I’ve seen many of Illinois’ top pitchers so far this spring, despite the ridiculous number of cancellations. I’ve seen Downers Grove South’s Nick Burdi pitching at 92-94 mph, touching 95. I’ve seen Lemont RHP Josh Ferry carve up teams with his upper-80s fastball and hard slider. Hersey RHP Joe Perricone, Mount Carmel RHP John Kravetz, Marian Central junior LHP Brett Lilek, etc., etc., etc.
Without question, I must say that the most impressive single-game performance I’ve seen this spring is Providence RHP Brandon Magallones. On April 17, the 6-foot-3, 190-pound Northwestern recruit was nearly untouchable against a strong Marian Catholic squad, who was ranked No. 18 in the state at the time. With temperatures in the low 40s, Magallones’ velocity was a bit down, sitting 87-88, touching 89, for most of his complete-game masterpiece.
But it was Magallones’ ability to throw three plus pitches, in any count, regardless of the situation, and all for strikes, that was so impressive. His curveball, with sharp 12-to-6 tumble, is an absolute hammer. He also impressed with his 78-80 mph changeup that had late downward action. Magallones dispatched Marian Catholic hitters like it was a video game.
At one point, he struck out five straight in this sequence: changeup (80 mph), changeup (78 mph), curveball (74 mph), fastball (88 mph), curveball (74 mph), fastball (87 mph). All but one of those punch-outs was of the swing-and-miss variety. One way I like to measure a pitcher’s dominance is how many bats he misses. Magallones had more swings and misses than I’ve seen in a long time.
In the end, he struck out 12, walked none and hit one batter. He allowed two hits, one which was a bunt.
I still have a lot more pitchers to see this spring. On Saturday, I’m heading down to No. 15 Galesburg to watch RHP Tyler Farrell against Moline. I know Murphysboro LHP Dylan Craig is striking batters out at a ridiculous clip; Rock Falls RHP Jake Junis is having a great year. I hope to see them all. I also hope to see another pitching performance equal to Magallones’ on that Sunday. It makes the game so much more pleasurable.
>> Kevin Koziol, a three-time PBR All-State pick from Brother Rice HS, is heading to Parkland College next fall. Koziol, who was the Gatorade Player of the Year as a junior and an Under Armour All-American, signed with LSU out of high school.
>> St. Laurence senior 3B/RHP Mike Chimera enjoyed an impressive stretch of baseball. At one point last week, he went 14-for-24 with three home runs, two triples, five doubles and 17 RBI for the Vikings.
>> Congratulations to longtime Harrisburg coach Jay Thompson, who won his 600th game this week. Thompson now ranks 15th on the all-time list. Legendary Oak Park coach Jack Kaiser heads the list with 892 wins.