(After games of Tuesday, April 24)
One player is chosen from each region of the country. The only other criteria is that no player will be chosen more than once during a season.
John Miraglia, Wilmington Friends (Wilmington, Del.)
The senior right-handed pitcher/shortstop got off to a bad start against St. Andrew's (Middletown, Del.) when the Saints loaded the bases with no outs in the first inning. Miraglia then fanned the next three batters to start a 19-strikeout performance. He also ended with a three-hitter in leading the Quakers to a 1-0 victory. The other two outs were recorded by routine, infield grounders to Miraglia and the first baseman.
Zach Wall, Hayesville (Hayesville, N.C.)
In a game played earlier this week, Wall hit three homers and also went 4-for-4 with eight RBIs to lead Hayesville past Swain County (Bryson, N.C.). The 6-foot-2, 175-pound junior shortstop and pitcher also had a six-RBI game last week and had raised his season home run total to 10 in just 13 games after the monster outing against Swain County. Wall, who also allowed three hits in five innings of pitching in that same game, pitched a no-hitter earlier this season against Murphy (N.C.). He was a Class 1A all-state pick last year and was a preseason all-state choice by ESPNHS.
Zack Silerzio, Crete-Monee (Crete, Ill.)
The senior right-handed pitcher recorded consecutive no-hit victories last week over Kankakee (Ill.) 10-0 and Rich East (Park Forest, Ill.) 7-0. In the two gems, he struck out 20 batters and walked five while tossing 13 consecutive hitless innings. In his next outing, Silerzio (4-3) allowed five hits in five innings of a 7-3 victory over Bloom (Chicago Heights, Ill.). A Bloom single in the first inning halted Silerzio's no-hit streak.
Austin Bentlage, Union (Mo.)
After missing all of last season with a sore arm, Bentlage is making up for lost time. The 6-foot-3, 270-pound senior set a Missouri state record last week by striking out 18 batters in a row during a 3-0 no-hitter against New Haven (Mo.). Bentlage was making only his fifth start of the season. He walked the third batter of the game, then whiffed 18 in a row for the record before the last batter laid down a bunt and was thrown out at first. Bentlage broke the previous state mark of 15 straight strikeouts set in 2007 by Ryan Austin of Hume (Mo.).
Dylan Cozens, Chaparral (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
As we were finishing this week’s honors, Chaparral grad Paul Konerko of the Chicago White Sox was hitting his 400th career homer and had just moved to No. 48 on the all-time major league list. It’s just one reason we couldn’t resist choosing a player from his high school. Cozens, in fact, just broke Konerko’s school record after smashing a pair of homers last week for the Firebirds in their 19-0 romp past Camelback (Phoenix). Cozens’ two blasts upped his season total to 14 and moved him past Konerko’s previous record of 13. The 6-foot-5, 235-pound Cozens is a transfer from Desert Mountain (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and was MVP earlier this season at the Cleats Sports Classic. He hit two homers in the title game to lead Chaparral past Cactus (Glendale, Ariz.). Cozens also is a defensive end in football and had 7.5 sacks last season. He has signed a football letter of intent with Arizona, but could be coming up the charts quickly as a prospect for the upcoming MLB draft.