Badger State Battle: Quick Hits Day 1


By Wisconsin Staff

We’re celebrating Independence Day weekend in the Wisconsin Dells with nearly 50 of the Midwest’s best travel baseball programs at our enormous annual tournament: the Badger State Battle. Every year, around this time, we reconvene in the Dells to host this event, the largest tournament on our calendar. The PBR Wisconsin and Illinois staffs will both be on-site to watch, evaluate, and scout teams representing both states.

At the end of each day, we’ll be highlighting the day’s top highlights. Below are the biggest takeaways from Day 1.

QUICK HITS

STIKS STANDS OUT

+ Various STiKS Academy squads starred all day Thursday, with prime performances coming from all teams and ages. The day started with a solid performance on the mound from RHP Nolan Vincent (Germantown, 2020). He’s adept at pitching groundballs with his sinking fastball, but he was also able to earn six Ks in this game, in five innings of work. He allowed just a couple earned runs and let lefty David Go (Heritage Christian, 2020) close the door, pitching over a few walks. Both are still uncommitted and certainly have some next-level appeal.

+ STiKS’s 17U Black squad is rostering one of the tournament’s strongest teams, and it shows. They had two big-time pitching performances in both of their wins. The first game featured a four-inning no-hitter from big southpaw John Kelliher (Waukesha North, 2020). Kelliher primarily relied on his fastball and was commanding it well. It sat 78-82 mph throughout the game and touched 83 multiple times early on and it could not be solved as his team cruised to an 11-0 win.

+ In STiKS Black’s second 17U game, RHP Chris Byhre (Catholic Memorial, 2020) starred. We’re accustomed to seeing Byhre reach the low 90s, as he did in the spring, but it came at a cost: his command. On Thursday, Byhre dialed it back in his start against Rhino WI and came within one out of tossing a complete game shutout. From start to finish, the uncommitted 2020 righty sat in the 83-86 mph range, touching 87 mph multiple times throughout. His offspeed is still a work in progress, but given his premium arm strength, the change in velo is effective as he continues to sharpen his breaking ball’s bite. He aced a strike out looking on the outside corner with an 87 mph fastball on the black to end the sixth, his final full frame.

+ In STiKS’s wins today, their bats backed up their premium arms – not that they needed it. Both Zach Storbakken (Sussex-Hamilton, 2020) and Jack Carlson (Neenah, 2020) had big days at the plate, which helped churn the order. Ryan Taylor (Verona) spent the day playing with the 17U squad despite being a 2021, and he didn’t just look the part, he thrived near the top of the order and was consistently a dependable glove at shortstop.

+ STiKS Black 16U’s team got in on the action and had their bats rolling in their first contest of the weekend. Notre Dame recruit Joey Spence (West Bend East, 2021) collected a pair of triples. Anthony Gross (Cathollic Memorial, 2021), Cade Neuber (Slinger, 2021) and Tyler Hug (Waukesha West, 2021) each chipped in two hits as well. RHP Drew Stippich (Kettle Moraine, 2021) got the start and showed good feel for an easy, running fastball at 83-85 mph. His breaking ball showed better than we’ve previously seen it and played hard at 74-76 with tight spin.

ON-THE-MARKET ARMS

+ A 2022 right-hander, Chase Ignatius from Barnevald, stole the show over at the Dells complex for Team Heat 16U. Ignatius touched 86 mph in the first inning, and settled into the 80-84 mph range for the first couple innings. He dialed it down more as he went on, but displaying that kind of arm strength at this age makes him an instant follow moving forward. 

+ Another 2022 who opened some eyes at the Dells complex was RHP Ryan Karst (Brookfield East). Karst, who sports a 6-foot-2, 175-pound, strong, highly-athletic frame, started on the mound and threw a seven-inning complete game. Karst fanned seven and allowed two hits. Karst has a clean and compact arm action, out of a high ¾ slot, with quickness out front. He gets hard run and sink on his fastball at times and sat 80-82 mph throughout. He also showed off an above-average curveball that he was able to manipulate shape and action at 67-68 mph.

+ We just had the pleasure of seeing RHP Evan Long (Tomah, 2021) at the Underclass Trials last month and he was more or less the same – which is to say he was really sharp. He started against Sluggers Baseball and went the distance in the team’s run-ruled 12-0 win that took four innings. He really only needed his fastball, which he located exceptionally well, right at the top of the zone, and hitters could not catch up. Long kept that fastball sitting in the 78-81 mph range, touching 82 mph multiple times as the game went on, but his ability to locate and stay closed helped make it play up.

+ 2020 LHP Gavin Vrana (Wisconsin Lutheran) got Capital City Predators started off in the win column with a complete game victory, 6-3, on Thursday. Vrana worked 78-80 mph out of a long high ¾ slot and showed an above average CB at times to keep Team Heat off balance. Vrana carries a strong, developed build at 5-foot-11, 188-pounds and brings a competitive presence to the mound as well.

+ Sticking to the 17U side, NorthStar Neon’s RHP Thomas Ritt (Hastings, MN, 2020) and Brew State’s RHP Danny Perdzock (Milwaukee Lutheran, 2020) dueled against one another on Thursday. Ritt got the win after going six innings, allowing one unearned run, scattering seven hits, walking one, and striking out five. As for the 6-foot-6 Perdzock, he was the hard-luck loser, going the full seven innings, allowing two earned runs on seven hits, one walk, and he struck out eight. Both arms look like fits at the next level, at least in some capacity.

+ CBT 17U earned a big win over NorthStar Neon on Thursday evening in a full-team effort. Hilbert RHP Adam Diedrich (2020) allowed just one run in his six innings of work, punching out eight in the process and walking only one. He wields a fastball that touched 85 mph tonight, mostly sitting in the low 80s, with some offspeed feel for his change and curve.

+ PTA Cardinal’s LHP Jacob Tyczkowski (Muskego, 2020) pitched five near-spotless innings in his start against Bay Port today. In his five full innings of work, he allowed just one unearned run and continued to miss barrels with his crafty low-80s stuff, but PTA couldn’t hold on after they went to the ‘pen, unfortunately. Madison JC commit Jett Thielke (Bay Port, 2019) was just too overpowering with his mid- to upper-80s stuff, and he was credited with the win.

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