A Look At The Top High School Baseball Prospects

A Look At The Top High School Baseball Prospects

Football may be the sport everyone associates with being the religion of the South, but no one should overlook baseball. Many of the top teams in the country call states like Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arizona home. In fact, every team in MaxPreps current top 10 is from the South. All these teams are made up of extraordinary talent but we’re going to highlight one player from each team who really makes a difference.

Dylan Lesko is off to a hot start this season and has Buford ranked #1 nationally according to MaxPreps. The big righthander, a Vanderbilt commit, has a fastball that can touch the mid-90s and filthy secondary pitches. Lesko is going to be a problem for batters all season long.

Jack Walker is a master at making kids walk back to the dugout. Coming off Tommy John surgery Walker is rounding into form and his fastball is hitting the low-90s again. The Mississippi State commit has one of the better changeups in his class and is a threat with a bat in his hands as well. Walker has helped Barbe capture the #2 spot in MaxPreps rankings.

Wes Mendes is a true dual threat player. The sophomore at Jesuit is a balanced hitter who makes consistent contact and has strong exit velocity. Defensively, he’s got a quick release on throws and is accurate to every spot. Mendes, another Vandy commit, is helping power Jesuit off to a strong 11-1 start this season, good for #3 in MaxPreps rankings.

Brock Selvidge looks the part of every scout’s dream prospect and plays like it too. Standing 6’3” with a fiery fastball and a made-you-look-silly slider, he’s Hamilton’s ace this season and one of their most dangerous hitters. In a recent game against Chaparral he had two homers and struck out six to carry Hamilton to a 6-4 win.

Andy Painter is one of the most physically imposing pitchers in America. 6’7” and 230 pounds, the Calvary Christian Academy senior and Florida commit is the number one right-handed prospect in the nation and seems destined for the big leagues with a fastball that is already hitting the upper 90s. Calvary Christian Academy is currently sitting seventh in the rankings after a loss to Pembroke Pines Charter.

IMG Academy got thumped this past week by Calvary Christian Academy though Elijah Green certainly did his part to try and rally the team. One of the premier players in his class, Elijah displays the type of power that every coach loves. The future Hurricane has shown the ability to hit to all spots of the field with an easy swing and is solid defensively as well.

Madison Central is having a fantastic season so far as they sit fourth in the MaxPreps rankings and are still undefeated at 11-0. Braden Montgomery is a big reason why the Jaguars are playing so well. The senior has put together a strong season showcasing his versatility from both sides of the plate and a live arm in the outfield.

Stoneman Douglas has leaped into the top 5 of MaxPreps rankings with a 14-1 record. One of the reasons the Eagles are having such a strong season is Chris Arroyo. The outfielder displays two-way potential that makes him a threat on the mound and at the plate. He has a devastating slider that makes left-handed hitters look foolish and has a ton of power when he gets his barrel on the ball.

Jake Fox has powered Lakeland Christian into the top 10, despite being unranked previously. The lefty infielder has strong, quick hands and gets the barrel through the ball quickly. In the field he’s mastered the fundamentals. He charges the ball well and has a nice quick release to get the ball out in a hurry.

Calvary Christian round out the top 10 of MaxPreps rankings with a record of 14-2. Matt Rose has been one of their standout performers this season. The infielder, and South Florida commit, has been a force at the plate this season where his quick hands and angry swing give him gap to gap power.

Great Lakes Baseball Academy Partners Up with Eastbay

Great Lakes Baseball Academy Partners Up with Eastbay

Woodbury & Arden Hills, Minnesota – Brian Bambenek, the Founder and Owner of Great Lakes Baseball Academy, announced the Academy has signed a five-year agreement with Eastbay to provide Nike footwear, apparel, and gear for the academy.

Eastbay has been a leader in the athletic performance and lifestyle product market for over 40 years, with a vast selection of gear from all the biggest brands.

Bambenek said “To partner alongside two of the most recognizable brands in sports – Nike and Eastbay – was a no-brainer for us. This partnership will give our athletes access to the best gear and training opportunities on the market. Our loyalty to both brands existed well before this partnership, but this five-year contract only solidifies our belief in both Eastbay and Nike moving forward. Our staff and coaches appreciate the trust both Nike and Eastbay are placing in us to represent their brands.”

Bambenek went on to talk about the future of the organization. “Our Academy is still in the infancy stages of where I see our organization in 5-7 years. From our facilities to our programming, in five years I hope the only thing our alumni recognize is our coaching staff. We’re currently working to build a sports performance team that will specialize in training premier athletes based on data analytics using state-of-the-art equipment and technology. Our vision is to become the #1 baseball center in the midwest, guided by the research where training hard meets training smart and athleticism, injury mitigation, and longevity are equal priorities.”

