2021 Midwest Premier Baseball 17u/18u Top Prospect Series Scores/Standings

With four all-turf fields at the Woodside Sports Complex in Mauston, Wis., just outside the Wisconsin Dells, there was no shortage of action on the first day of the 2021 Midwest Premier Baseball 17u/18u Top Prospect Series. There are 14 teams from four different states (Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin) participating in this event and 15 games were played across four time slots.

STiKS and Building Champions played to a 6-6 tie in the opening time slot with several notable performers.

UIC commit Drew Stippich started the game for STiKS and threw some of the best pure stuff of the day, sitting consistently in the 86-89 mph range with his fastball while mixing in a 79-80 mph breaking ball that wasn’t especially sharp on this day. He was leaving the fastball up but its velo was good enough for him to escape a few jams with it. Stippich has a strong and sturdy build and maintained his velocity well deep into his start.

Pitching opposite Stippich was uncommitted RHP Ryan Borberg, a projectable athlete with long limbs and an easy, repeatable delivery. Borberg’s fastball sat in the 83-87 mph range, sitting at 85-86 in his first few innings before settling in around 83-84. His 71-73 mph curveball has good depth and overall promise and he did a good job sequencing before his fastball and breaking ball while navigating deep into the game.

Grant Beth drilled a triple to the gap in left-center that scored a pair of runs in this game. Andrew Niaves followed Beth in the lineup with an RBI single through the right side of the infield as STiKS quickly put three runs on the board. Beth also started the second game of the day for STiKS, sitting in the low-80s (80-83 mph) with a sharp, frisbee-shaped low-70s breaking ball, giving him intriguing two-way upside.

Charlie Jarvis showed well defensively at both catcher (game 1) and first base (game 2), registering a POP time of 2.0-seconds flat before making a really nice diving stop at first. His throws weren’t always consistent and/or accurate, but the arm strength and quickness to his release are evident when he throws the ball as well as he can.

Levi Martin stood out early for Building Champions by gunning down a runner trying to advance to third base. Martin’s throw was on a line and on the money, and he followed the play up with another strong throw from right field on the very next batter. Not surprisingly, he followed up his strong defensive play with an RBI single to the opposite field in right. Martin has a lot of muscle packed in his barrel-chested 6-foot-1, 200-pound frame.

Andrew Brakensiek appeared to be in complete command from beginning to end in the St. Louis Prospects – Perkins’ 4-1 win over STiKS. Brakensiek really commanded his upper-70s to low-80s fastball well and used it well to set up his mid-60s breaker. With a strong build and well-repeated delivery, he worked quickly and moved the ball around the zone well to keep hitters’ barrels off his stuff.

Even though Brew State Baseball walked away with an 8-1 win over the St. Louis Prospects – Oliff, 6-foot-4, 215-pound lefthander Luke Wright showed promise in his outing. A 2022 grad, Wright did a nice job firing 82-85 mph fastballs in on the hands of righthanded hitters to set up his mid-60s breaking ball well. He started to get hit around more and more as the game progressed, but there’s enough to like to believe greater consistency could help him take a big step forward.

Another pitcher that showed promise minus the results in the W-L column was Perfect Timing Blue righthander Connor Brady. Brady had some of the day’s best pure stuff, throwing 86-88 mph fastballs early with the foundation of a solid breaking ball that was thrown as hard as 80 mph. He has a live arm, and there’s not much effort to his delivery with an athletic presence on the mound.

Perfect Timing brought a pair of teams with them from Arkansas to central Wisconsin, and the Perfect Timing Red squad got off to a 2-0 start on Friday. Lefthander Zachary Freeman showed really good command and feel for a low- to mid-70s breaking ball in their first game, a 9-1 win over the Rawlings Tigers St. Louis Quattro.

In Perfect Timing Red’s second game starter Braxton Waller did a really good job to get himself out of a few jams, but none bigger than in the top of the fifth inning when he struck out the side after giving up a leadoff triple that was scorched to left field (Jake Leeker had the hit for Victus American/Marucci Midwest). Waller didn’t throw especially hard, sitting right around 80 mph, but he commanded the pitch well and mixed in a sharp breaking ball, using a few to catch batters looking and also getting them swinging over the top of pitch.

