Western Wisconsin Open: Preview


By Andy Sroka
Staff Writer

On Monday, July 8 the PBR Wisconsin team will make the trip to Carson Park in Eau Claire, Wis., to host the annual Western Wisconsin Open showcase. Registration is still open, open to high school students representing all classes, 2023 to 2020.

To view the most up-to-date version of the roster, click here. To register, click here.

Last year, we uncovered a couple of underclassmen who have since became high-follows: C Trett Joles (Boyceville, 2021) and RHP Brendan Strenke (Turtle Lake, 2022). Joles is a strong switch-hitting backstop with a big arm and Strenke is a raw but talented righty who was up to 89 mph in the winter, and we first saw him at this event in Eau Claire last summer.

This year, there’s plenty of prospects to highlight, beginning with Eau Claire North’s third baseman, Gabriel Richardson (2022). He started for the Huskies this past spring for the D-1 state title team, hitting well over .400 in the process. Richardson is a big-bodied corner infielder with a powerful, loose right-handed swing. He’s big, but he plays the hot corner pretty light on his feet, and he’s equipped with the arm for the position, too.

Gabriel Richardson (8/2/18)

Looking on the mound, there’s another 2022 grad to know: Amery’s southpaw Kale Hopke. The left-hander made it out to this very event last spring and was up to 80 mph with run and sink, as just an incoming freshman. We didn’t have the opportunity to see him this spring for his high school, so we’re looking forward to updating our report on him.

There are a couple other prospects attending their first-ever PBR showcases who we’ve highlighted ourselves after noteworthy performances this summer within the tournament scene. Both RHP Mason Dado (St. Croix Central, 2021) and INF Preston Viens (Beloit Turner, 2020) earned some of our attention already at the Badger State Battle, so we’ll be excited to see what they’re capable of in a showcase setting.

Also, keep an eye on Eau Claire Memorial’s Austin Baker (2022), a loose and easy righty who also stood out at the Badger State Battle on Friday with a hard running fastball that sat in the upper 70s, up a good six or seven ticks since we saw him last summer.

ITINERARY

  • Check-in for Position Players: 8:20 to 8:40 a.m.

    • Offensive Evaluations (exit velo, mechanical analysis, batting practice)

    • Defensive Evaluations (arm strength, mobility, positional reps)

  • Check-in for Pitchers only: 11:45 a.m. to noon

    • Bullpen Sessions (15-pitch session, mechanical analysis)

    • Catcher Evaluations (evaluating receiving/blocking skills)

  • Catchers will stay for both sessions.

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