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Illinois State Games: Quick Hits, Day 2


By Illinois Staff

Welcome to Quick Hits, a compilation of daily highlights captured at our inaugural PBR Illinois State Games tournament, hosted at the brand-new Rantoul Family Sports Complex in Rantoul, Ill. Following each gameday, we’ll publish the top performances that we witnessed the day prior, so continue on below to learn more about the best of yesterday’s games.

You can follow along with our coverage live by following us at @PBRIllinois on Twitter.

DAY 2

+ Prairie Gravel and Chicago Elite 17U’s matched up in a nightcap that was cut short due to rain. LHP Michael Kelly (Mount Carmel, 2022; uncommitted) got the ball for Chicago Elite and featured a lively fastball that jumped out of the hand with ease at 85-88 mph (2300+ rpm). Kelly also mixed in a breaking ball in the low-70’s with 1/7 shape. Prairie Gravel countered with UIC commit RHP Ysen Useni (Crystal Lake South, 2022). Useni, a 6-foot-3, 220-pound, physical, right-hander created tilt to his fastball, which he located at the bottom of the zone at 85-87 mph. Useni also showed a feel for a three-pitch mix; an advanced changeup in the mid-70’s and a 71 mph curveball.

+ Two other uncommitted 2022s, C Tony Pluta (St. Viator) and LHH Brady Small (Lemont), stood out for Prairie Gravel as well. Pluta, who was the battery mate for Useni, showed above-average receiving abilities throughout the evening. Pluta routinely sticks pitches in and around the zone, gets underneath the pitch at the bottom of the zone and is an active willing blocker. Pluta also showed off a strong arm (sits in the mid-to-upper 80’s on the mound) that plays with carry and accuracy out of the crouch; 1.97 pop time in between innings. Pluta also took a number of quality at-bats, including the hustle double below.

Small continues to prove he is one of the top left-handed bats still on the market in the Illinois’ 2022 class. Small has a 6-foot-2, 205-pound, strong, wide-shouldered frame and he steps into the box looking to drive the ball with authority. Small features present bat speed and bat strength while consistently competing in the box and using the whole field. Small homered to left field off a tough left-handed arm in his first at-bat and then worked a long count, fouling off a number of firm fastballs before drawing a walk. 

+ RHP Danny Mack (O’Fallon, 2022) showed some impressive stuff in his start for Batter’s Box 17U. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound, right-hander, showed high-level spin sitting 80-82 mph with his fastball flashed spin rates north of 2500 rpm. His best offering was a hard, late-biting slider with plus feel at 76-78 mph (2300-2400 rpm). Mack received a number of swing-and-misses on the slider which showed as a legitimate out-pitch moving forward.

+ One of the more interesting 2023 infielders on the day looked to be Illinois Steel, SS Easton Steck (Galesburg). Steck has an athletic 6-foot-1, 175-pound and fluid, natural infield actions with some confidence to his overall game. Steck made a number of plays on the move look easy, showing body control and plenty of arm to stick at shortstop moving forward. Offensively, the results were mixed but the right-handed hitter took a couple of aggressive swings flashing bat speed. Follow 2023 shortstop to follow moving forward. 

+ Yard Goats 15U defeated Hinsdale Central Devils 7-3. Eli Schmitt (Centennial, 2024) pitched well for the Yard Goats, hurling six quality innings of two-run ball. Luke McClure (St. Matthew Grade School, 2025) and Charlie Hobbs (Champaign Central, 2024) each had hits and drove in two runs apiece. 

+ Chicago Elite’s 15U Black team defeated White Sox Elite Black, 8-5, with the help of Ryan Salinas’ (IC Catholic, 2024) home run. For White Sox Elite, RHP/INF Eric DeCosta (Wheaton Warrenville South, 2024) made his presence felt here after emerging as a high-follow ‘24 in the winter. DeCosta entered the game in relief in the final, scoreless, frame where was up to 83 mph and he struck out a couple. We’ll have to zero in on both squads again as the weekend comes to a close.

