Prep Baseball Report

Spring Invitational Day One Recap

Prep Baseball California Staff



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Southern California - The third annual Prep Baseball California Spring Invitational kicked off Opening Day of baseball action in the CIF-Southern Section with one of it's deepest fields to date. The field includes a who's who of teams that are often at or near the top of the final standings in their respective divisions. With over 100 college commits and close to 20 draft picks having participated in the events first two editions of the tournament, Year Three will continue that tradition of having teams with top college and MLB Draft talent participating. 

Day One saw the field split - thanks rain! - with games played at JSerra HS, Hart Park, and Gahr HS. We had multiple people covering each facility to bring fans all the action in real time via our social media platforms. And while those posts make it easy to see who's doing what, we will provide a look into some of the better performances in this notebook. 


‘24 RHP Duncan Marsten - Harvard Westlake 

Marsten was one of the many arms that brought scouts out in droves to the fields and he did not disappoint. Marsten came out hot, working the fastball up to 95 mph and living in the 92-94 mph range throughout his entire outing, touching 95 several times in the fourth inning. Landing his slider (82-83 mph) for strikes he mixed in a changeup at 88mph that added a nice wrinkle to his repertoire. Marsten finished with eight strikeouts on the night. 

‘24 LHP Ethan Schiefelbein - Corona 

The southpaw UCLA commit did not disappoint in his quick two-inning start on Opening Day. After working 92-94 mph in the first he took something off in the second settling in at 88-90 mph. His “Daffy Duck” curveball was up to 78 mph while living in the 75-77 mph range through his two-innings of work. His back-breaking curveball was impressive inducing whiffs and late, soft contact. Schiefelbein, a 2023 ProCase attendee, punched out four batters in his two-innings to go with a fly-out and a ground out. 

‘24 SS/RHP Bryce Rainer - Harvard Westlake

While many believe Rainer is a first-round caliber shortstop, it was on the mound where he made his loudest statements on Opening Day. After being intentionally walked in this second at-bat, Rainer didn’t get much to hit beyond his first plate appearance. He made a difficult play look routine moving to his left and throwing on the run to get the runner by a couple of steps. He later came in to pitch for a two-inning save and showed that he’s likely a high draft pick as a pitcher as well. Working 94-96 mph he snapped off some devastating sliders at 79-83 mph. What stood out was the ease to his entire operation on the mound…looked like he was playing catch at 96 mph! 

‘27 RHP Michael Aleman - Etiwanda

Only a freshman, Aleman showed incredible poise and pitchability in his Opening Day outing against a lineup composed of seven Division I committed hitters. Working 81-84 mph, Aleman spotted his fastball to all quadrants for strikes inducing whiffs and weak contact. He paired the FB with a slider (72-73 mph) and a changeup (73-75 mph) that kept hitters off balance and in “react” mode throughout his outing. After a leadoff single in the first, he got two strikeouts looking with the rest of his outs collected on soft ground balls and one pop-up just beyond the infield. 

‘24 RHP Ross Clark - Orange Lutheran

A one-time Arizona St. commit, the currently uncommitted Clark showed on Opening Day that he has the goods to be a Power-5 pitcher next year and beyond. Working exclusively with the fastball (86-88 mph) and a changeup (81-83 mph) early, Clark spotted both pitches for strikes with plenty of whiffs. The changeup has become a true weapon in his arsenal, one that comes from the same tunnel as his fastball before falling off the table leaving hitters helpless. At 6’4” 190 pounds, Clark’s frame projects well for added strength moving into his collegiate career and beyond. 

‘24 OF Noah Malone - South Hills

Malone, an LMU signee, put together two quality at-bats against one of the best pitchers in the country. The first was a four-pitch AB that resulted in a line drive base hit up the middle off a 95 mph fastball that was down and away. The next was a seven-pitch at-bat that resulted in a productive out. Malone is a physical outfielder with plenty of arm strength to play either corner spot and the versatility to do it as well. 


