DP’s Pre-Season Invite: A Saturday of Scrimmage

By: Austin Alexander-February 16, 2008

sullivanp-balance08.jpgWhat a beautiful day for baseball! On Saturday, Diamond Prospects was treated to quality teams with quality players on a quality field with a quality atmosphere! What a day it was as we were back at AC Flora for our first Pre-Season Invite event, four scrimmages with eight well-established baseball programs.

StuartA-stealing07.JPGSitting in my place for a moment, you must understand a couple of things. In order to provide the coverage we do across the state, we often-times subject ourselves to unsightly baseball in very drab environments… but not on this day!

All eight teams arrived in full uniform, every coach with their rosters in hand, then eight clean and crisp rounds of pre-game infield/outfield gave way to well-coached baseball played among eight teams with plenty of talent. It was a banner day for DP and some of the men that crossed the white lines.

holleyk-sign08.jpgYou want star power on the field? We had that part covered when the teams were lined up several months ago. But then Gamecock headliners Justin Smoak, Reese Havens, Mike Cisco and Phil Disher – among others – strolled in and were endlessly signing autographs for young fans.

Allow DP to take you there. Imagine bright green grass, a steady dose of tunes, the smell of grilled burgers and good crowds…all under a February sun with 70-degree temps. And the action on the field did not disappoint either!

This Saturday had it all, especially when you consider that these games would not show up in the standings or have any playoff implications. What this event did have were eight teams that were no stranger to pre-season expectations and post-season success.

Pic #1: AC Flora senior RHP Pat Sullivan, Pic #2: North Augusta senior SS/RHP Austin Stuart, Pic #3: Mid Carolina sophomore RHP Krishawn Holley

-Game Summary-

Landrum Cardinals 5 Mid-Carolina Rebels 5, 8 innings

Tevins Walker’s solo job and Krishawn Holley’s two-run double staked Mid Carolina to a three run cushion early on but the scrappy Cardinals would work their way back into a ballgame and eventual tie.

Hilton Head Seahawks 9 Barnwell Warhorses 1, 9 innings 

A pair of Greg Harrison three-run homers led to 7 RBI on the day as the Seahawks rode his arm and bat to a convincing showing against the Warhorses.

North Augusta Yellow Jackets 8 Wando Warriors 4, 8 innings 

Robbie Scaggs’ big day at the plate paced the Yellow Jacket offensive effort early on to build a lead for Marty Gantt, Austin Stuart and Taylor Rozier to secure.

AC Flora Falcons 16 Lexington Wildcats 6, 8 innings

Ten runs for the host team over the first three frames set the tone for this one. Flora bats had balls flying all over the field, and few of them were cheapies, Will Freeman led the way.

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-Prospect Info: Landrum Cardinals- 

The defending 1A champions, and winners of three crowns over the past four years, lost a great deal of their line-up and rotation from a year ago but return the bats of junior Dustin Morris and senior Zeke RollinsTravis Henson’s club plays with energy and they have a young crop of talent reloading the Cardinal attack. 

Pitchers

 Name  Class  R/L  FB  CB/SL  CH
 Justin Henson  Jr  R  73-78  67-69  69-70
 Jared Corn  Sr  R  79-80  68-71  –

Top Prospects

 Rank  Name  Class  Pos  Scout Notes
 1  Dustin Morris  Jr  INF  Ultra-aggressive hitter poised to strike, yet disciplined; used the entire field to spray bolts, two of which that were pitcher’s pitches; plays very hard and is versatile-can play 3 infield positions and roam the outfield; DP’s pre-season POY in 1A
 2  Zeke Rollins  Sr  OF  Hard-nosed, hard-hitting outfielder committed to Limestone; has had prolific prep career, his swing and energy level should prove collegiate success as well; though it is only February, he may have already made the catch of the year but it cost him a trip to the emergency room
 3  Alex Wilson  Jr  3B/RHP  Slender frame and athleticism grab the eye; fresh off the hard court; strong arm and good-looking right-handed swing; a very interesting player to follow
 4  Tyler Burrell  Sr  OF  Yes, the brother of Alex, but a solid player in his own right; an above average runner and flat swing should find this Burrell with a place to play beyond high school
 5  Jon Humphries  8th  OF  Subbed in for Rollins after his departure and battled a quality arm strength pitcher in an 11-pitch AB; young, fearless, talented

-Prospect Info: Mid Carolina Rebels-

Clyde Livingston’s club made a run all the way to the State Championship in 2007, while many of those faces are gone, the cupboard is not bare. Led on the bump by sophomore Krishawn Holley and at the plate by Will Bedenbaugh, the Rebel line-up will continue to sport athlete’s from top to bottom.