+ Illinois Lightning topped the 217 Tigers 5-3. The biggest offensive contribution came from Zac Johnson (Wauconda, 2024). Johnson, a left-handed hitting shortstop, finished the game 2-for-3 with a home run, three RBIs and a run scored. LHP Danny Newman (Wauconda, 2024) threw well in the win for the Lightning. Newman, who works with a loose, quick arm from a ¾ slot, went five innings, scattered three hits, one earned run and struck out three. 217 Tigers got a big swing from 2024 SS/RHP Trey Schilling (Lincoln) as he left the yard to left-center field in his last at-bat of the game. Despite taking the loss, 217 Tigers had a number of 2024’s to keep an eye on the rest of the weekend. Krayton Reincke (Porta) and Jack Swaney (Springfield) are two physical left-handed bats with bat speed while Seth Impson (Springfield) has advanced actions behind the plate and a strong arm; 2.11 pop time in between innings. 

+ Chicago Warriors Green defeated Game Seven Legacy 3-1. Alex Vasquez (Evanston, 2022) powered the offense, collecting two hits; a single and a triple to the right-center gap. Alex Janovsky (Lane Tech, 2022) chipped in as well, collecting two hits; a sharply hit single and a double in the gap. 

+ Illinois Patriots Red 16U defeated Batters Box Scout Team, 5-1. Josh Mauney (Springfield Lutheran, 2022) shined on the mound, giving up one run on only three hits, while also striking out a whopping 13 batters. Mauney’s fastball consistently hit 80 mph on the gun and he topped out at 82 mph. He utilized a full three-pitch mix to get outs, effectively keeping hitters off balance throughout.

+ Raiders Baseball Academy received an excellent pitching performance from RHP Jeremy Jaehnig (Huntley, 2023) in their shutout, 8-0 win over Illinois Steel QC. Jaehnig K’d eight and allowed just one hit in those six scoreless innings, guiding his team to the win. Jaehnig has a slight 5-foot-10 frame, with a loose, clean arm, and he used it to sit in the upper-70s – 76-78 mph mainly – throughout his outing against older competition. Classmate and teammate INF Ryan Quinlan (Huntley, 2023) was 2-for-2 from the top of the order with a double and triple that produced a couple runs scored and batted in.

+ Illinois Black Sox Select defeated Cangelosi Sparks North-Gray 2024 11-5. Tanner Thomas (Arcola, 2025) threw six solid innings in the win. Thomas reached an 81 mph high on his fastball, sitting in the 77-80 mph range with occasional vertical carry through the zone. Joey Stewart (Mattoon, 2025) went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Stewart also struck out two over one relief inning, bumping his fastball up to 82 mph and sitting in the 77-80 mph range, too.  

+ A 16U pitchers duel between Chicago Elite Kemp and Illinois Steel ended in a comeback win for Chicago Elite. LHP Tate Roley (Morton, 2023; uncommitted) was on the bump for Illinois Steel sitting 79-82 mph, touching 84 mph late in his appearance. Roley twirled five scoreless innings until the top of the sixth when Chicago Elite scored two runs to tie the game up. In the seventh Chicago Elite shortstop Collin Jennings (Marist, 2023; uncommitted) hit a triple that made it to the base of the outfield wall on the fly. Jennings then scored the game winning run on a passed ball in the next at-bat. 

+ Ryan Quinlan (Huntley, 2023) is a high-follow left-handed hitter for Raiders Baseball. Quinlan has a simple, repeatable swing with loose, athletic hands and a knack for the barrel. Over two games on the day, Quinlan went 4-for-6 with two doubles, a triple, four runs scored and two RBIs. 

+ A former PBR Future Games Participant, RHP Dennis Helwig (St. Laurence, 2023) got a complete game win, firing seven innings of three-hit, two-run baseball for Chicago Elite. Helwig struck out six and walked three to propel Chicago Elite to a 7-2 win over Raider Baseball Academy.

