OMAHA, Neb. – On a beautiful summer Sunday afternoon the Minnesota-based MASH Baseball snuck by Ohio Elite 15u Brumfield, 5-4, to claim the 2021 15u Midwest Premier Baseball Top Prospect Series. It was the third game of the day for both teams, as MASH had beaten Building Champions 15u Kisner, 8-1, in the quarterfinal round to open the day and then the Rawlings Arkansas Prospects Scout in the semifinals to advance.
In this game MASH got on the board first, manufacturing a run in the top of the third following a Riley Leatherman double that was hammered over the head of the left fielder. Leatherman scored on a Caleb Koskie RBI groundout.
Ohio Elite quickly answered back with two runs in the bottom of the third as Alex Martin blasted an RBI double to the opposite field gap in right-center to tie the game. Ohio Elite then pulled ahead on an RBI groundout of their own.
MASH wouldn’t be outdone, scoring four times in the top of the fourth. It started with an Eddie Peters double to lead off the frame which was followed by a walk to Nick Brandt and an RBI single to right field by Ryan Vosper, his eighth hit of the tournament and seventh RBI. A wild pitch gave MASH a 3-2 lead, a sac fly made it 4-2 and Max Arlich’s RBI single gave MASH their fifth and final run of the game.
From there Jack Morris – who came on for starter JD Dobis in the third inning – went on cruise control. He enjoyed a quick 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the fourth and worked around two-out singles by Alex Martin and Jon Wylie in the bottom of the fifth. In the bottom of the sixth, after allowing a leadoff double to No. 3 hitter Braylen Baker, Morris proceeded to strike out Ohio Elite’s Nos. 4-6 hitters to get out of the inning unscathed.
Ohio Elite, which went 1-0-1 in both pool and bracket play, wouldn’t walk away quietly, however. Alex Martin, already with a double and a single to his credit in this game, crushed a two-run home run over the wall in left field to pull within one run.
As MASH had done so many times during this tournament, Morris settled back in, re-focused and got the final out to secure the 5-4 victory and the Midwest Premier Baseball Championship.
“It’s awesome. This is a very talented group, top to bottom,” MASH Head Coach Tony Vocca said after the game. “They know that, we know that. They play the game the right way and they play hard – it’s literally a no quit mentality. Our motto’s ‘winner’s win,’ and these guys are a bunch of winners.
“It’s a good group, they’re good baseball players but the better thing is they’re great kids. They’re easy to be around, they mesh well, so I think that’s why they’re having so much success so far this summer.”
It’s clear the MASH squad isn’t intimidated by big moments, or big velocity, as their big bats went straight to work in their semifinal matchup against the Rawlings Arkansas Prospects Scout.
Facing a hard-throwing righthander, Kale Fountain, Caleb Koskie led off the game with a base hit to left field (he led off all three of MASH’s games on Sunday with a single), and after a booming double to left-center field off the bat of Nick Brandt and another base hit served to right by Ryan Vosper, the game was 3-0 before the Prospects even had a chance to bat.
Vosper was the starter in this game and provided 5 2/3 quality innings in a 6-4 win. His mid-60s sweeping breaking ball was his greatest neutralizer as he really kept the Arkansas hitters off balance. Arkansas did tack on a pair of runs in the fourth and two more in the seventh to make things interesting.
To get to the semifinal game MASH defeated Building Champions UA 15 Kisner 8-1 in the first game played at Elkhorn North High School Sunday morning. Eddie Peters pitched five strong innings, leaving in the sixth with a pair of runners on and nobody out, and he really did a good job changing speeds between a mid- to upper-70s fastball and an upper-60s curveball that generated a lot of swings-and-misses. Peters struck out 10 batters in 6 2/3 total innings of work over the four-day event.
The game was put out of reach in the top of the fifth as MASH hung a seven spot on the board. Lucas McNellis got things started with a hard liner to center field and was followed by run-scoring hits by Riley Leatherman, Caleb Koskie and Eddie Peters in addition to a pair of RBI groundouts and a wild pitch.
“We just play our game, really, no matter where we’re going we know we’re going to play at a high level,” Vocca added. “Every club here is very, very talent and we just stay within ourselves and continue to raise the standards for MASH Baseball. The good thing is it’s only going to get better from here on out as they get older.”
Vosper (.471, 8 hits, 3 doubles, 7 RBIs), Peters (.444, 8 hits, 2 doubles, 1 home runs, 6 RBIs) and Koskie (.444, 8 hits, 1 double, 9 runs scored) did the most damage during MASH Baseball’s championship run.
Ohio Elite 15u Brumfield advanced to the championship game by taking down the No. 1 playoff seed heading into Sunday’s play, Hitters Baseball, with a 10-1 win. All 10 of Ohio Elite’s runs came in the first inning as they sent 16 batters to the plate, recording nine base hits and taking advantage of five Hitters errors, chasing starter Quinn Conyers from the game before he recorded a single out.
While there were no shortage of big numbers, No. 3 hitter Braylen Baker hit a double down the third base line that put the first two runs on the board. Cleanup hitter Caden Sheridan followed with a double drilled to the opposite field gap in right-center to make it 3-0 and things only piled on from there.
In the process hulking righthander Peyton Jackson tossed all five innings for Ohio Elite. He worked in the 82-86 mph range early, touching a few 87s and 88s in the first inning. He improved the feel, break and tightness to his upper-60s breaking ball as the game progressed and really did a good job throwing strikes and using his size well to throw on a downhill plane.
Ohio Elite advanced to the semifinal round with a 9-4 win over the GRB Rays. Jon Wylie had a strong performance on the mound, striking out six in 6 2/3 innings, and their red-hot offense exploded for 16 base hits. Jack Eastone and Caden Sheridan each hit home runs while Peyton Jackson and Alex Martin each collected three base hits.
• Kale Fountain was called upon from nearby Lincoln to take the start in the Rawlings Arkansas Prospects Scout’s semifinal game against MASH. A 6-foot-4, 195-pound righthander, Fountain has already committed to Florida State. His big-bodied presence on the mound stands out as he has obvious strength from head to toe. His fastball started ranged from 80-85 with a sharp overhand curveball thrown at 71-74 mph. Fountain helped his own cause in the bottom of the fourth with a two-run single poked to right field.
• Wes Lyerly was called on to get the final six outs of Building Champion UA 15 Kisner’s quarterfinal matchup against MASH. While not overly physical, Wylerly has a very athletic build and intriguing projection moving forward. His signature pitch is a sharp-breaking 73-74 mph slider with two-plane break. He also throws a distinct 70-71 mph curveball that has more straight downer action. His fastball was also an effective pitch, thrown at 79-82 mph with good arm-side run. The sharpness to the break and command to his breaking balls will continue to garner looks moving forward.
• As part of Hitters Baseball defeated to Ohio Elite we got a look at the two pitchers that were likely in line to pitch in the championship game had they made it that far. Mike Schwoon and Grayson Flugaur offer plenty of future promise given their smaller yet athletic statures and ability to produce easy low-80s heat.
Schoon was consistently 80-83 with a really sharp 67-70 mph curveball. There’s some late dip to his fastball with an easy, live right arm.
Flugaur was just a tick below at 79-82, hitting his spots well with his fastball while mixing in a bigger, slower 65-69 curve.