Pitchers

 Name  Class  R/L  FB  CB/SL  CH
 Krishawn Holley  So  R  83-87, cuts it at 86-87 glove side, sinks it at 83-85 arm-side, filthy movement  69-72, hard with depth; an out-pitch  –
 Cody Paige  Jr  R  79-80  64-65, solid  –
 Will Bedenbaugh  Jr  R  81-82 with some sink  –  –
 Stephen Ariail  Sr  R  72-76  61-62  –

Top Prospects

 Rank  Name  Class  Pos  Scout Notes
 1  Krishawn Holley  So  RHP  Legit arm with pitchability; good command and quality breaking pitch; no evidence of CH; Projectable and athletic; more polished than past viewing; pro prospect
 2  Will Bedenbaugh  Jr  C/RHP  Seviceable HS pitcher, future is behind the dish; solid arm and release; good receiver with low target; blocking machine and athletic; 3-hole hitter for Rebels and bat-speed plays past HS; certain college prospect
 3  Tevins Walker  So  OF  Just landed on diamond after basketball season; very athletic with some pop in his left-handed bat; interesting player to follow
 4  Cody Paige  Jr  RHP/OF  Reportedly has more MPH in his right arm than this viewing; another good athlete
 5  Alex Bedenbaugh  Jr  INF  Solid bat and defender who had a good day

-Prospect Info: Barnwell-

Last year, Joel Vaughn’s team shook off a sluggish start and made a serious run through the post-season, two years ago the Warhorses played for the Lower State Championship. Many of those players are on the 2008 roster which has the Barnwell nation with high expectations. Led on the mound by southpaw Cash Collins, a host of scrappy prep players round out a club with enough talent to challenge for another berth in the title game.

                                                          60 Times

 Name  Class  60 Time
 Rick Boyles  Sr  7.03
 Kory Sanders  Sr  6.96
 Cash Collins  Sr  7.06
 Logan Frazier  Sr  6.91
 Luke Harter  Jr  7.43
 Coty Smith  Jr  7.31

Note: Times were recorded by the Hilton Head coaching staff.

Pitchers

 Name  Class  R/L  FB  CB  CH
 Josh Owens  Jr  L  74-75  60-61  65-66, solid
 Cash Collins  Sr  L  80-82  –  72-74, plus pitch
 Coty Smith  Jr  R  79-82  72-73, best pitch  –
 Jamie Randall  So  R  75-76  63-65  –
 Rick Boyles  Sr  L  71-76  63-64  –

Top Prospects

 Rank  Name  Class  Pos  Scout Notes
 1  Cash Collins  Sr  LHP  Wofford signee who can add and subtract with his MPH as well as any arm in the senior class; a model of composure with impeccable command; CB is a distant third pitch but CH probably backs up well enough to get SoCon hitters out a year from now
 2  Coty Smith  Jr  RHP  If arm strength improves, his curveball will gain notice as a swing-and-miss pitch
 3  Josh Owens  Jr  LHP  Good pickoff move and solid CH make him interesting; must either gain more MPH and improve CB break or locate like a champ, in other words, mold himself after Collins
 4  Jame Folk  Sr  C  Solid defensive catcher; gritty player; could play at next level for a small school looking for an accurate throwing backstop
 5  Rick Boyles  Sr  OF  Plus, plus defender in the OF despite blazing speed; smallish frame will need to fill out to hit after HS

-Prospect Info: Hilton Head-

The Seahawks charged all the way through 3A’s Lower State bracket in 2007 before hitting a wall in the exact some place that they found themselves on Saturday. If they are to make a repeat run, it won’t be without the bat and arm of junior Greg Harrison. On this day he shouldered the Hilton Head load. If Chris Wells is able to develop pitching depth and Elliot Van Dyke can provide sufficient protection to Harrison, expect to find this club right back in the hunt again.

