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Things will get started bright and early at 8:30am on Sunday morning on Get-Away-Day from University of Illinois.
The WSL Regional Weekend #1 has been a huge success with tons of action at Illini Baseball Stadium, 12 players being named All Americans on Saturday, and possibly more to come on Sunday. The Illinois Baseball Stadium is a beautiful venue and very attractive for players who want to play Division 1....Big Ten Baseball.
But above all individual accolades is the team concept - and that is what the WSL is all about. There is 2 huge games today that will prove pivotal in the 1st ever Midwest Conference Championships. As the WSL continues to grow over the years and more and more elite programs join, being the first ever conference champion will be something that players can look back on and remember for a long time.
16U Sunday Preview
In the 16U division, the Game of the Day has to be Top Tier 16U vs Racine Hitters 16U. Although both teams hail from different states (Illinois and Wisconsin respectively), the programs aren't too far from each other geographically. Racine is just outside of Chicago - where Top Tier is based.
Depending on how you look at it, Top Tier may have a slight advantage in this game. Top Tier finished up their double-header on Saturday and will be fresh to catch the potentially fatigued Racine Hitters on the 2nd leg of their Sunday double-header.
15U Sunday Preview
In the 15U division, the South Oakland A's completed an impressive 2-game sweep over the Racine Hitters on Saturday - with their 2nd game of the doubleheader lasting until nearly midnight due to rain earlier in the day. They sit atop the division with a 3-0 record, but face a McHenry Hurricanes teams who is 2-1 and has a chance to take over first place with a win.
Players to Watch
16U Racine Hitters Dominic Clementi has been on fire so far. The 2016 grad from Hartland, WI leads the event in batting going 4-for-5 thus far and is tied for 1st in RBI with 5 even though he has only played 2 games. He is also tied for first in doubles with 2 so far. The lef-handed hitting outfielder has shown plus batspeed for his age and outstanding pitch recognition. He projects to be a top of the order bat at the next level, and PW Scouts have yet to put a final evaluation grade on him until after Sunday. He still lacks present strength to make him a big-time power guy, but the hitting tools are there for him to be one of the top players to come out of this event.
16U Top Tier's Matt Burch is another sweet swinging lefty to follow. The 2016 grad from Gurnee, IL has been flashing tools, while filling up boxscores with production. Burch has an athletic, wiry build with above average batspeed for his age. He will be a leadoff type of hitter at the next level as he has flashed some speed, patience in the box and hard contact. The infielder is one of 7 Top Tier players to be named an Underclass All American, and it is well deserved for Burch who is near the top of nearly every statistical category in this event as proof. Burch leads the event with 5 hits and 2 doubles. Burch has plenty of talent around him with guys like Brett Newberg and Austin Blazevic showing production as well.
Joel Virshek pitched 5 innings of 1-hit baseball (74-76mph), and Joey Hanley made his 2nd appearance of the event to close out
the final 2 innings.
2016 Matt Manas and Matt Turcotte lead the way offensively. Manas gave the bottom of the order some much-needed production with a 2 for 3 effort and scored twice. He set the table so guys at the top of the order (like Turcotte) could have a big day out of the leadoff spot. Turcotte had a big double, drove in 2 runs, walked and scored. He also added a stolen base.
The Hitters were the one team that was drastically effected by the rain as they finished up a late heart-breaking loss late last night, with a brutal turn around this morning. The Hitters, who have averaged 8 hits per game coming into this morning, looked fatigued as they were only able to put up 3 hits in this one.
With the win, the Starz moved into 3rd place, while the Hitters dropped into 4th due to the head-to-head-tiebreaker that comes into play when 2 teams have the same record.
Stay tuned later in the day to see which players from each roster were able to make the All-Weekend team at their position.
PHD BASEBALL 2, MINNESOTA STARZ BLACK 0
Underclass All American Sean Hjelle (6'9" RHP, 2015) and MN Starz 2015 Justin Lembeck engaged in a pitcher's duel on Sunday at University of Illinois Baseball Stadium.
Hjelle would get the better in this matchup as he went 7 innings for the CG shutout, allowing just 4 hits, 7 Ks and no walks.
Lembeck, by comparison, allowed 7 hits, 2 earned runs, walked 2 and struck out 4.
The result was an outstanding effort by both pitchers and one of the best pitcher's duels of the summer.
Hjelle pitched out of a jam in the bottom of the 7th. With runners on 2nd and 3rd and 2 outs, Hjelle was able to induce a groundball to short to end the game and the Starz chance at a walkoff win.
Hjelle has now thrown 9.1 innings to lead the event, has 9 Ks, a 0.00 ERA, and NO WALKS in those 9 innings - all categories lead the event.
PHD's Sam Mustar continued a solid weekend going 2 for 4 out of the leadoff spot, with 2 stolen bases and 1 run scored.
