Tomorrow morning I am hitting the road for the State baseball championships in Columbus. My original plan was to cover the Walsh Jesuit game Thursday morning, the Canton Central Catholic game Friday afternoon and then jump into a car with the Rivals guys, Steve Hare and Joe Harrington from Kentsportsreport.com, to watch Kent State basketball recruit Alex Grimsley play in the Hoosiers' Reunion All-Star Classic in Knightstown, Indiana, then make my way back to Columbus for baseball championships Saturday morning.
Unfortunately I have to fill in and do some high school track and field coverage Friday in Columbus instead. So, no Grimsley for me and no blog post about it for you.
I do get to watch Walsh Jesuit play baseball again. I've covered the last three Walsh games. they are impressive to watch, as they appear nearly machine-like as they dismantled both teams in regionals and beat Tallmadge in the district final. What does that have to do with Kent State?
It turns out that Walsh’s best player, shortstop Ross Brunello, is a Kent State commit.
“Ross Brunello is probably one of the best shortstops I have ever seen at the high school level… he just makes plays all over the field all the time,” Tallmadge coach Kenny Linn said after Brunello made countless defensive plays to beat his Blue Devils in the District Final a few weeks back.
His fielding is definitely enough to get him into any lineup. In that game against Tallmadge he got to many balls that are typically singles through the hole in high school games.
The kid can hit too. The Warriors were limited to four hits against Tallmadge, Brunello had two of them. He also reached on an error and had a deep SAC fly to left. In two games of regional play last week he tripled to deep centerfield and had two singles.
Kent State also inked Walsh left-hander Brannon Belair for next season. Walsh is absolutely loaded. One would think that a left-handed pitcher going to a Division I program would be the ace of the staff. Not at Walsh Jesuit. Their ace, sophomore Tyler Skulina, a 6-foot-5, 235 pound right-hander, could jump to pro ball after high school. He hits 92 on the gun already.
Senior David Starn, a left-hander, is next in the pecking order, although I am not as high on Starn as others are. He seems to throw with all arm across his body, using little leg drive, which cost him velocity (he was low to mid 80’s on the radar gun in the regional final) and makes me wonder if an injury is down the line. Cleveland State and Tiffin have shown interest. Kent State would like for him to walk on.
As for the Kent State recruit, Belair, I don’t know much. I finally saw him pitch in the fifth inning of the regional final. Walsh already had a 17-run cushion. Imagine that, a Division I caliber pitcher in mop-up duty, only at Walsh Jesuit. He did have a curve with some nice break, that’s about all I can tell you.