SCHSL Scout Blog - Week of 2/25


Eddie Tisdale
Scouting Director - South Carolina

High School ScoreBoard

- Top Prospects Highlight This Weeks Scout Blog - 

The recent rain's have wreaked fields across the Southeast forcing game changes and cancellations. In the Palmetto State there have been a plethora of rain delays, tarp pulls, and schedule changes. Trying to keep up with them all would drive even the most seasoned baseball fan mad. Even with all of the rain and adverse conditions our PBR scouts were out in force to cover as many games across the state as the weather would allow. 

We kicked off our weekly coverage with the Gaffney Pre-Season Tournament, the event field was comprised of Gaffney, Chapman, Northwestern, York Comprehensive, York Prep, and Blacksburg. Our focus turned towards an intriguing matchup to kick off the event. 

 

Gaffney Preseason Tournament - Blacksburg vs. York - 2.25.19 
Kirby Connell (LHP, Blacksburg, 2019) vs. Nick Clayton (RHP, York, 2019) 

The matchup saw two PBR SC top 10 arms face off in #5 Kirby Connell and #10 Nick Clayton. Connell, a Tennessee recruit was seeing his first action of the season (Basketball), and threw on a limited pitch count.

For Kirby Connell (LHP, Blacksburg, 2019), the competitive make up and pitch-ability are through the roof. The FB ranged from 83-84 mph and the signature 11/5 breaking ball was working at 70-73. The body seems to be capped from a project-ability stand point but the intangibles make up for the short falls in the measurables. The command is the most advanced in the class and the breaking ball will give hitters at any level problems. Look for Connell to have another stellar season as he logs some innings and gets back into form.

+ Connell - 4.0 IP - 5 H - 1 R - 1 ER - 0 BB - 4 SO

 

Clemson recruit Nick Clayton (RHP, York, 2019) countered for York. Clayton, who's arrow has been trending up since his 91 mph bolt earlier in the fall. Was sharp early striking out 8 of the first 9 guys he faced. The FB was 88 early on in the outing and backed up to 83-85 later on. Clayton has the benefit of throwing a heavy fastball with 2-seam/sinker tendencies that keeps it off the barrel. He also throws two secondary pitches with feel, a CH and a tight slider that he showcased as his primary off-speed offering at 74. Clayton will need to fill out the projectable 6 foot 5 frame with additional mass to reach the ceiling but the quick arm and feel for his secondary offerings provide a relatively high floor. 

+ Clayton - 6.0 IP - 2 H - 0 R - 0 ER - 2 BB - 11 SO

 

OTHER TOP PERFORMERS 

+ Hunter Parks (York) - 3 AB - 3 H - 1 RBI - 1 2B

+ Max Necklen (York) - 1 AB - 1 H - 1 2B - 1 BB 

+ Ethan McClain (Blacksburg) - 2 AB - 1 H - 1 2B - 1 BB

 

Comporium Preseason Invitational - Lancaster vs. Chester - 2.26.19

This matchup saw two ranked PBR SC players showing out on both sides. For Chester, 2020 outfielder Luke Wright patrolled CF and for Lancaster, 2022 SS/2B JP Cunningham manned the short stop position. Both of these prospects have athletic builds and with high upside. 

Luke Wright (OF, Chester, 2020) is a strong bodied physical centerfielder. His speed is deceptive as he doesn't have the fastest first step but runs well when he gets underway. The left handed swing is more of an inside out approach that sprays balls to all fields. He flashes some power at times when he lets the barrel go but he sticks to his middle opposite field approach more times than not. 

+ Wright - 4 AB - 2 H - 1 2B

 

JP Cunningham (SS/2B, Lancaster, 2022) is one of the most intriguing young prospect across our coverage area. He has multiple plus tools that will translate to the next level. The athletic, quick twitch frame is durable enough not to give cause for concern and will only get better. The baseball instinct's will continue to evolve with his game as he matures. There are flashes of an elite mix of power and speed. His medium high leg kick lands softly and he showed the ability to drive the baseball to all fields. 

+ Cunningham - 5 AB - 1 H - 1 HR - 4 RBI - 1 R

 

OTHER TOP PERFORMERS

+ Logan Phillips (Lancaster) - 4 AB - 2 H - 2 RBI

+ Jarron Taylor (Lancaster) - 2 AB - 2 H - 2 R - 1 BB 

 

I.P. Classic - Blythewood vs. Chapin - 2.28.19
Landon Lucas (RHP/SS, Blythewood, 2020) vs. Cade Austin (RHP, Chapin, 2020) 

The premier matchup between the defending 4A state champion's in Chapin (reclassified to 5A), and the perennial powerhouse in the Blythewood lived up to the hype. Blythewood would race out to a 8-2 lead before allowing 7 runs in the 5th inning and falling to the Eagles 9-8. 

