Four prospects part of Baseball’s Next Level (BNL) program operated locally have recently committed to continue their careers with the New Mexico Lobos after their upcoming senior seasons at their respective high schools.
The list includes Cienega infielder and right-handed pitcher Ben Staiger and right-hander Cole Bramhall, Flowing Wells infielder and right-hander Daniel Davila and Pusch Ridge first baseman and right-hander Zach Vincent.
They were all a part of the BNL 17U Black team, made of high school seniors, that won the 18U championship of the Third Annual BNL Conquistadors Summer Classic on Sunday at Kino Stadium over the BNL Rockets, a team comprised of recent high school graduates and players who just completed their freshman seasons in college.
“I’ve actually known a lot of them (other New Mexico commitments) since we were coming up since we were 14, so it’s not a coincidence but it’s a good turn of events that we’re all going to school together,” said Staiger, who pitched a complete game in the 17U Black team’s victory over BNL Rockets.
Staiger batted .361 for Cienega with five home runs and 24 RBIs last season. His teammate, Bramhall, was 4-2 with a 2.36 ERA with 44 strikeouts and 15 walks. Bramhall had a highly successful showing in the Summer Conquistadors Classic, pitching a perfect game in one outing.
Davila batted .417 with 11 doubles, four triples and 18 RBIs for Flowing Wells last season. He had a 0.88 ERA in 32 innings with 48 strikeouts and 13 walks.
Vincent was 3-3 with a 2.82 ERA at Pusch Ridge last season with 48 strikeouts and 39 walks in 38 1/3 innings.
Staiger said of the scholarship offer from New Mexico coach Ray Birmingham “it means a lot because of all the hard work you put in has paid off.”
The hard work continued with this summer’s experience with BNL, the culmination of four years with most of his 17U Black teammates in the program.
“It’s kind of nostalgic,” Staiger said. “I’ve been with BNL for four years. This is my fourth summer. It’s probably one of my last games through BNL with (executive director) Bryan Huie. I just try to go out and leave it on the field, pitched my heart out.
Things are looking up for Cienega next season with Staiger and Bramhall and outfielder Wyatt Wingstad, all teammates with BNL. Wingstad was selected the MVP of the 18U tournament at the Kino Sports Complex.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.