+ Illinois Steele defeated Rake City 2-0. Jake Nelms (Geneseo, 2022) went the distance throwing six innings of shutout baseball. Despite the loss, LHP Teddy Andrews (Hinsdale Central, 2022) impressed during his four innings on the bump, where he allowed just one earned run. The uncommitted junior southpaw sat 81-85 mph on his fastball, reaching back for 87 mph early. 

+ 17U Rake City came out on top against ESP Select in a close 7-6 game. Rake City put together some big time hits to be able to stay ahead of ESP throughout the game. Teddy Andrews (Hinsdale Central, 2022) had two hits, a single and double with three RBIs in his second game of the day. Anthony Nino (Von Stuben, 2022; uncommitted) also played a big role in producing runs for Rake City with a triple late in the game. 

+ Chicago Elite Royal 15u, beat Hinsdale Central Devils 15-0 in three innings. There were a number of impressive offensive performances throughout. Louisville commit, 2024 LHH Cole Crafton (Lincoln-Way West, 2024) went 2-for-2 with two RBI’s. Fellow 2024 Charlie Vercruysse (Normal University HS, 2024) continued his hot start to the weekend adding a two-run home run to pad on the scoring. 

+ 2024 RHP Henry Brummel (Pontiac, 2024) got the start on the mound and delivered three scoreless innings with a fastball sitting 83-85 mph early. Curveball worked 67- 68 mph with 11/5 to 10/4 shape. Also, mixed in a mid-70s changeup to round out an impressive three-pitch mix. Brummel, listed at 6-foot-2, 165-pounds, oozes upside. The arm is loose, clean and quick and the ball comes out of the hand with ease. High-follow 2024 arm.

+ 16u Northwest Revolution came out on top against Chicago Warriors Green. Guillermo Solis (Proviso Math & Science Academy) had himself a day, putting together a competitive outing on the mound and also homering in the win. 

+ Champaign Xpress 16U defeated Illinois Dynasty 16U American, 11-0. Kendall Crawford (Champaign Central, 2023) led the way on offense for the Xpress, going 3-for-3 with a double and four RBIs. Matthew DeLorenzo (St. Thomas More, 2023) and Owen Hobbs (Champaign Central, 2023) combined for four RBI, while Tucker Yasunaga (Judah Christian, 2023) also contributed with two hits of his own. Joel Powers-Ege (Champaign Central, 2023) was lights out on the mound, giving up only two hits and striking out five. 

+ Illinois Steele QC defeated Illinois Dynasty American 6-4. Illinois Steele were led by Blake Wulfekuhle (Dunlap, 2022), Jake Miller (Canton, 2022) and James Conner (Kewanee, 2022) who all collected extra base hits. Logan Seyl (Lincoln-Way West, 2022) singled and drove in two runs for Illinois Dynasty American. 

+ Batters Box Scout Team 15U defeated Top Tier Batbusters 10-1. 2024 Nolan Nester (St. Louis University HS, MO) threw five innings and gave up one run on five hits. Bradley Armstrong (Riverton, 2024) led Top Tier going 2-for-2 with an RBI.

+ The Wasco Warriors took two commanding W's on Saturday thanks in large part to leadoff hitter and second baseman Jack Keck (DeKalb, 2022). Keck's loose left-handed swing has been all over the barrel so far this weekend, as he went 4-for-4 with a triple, six runs scored and three RBI in Wasco's two wins. Keck is relaxed and confident in the box and understands the strike zone; a prototypical top of the lineup type bat profile. 

+ Northwest Revolution 16U defeated Illinois Steel QC, 11-1. The offense was led by Nicolas Tinajero, who hit a three-run double, as well as Nikolas Hollis and Corbin Klein who each had two RBIs. 

+ Illinois Steele defeated Champaign Dream 17U Immke 7-3. Trever Goforth (North Fulton, 2022) threw a five-inning complete game in the win. David Smith (Tremont, 2022) tallied three hits total, including a triple. Nick Hainline (Richwoods, 2022) drove in three runs. 

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