By Bob Elliott
Canadian Baseball Network
The Academy Baseball Canada used to travel south during March break.
Now, they head south in the summer too.
INF Benjamin Sauve-Gebhardt and RHP Simon Lusignan led Academy Baseball Canada to a 4-3 record at thhe 15th annual the WWBA 2020 Grads or 16U National Championship at Perfect Game Park at LakePoint in Cartersville, Ga. In alll, 384 teams were on hand.
Lusignan ((Varennes, Que.) pitched four innings allowing one run on three hits and two walks, striking out six in a 2-1 win over the Dirtbags Griffin. His fastball was clocked at 89 MPH. And he is not eligible until the 2021 draft.
Sauve-Gebhardt (Mascouche, Que.) batted .500 (8-for-16) with a double, three RBIs and four stolen bases. He had a 1.163 OPS in seven games for the ABC, coached by Rob Fatal.
Hunter Pence’s crew: The ABC dropped the opener 4-1 to Hunter Pence 16U Calhoun 4-1. Cédric De Grandpré (St-Simon-De-Bagot, Que.) pitched 5 1/3 innings allowing one unearned run on one hit and one walk. He struck out five in his 69-pitch outing (66% strikes) as his fastball was clocked at 84 MPH. Antoine Jean (Montreal, Que.) followed allowing three runs -- two earned -- on one hit and two walks. He threw 26 pitches topping out at 81 MPH. Nathan Petit-Fréchette (Drummondville, Que.) needed only 11 pitches (his best fastball was 79 MPH). 3B Alfonso Villalobos (Kirkland, Que.), LF Simon Menier (Chicoutimi, Que.) and Sauve-Gebhardt had the hits for the ABC.
INF Benjamin Sauve-Gebhardt (Mascouche, Que.) was the ABC's best hitterr in Georgia
Levelling off: The ABC edged the Dirtbags Griffin 2-1 to square its record. De Grandpré doubled to left in the fourth and scored on a single to left by Sauve-Gebhardt. Simon Lusignan (Varennes, Que.) pitched four innings allowing one run on three hits and two walks. He struck out six in his 72-pitch outing (averaging 62% strikes) with his fastball being clocked at 89 MPH. Sébastien Simard (Gatineau, Que.) picked up the win pitching 3 1/3 scoreless innings allowing one hit. He struck out two in his 35-pitch outing (71% strikes) as he was clocked at 81 MPH. DH Antony Gilbert (Quebec City, Que.) and Villalobos had the other hits, while CF Nicolas Tremblay (Mont St-Hilaire, Que.) drove in the other run.
Narrowest or margins: The ABC moved to 2-1 sneaking past the West Florida Scorpions Select 16U 2-1. Villalobos singled and scored on a double by SS Sauve-Gebhardt, his second hit of the game, in the top of the seventh. Yohann Dessureault (Trois-Rivieres, Que.) tossed six strong inning giving up six hits and one walk, while striking out three. He threw 80 pitches (72% for strikes) and his best fastball was clocked at 82 MPH. Jean pitched a scoreless seventh for the save, striking out a pair. 3B Jaycob Lachance (Sainte-Anne-De-La-Pérade, Que.), LF Robin Gervais (Mascouche, Que.) and CF Menier also had hits.
Thumping the Grays: The ABC moved to 3-1 with a 10-1 thumping of the CBC Grays. Jean-Christophe Masson (Levis, Que.) hit a grand slam homer to pace the way. C Raphael Pelletier (Mascouche, Que.) doubled, singled and knocked in a run. Nicolas Deschamps (Quebec City, Que.) and Tremblay each doubled. DH Jason Bégin was 2-for-2 driving in a pair of runs. 2B Tyler Favretto (Montreal, Que.), De Grandpré, Villalobos and Sauve-Gebhardt each had hits. Lachance pitched 3 1/3 innings giving up one run on four hits and two walks, while fanning a pair. He was clocked at 84 MPH in his 57-pitch outing (54% strikes). Connor Hodge (Île Bizard, Que.) worked 1 2/3 scoreless with a 78 MPH fastball.
