Prep Baseball Report

Sabres Tight Early; Barker Frees Them in 5th

Brandon Hall
NC / Mid-ATL Director of Scouting

Hickory Ridge  3                South Mecklenburg 13

Round 1, NCHSAA 4A Tournament
South Meck was considered a heavy favorite in Round 1 as they hosted Hickory Ridge.  The Sabres were the higher seed and would roll Cam Bagwell to the bump, a senior RHP that has been very steady and pretty dominant from the outset of 2024.

South Meck’s offense would stake Bagwell to a 2 run lead in the first with a key double from senior OF Brody Taylor.  The Bulls would answer, tying the game in the 3rd after scoring single runs in the 2nd and 3rd innings. Bagwell was not as sharp early as he has been most of the year, but he did a good job of managing these two innings as the game could have turned in a much bigger way.

In the 5th Dylan Kelly and Bowen Powell each worked 1 out walks in competitive at-bats vs. Bagwell.  Jase Kotwicki followed with a single to load the bases.  Parker Lakey (2025 INF/RHP) smoked a ball to CF for a SAC fly, giving the Bulls the lead, 3-2.

Luke Whalen, FR RHP for Hickory Ridge, did a pretty good job of keeping the Sabres off balance through his first 4 innings of work.  The righty had some feel for his glove side and a breaking ball that had slow length.  The Sabres solved the puzzle in the 5th.  Two walks around a SAC bunt had runners on the corner for Rhett Barker.  Barker swung through an 0-0 breaking ball, but the 0-1 breaking ball stayed arm side and Barker hit a no-doubt homer to left, giving the Sabres the lead back. 

From that point, South Meck seemed to relax and strung together 11 consecutive good at-bats, scoring 11 total runs in the 5th and ending the game by run rule, 13-3.

Hickory Ridge ends their year 13-12.  South Meck improves to 19-6 and will advances to the 2nd round where they will host Alexander Central.  

Hickory Ridge Stats

Luke Whalen - Loss, 4.1IP, 6H, 5R, 3ER, 2BB, 3K

Anthony Smith - 0.1IP, 3H, 7R, 7ER, 4BB, 0K

Bowen Powell - 1-2, 1R

Parker Lakey - 0-2, 2RBI

Anthony Smith - 2-2

South Mecklenburg Stats

Cam Bagwell - CG Win, 5IP, 3H, 2R, 2ER, 3BB, 7K

Reece Guertin - 1-3, 2R, 1RBI

Brody Taylor - 2-2, 2 2B, 3R, 2RBI

Rhett Barker - 2-4, HR, 2R, 4RBI

Cam Bagwell - 1-3, 1R, 1RBI

Charles Fernandez - 3-3, 1R


Cam Bagwell, RHP, South Mecklenburg HS, 2024

UNC Wilmington commit. Large frame.  Straight line body. Stands 6-foot-5, 220 pounds. Clean, simple delivery. Stable over the rubber. Kick to the low chest. Works level and on-line. Clean arm works through an athletic arm to a high-¾ slot. Average to above arm speed. Easy direction. Fastball peaked at 91, ranging 85-89 after the 3rd inning. More stress in this game than several outings this season, but continued to compete and make pitches.  Best breaking balls came in scoring situations.  Slider has late, darting 10/4 tilt. Slider sat 77-80. Flashed a cutter at 83.  Featured a change-up vs. left handed hitters that created some discomfort at 81-83.

Bowen Powell, SS, Hickory Ridge HS, 2025

Athletic 6-foot-1, 170 pounds. Has some twitch.  Solid feel for the barrel from the left side. Simple setup, balanced and even. Smooth, easy load.  Short stride. Direct path. Works flat. Gap to gap approach. Good approach vs. velocity on this night and showed feel for getting linear with his swing on off speed.