Mustar has chipped in on offense, defensively in CF and on the mound - where he pitched well in relief and ran his fastball up to 83mph.
PHD (1-2) has the 2nd leg of their double-header coming up shortly - this game a good test vs the Racine Hitters 16U.
Stay tuned for the game recap of that game right when it's completed.
MCHENRY COUNTY HURRICANES 5, SOUTH OAKLAND As 4
The McHenry County Hurricanes (3-1) held off a last inning rally by the South Oakland As (3-1) to take first place in the WSL 15U Midwest Conference on Sunday at the University of Illinois Baseball field.
2016 Matthew Nagel hurled a solid 4.2 innings and gave way to 2015 Sage Gates to earn the save with the A's threatening in the final frame. The 'Canes 5-4 victory moved them into first place by way of head-to-head tie breaker over the South Oakland As.
The 'Canes jumped on top 4-0 in the first inning, and were outscored 4-1 over the final 4 frames. That 1 run in the bottom of the 4th ended up being the difference in a game that was shortened by time limit due to rain delays caused on Saturday.
2016 Jacob Ahrens had a key double, drove in 2 runs, walked and scored as he provided balance in the lineup hitting out of the 7 hole.
Players from all teams are urged to use the Search bar on top of Prospect Wire's website to find their player profile, and click "I am JOHN DOE" to finish filling out their accurate player profiles!
ALL AMERICAN UPDATE:
The following players have been added as 2013 Crossover Symmetry Underclass All-Americans! Congratulations to the following players:
Shamus Segersten, MCHENRY HURRICANES (pictured right)
Brandon Kilday, MCHENRY HURRICANES (pictured left was the first to take the bat over the shoulders option for his pose!)
Joey Vyskocil, SOUTH OAKLAND As (pictured right)
Caleb Balgaard, SOUTH OAKLAND As (pictured left)
Mike Ryan, SOUTH OAKLAND As (pictured right)
PJ Pilat, SOUTH OAKLAND As (pictured left)
Tyler Hollister, MN STARZ (pictured right)
Joe Gahm, RACINE HITTERS (pictured left)
Tyler Strommen, RACINE HITTERS (pictured right)
Thomas Tucker, MCHENRY HURRICANES (pictured left)
Sam Mustar, PHD Baseball (pictured right)
Justin Lavey, HITTERS (pictured left)
RACINE HITTERS 5, PHD BASEBALL 1
Hitters pitcher 2015 Tyler Hickey, combined with a 10-hit attack to lift the Racine Hitters (3-0) over PHD Baseball (1-3) on Sunday afternoon at Illinois Baseball Stadium.
Hickey went CG, allowing the Hitters to save arms for their showdown with Top Tier in the last game of the event. The 6'4" right-hander scattered just 3 hits, and 1 earned run in his 7 innings of work. He did walk 6 batters, constantly giving PHD life, but he was able to shut them down each inning when it mattered most.
2016 Dominic Clementi (named a Player to Watch earlier in this blog) continued a great weekend with a double, stolen base, RBI and a walk as he continued to be productive in the heart of the order. Justin Lavey went 2 for 3 with a stolen base and a walk. Spencer Alascio added 2 hits in the bottom of the order. All Americans JT Athy and Gavin Lux added hits.
Zach Rustad came on in relief of Tyler Wyvell and threw 2 innings of shutout baseball for PHD. He walked 3 guys, but ran his fastball up to 78mph.
TOP TIER 3, RACINE HITTERS 2
In the end, it's the little things that win big baseball games.
In a game that was hyped by the WSL and PW as the Game of the Day, the Top Tier Americans beat the Racine Hitters by a count of 3-2. It was probably the best played game all around in WSL History. The game featured outstanding defensive plays, double plays, pickoffs, etc.
The game was as even as it gets, as most good baseball games are. What it would come down to is baserunning.
Down 3-2 in the 7th, the Racine Hitters would get a leadoff double to start the top half of the inning. After a mound visit, in which we assume was to put on a pickoff play, the runner was picked off 2nd base on an "inside move". An inside move is when the pitcher lifts his leg as if he is going to pitch, but turns "inside" towards 2nd base instead, and got the pick off at 2B.
The game seemed destined to go extra innings, but Top Tier was able to escape a nightmarish-start to the 7th inning with a huge pick-off play, and eventually slam the door on the Hitters 16U.
With the win Top Tier moved to 4-0 (Racine to 3-1) as the Top Tier Americans finished off a perfect weekend.
Both teams had 5 hits, and 2 errors.
Underclass All American Brett Newberg outdueled Tucker Maris, as Newberg went 7 innings, pitching to contact with 0 Ks, yielded 5 hits and 2 earned runs. Maris went 6 innnings, 5 hits, and allowed 0 ER.
Two players recorded multi-hit games: All American Justin Spivey (2 for 2, 1 run scored, and walk) and Eric Giltz (2 for 3 with a stolen base).