College of Charleston recruit Landon Lucas (RHP/SS, Blythewood, 2020) got the start for the Bengals and worked with a crisp fastball that was 88-89 t90 in the first inning. The big 11/5 breaking ball was thrown with depth and is developing into a quality offering. Lucas also collected a hit and picked up an RBI. 

+ Lucas - 3.0 IP - 2 H - 2 R - 1 ER - 1 K - 4 BB
+ Lucas - 3 AB - 1 H - 1 RBI - 1 SACF

 

South Carolina recruit Cade Austin (RHP, Chapin, 2020) countered for the Eagles and allowed 9 hits and 8 runs in 4 innings of work. The FB was 87-88 in the first inning and he mixed with a SL and CH. The CH showed plus potential with matching arm speed and release point with heavy fade at times. The durable frame should be able to log a high number of innings and the velocity should trend up as he makes a few more starts.

+ Austin - 4.0 IP - 9 H - 8 R - 8 ER - 4 SO - 5 BB 
+ Austin - 4 AB - 1 H - 1 R

 

OTHER TOP PERFORMERS

+ Drew Highfill (Chapin) - 3 IP - 2 H - 0 R - 0 ER - 1 SO - 1 BB

+ Chris Veach (Chapin) - 3 AB - 2 H - 1 2B - 1 R - 2 RBI - 1 BB - 1 SO

+ Matthew Becker (Chapin) - 4 AB - 2 H - 1 R - 1 RBI

+ Nate Hinson (Blythewood) - 4 AB - 2 H - 1 2B - 2 R - 5 RBI 

+ Zac Cowan (Blythewood) - 2 AB - 1 H - 1 2B - 2 R - 1 BB

 

Coastal Invitational Tournament - Conway vs. Aynor - 2.28.19
Will Smith (RHP, Conway, 2019) vs. Landon Beverly (RHP, Aynor, 2021)

Our second game of the day saw us bounce over to Waccamaw for the Coastal Invitational Tournament and the highly anticipated matchup between Will Smith and Landon Beverly. Both arms have been trending up and neither of these two disappointed. 

Coastal Carolina recruit Will Smith (RHP, Conway, 2019) looked to have added some solid mass to the frame. The delivery has moderate effort and is repeatable. He lost a few fastballs up in the zone but controlled his fastball for the most part. He was fastball exclusive through the first 4 innings riding the pitch up to 95 mph multiple times in the first and sitting between 92-94. He settled in later in the outing at 91-93 and had a 94 mph bolt in his last inning. The tight 11/5 slider landed for strikes in his last inning of work at 80 mph. 

+ Smith - 5.0 IP - 2 H - 0 R - 0 ER - 11 K - 1 BB

 

Landon Beverly (RHP, Aynor, 2021) pieced together his own solid start for Aynor only allowing 1 hit across 4 innings, while striking out 7. The FB was 83-85 in the first and had some jump on the hitters. It settled in later at 81-83 and topped at 84 in his 4th and final inning of work. He controlled the breaking ball low in the zone and efficiently mixed it in at 78. Bulldog make up was nice to see as he squared off with Smith. 

+ Beverly - 4.0 IP - 1 H - 0 R - 0 ER - 7 K - 2 BB 

 

OTHER TOP PERFORMERS 

+ Gage Richardson (Aynor) - 3 AB - 1 H - 1 R - 1 BB - 1 SO

+ Jordan Hilburn (Conway) - 4 AB - 1 H - 1 2B - 1 RBI - 1 SO

 

I.P. Classic - Boiling Springs vs. Bishop England - 2.28.19
Tristan Smith (LHP, Boiling Springs, 2022) vs. Geoffrey Gilbert (LHP/OF, Bishop England, 2019) 

The 3rd game of the I.P. Classic was between two of the potential favorites in their respective classes. Boiling Springs is loaded with a stable of pitching and Bishop England returns some of it's top talent from last years historic state championship run. The pitching matchup was a marquee affair with two high profile left handers throwing for each team, Tristan Smith (LHP, Boiling Springs, 2022) is the PBR #4 overall prospect in the 2022 class and reigning Gatorade Player of the Year, Geoffrey Gilbert took the hill for BE. 

Tristan Smith (LHP, Boiling Springs, 2022) displayed his firm fastball running the pitch up to 89 mph in the first inning. The loose whip to the arm action and the sub-maximal delivery suggest there is even more velocity to be had as Smith develops physically. The feel for off-speed and control will continue to evolve as more innings are logged. Look for the elite stuff to only get better at the season goes on.