In the bottom of the fourth, just before Waller worked his magic, Perfect Timing Red hitter Cole Martin led off the bottom of the fourth with a triple of his own, a ball drilled to the opposite field gap in right-center. Martin scored on a wild pitch to tie the game 4-4. Several batters later, Isaac Cottle pushed Perfect Timing Red ahead, driving in a pair of runs on a hit that dropped in the gap of left-center, advancing to second on the play.

Victus American/Marucci Midwest did a good job to battle back late against Hitters Baseball White, scoring a pair of runs on a pair of base hits hit back up the middle that led to an 8-8 tie. Kade Gallion and Brantley Carter were responsible for the two key, clutch hits.

Next Level Baseball got off to a huge start in the tournament, going 2-0 on Friday and out-scoring their opponents 25-6 thanks to a 12-2 mercy-rule win over Inside Edge – Silvestri and a 13-4 victory over Building Champions.

Hitters Baseball Navy went 1-0-1 on the day and did a great job securing the tie, a 4-4 game against Inside Edge – Silvestri, in their second game of the day, battling back in the final inning scoring three runs to avoid the loss.

Ian Choi had a big day at the plate for Hitters Navy. He started his day with a well-struck single to right field in the first game and added another hit to the opposite field later in the day. His biggest hit, however, came as part of Hitters Navy’s comeback, absolutely drilling the ball to the gap in left-center before turning on the jets for an RBI triple, a hit that made the game 4-2 at the time. Choi is a very disciplined hitter with advanced bat-to-ball skills, doing a good job to go with the pitches he was offered.

Choi batted leadoff in front of numerous dangerous hitters: Middle infielders Gavin Kilen, Noah Miller and catcher Joey Spence.

Kilen played second base in the first game and shortstop the second. He really stood out defensively in game two making a pair of really nice plays while on the move. Kilen stands out in the lefthanded batter’s box and really impacts the ball hard, as he showed during the team’s batting practice session prior to their first two games of the day. It’s a no-nonsense swing for Kilen as he really attacks the ball hard and makes consistent, hard contact with an advanced approach at the plate. Kilen is committed to Louisville.

Miller is one of the most creative defensive players I have ever seen, and he also is a steady, consistent hitter in both batter’s boxes as a switch hitter. As a lefthanded hitter he usually looks to drive the pitch up the middle and to the opposite field gap with more of a pull approach as a righthanded hitter. He does a good job staying on top of the ball to hit line drives to all parts of the park from both sides of the plate, and his throws are always right on the glove, on the money. Miller is committed to Alabama and is the younger brother of Cleveland Indians infielder Owen Miller.

Spence continues to remind me of former TCU slugger Evan Skoug for his simple, compact swing packed in a powerful, compact frame. He routinely takes competitive at-bats and rarely gets fooled at the plate. He employs a very simple stride into his effortless, lefthanded swing and showed his power and drilling a ball into the gap and legging out a triple. Spence is committed to Notre Dame.

Kilen and Miller both hit hard singles to reach base, while Spence also made hard contact up the middle to reach and bring home the game’s fourth and game-tying run.

In the first game Michael Lippe, who missed a good part of the 2020 summer due to injury, hit a hustle triple in his first at-bat of the day. Lippe offers a large, athletic presence in the batter’s box with a football-type physical frame. There’s obvious strength in his hands and wrists with enough speed to stretch extra bases. Lippe is a Louisville recruit.

Inside Edge – Silvestri’s starting pitcher Wyatt Clark did a great job keeping the Hitters off the basepaths for most of the game. Although he did give up a first inning run, he settled down nicely and worked consistently in the low- to mid-80s with his fastball while mixing in a sharp low-70s curveball. He really competed his tail off, sequencing his pitches well while staying of the barrels of some really good, impactful hitters. By the end it was clear he just ran out of gas as he was removed from the game with the Hitters did most of their damage.

Third baseman Jackson Summrall made the best defensive play of the day, picking a ball with his back hand on a hot shot hit down the third base line and then making a strong, accurate throw across the diamond to nail the runner. He stepped to the plate in the next half inning and delivered a base hit to right field. Summrall has a big-bodied frame with an obvious physical presence on the field.