The Battle of Baltimore, a first-year event, took place south of the city at the turf fields of Columbia’s Blandair Park and Oakland Mills HS, welcoming a plethora of teams from around the East Coast. Maryland-area contributor TJ Oursler, a sophomore at Denison University in Ohio, attended on Saturday and Sunday and has his list of the recruits who impressed at the event.
Connor Drake ’19, A/M, CT Chargers / Wilton (Conn.) – Duke
Drake, who made his commitment to Duke public last week, is a dynamic dodger with phenomenal wheels who has already been touted as one of the top players in his class. The Fairfield County native used his blistering speed to glide past defenders, often sweeping to his left hand and unleashing a hard sidearm shot on the run that routinely found the back of the net. He also has great vision and threw accurate skip passes to the backside that resulted in easy goals for his teammates. Drake is a great pickup for Coach Danowski and his staff and he will only improve as he continues to develop physically and add more muscle.
Jack Keogh ’17, A, Sweetlax Upstate / Manhasset (N.Y.) – Johns Hopkins
The Hopkins-bound righty is a match-up nightmare for defenses because of his explosive split dodge and elite stickwork with either hand. Keogh liked to operate from X, blowing by his man and finishing with ease within five yards when coming around the cage. He has great hands and a quick release that allowed him to rack up four goals, including the game winner in overtime, against a solid CT Chargers squad. Keogh plays with composure beyond his years and simply cannot be guarded 1-on-1 due to his sheer athleticism and flashy style of play.
John Danforth ’19, M, Orange Crush / Skaneateles (N.Y.)
Danforth is a smooth operator from up top with a deadly split dodge and a cannon of a shot on the run. He led Orange Crush to the championship in the 2019 bracket by controlling games offensively and playing hard between the lines. He beat short-sticks at will and had a nose for the goal that allowed him to fill up the stat sheet all tournament long. Danforth was the most impressive uncommitted prospect at the event and I’d be surprised if it’s long before a Top 20 program scoops him up.
Ben Finlay ’19, D, Sweetlax Upstate / Gonzaga (D.C.) – Johns Hopkins
The DC native was the cornerstone of a Sweetlax team that is loaded with top-tier Division 1 talent from all over the country. Finlay looks the part of a future Big 10 defenseman, standing at over six feet tall and flying all over the field, wreaking havoc on opposing offenses. He uses his stick like a surgeon, throwing well-timed checks and physically abusing and intimidating his attackman. He even showed his versatility by taking runs at short-stick defensive midfield late in the tournament when his teammates were fatigued. Finlay is a complete defenseman who is both technically sound and superbly athletic, a rare combo that makes him one of the elite poles in his class.
Timmy Lischer ’19, M, Sweetlax Upstate / Livonia (N.Y.) – Michigan
Lischer is a throwback two-way middie who uses his physicality and ridiculous athleticism to bully the opposition. He has tremendous speed and uses his size to muscle by defenders and get to the cage. The Michigan-bound sophomore is also a force between the lines, picking up numerous key ground balls and playing on the wings on face-offs. Lischer is an enforcer on the defensive end, laying several bone-crushing hits throughout the day that created turnovers and left opponents sprawled out on the turf. He is a bit raw at the moment but has a high ceiling and should continue to improve as he keeps playing with and against stellar competition.
Dante Poli ’18, A, Twist / Central Bucks South (Pa.)
Poli is an explosive X attackman who put up goals in bunches in both games I saw him play. He has a strong lower body and handles contact well, allowing him to get to the cage and finish high percentage shots with a variety of releases. He is also a capable feeder who can dish the ball to the open man when drawing the double.
Joe Neuman ’18, F/O, Sweetlax Upstate / Salisbury (Conn.) – Johns Hopkins
After watching Neuman play this weekend, it’s easy to see why he’s widely regarded as one of the top face-off men in the 2018 class. Although he’s undersized, the Long Island product is tough as nails and dominates the opposition at the X. Neuman put on a show in the semi-finals, winning the last five draws of the game and leading Sweetlax from a three goal deficit to an exciting comeback victory to keep their championship hopes alive. The most impressive part of his game was his knack for coming up with contested ground balls time and time again to secure possession for his team.
Finlay Collins ’17, M, CT Chargers / Darien (Conn.) – Penn
Riley Stewart ’17, M, CT Chargers / Darien (Conn.) – Brown
I grouped these two together because of their willingness to work together to pick apart defenses. It’s clear that they’ve played on the same high school and clubs teams for years now, as they always seem to be on the same page. Collins is more of a prototypical alley dodger who uses his size and speed to get to the cage, while Stewart is a finesse player with a high lacrosse IQ and good stick. They carried their team all weekend long, tallying multiple points in every game and playing gritty defense that showed that they are complete midfielders. It’ll be intriguing to see what they will do in their final year at Darien under legendary coach Jeff Brameier.
Bobby Abshire ‘18, M, Team Long Island / Commack (N.Y.) – Army
Abshire scored two goals in the 2018 title game against Sweetlax, helping Team Long Island win the championship, 10-4. He has decent size and an effective split dodge that allows him to beat defenders down the alley and can hard high to low shots on the run. Abshire is also a stud in the middle of the field, using his superior speed to clear the ball with ease and create fast breaks.
Others who impressed (Alphabetical Order)
Logan Adams ’17, D, Duke’s LC / Hunterdon Central (N.J.)
Hakan Atillasoy ’17, A, Twist / Harriton (Pa.)
Sutton Boland ’19, D, Sweetlax Upstate / Victor (N.Y.) – Penn State
David DeMartino ’18, D, Sweetlax Upstate / Salisbury (Conn.) – Bryant
Kelly Gouin ’18, A/M, CT Chargers / King (Conn.)
Stuart Greenspon ’17, A/M, Rock / Episcopal (Va.) – Hobart
Patrick Hackler ’19, M/FO, Orange Crush / Skaneateles (N.Y.)
TJ Hendricks ’18, M, Sweetlax Upstate / Fairport (N.Y.) – Ohio State
Mike Kozar ’17, D, Sweetlax Upstate / Fairport (N.Y.) – Albany
John John Lombardi ’18, M, Sweetlax Upstate / Salisbury (Conn.) – Michigan
Danny Maltz ’19, A, Sweetlax Upstate / Riverside (N.Y.) – Maryland
Nick Marren ’17, D, Duke’s LC / Perkiomen Valley (Pa.) – Lehigh
Matt McLaren ’17, G, Twist / LaSalle (Pa.)
Logan McNaney ’19, G, Sweetlax Upstate / Corning (N.Y.) – Maryland
Aidan Olmstead ’17, A, Sweetlax Upstate / Corning (N.Y.) – Loyola
Gavin Peene ’19, M, NJ Riot / Ridgewood (N.J.) – Air Force
Joe Robertson ’17, A/M, Duke’s LC / St. Anne’s Belfield (Va.) – Johns Hopkins
Robbie Seeley ’19, G, Orange Crush / Marcellus (N.Y.)
Christian Villani ’18, M, Team Long Island / Smithtown East (N.Y.)
Dawson Wynne ’19, M, Sweetlax Upstate / Salisbury (Conn.) – Maryland