Canes Baseball's Prospect-Laden Group Shines At Wilson Premier Classic
PEORIA, Ariz. — During Sunday’s Wilson Premier Classic at the Peoria Sports Complex, the 2020 team with the most Division I commitments displayed some of its prowess.
Canes Baseball remained undefeated through three days of action, propelling them to Monday’s final playoff against the San Diego Show.
The program upended Arizona Sandlot, 4-3, after trailing 3-0 entering the sixth inning. The team rallied for three runs in the sixth inning and then walked it off in the bottom of the seventh. North Carolina State commit Coby Ingle had an RBI single to put the first run of the day on the board for the Canes, and Indiana commit Zach Behrmann played a big role as well, striking out five batters in four innings of work on the mound.
The win came just one day after a strong outing from Stanford commit Drew Dowd, who had a strong appearance as a reliever on Saturday. His fastball was touching 90 mph, and he helped the Canes remain undefeated.
Air Force Commit Looks Beyond Baseball
Playing against the Canes on Sunday was Air Force commit Noah Nithman. The 5-foot-10, 168-pound outfielder out of Sandra Day O’Connor High School in Phoenix was practically playing in his own backyard for the Arizona Sandlot, which featured an entire roster of Arizona players.
While Nithman was focused on playing against elite competition throughout the weekend, he also has other plans beyond baseball. A lot goes into attending school at the Air Force Academy, and he shared what stood out to him about the campus and his future education.
“I want to be a doctor, and I’d like to be a surgeon in the Air Force,” Nithman said. “It’s a life decision to go there. Obviously, yes, I am going there for baseball, but there’s a lot more than just baseball. Going into the military, I am learning a lot and I am super excited.”
Nithman took two years of sports medicine courses, and his father is a physical therapist. During his junior year at O’Connor, he took an anatomy of physiology course and was drawn to the brain and the way the human body works. It is from there where his thoughts about becoming a doctor began.
As for the baseball aspect of Nithman’s future, the players and coaches stood out the most to him. The speedy outfielder showed quickness all weekend tracking down fly balls at Peoria Sports Complex.
“I just fit in there pretty well, and I could see myself going there from the beginning. The coaches and the kids that go there, they made me feel very comfortable, and it’s a beautiful campus,” Nithman said of his future at Air Force. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I am very fortunate.”
In a Sunday afternoon game against Arsenal’s 2020 team, Nithman showcased some of his intangibles in the outfield, taking a good angle and using his speed to trace back on a ball that was shot into the left-center field gap.
Heading into his final season at O’Connor, Nithman's hope is to grow and mature as a leader before heading off to Air Force. He felt that playing in the tournament over the weekend was a step in the right direction to achieving that goal, and it was nice for him to step back out on the field among top talent from around the nation.
“I am a senior this year, and I am just super excited to be a leader,” Nithman said. “There’s a lot of underclassmen that look up to me so I have a big job to do. I have to be a leader in general this year.”
Before he departs on his final high school season and gets ready for the Air Force, Nithman got his fall tune-ups at this weekend’s tournament. On an all-Arizona roster, he was able to stay close to home and play against some of the country's top talent. He was one of the many intriguing players to follow at this year’s festivities, as many other high school talents begin to stamp their commitments to play at the next level and move on with their careers.
“This is just a great way to get ready for the season, and I am ready for the fall and it’s nice to be back with great coaches and great players,” Nithman said of the Wilson Premier Classic. “It’s just about getting better game in and game out.”