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Lefty Brentz impresses at World

Tournaments : : Story
Jeff Dahn        
Published: Sunday, October 28, 2012

JUPITER, Fla. -- Five pitches were all that was required for St. Louis, Mo., left-hander Jake Brentz to create a noticeable buzz at the PG WWBA World Championship Saturday night.

Brentz came in to pitch in relief for the Mets Scout Team/St. Louis Pirates in a pool-play game against the San Gabriel Valley Arsenal, struck out the only batter he faced on five pitches, and wowed the scouts with a fastball that touched 94 mph.

Perfect Game All-American Robert Kaminsky is the only other left-hander to reach 94 mph with his fastball at a Perfect Game tournament or showcase this year. Kaminsky threw 94 at the PG National Showcase at the Metrodome in Minneapolis in mid-June.

Brentz was playing in the field early in Saturday night's game at the Roger Dean Sports Complex when he was told to go warm-up for a pitching appearance. He was sent to the mound with two out in the bottom of the seventh and the Pirates clinging to a 3-1 lead.

"I was just all juiced up because of all the radar guns, and I came out and threw as hard as I could and just let it go," Brentz said shortly after his outing. "Tonight I was just juiced up, but I knew I could throw that (velocity) because my arm strength is good."

Brentz played in September's PG WWBA Kernels Foundation Championship for the St. Louis Pirates and head coach Rick Strickland, who is also a New York Mets scout. Strickland is coaching the Mets Scout Team/St. Louis Pirates at the PG WWBA World Championship and brought Brentz along, primarily to play outfield.

But he also let people know he was going to turn Brentz loose on the mound, and against one batter from the SGV Arsenal Saturday night, Brentz showed the scouts what he is capable of.

"This is the biggest tournament I've ever played in and I didn't want to miss it," he said. "I wanted to come out here and just play more baseball."

Brentz said he "hardly ever" pitches, but had thrown 91-92 in previous outings. A primary outfielder, he also said he has thrown 98 mph from the outfield. He  now plans to do more pitching in the future.

Brentz (6-1, 180 pounds) has committed to Jefferson College, a junior college located in Hillsboro, Mo., about 25 miles south of St. Louis. Jeff Co, as it is known, has a solid baseball program and former players and Perfect Game alumni Fred Ford, Dalton Friend and Brett Wiley were selected between the 7th and 13th rounds in the 2012 MLB amateur draft.

Scouts didn't get to see Brentz pitch at the WWBA Kernels Foundation Championship, so this was his first opportunity to show what he has, albeit in a very limited performance.

"I've always known that Perfect Game is one of the best things to do, and I always wanted (to be involved) but I never mentioned it to my dad or anything," he said. "... I just go out there and play."

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