By: Will Cheatham – February 27, 2011
Diamond Prospects was on hand tonight for the first game of the annual Comporium Tournament hosted by Gilbert High School. After a monsoon last Friday the game scheduled for Saturday, February 25, was moved to tonight. The rain just helped to green the grass and make the playing surface better. What I was looking forward to Saturday was only delayed by a day and finally baseball season is here. Tonight we saw a handful of solid arms with two teams that went deep into their playoff brackets respectively. The South Aiken Thoroughbreds sent the number one ranked RHP in the 2013 class to the mound tonight in Taylor Widener (left). Widener faced off against the tall lefty from James Island, Austin Walker.
This tournament contains quality teams from all over the state and brings them to one venue for an exciting weekend of baseball to come. After tonight’s game we will be back in action Thursday through Sunday. The lights are on, the lines are drawn, the lineups in the umpires hand, so it is now time to Play Ball.
This game was dominated by the pitching staffs until the sixth inning. James Island was able to get to Leopard in the bottom half of the sixth plating two runs. The first was off the bat of Christian Dorothy who drove a line drive double into left-center for the first RBI of the game. The Trojans then plated another run on a throwing error later in the inning taking a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the seventh. The Trojans got a big first out with a running catch by centerfielder Tommy Hornsby. Widener followed suit with a ball on the barrel for a double into right. The stage was set with John Leopard (right) coming to the plate. He did stepped up and did his job blasting a ball out of left center field to tie the game at two.
The Trojans threatened in the bottom half of the inning getting a runner to second base with just one out but Leopard got the final out to send us to free baseball. The Thoroughbreds stranded a runner in the top of the eighth inning and Josh Escoffier came on to pitch for the Trojans and got two big strikeouts, one to start the inning and the next to end the inning. In the bottom half of the inning Tyler Weekley doubled down the rightfield line with one out and after a fly ball to center, lead off hitter Logan Mills came through with a base hit to leftfield that plated Weekley from second winning the game for the Trojans.
This was my first full game of watching high school baseball with BBCOR bats. To me this has drastically changed the game and put a higher premium than ever on pitching and playing defense. Tonight we only saw a few balls that were barreled up and driven hard into the gaps. Each of these teams respectively are going to be strong competitors in their regions as they have the ability to pitch and play defense behind them. This was a good start to the Comporium Tournament and I look forward to the remainder of the tourney starting this Thursday and continuing throughout the weekend.
Final: James Island 3, South Aiken 2, WP- Josh Escoffier, LP- Jared Felix, HR- John Leopard (SA)
–Prospect Info: South Aiken Thoroughbreds-
Taylor Widener-2013, USC Commit, RHP/OF: Widener was in top form tonight for South Aiken. He started the game off with plus fastballs up to 90 MPH and did a good job working on the inner half of the plate. He worked his slider in when needed and used it for an out pitch early in the game. He also had two good at-bats, driving the ball hard back up the middle. He walked more batters tonight than I have seen in the past but the frame is there. Look for him to be a big contributor for the Thoroughbreds this year.
John Leopard-2012, SMC Commit, RHP/1B: Leopard started the game at first base and then came in to replace Widener. He did not have his best outing but was still very competitive on the mound. His sinking fastball worked around 85 MPH for the night and his breaking ball was good tonight in the low 70’s. James Island was able to score two runs off of him in the sixth but he more than made up for it with his bat in the bottom half of the inning. He “golfed” a pitch out to left-center with one out in the inning to tie the game up in dramatic fashion. Leopard is a senior leader on this team and will be a big part of their success; not only with his arm on the mound but with his bat as well.
Notables: Robert Rezac (2012, C), Blue Sanderson (2012, OF)
-Prosect Info: James Island Trojans-
Ryan Stone-2012, College of Charleston Commit, C: Stone (right) had the best game at the plate tonight for the Trojans. He has the ability to drive the ball to all parts of the field with good power to the left side of the field, which is where he doubled into tonight. The Thoroughbreds did not give him a chance to make any live throws from behind the plate tonight but he did a great job blocking balls and received the ball well all night. Stone will be one of the top hitters for the Trojans this year and is the type of catcher that you are wanting behind the plate with good defensive ability.
Tyler Weekley-2013, RHP/INF/OF: Weekley came into the game in relief of Austin Walker tonight. He worked well on both sides of the plate with his fastball and showed a plus 12-6 breaking ball. He used the breaking ball for his out pitched and did a great job keeping the South Aiken lineup off balance. His fastball worked in the low 80’s MPH and the breaking ball fell in at 73-74 MPH. With some continued effort in the weight room,and some improvement with the fastball velocity, he could be a guy to get out and see next year. Look for him to get some innings this year for the Trojans and be a big contributor for James Island
Josh Escoffier-2012, RHP/INF: Escoffier came on to pitch the eighth inning for the Trojans and did a great job. He has dropped his arm slot a little lower from than the last time I saw him and was very effective from there as well with his over the top delivery. He showed a plus breaking ball from the lower arm slot and does a great job throwing all his pitches for strikes. Along with Weekley and Walker, Escoffier is going to be a major contributor for the Trojans this year on the hill.
Notables: Christian Dorothy (2012, SS), Logan Mills (2012), Carson Porcher (2012)