‘24 RHP Cade Townsend - Santa Margarita

Townsend the middle three innings of a 2-1 nailbiter between Santa Margarita and La Mirada. He worked his fastball at 91-95 mph, punching out three batters. He relied heavily on his power fastball but broke out a changeup at 83-84 mph, a curve at 76 mph, and a power slider at 82 mph that generated tons of whiffs. You could tell from the stands that Townsend is a fierce competitor, every strikeout, every swing and a miss, and every reaction from the other dugout pushed his dominance.

‘24 RHP Sammy Petrocelli - Notre Dame

The Stanford commit held down the fort late in the game against Huntington Beach. He ran up his fastball to 94 mph multiple times and it held at 90-92 mph. He had a good feel for the zone on all of his pitches and competed when he got into jams. A sharp slider at 75-77 mph is a true + secondary. He also carries a changeup at 78-79 mph that was used primarily against the heavy LHH lineup of Huntington Beach.

‘25 SS Cole Clark - Huntington Beach

Clark was a bright spot of the HB’s efforts that was shut out for nine straight innings by Notre Dame. In a 0-0 tie in the sixth inning, Clark made a diving backhand grab in the 6-hole to save a hit. In the top of the ninth, Clark led off the inning with a double to the right-field wall. Although they didn’t score with an eventual two men on and no outs, Clark gave them a chance. When it was his turn in the 10th, Clark hit a pop-up that ended up dropping just outside of the infield and ended up driving in the winning run. He finished the day with two hits, the only RBI, and a quality at-bat that resulted in a hard line out.

‘24 C Charlie Caruso - JSerra

Caruso spent the entire day behind the dish as JSerra held Mira Costa to one run and two hits. Caruso matched the hit total of the other team with a hard ground ball single to the right side and the swing of the game, an opposite-field home run.

‘25 RHP Zach Strickland - Maranatha

Strickland undoubtedly had the best day at JSerra vs. El Dorado. Starting on the mound, Strickland sat at 91-93 mph deep into his appearance. The UCLA commit shut out El Dorado through five innings. He utilized his fastball all over the zone, thriving on the outside third and up in the zone. He also had a sharp curveball at 74 mph that he could drop into the zone for a strike and a slider at 78 mph that generated plenty of whiffs. At the plate, Strickland had a day, two singles, and a triple to the wall in right-center field.

‘25 INF Gavin Spiridonoff - Santa Margarita 

Spiridonoff was a spark plug at the top of the lineup for Santa Margarita. He took both a changeup and a fastball to the pull side. His first at-bat produced a single and his second produced a double down the line. In another tight game at JSerra, Spiridonoff was out there giving SM chances to cash in.

‘27 LHP Jared Grindlinger - Huntington Beach

Starting opening day as a freshman is a tall task, especially matching up against a dominant day-one draft prospect in ‘24 RHP Levi Sterling. Grindlinger was thrown straight into the fire with a leadoff triple, the freshman calmed the storm and competed like crazy to work out of the inning untouched. He finished the day with 5Ks in two innings. His fastball was at 89-92 mph with arm side run. Grindlinger showed great pitch-ability demonstrated through his performance, he kept things low and to the corners with a great mix to keep hitters off balance. The changeup (80-82 mph) was the pitch of the day, he showcased  great feel and put it on the black, over and over again. It has a great fading shape that disappears against RHH. The slider was at 73-75 mph with subtle movement. The Grindlinger brother duo seems to be deadly this year with unteachable chemistry.

‘24 RHP Levi Sterling Notre Dame HS 

Sterling is a Texas commit and one of the top RH pitching prospects in the country and he put a strong stamp on that profile with a shutout outing against a loaded Huntington Beach lineup. Sterling went 5 innings allowing just 2 hits with 4 K’s working his FB at 91-93 MPH and complementing it with a 80-81 MPH CHG, SLD at 82-83 MPH and a 75-76 MPH CB. Sterling faced just 3 hitters over the minimum in his 5 innings of work and attacked the strike zone consistently with a smooth, easy delivery. A very good opening outing of the spring for the highly touted Sterling.