Eastbay representative Brad Raymond worked closely with Great Lakes Baseball Academy to organize the partnership.

Which AAU Baseball Legend Are You?

Which AAU Baseball Legend Are You?

Over the past decade some of baseball’s greatest players have come through the AAU system as teenagers. Players like Mike Trout, Stephen Strasburg, and Pete Alonso all honed their skills on their respective teams before heading to the league. Take the quiz below to see which group of MLB stars, and former AAU legends, your game is most like.

Women ConqHERing Sports History

Women ConqHERing Sports History

March is Women’s History Month. It is a time to look back and celebrate all the contributions women have made to American history, culture, and society. At Eastbay, our ConqHER campaign continuously highlights women who are breaking barriers in sports. This March we will be sharing some of the stories of women who made history on and off the field in 2020.

Kim Ng

Women have steadily entered the basketball and football coaching and front office ranks for the past couple of years, but baseball has lagged a little behind. That began to change when the Miami Marlins hired Kim Ng as their general manager, making her the first female general manager in the Big 4 sports leagues. Kim is a graduate of the University of Chicago where she played softball for four years and earned a B.A. in public policy. She was hired by the Chicago White Sox after graduation and has worked for numerous other teams like the Yankees and Dodgers. She also served as the Senior Vice President of Operations for the league office before accepting her new role with the Marlins.

Sam Mewis

Sam Mewis’s footballing resume continues to get more impressive. The USWNT midfielder has been a staple in midfield for the Americans and was a part of the team that won the 2018 World Cup. Currently, she is holding down the midfield for 2nd place Manchester City in the Women’s Super League. Recently, it was announced she was the 2020 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year, the first time she has won the award.

Breanna Stewart

Breanna Stewart is arguably the most talented and decorated player to come out of the UConn women’s program. She is now one of the most dominant players in the WNBA, winning an MVP and multiple titles with the Seattle Storm. In 2019, Stewart suffered one of the worst injuries in sports when she ruptured her Achilles. After sitting out that entire season, she returned to help lead Seattle to another title and was named one of Sports Illustrated ‘Sportspeople of the Year’ for her activism off the court.

A’ja Wilson

At every level of the sport, A’ja Wilson has dominated. She was a champion and McDonald’s All-American in high school. In college, she led the South Carolina Gamecocks to their first championship in school history and was a three-time consensus All-American. She was recently named the 2020 WNBA MVP after helping lead the Las Vegas Aces to the WNBA Finals.

Aliphine Tuliamuk

Aliphine Tuliamuk will be representing the United States as a long-distance runner at the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Tuliamuk placed first in the Olympic Marathon trials in Atlanta, Georgia with a time of 2:27:23. A former cross-country runner at Wichita State, Tuliamuk was the first person from her village in her native home of Kenya to graduate from college.

Jennifer King

Jennifer King recently became the first black woman to be hired as a full-time coach in the NFL. The former two-sport athlete at Guilford College was an intern with the Carolina Panthers, where she served as the wide receivers coach in 2018 and running backs coach in 2019 under Ron Rivera. She then followed him to Washington, where she is now the assistant running backs coach.

Sophie Luoto

Sophie Luoto has exceeded expectations in every role she’s stepped into in her professional career. She began her journey into football while still in college at UCLA when she started working for the athletic department as a student recruiting assistant. Afterward, she took a job at UC Berkley where she was quickly named the Director of Operations. During her time at Cal, several members of the LA Rams organization reached out to gauge her interest in working for an NFL team. She accepted and spent a few years working on the business side before being asked to return to the football side.  After a year and a half, she earned the Director of Operations title which made her the highest-ranking female executive in the NFL.

Chelsea Romero

Chelsea Romero has always loved the competitiveness of strength & conditioning. She enjoys inspiring and motivating people day in and day out to reach their goals. Chelsea knows that hard work can lead to incredible opportunities. While working at UC Irvine, she had a chance encounter with the LA Rams head of strength and conditioning. After offering to work for free, she became the training camp intern serving mostly as an extra set of hands at first. It wasn’t long before she was offered, and accepted, a position that made her the Rams first-ever female strength and conditioning coach.

Caster Semenya

Caster Semenya continues to fight for the human rights of female athletes everywhere. The South African runner was born with a rare genetic condition that causes elevated testosterone levels. This has led many people to demand she take testosterone blockers or simply block her from running. Caster will continue to lead the fight for her right to run the way she was born.

