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18u WWBA Day 2 Highlights
Todd Gold         Ben Collman        
Published: Monday, July 04, 2011

MARIETTA, Ga. -- The highlight of Day 2 at the 2011 18u WWBA National Championship was a Lance McCullers sighting. The #1 ranked player in the class of 2012 toed the rubber for FTB Louisville Slugger at the East Cobb Complex against the Prospect Stars. As per the usual with any McCullers start, he drew a crowd.

The surprise however, was that McCullers turned out to be the hard luck loser, dropping a 2-1 decision to finesse lefty
Joe Vanderplas (2011 Fairfax HS, VA). The pitching matchup featured two polar opposites who both saw similar results. McCullers, a flame throwing right handed power pitcher, drew oohs and ahhs with his consistent mid 90s heat (up to 96). Vanderplas sat in the mid to upper 80s with his fastball (up to 88).

But Vanderplas showed plus command of not only his fastball (which also had a lot of movement) but also very advanced feel for his curveball which had good depth and some bite to it. He also worked in a solid changeup in the upper 70s that was very good at times and shows a lot of potential. Not only did he throw 74% of his pitches for strikes, the crafty lefty was hitting his spots very well, living in the corners of the strike zone. Vanderplas will be heading to the University of Tennessee this fall and though he doesn't light up the radar guns he is a very effective pitcher who has some projection.

McCullers took the loss in spite of allowing just 3 hits (2 BB) and 2 Runs (1 ER) over 5 innings while striking out 5. Vanderplas went 6 1/3 innings, scattering 4 hits, giving up an earned run and striking out 7 without walking a batter.

Top Performances

-Roundtrip Baseball continued to impress, moving to 2-0 with a 7-3 win over a very talented Marucci Elite team. Roundtrip used a pair of 90+ arms to stiffle the loaded Marucci lineup. Starter Pete Nagel (2011 Metter HS, GA) was up to 91 and earned the win by going 5 2/3 and striking out 12 while allowing a pair of unearned runs. Byron Buxton (2012 Appling County HS, Baxley, GA) closed it out and showed off plus arm strength with a fastball that sat 92-94 mph.

-Chain Black SS
Matt Taylor (2012 Fitzgerald HS, Kathleen, GA) continued to impress with the bat during his first PG tournmanet, going 2-for-3 with a Double, a Run and an RBI.

Wyatt Mathiesen (2012 Calallen HS, Corpus Christi, TX) continues to impress with his bat this tournament, hitting a Home Run in an 8-0 win by Team Citius. Mathiesen has impressive hitting tools as well as a very strong arm from behind the plate and on the mound (was up to 87 at the WWBA South Qualifier last fall).

-Excel Blue Wave continue their dominance on the mound as they improved to 2-0 on the young tourney and have yet to allow a single run. More impressively, their second win came via a combined no-hitter from
Hunter Solymani (2012 Pelham HS, AL) and Will Brown (2012, Briarwood HS, Vestavia Hills, AL).

Travis Demeritte (2013 Winder Barrow HS, Stratham, GA) had a huge day at the plate, with a Double, a Home Run and an impressive 6 RBIs in the EC Astros 16u 13-0 blowout victory. Demeritte has been consistently ranked near the top of the class of 2013.
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