‘This is something you dream about’: Prep hurlers stellar at Chase Field

September 24th, 2022

PHOENIX -- Facing one 6-foot-8 pitcher can present its challenges. But facing two back-to-back is downright daunting. The combo of Anson Seibert and Mavrick Rizy posted five scoreless frames for East during Game 2 of the States Play Invitational at Chase Field on Saturday.

While the duo was made up of a pair of 17-year-olds spinning zeros on a big league mound, if the moment was too big, they never wavered.

“You can’t beat it,” Rizy said of pitching on the D-backs’ home field. “This is something you dream about. To be able to come out here and play, it was very surreal and awesome.”

Attendees of States Play got to live out what was for many a lifelong dream: to play in a Major League stadium. Just hours before the Giants and D-backs were slated to take the field, the stars of tomorrow took center stage live on MLB.com, with the East eventually notching a 3-0 victory. The series is tied one apiece heading into Sunday's finale at 12:30 p.m. ET/9:30 a.m. PT from Salt River Fields at Talking Stick and can be streamed live on MLB.com.

Seibert, a University of Tennessee commit, drew the start for the East squad and struck out a pair of batters in the first. After a leadoff walk in the second, he bore down and struck out the side, utilizing the pitch he felt he had working best: his sharp slider, which sat at 81-83 mph. In total, the Blue Valley Southwest HS (Overland Park, Kan.,) righty racked up six punchouts with two hits and one walk allowed over three innings.

At 6-foot-8, Seibert had a decided height advantage in each encounter. Using that, alongside his 90-92 mph fastball, is all part of his game plan.

“I try to keep my stride short, so I can use my height and go downhill on the batter,” Seibert said. “It really works for me.”

There was no rest for the West lineup, who then had to deal with Rizy, who also stands in at 6-foot-8. The University of Connecticut commit retired the first five batters he faced, two of which by strikeout, both of which came on his 75-78 mph breaking ball.

Before taking the hill, East pitching coach Will Ohman delivered some sage advice to Rizy, an attendee of Worcester Academy (Fiskdale, Mass.).

“[Ohman] talked to me about my backside and how when I drop it, I tend to miss in,” Rizy said. “So that was a good queue going out on the mound. Whenever I were to miss up and in, to just have that and be like, ‘Oh, fix this,’ and then I could come back with a better pitch.”

In a similar ilk to Game 1, pitchers enjoyed strong outings across the board. West left-handed starter Mason Brassfield from Bakersfield Christian HS (Bakersfield, Calif.), matched Seibert frame-for-frame with six strikeouts of his own over three innings. His heater sat in the 89-92 mph range and he flashed a down-plane curve that reached 84, but mainly sat at 80-82.

Other notable performances:

Hustyn Wheeler, OF (West): Wheeler got the start in center field just 19 miles away from Sandra Day O’Connor HS, where he has emerged as an intriguing prospect due to his prevalence for hard contact and his plate discipline. An Oregon State commit, he also showcased his defensive acumen in the top of the third when he made a tumbling grab to deny the East of extra bases.

Sir Jamison Jones, C (East): Despite having begun the game as the extra hitter, Jones would go on to deliver both at the dish and behind the plate. The Illinois State commit plated the final run of the contest on a base hit to center field in the sixth. Having shifted to catcher, he then displayed his arm strength in the bottom of the frame, cutting down an attempted basestealer with an accurate throw.

Talan Bell, OF/LHP (East): Roughly 12 hours removed from working three scoreless frames, the Florida State commit similarly sparked his squad in Game 2. The lefty batter from Oviedo HS in Hagerty, Fla., slashed an opposite-field single in the fourth, collecting the game’s first RBI. After advancing to second, it was time to showcase his wheels, as he swiped third base.