Becky Hammon

Becky Hammon may be the most well-known female coach in the Big 4 leagues. She is an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs under Gregg Popovich, a role she’s held since 2014. She has made a name for herself as one of the most well-regarded assistants in the league and received buzz as a potential head coaching candidate this past offseason. This season, after Popovich was ejected during a game against the LA Lakers, Hammon assumed head coaching duties making her the first woman to coach in an NBA game.

Sarah Fuller

This past college football season was unlike anything we’ve ever seen before as COVID-19 wreaked havoc across campuses. Games were canceled, players were forced into quarantine, the whole thing was a mess. From this mess came an opportunity for Sarah Fuller, Vanderbilt’s starting goalie on the women’s soccer team. Vanderbilt had an upcoming game against Missouri, but due to opt-outs and contact tracing protocols, the team had no available placekickers. Head coach Derek Mason reached out to Fuller to see if she would be interested in trying out for the team. Soon after, she became the first woman to play in a Power 5 conference game. Later in the season, Fuller became the first woman to score in a Power 5 game when she went 2-2 on extra points against Tennessee.

Sabrina Ionescu

Sabrina Ionescu was born to get buckets. After a spectacular career at Miramonte High School where she graduated as the all-time leader in points, assists, steals, and triple-doubles, Sabrina chose to attend the University of Oregon and play for the Ducks. During her senior season in a game against #4 ranked Stanford Ionescu became the first NCAA player with 2,000 points, 1,000 assists, and 1,000 rebounds in their career. Following her career at Oregon, Sabrina was the #1 overall pick in the WNBA draft by the New York Liberty, where she plays today.

Alyssa Nakken

Alyssa Nakken made history this year by becoming the first full-time female coach in MLB history after being hired by the San Francisco Giants. Alyssa played college softball for Sacramento State, where she was a three-time all-conference selection at first base. She initially interned with the Giants working on their health and wellness programs before going back to school to get her Master’s degree. The Giants then promoted her in January 2020 to a full-time coach.

Katie Sowers

Katie Sowers has made history twice in the past 5 years. In 2017 she became the first openly LGBT coach in the NFL when she came out as a lesbian. In 2020, Katie became the first female coach to coach in the Super Bowl when the San Francisco 49ers went up against the Kansas City Chiefs. Her career began when she was an intern scout with the Atlanta Falcons before moving over to San Francisco as an offensive assistant on Kyle Shannan’s staff.

Mickey Grace

Mickey Grace knows that she can accomplish whatever she sets her mind too. The former Math and leadership teacher in Philadelphia was recently chosen to be a part of the Scouting Apprenticeship Program with the Los Angeles Rams. Mickey is a former high school football player and in addition to teaching also serves as the defensive line coach for her school.

Chiney Ogwumike

Chiney Ogwumike is not only a dominant force on the court but off it as well. A decorated high school and college career led her to be the #1 overall pick in the 2014 WNBA draft by the Connecticut Sun. After multiple All-Star appearances while on the Sun she was traded to the LA Sparks and reunited with her sister Nneka. It was recently announced she and the Sparks had agreed to a multi-year deal keeping her in LA for the foreseeable future. In 2018, she signed a multi-year deal with ESPN, making her one of the youngest people to become a full-time basketball analyst. This year she made history as the first Black woman to host a national radio show for ESPN.

Maya Moore

There is almost no parallel in the sports world for what Maya Moore has done. She is one of the best players in her sport: a four-time WNBA champion, MVP, and six-time All-Star. Yet she has willingly sacrificed two years of her prime, two years of not playing the sport she loves, to try and secure one man’s freedom from prison. This past July, Jeremy Irons, who was serving a 50-year sentence for burglary and assault, walked free after 20 years. Irons, whose conviction was suspicious given the complete lack of evidence, said of Moore, “She is light, pure light.” Moore has said she will give an update on her basketball career in the future, but whether or not she returns to the court, we should all be inspired by her courage and dedication to justice.

Sarah Thomas

Sarah Thomas has made history multiple times. She was the first female referee to work a major college football game. Then Sarah became the first woman to ref a college football bowl game. Finally, this past February, Sarah became the first woman to officiate a Super Bowl. She continues to be an inspiration for all the other women out there looking to go into officiating.

Amy Trask

Amy Trask has been in and around football longer than many people have been alive. The “Princess of Darkness” as she is affectionately called by Raiders fans started out in the legal department of the Los Angeles Raiders back in 1987. She was named their CEO in 1997 making her the first female CEO in the NFL. After resigning from the team in 2013, Trask went on to serve as an analyst for CBS Sports and CBS Sports Network. She recently won the 2020 Top Women in Media award given by Cynopsis Media.

