ASHEVILLE, N.C.—In the third round of the North Carolina state playoffs, nothing comes easy, especially when you’re facing Austin Beck. That was the case for T.C. Roberson High (Asheville) on Tuesday night.
Beck, the No. 9 MLB Draft Prospect, hit three homers and a single in what turned out to be the final game of his high school career, but T.C. Roberson High (Asheville) emerged with a 5-4 win over North Davidson (Lexington, N.C.).
Beck was responsible for all four of North Davidson’s runs. The explosive senior showed impressive barrel work on pitches toward the outer third of the zone. He flashed massive power to the opposite field—including a missile to right-center field that got about 10 feet off the ground as it cleared the fence on a line. Beck finished the season batting .590/.700/1.218 with 12 home runs.
In addition to his plate work, Beck also showed plus tools in center field. His highlight play came when he took a near-flawless route to a ball off the wall to relay in and cut down what would’ve been the tying run at the time.
After Beck homered in the first to give North Davidson the lead, Roberson senior Garrett Blaylock (a Vanderbilt commit) tied it by blasting a two-run shot of his own to right field in the bottom of the first. Blaylock hit two homers and drove in four runs, and got the win on the mound.
Blaylock showed powerful hips as he turned on two breaking balls for home runs. His 6-foot-3 frame allowed him to leave the yard with ease. He also used his size on the mound to showcase a solid fastball that he delivered from a repeatable, over-the-top arm slot.
North Davidson held a 3-2 lead until the bottom of the fifth. Led by Blaylock’s second longball and hits from Aaron McKeithan (class of 2018) and Will Butcher (2019), TC Roberson took a 5-3 lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
McKeithan was key for the Rams. The junior catcher was a vacuum behind the dish, keeping everything in front of him. He was extremely active as a receiver, and showed good motions as an agile blocker. He had two singles, one of which he drove off the wall in left field.
The Knights came up in the top of the seventh down two runs, and nearly tied it up. Beck hit his third home run, but Roberson held on and will advance to North Carolina's 4A quarterfinals. The Rams will face Providence (Charlotte) on Friday.