+ Smith - 4.0 IP - 0 H - 1 R - 0 ER - 7 K - 5 BB 

 

Clemson recruit and reigning SC Gatorade Player of the Year, Geoffrey Gilbert (LHP, Bishop England, 2019) took the hill for the Bishops and showed off his competitive make up. His stuff was not the best that we have seen it with the FB ranging from 83-87 mph and stretches of erratic command, but the competitive mentality was showcased as he battled through 6 innings of work. The big 11/5 breaking ball with late bite was also on display. 

+ Gilbert - 6 IP - 3 H - 1 R - 1 ER - 10 K - 1 BB

 

OTHER TOP PERFORMERS

+ Chris Dengler (BE) - 3 AB - 1 H - 1 BB - 2 SB

+ Davis Brown (Boiling Springs) - 3 AB - 1 H - 1 RBI - 1 BB - 1 SO - 1 SB

 

NaturChem Invitational - Camden vs. North Augusta - 3.2.19

Hats off to the coaches and grounds crews for the host facilities. The skies opened up and washed Friday's games out. The schedule committee scrambled to adjust the schedule and ultimately added Airport high school as an additional host site. In light of the situation we made it out to take in the Camden vs. North Augusta game. Two players that stood out for the Jackets of North Augusta were Augusta University recruit Logan Jeffcoat (2B/RHP, 2019) and Florence-Darlington recruit DJ Sullivan (OF, 2019). 

Jeffcoat gives off a solid infield profile with confident actions at second base. He will profile as a 2B/3B moving forward with a solid defensive skill set and quality offensive approach. The body will continue to develop and there could be a boost in the gap to gap power with maturity. 

+ Jeffcoat - 3 AB - 2 H - 1 R

Sullivan is a rangy OF with a wiry frame. He was efficient with his routes in the OF and tracked balls well of the bat, running down several well hit balls in CF. He sprays the ball around the field from the plate, hitting balls hard to all fields in two games. The frame should continue to support the running ability and it will only improve as he fills out with functional strength. 

+ GAME 2 vs. BHP - Sullivan - 3 AB - 2 H - 1 2B - 1 R - 1 SO

 

NaturChem Invitational - Belton Honea Path vs. North Augusta - 2.3.19

BHP is a talented group that features a stable of young prospect who will be worth following in the future. Two guys that jumped out to us during this game were Citadel recruit Tyliss Roper (LHP, Belton Honea Path, 2019) and uncommitted 2021, OF prospect Brady Alewine

Roper took the ball and pounded the zone, not allowing a walk in 5 innings of work. The fastball had quick life from the hand and finished firmly across the plate at 85-86 mph with flashes of ASR. The 11/5 breaking ball showed good bite and will be an effective pitch at any level. The present frame is strong through the lower half and torso. Roper should be the Bears go to guy this year and rack up his share of wins once this offense rounds into form and starts scoring some runs. 

+ Roper - 5.0 IP - 4 H - 1 R - 1 ER - 7 K - 0 BB

Brady Alewine was impressive from the two hole for BHP. This medium small frame is a good looking mix of lean athletic strength. The actions will clean up as he evolves as a player but with a solid base of tools to draw on the ceiling is high. Alewine worked from a slightly open stance at the plate with a loose rhythm to the hands pre-load and was strong through barrel release. 

+ Alewine - 3 AB - 2 H - 1 R - 1 SB - 1 SAC

 

NaturChem Invitational - River Bluff vs. Belton Honea Path - 2.3.19

Ricky Williams (RHP, River Bluff, 2020) The Clemson recruit was 88-89 t90 in the first inning. The high 3/4 to OTT arm slot and angle will only help him keep the ball off the barrel. The frame suggest there is still some physical development left before he has reached his potential. The breaking ball throw with matching arm speed and has a sweeping two-tier break. 

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+ Williams - 5.0 IP - 2 H - 0 R - 0 ER - 5 K

 

- AROUND THE HORN -

+ SOUTH AIKEN WINS RBI, AJ DEIBEL WINS MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYER

+ NATURCHEM IS A WASH, ALEX URBAN & THE HOME RUN DERBY A HIT

+ ROCK HILL GOES 3-0 CLAIMS SANDLAPPER SHOOTOUT

+ CONNOR CINO LEADS WANDO TO C.I.T TITLE, WINS MVP

+ HANNAH-PAMPLICO ROLLS 2018 SUCCESS INTO 2019, WINS THE SONIC TOURNEY

+ BOILING SPRINGS WINS THE I.P. CLASSIC, BEN HUTCHINS EARNS MVP HONORS

+ FORT MILL SCORES 44 RUNS IN 4 GAMES TO WIN ALE HOUSE TOURNAMENT