‘26 RHP Jake Ourique - Gahr  

Ourique faced down a strong Cypress lineup complete with MLB draft hopeful Nick Montgomery and the young righthander didn’t blink. Working with a 84-86 MPH FB touching 87 with life out of the hand while showing feel to spin a solid 67-69 MPH CB and an intriguing 74-76 MPH CHG, he attacked hitters with tempo and control of the strike zone. Pitched around a couple small jams to limit the Centurions to just 2 runs in a complete game on around 85 pitches to lead the Gladiators to an opening round win. 

‘27 RHP Dylan Keliholokai - Cypress 

It was a brief 1+ inning look at Keliholokai who came out aggressive in his first inning of relief before scuffling for 2 hitters in the second inning. But, the brief look was very intriguing with a 83-85 MPH FB with 67-69 CB which he has feel to spin consistently and flashes a 74-75 MPH CHG with potential. He was aggressive in the first inning getting 3 quick outs including a punchout and the delivery is fairly easy with a good arm action there is a bright upside for the young hurler from Cypress.

‘25 INF Jaeden Toki - Etiwanda 

Toki is a strong framed 3B who is committed to Long Beach State and showed his offensive potential over the course of the game. With 3 really good at bats against a strong Orange Lutheran staff including a loud double in the first inning to plate the first run of the game for Etiwanda. He showed his good approach at the plate working into a 2K count before staying back and using the back side of the field for a single for his second hit of the day. Toki looks the part of an offensive impact corner infielder for the Dirtbags in the future.

‘26 INF Caleb Trugman - Ayala 

Facing off against a very good Corona pitching staff in his first AB Trugman caught a clean barrel against one of the best LH arms in the country in the ‘25 class. The lean wiry framed Trugman took a pair of quality at bats later in the game showing his strong offensive profile while flashing good actions on the INF dirt that should help him profile to stick at 3B going forward. 

‘27 C Drew Rico - Harvard Westlake 

Just a freshman, Rico is being tasked with catching one of the most electric pitching staffs not just in California High School baseball, but likely the country and he isn’t just managing back there he is excelling. The strong framed Rico shows good mobility in his lower half, a strong wrist with a smooth glove hand that can present elite level velocity with ease. But, his ability to block sharp breaking balls and the occasional missed location with comfort is extremely impressive for such a young backstop. He will continue to add arm strength as he matures and his offensive tools will continue to improve, but the defensive potential for Rico is extremely high. 

‘25 INF Cade Goldstein - Harvard Westlake  

With a good LH swing and an advanced approach Goldstein hits in the 2 hole for the Wolverines and the Washington commit flashed his high level offensive ability on opening night. Goldstein smoked a single up the middle early in the game. Then had the biggest hit of the night for the Wolverines when he laced a one hop shot to the right side which the South Hills 1B made a spectacular play to keep on the infield but flashing his above average run speed Goldstein beat the pitcher to 1B and allowed the Wolverines to plate 2 runs and take a lead they would never give back. A solid 2B who shows above average defensive potential he slid to SS late in the game when Rainer took the mound after an early hiccup on a throw he made a pair of good plays to help Harvard Westlake close out the game showing his potential to be their SS in ‘25.

‘24 OF Ben Reiland Orange Lutheran HS 

An Oklahoma State commit Reiland started the game with a rocket right back up the middle which caught the foot of the Etiwanda starter but his potential plus run speed helped him beat out an INF single. Later in the game as Orange Lutheran was rallying back he took an outside FB and shot it through the left side to plate the go-ahead run for the Lancers who would go on to claim a 3-2 win. Reiland looks the part of a top of the order slasher with impactful speed who can be a catalyst for a lineup.

Upcoming Events

Showcase State Date Location
Rising Stars ID: Los Angeles CA 03/17 O'Malley Field
Rising Stars ID: Corona CA 03/30 Corona High School
Rising Stars ID: VTA County CA 04/21 Thousand Oaks High School