60 Times

 Name  Class  60 Time
 Michael Bohrer  Sr  7.09
 Victor Frazier  So  7.50
 Edward Brittman  Jr  7.20
 Michael Campbell  Jr  7.20
 Chris Lindgren  Sr  6.85
 Denton Kerr  Sr  7.03
 Jack Tillman  So  7.34
 Greg Harrison  Jr  7.03
 Matthew Augustine  So  7.09
 John Marscher  Sr  7.48
 Bruce Leitner  So  7.68
 Desmond Bush  Fr  8.06

Note: Times were recorded by Barnwell coaching staff.

Pitchers

 Name  Class  R/L  FB  CB/SL  CH
 Greg Harrison  Jr  R  85-89, less sink than usual  67-69  74-75
 Jack Tillman  So  R  75-79  60-62  –
 Denton Kerr  Sr  R  78-79  63-66  –
 John Marscher  Sr  R  77-78  65-66  –
 Christopher Linsday  So  R  73-75  –  –

Top Prospects

 Rank  Name  Class  Pos  Scout Notes
 1  Greg Harrison  Jr  RHP/INF  The negative: he did not homer to right field; The positive: he did everything else; 1 jack to CF and 1 to LF, 7 RBI, bumped 89 on the gun, threw 3 scoreless frames, then played a solid SS; committed to USC
 2  Elliott Van Dyke  Jr  C  Will hit in the 4-hole and swings it well; above average arm and accuaracy, below average at unloading the ball, quicker transfer will result in better pop times and more CS’s
 3  Chris Lindgren  Sr  OF  In every viewing, this kid hits; compact swing with pop and occasional power, also ran a sub-7.0
 4  Michael Bohrer  Sr  OF  Solid runner who tracks balls well in the OF, tough out at the plate
 5  Denton Kerr  Sr  INF  Projects better at an infield corner but will play some at SS for HH; solid arm across the infield

-Prospect Info: Wando-

Pitching depth will determine the Warrior fate in 2008 but a frontline arm and a potent line-up will have Jeff Blankenship’s team in every big game. Sophomore Drew Cisco was battered on Saturday but returns an unblemished record to the mound. He, junior Daniel Aldrich (DNP on Saturday) and senior Jim Johnson will spell the loss of Cole Rakar (now at C of C) offensively. Young, unproven talent will also be leaned on this spring.

Pitchers

 Name  Class  R/L  FB  CB/SL  CH
 Drew Cisco  So  R  84-88, lacked usual command  68-70  73-76
 Jim Johnson  Sr  R  79-83  –  –
 Reid Langdale  So  R  76-79  62  –
 Robbie Dodds  So  R  79-80  –  –

Top Prospects

 Rank  Name  Class  Pos  Scout Notes
 1  Drew Cisco  So  RHP/INF  Found himself on the short end today but has plenty of upside, not to mention a good arm, potent bat and make-up galore; few players in our state treat every outing and AB with similar intensity; Baseball bloodlines in are his favor as well
 2  Daniel Aldrich  Jr  OF/1B  DNP on Saturday; Has tons of power from a very unorthodox approach and is a better OF than given credit for; committed to USC
 3  Connor Bright  Fr  SS  Legit SS now and projects as an infielder for upper tier programs; sub-7.0 runner already with good hands, actions and arm; if bat catches up with other tools, he may project as a pro guy
 4  Jim Johnson  Sr  OF  Will pitch for Wando but future is as a solid OF defender, left-handed bat and offensive sparkplug; Doubled and dingered off of two legit arms on Saturday; signed with The Citadel
 5  Brad Cherry  So  1B  Plenty of juice in this young hitter’s bat; big, strong-bodied kid with big power numbers potentially in his future
 T6  Reid Langdale  So  3B/RHP  Loose arm action and his arm strength across the infield don’t tanslate to the mound (76-79); his bat will determine his future
 T6  Robbie Dodds  So  OF/RHP  An interesting two-way player but projects better as a position guy
 8  Bradley Evsich  Jr  3B  Bat is intriguing and will have RBI opportunites in this line-up
 9  Brandon Griffin  Jr  C  Solid HS catcher
 10  Brandon Rogalski  Sr  UTL  Role player and wild card in the Wando line-up/rotation

