Claremore High School seniors Bryce Howe and Matt Whatley caught the eyes of several NCAA Division I and JUCO scouts Friday in Norman.
Howe and Whatley, as well as Claremore’s Cole Weiesnbach and Cameron Smith, competed with the Bearcats — a competitive baseball team coached by Jenks’ Jeff Owens — at the University of Oklahoma Showcase.
The Zebra battery — Howe and Whatley — shined in an 11-2 win over Oklahoma Baseball Academy, comprised of players from Ada and southeastern Oklahoma.
With Oral Roberts University head baseball coach Ryan Folmar on hand to watch the two Claremore prospects, Howe and Whatley performed at a high level.
Howe, a 6-foot-1, 225-pound right-handed pitcher, tossed four strong innings and allowed two runs on five hits with five strikeouts and no walks. Early on, Howe’s fastball stayed within 87-89 miles per hour. But, in the fourth inning, Howe bared down to throw back-to-back 90 mile-per-hour fastballs to silence the OBA hitters.
Whatley, who finished the first two days of competition with a 5-for-9 performance that included three doubles and two singles, laced the first pitch he saw Friday morning for an RBI-double off the 385-foot right-field wall at OU.
In the nightcap, against the CenTex Prospects in Seminole, Whatley’s explosive arm behind the plate recorded a 1.85 second pop time, according to coaches from ORU and Eastern Oklahoma State College.
According to the web, a scout will time a catcher’s throw to second base by starting his stopwatch as the ball hits the catcher’s glove and he stops it when the ball is caught at second base.
Most Major League Baseball catchers have pop times between 1.80 and 1.85.
Also, Smith — a junior left-handed pitcher for the Zebras — gained valuable experience on the mound in relief of Howe during the Bearcats’ 11-2 win; and then closing out the final three innings in relief of Jenks pitcher Cadon Owens.
Smith’s crafty curveball was clocked at 77 mph, according OU officals.
Weiesnbach, a senior shortstop for Claremore, also made several timely plays in the field, as well as turning a pair of double plays in both games Friday.
The Bearcats concluded the OU Showcase Saturday afternoon.