Prep Roundup: Dunand’s Dominance

The Horizon National Tournament in Scottsdale, Ariz., saw one of the best performances by a prep player in recent years.

Not only did Gulliver Prep (Miami) senior infielder Joe Dunand go 10-for-12 (.833) in five games at the tournament, he hit nine home runs. His final eight swings of the event were home runs. The official ruling has not come from the National Federation of State High School Associations yet, but his eight home runs in as many plate appearances is believed to be the new national record, surpassing the previous record of six straight at-bats with home runs.

Joe Dunand

Joe Dunand (Photo by Stacy Jo Grant)

At Horizon’s field, the left field and right field foul poles are 315 feet, straightaway center field is 380 and the left and right field gaps are 355 and 365 respectively, according to coaches.

The righthanded-hitting Dunand is the nephew of Alex Rodriguez.

A tournament of Stars participant, Dunand ran the 60-yard dash in 6.95 and 7.30 seconds. He is a below-average runner who posts home-to-first times in the 4.5 to 4.6 second range. The North Carolina State commit has soft hands and easy, athletic actions at third base, though his feet are slow. Dunand’s defense is a strength of his game and he has at least an average arm. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound member of Marucci Elite is a strong-bodied, physical player with strength to his lower half. He is old for the class and will turn 19 in September.

Dunand’s offensive outburst helped Gulliver Prep place third in the event with 12 teams from seven states.

Although the tournament featured two ranked teams in No. 5 Harvard-Westlake High (Studio City, Calif.) and No. 19 Hamilton High (Chandler, Ariz.), the host Horizon Huskies went undefeated (5-0), beating both ranked teams before topping Brophy Prep in the finals.

Pitching carried the Huskies, who allowed only one run during three games in pool play. Horizon defeated Harvard-Westlake in the first game of pool play when the two went to extra innings without a run on the scoreboard. Huskies starter Chris Isbell went six strong innings and allowed only one hit before Ben Lewis scored on a passed ball in the eighth inning following his leadoff triple. The Huskies defeated Flint Hill (Oakton, Va.) and Mountain View (Meridian, Idaho) by a combined score of 21-0 to finish out pool play.

The event featured draft prospects Jack Flaherty, an infielder/righthander from Harvard-Westlake, righthander Tommy Doyle from Flint Hill, righthander Ryan Castellani of Brophy Prep and outfielder Branson Trube of Mountain View. The athletic strike-thrower Castellani, an Arizona State commit, was up to 96 mph earlier in the spring with plus fastball life to go with a changeup that showed above-average potential and a slider that is at least average.

Harvard-Westlake went 2-2 at the event and Hamilton went 3-2 to finish fourth.

• With seven returning starters, the strength of the Barbe High (St. Charles, La.) team was expected to be its relentless, deep lineup and run scoring. This has been the case as Barbe continues to bludgeon its opponents. The team got a key victory against one of the toughest opponents on its schedule last week, beating Sulphur (La.) High 6-3. The Bucs will face another test next Tuesday against Acadiana High (Lafayette, La.) Barbe is 21-2 and is averaging nine runs a game with a plus 151 run differential.

• Nearly every key arm returned this season from Hanover High’s state championship team from Mechanicsville, Va. The Hawks have not allowed an earned run (one unearned) in their first two games. The staff combined to throw a no-hitter in their second game of the season. On the year, the Hawks have struck out half of the hitters (26 of 52) they have faced. Senior righthander Derek Casey is the team’s headlining prospect and has struck out 15 in eight innings against three walks. The Virginia commit ran his fastball up to 95 mph in his first outing of the year after he was 90-93 mph at Jupiter.

The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Casey has an athletic, well-proportioned build with room for additional strength gains. He has a quick arm and gets extension out front and downhill plane from a high three-quarters arm slot. His upper-70s slider shows the makings of an average offering.