Four Straight: Simard had his second strong outing to run ABC’s mark to 4-1 with a 7-2 win against the Chattanooga Cyclones 16U. Simard threw 85 pitches (69%) in his six innings allowing three runs -- two earned -- on four hits and two walks. He struck out seven. William Lacroix (Laval, Que.) finished up with a scoreless inning. LF Gervais doubled, singled and drove in a run, while RF Masson had two hits, including a double. De Grandpré, Gilbert, Pelletier and Menier each drove in a run. Villalobos and Deschamps each had hits.
Streak is over: Team Elite Prime 16U scored five runs in the first inning on the way to a 11-7 win over ABC. SS Sauve-Gebhardt had a pair of hits, while 1B Jason Bégin (Sherbrooke, Que.) knocked in a pair of runs. Other hits went to CF Tremblay, DH De Grandpré, 3B Villalobos and RF Masson. After pitching twice in relief, Jean was given a start and allowed eight runs -- seven earned -- on seven hits and four walks. He had an 83-pitch (63% strikes) outing.
And the finale: The East Coast Lumberjacks 2020s beat ABC 5-2. De Grandpré had a pair of hits while SS Dessureault singled and knocked in a run. The other hits went to Deschamps and Sauve-Gebhardt. Lusignan and De Grandpré had scoreless outings on the mound, Hodge allowed one run and Petit-Fréchette four unearnned runs.
Next: The Ontario Blue Jays had a pair of teams, coached by Sean Travers and Mike Siena, at the same event. They are next.
Pool M PCT W L T RA RS
Team Elite Prime 16U 1.000 7 0 0 19 59
East Coast Lumberjacks 2020s .714 5 2 0 26 38
Hunter Pence Baseball 16U Calhoun .714 5 2 0 33 39
Academy Baseball Canada .571 4 3 0 25 32
West Florida Scorpions Select 16U .429 3 4 0 37 40
Chattanooga Cyclones 16U .286 2 5 0 43 23
CBC Grays .286 2 5 0 44 26
Dirtbags Griffin .000 0 7 0 50 20
A super projectable righthanded pitcher made his debut in a PG event on Saturday morning in Canadian Simon Lusignan (2021, Varennes, Que.). The righthander has an intriguing frame at 6-foot-4, 185-pounds and has plenty of room to fill with added strength moving forward. He is also worthy of a high follow by high-level colleges as the righty can already run his fastball up to 89 mph with frequent sinking action. His arm works well as it is very loose through the arm circle. His delivery has plenty of tempo to it and he stays balanced throughout. Lusignan stays tall on his backside before coming down the mound landing closed.
Lusignan fills up the strike zone enough with his sinking fastball in the 86-88 mph early on in the outing while the velocity did decline a bit staying mostly in the 84-86 mph for the rest of the outing. His curveball has lots of depth to it in the upper-60s. While he is still developing the pitch, it very well could be an out pitch with the proper adjustments. The ceiling of Lusignan is limitless at this point as the uncommitted righthander had coaches rapidly flocking to his field to watch him throw. He should be followed very closely in the coming years as there is still plenty to project on with him as a pitcher.
_ Greg Gerard
Academy Baseball Canada has had a strong run thus far in the tournament, though they won’t win their pool, and outfielder Nicolas Tremblay (2019, Mont St-Hilaire, Que.) stood out during their loss on Tuesday. The outfielder fits a strong leadoff profile with wiry strength, good speed and athleticism, and a centerfield defensive profile. Tremblay gets his hands extended well through the point of contact and can create impact force such as his first hit of the afternoon, which was a hard hit single up the middle that left the bat at 97 mph. The uncommitted Canadian posits an intriguing profile and is one to monitor.
– Vincent Cervino