year because of a car accident that he has since fully recovered. Johnson throws the baseball pretty well, and deserves a “follow” status as he continues to throw the baseball more after recovering from his injuries.