-Prospect Info: North Augusta-

The team that seems to be most folks’ favorite in the 4A classification returns nearly every player from the club that got a taste of championship baseball last May before falling to Hartsville. We all know that anything can happen in a game and over the course of a season but, on paper, the experience, depth and leadership with this group make it hard to imagine another team raising the title trophy four months from now. Vic Radcliff pilots a clan headed by Marty Gantt, Austin Stuart and Robbie Skaggs into a year filled with goals.

60 Times

 Name  Class  60 Time
 Travis Murphy  Jr  7.00
 Austin Stuart  Sr  6.89
 Marty Gantt  Sr  7.00
 Kevin Hutchins  Jr  7.07
 Robbie Scaggs  Sr  7.40
 Taylor Rozier  Jr  7.37
 Todd Hatfield  Sr  7.28
 Jeff Wright  Sr  7.17
 Ben Myers  Jr  7.28
 Zane Vanover  Jr  7.92
 Tripp Warwick  Jr  7.20
 Evan Darr  Jr  7.64
 Stephen Bleile  Jr  7.12
 Steven Higdon  Sr  7.64
 Taylor Guerrieri  Fr  7.06

Pitchers

 Name  Class  R/L  FB  CB/SL  CH
 Marty Gantt  Sr  L  83-85  73-74  –
 Austin Stuart  Sr  R  87-89  74-75  73-76
 Taylor Rozier  Jr  R  81-85  67-72  –

Top Prospects

 Rank  Name  Class  Pos  Scout Notes
 1  Marty Gantt  Sr  LHP/OF  Arguably SC’s best overall player; tremendous instincts on the mound, at the plate, on the bases and in the outfield…even on the heels of a bed-ridden week with the flu; he was declared unable to play on this night and still forced his will on an opponent; USC signee
 2  Austin Stuart  Sr  RHP/SS  A very hard-nosed player with arm strength, solid hands at SS and plenty of bat-speed, also a very good baserunner; Signed with C of C as a RHP and sported command of 3 solid/plus pitches, but such an asset as a two-way guy
 3  Robbie Scaggs  Sr  3B/1B  Perhaps the most under-rated player that opponents are aware of but not most evaluators; this kid really bangs and is a very good hitter in the clutch and against quality arms; sprays his bolts to all fields with authority; Newberry signee;  
 4  Taylor Rozier  Jr  1B/OF/RHP  Plus arm from the OF but better-suited as an offensive 1B, this potential valedictorian never gets cheated at the plate and has his share of longballs on his resume; definite D1 prospect
 5  Taylor Guerrieri  Fr  INF  DNP on Saturday but did showcase a strong arm and potentially middle infield actions; also an above average runner
 6  Evan Darr  Jr  RHP/C  Will serve as the Jackets #2 arm, catch as well and hit near the middle of their order
 7  Steven Bleile  Jr  OF/RHP  Slender build and versatility will prove valuable for NA; must make adjustments at the plate and on the mound to become a prominent name with college coaches

-Prospect Info: Lexington-

Last year the Wildcats made their perrenial run toward another championship, many of those prominant players are playing at the next level now. Tommy Mishoe and his staff are now left to pick up the pieces with some new arms, bats and gloves. Gus White will lead the charge on the mound and Matthew Van Laan’s potent swing will pace the Lexington offense.

