Perfect Game Underclass World Championship: Eikhoff, Saale Help Canes Advance to Semifinals

October 9 - Patriot’s Riley Eikhoff and Heritage’s Dylan Saale helped the EvoShield Canes 17U National advance to the semifinals and five area players contributed as the Richmond Braves 17U National advance to the quarterfinals over the weekend at the Perfect Game WWBA Underclass World Championship in Fort Myers, FL.

Several players from Northern Virginia took the field at the annual showcase event, which featured 196 teams in 49 pools. Georgia’s East Cobb Astros 17U and Florida’s Scorpions 2020 Founders Club were named as co-champions when yesterday’s championship game was rained out.

Five area players - Jake Berry (Bishop O’Connell), Vince DiMauro (Brentsville District), Corey Knauf (O’Connell), Thomas Latham (Chantilly) and Christopher Polymeropoulos (Madison) - helped the Richmond Braves 17U National sweep its first five games before dropping an 8-6 decision to the Scorpions in the quarterfinals. Latham hit .364 with seven RBI and DiMauro struck out nine and didn’t walk a batter in five innings to earn the decision in a 4-3 pool-clinching win over the Georgia Bombers. Berry, the 6-foot-8 left-hander committed to the University of Virginia, was sharp in his two innings in a tournament-opening 10-0 win over the New Jersey Marlins, but was touched up for six runs (four earned) over 2.2 innings in the quarterfinal loss.

With a roster featuring 15 of 17 players from Northern Virginia schools, the Marucci Stars 17U Red won three of its four pool play games but failed to advance through to bracket play due to a 6-4 loss to the eventual pool winner Nebraska Prospects. Eddie Eisert (O’Connell) shined both on the mound and at the plate, striking out five over 3.2 scoreless innings and having his fastball reach 89 MPH and hitting .417 over the four games.

“This is one of the best tournaments each year. Some of the best showcase teams from around the country participate and you play in front of 10-20 scouts every game,” Stars coach Kevin Sisk said. “Winning your pool is a tough task. We lost to the eventual pool winner in a really good baseball game. We had our chances to win toward the end of the game, but it wasn’t meant to me. I was proud of the way we competed.”

Julian Heitman (Oakton) hit .444 to pace the Stars, while Thomas Trinca (Centreville) hit .364 and paced the team with five RBI, and Tre Williams (South County) hit a deciding three-run homer in a 3-2 win over New York’s Taconic Rangers and struck out four while allowing one run in three innings of work. Left-hander Everett Catlett (Colgan) also shined on the mound, fanning seven over 3.1 innings, and lefty Adam Fischer (West Potomac) was featured in Perfect Game’s scouting report after striking out five over four scoreless innings in an opening day win over the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy.

“Fischer worked consistently in the mid-80s, topping out at 86 MPH,” Perfect Game wrote of the 6-foot-1, 200 pound southpaw. “He showed excellent feel for his breaking ball with tight spin, getting hitters to swing out of the zone on the bigger curveballs while shortening up in the strike zone for a different look.”

Nathan Cmeyla (Briar Woods) helped the EvoShield Canes 17U American go 4-2 and advance to the third round in bracket play before a 6-0 loss to Florida’s FTB Rockets 2020. Seven players from Northern Virginia - Kristian Asbury (Robinson), Teddy Merritt (McLean), Wyatt Miles (Woodgrove), Albert Redding (Patriot), Shane Saunders (Osbourn Park), Drew Stieg (McLean), Aidan Vanvickle (Riverbend) - helped EvoShield Canes 17U Gold go 4-2 and advance to the second round before a 4-1 loss to US Elite 17U National. And six area players - Iyke Aghanya (Oakton), Shonjoy Bhattacharyya (Oakton), Brady Carvajal (Gonzaga), Anthony Farmakides (McLean), Jake Pigeon (Marshall) and Jacob Trumbo (West Potomac) - contributed as D-Bat Elite 17U National won its pool and its first playoff game before falling to Georgia’s 643 DP Cougars Pralgo, 11-0, in the second round of bracket play. D-Bat Elite finished 3-1-1.

Two Northern Virginia residents who attend St. John’s in Washington, D.C. - Jack Jones and Justin Riemer - helped the Maryland-based Diamond Skills Dodgers sweep its three pool play games before dropping its first playoff game, 8-5 to Pennsylvania’s Zoom Baseball Academy.

Michael Schultz (Madison), a 6-foot-2, 215-pound right-hander playing with the Richmond Braves 17U American, was also featured in Perfect Game’s scouting notes after tossing three scoreless frames in a 3-1 loss to Canes Florida 2020 Prime. Schultz “pounded the zone nicely with his fastball in the 83-86 mph range throughout to go along with a hard breaking ball,” Perfect Game wrote. “The frame projects with a long and loose arm stroke through the back and Schultz does a nice job at staying online toward the plate … Schultz looks the part of an intriguing uncommitted arm at this juncture.”

Perfect Game’s final major event will be held later this month when many of the country’s top high school seniors travel to Jupiter, FL for the WWBA World Championship.

Photo of Riley Eikhoff courtesy of Eikhoff family