Sam Gordon

Most people remember Samantha Gordon from when she was absolutely cooking boys on the football field when she was nine. The videos her father uploaded of her blowing past or juking boys twice her size immediately went viral. Now 17, she has continued to fight for all-girls football rights in her home state of Utah.

Garciaparra Baseball Group Partners Up with Eastbay

Garciaparra Baseball Group Partners Up with Eastbay

Indianapolis, Indiana – Michael Garciaparra, the founder of Garciaparra Baseball Group (GBG), announced the organization has signed a one-year agreement with Eastbay to provide Nike footwear, apparel, and gear for the club.

Eastbay has been a leader in the athletic performance and lifestyle product market for over 40 years, with a vast selection of gear from all the biggest brands.

Garciaparra, who founded GBG with his father Ramon, is excited for what the partnership will bring saying, “It’s awesome that our families and our players are going to have access to so many great products. A lot of us have been fans of Eastbay since we were young kids getting the catalog. As an organization with players across the country, it’s awesome to be with a company that can get product into our players’ hands fast and efficiently.”

GBG recently won the 2020 WWBA World Championship, the largest event in travel baseball, down in Ft. Myers, Florida. Ninety-six teams from around the country, and teams from Canada and Puerto Rico, battled it out with some of the top players in the country going head to head. GBG was able to place first in their pool, winning two games and drawing one. They battled to the final, where they overcame an early deficit en route to a 9-1 win.

Garciaparra said the team showed a lot of fight despite barely practicing and playing together due to the pandemic. “We haven’t had official games and our practices have been limited. The time we did get to play together we had to go to Arizona or Nevada, and we could only do that so many times because we were trying to be COVID conscious.”

2021 will see the club participating in several huge USA Baseball events during the summer and the Perfect Game 17U World Series out in Arizona.

Eastbay representative Shay Maltese worked closely with GBG to organize the partnership. “I’m excited to be working with one of the top clubs in the US. I love interacting on the baseball side daily with them.”

Easton drops a new version of the B5 Pro Big Barrel Bat

Easton drops a new version of the B5 Pro Big Barrel Bat

The Green Easton is back!

When Easton first introduced the B5 Pro Big Barrel bat in 1978, it opened the world’s eyes to the largest barrel on an aluminum bat the sport of baseball had ever seen. Now, over 40 years later, Easton is bringing back that classic green, big barrel look and combining it with new, breakthrough technology worthy of the B5 Big Barrel name.

While the look will remind older generations of watching future legends like Barry Bonds, Bo Jackson, and Frank Thomas swing this stick, the new generation of players will be wowed by the larger sweet spot and bigger surface area that make this bat a must-have in today’s game.

“This is a really important bat launch for us because it combines the history of Easton as a company with the technology and engineering that we’ve been able to advance over the years,” said John Loeffler, the Category Manager of Bats at Easton Diamond Sports.

“We’re really excited to be reintroducing this bat to the next generation of baseball players,” Loeffler said. “I personally think it’s cool for a college or high school player to swing the same bat that their dad, uncle, or grandpa might have swung.”

But Loeffler also made it clear that it’s not really the exact same bat from the 70s and 80s — it’s loaded with the latest technology that Easton has been perfecting for decades.

The 2021 B5 version is BBCOR certified and features thin ATAC Alloy that maximizes barrel performance. This one-piece aluminum bat also utilizes a ringless barrel design with different layers of alloy spread across the barrel to create a bigger sweet spot and smoother feel. Finally, the VRS™ handle insert reduces vibration and the Natural Pro Balance results in a balanced feel, making it the perfect bat for both speed and power.

Even after all the innovative tech improvements, Easton’s design team didn’t want to stray too far from the original look, giving this bat a very minimalistic and retro feel.

“When starting to redesign the B5 Big Barrel, we wanted it to align with the original one’s look, but with a bit of a modern twist to it,” Loeffler said. “It’s a really sleek, traditional, and simple design. You see companies in other industries, like Vans or Chuck Taylor, keep that old school look. So, I think it’s cool to bring that vintage feel back into baseball because you never really see that in today’s age.”

Whether you’re fascinated by the revolutionary performance this one-piece aluminum BBCOR bat brings to the table or attracted to its modern remix of the Green Easton’s classic look, make sure to hit up eastbay.com right when it drops on 10/1 and pick one up!

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