Pitchers

 Name  Class  R/L  FB  CB/SL  CH
 Robert Hendrix  Jr  L  77-80  69-71  60-61
 Gus White  Sr  R  83-84  69-71  72-73
 Matthew Van Laan  Sr  R  79-82  65-66  –
 Kyle Turner  Jr  R  76-77  65  66

Top Prospects

 Rank  Name  Class  Pos  Scout Notes
 1  Matthew Van Laan  Jr  OF  Plus bat-speed, solid arm and good runner; potential DI prospect
 2  Gus White  Sr  RHP  Will also play SS but future is on the mound; quality CB and CH will serve him well when he locates at the next level; signed with Wofford
 3  Derrick Smith  Jr  INF  Good arm and his bat was smoking balls through the middle of the field during this viewing; definite player to follow
 4  Alex Brooks  So  RHP/OF  A pitching prospect too, he sported a good offensive approach on Saturday; did not pitch on this day despite throwing well from the outfield
 5  Anthony Carden  Jr  OF  Boosted stock with offensive effort on Saturday; his bat deserves ‘follow’ status

-Prospect Info: AC Flora-

A year after Andy Hallett’s core of talent depart with diploma’s, the Falcons re-load with a ton of new names that hope to fill right into the footsteps of the many who came before them. Facing a formidable opponent, and missing a key cog in their line-up due to sickness, AC Flora smoked ball after ball through the middle of the field. While voids have to be replaced, expect Jay Wilson, Will Freeman, Pat Sullivan, Connor Lewis and the like to put this program right back in the cross-hairs of opponents. And a quick notice to college coaches, Flora has some unsigned seniors that warrant a look for any school trying to round out a recruiting class.

Pitchers

 Name  Class  R/L  FB  CB/SL  CH
 Alex Mitchell  Jr  R  79-80  65-68  –
 James Newman  Jr  R  77-80  62-63  69-70
 Pat Sullivan  Sr  R  85-86, heavy FB  72-75, potential out-pitch  –
 Bennett Hipp  Sr  R  68-71  59  63-66

 

Top Prospects-AC Flora

 Rank  Name  Class  Pos  Scout Notes
 1  Connor Lewis  So  1B  Very potent left-handed bat that reminds some of Brett Thomas; good defensive skills at 1B; may double as legit two-way prospect once arm issues are repaired at season’s end
 T2  Jay Wilson  Sr  C  Sub-7.0 catcher with arm strength; above average receiver and blocks well; plenty of pop in his bat; leadership qualities and very strong student; unsigned player who should have been gobbled up long ago
 T2  Will Freeman  Sr  RHP/OF  Mid-80’s RHP with lean, athletic frame; Blew up with the bat in this viewing sporting power and abiltiy to use the whole field; runs well too; unsigned senior that is a sure-fire two-way guy at the right school
 T2  Pat Sullivan  Sr  RHP  Mid-80’s right-hander with above average breaking pitch; clean delivery and arm action with a body that is already put together; definite guy for a quality program needing a quality arm 
 5  Robert Gibbes  Sr  OF  Sick on this nite and unable to play; this kid is another senior that can play and is still looking for a future home

 

RollinsZ-stance07.jpgWeb Gems: Right out of the gate, before we could even settle in for a long day of baseball, Landrum outfielder Zeke Rollins (left) made what may end up being the top play of 2008. The Mid Carolina lead-off hitter lifted a high arcing fly ball down the leftfield line. Rollins raced over at full speed from his leftfield position and made the catch as he simultaneously slammed into the fence. At no point did he gear down out of fear for the barrier. What followed was a bloodbath on his face and all over his jersey. Rollins was immediately taken to the emergency room and given stiches near his nose and mouth. During a game that meant absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things, it was quite possibly one of the most fearless plays I have ever witnessed. Kudos Mr. Rollins for treating us to a glimpse of baseball being played the right way!

News and Notes: If you were in attendance on Saturday, it’s doubtful that you missed the men (and woman) in blue swarming AC Flora. Just in case you couldn’t tell, several of them were in training and umpiring their first-ever game…Throughout the day, the question was raised from parents out of concern for ‘where all the college coaches were’? Easy answer, Division I coaches are still in an NCAA ‘Quiet Period", which means they cannot recruit off-campus until March 1. Division II schools and the Junior Colleges opened their seasons in early February and had games on Saturday…

Well Done: Few prep programs put on an event – or cook hamburgers – like the folks at AC Flora. Head Coach Andy Hallett, his staff, Falcon parents and others do a tremendous job of putting on a gameday show. Their assistance on Saturday was instrumental in what turned out to be a very successful day and enjoyable baseball experience. DP thanks all who pitched in.

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